Westhampnett at War

Westhampnett at War is researched and written by three current pilots who fly out of Goodwood.

It’s an attentively compiled book with good, original sources. I particularly appreciated the inclusion of several pilots’ letters, which I’ll quote in a separate entry.

The authors’ review of the airfield is mainly delivered through descriptions of key squadrons who were based there. This provides detailed information, but perhaps lacks the narrative drive of an account delivered by a professional writer. There were a few instances where I was desperate to grab a red pen and thrash a bit of life into the copy.

As a reference point though, it’s very useful for painting a picture of Goodwood’s transformation from a graceful country estate into a mucky airfield.

I was struck by the level of discomfort that they lived in (camping out in barns in the middle of winter and struggling through mud and snow to attend to their planes).

The list of references and websites give helpful leads for anyone wishing to delve further (particularly into the famous 610 Squadron).

This is an earnestly written book, which is surely driven by keen interest and a wish to ensure that “the contribution made by those who worked and flew from here should never be forgotten” (143).  I admire the effort of the authors and recommend the book- although if possible, read the book first and then visit Goodwood. With a bit of knowledge in hand, the remaining landmarks and existing airfield take on a whole new life.

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