Do you have information on Sheringham’s ghostly First World War nurse?
09:12 18 March 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
A man who worked in a prominent Sheringham building 40 years ago claims it was haunted and is now appealing for more information on the “mournful” First World War ghost he met several times a week.
Gordon Buchan and his wife Sylvia arrived in Sheringham in September 1976 to take up posts as senior house parents at the Break charity’s Rainbow children’s holiday home, on Hooks Hill Road.
Mr Buchan, 72, who says he has experienced “time slips” since he was 18 months old, claims that he first encountered the Rainbow ghost the day after he started work.
During the two years the couple spent at the home, Mr Buchan said he saw the ghost every two or three days.
And he claims that – although it was never seen by his wife – one other staff member and scores of children staying at the home also saw it.
“She was a First World War nurse, wearing the uniform of the time. She used to follow me round the corridors. I put her age in the early 20s. She was slim with auburn hair and always looked mournful,” he remembered.
On many occasions children had reported seeing a woman throw herself out of a first-floor bedroom window, according to Mr Buchan.
“Dozens and dozens of children saw her – they were petrified – and I believe, while we were there, an exorcism was carried out, although that had nothing to do with us.”
One day a child’s grandmother had visited the home from Norwich and told Mr and Mrs Buchan that she had worked in the building during the 1914-1918 war when it had been a convalescent home for troops.
She said a young nurse had cared for, and fallen in love with, a corporal who had been injured. He had recovered and been sent back to the front where he had been killed.
In her grief, the nurse had thrown herself out of a window to her death on the ground below.
“We have wondered about it ever since,” said Mr Buchan, who now lives with his wife in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria.
“While it was still operating as a children’s home we didn’t feel it would be right to go public about it but now it’s closed we would like to know more – has anyone else heard this story and does anyone know the nurse’s name?”
Break shut Rainbow as a children’s holiday centre in October 2012 after nearly 40 years.
Sheringham historian Peter Cox said he was aware of the story but had never found any evidence to substantiate it.
Before Break, the house had been run as a children’s home since the 1920s by the charity NCH, according to Mr Cox.
And before that it had been a private house. He added: “Many large private houses were requisitioned by the military.”
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