Wednesday 13 June 2012

RAF Duxford : A History in Photographs

I recently finished reading an excellent little book that I bought a couple of weeks ago. RAF Duxford: A History in Photographs from 1917 to the Present Day by Richard C. Smith is a fabulous pictorial record of the history of RAF Duxford and is full of interesting and rare photographs.

Duxford was established in 1917 to train Royal Flying Corps aircrew during the first world war. The area was surveyed and farmland was purchased to set up two airfields. The second site - Fowlmere - was later returned to farming but Duxford remained in use into the jet age and the cold war. Its military role ended in 1961 but after a period of uncertainty the site was acquired by the Imperial War Museum.

During WWI Duxford was the base for two United States Aero Squadrons (137 and 159) and by 1918 was used for DH9 day bomber squadrons. The site was expanded in the inter-war years and in August 1938 was the first aerodrome in Fighter Command to receive the Spitfire. It went on to become a vitally important part of Britain's Air defence network.

From October 1942 onwards the site was again home to American Aircrews, this time from the 8th Air Force and the 350th and 78th Fighter Groups.

This is an very well researched book and published for the first time many pictures that were until recently in private hands. I've met the author many times and have several of his other books which are equally well researched and interesting to read. If you have in interest in Duxford or aviation history in general then you will find this a very enjoyable book.


  1. Sounded like a damned good book!

  2. Hey great! Thanks for posting this, as it is the very same airfield my mother was stationed at towards the end of the WW2.
    Of course, now I have to buy a copy ... :-)


  3. Hummmm, I might have to buy this now... :)


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