Airfield Focus No.81: Raydon by Graham M Simons, GMS Enterprises, soft cover, 56 pages, £4.95, ISBN 1-904514-55-3
Airfield Focus No.82: Nuthampstead by Malcolm Osborn & Graham M Simons, GMS Enterprises, soft cover, 56 pages, £5.95, ISBN 1-904514-56-1
The latest pair of books in the standard Airfield Focus series have recently been published and, as with quite a few recent examples in this series, both cover Eighth Air Force sites. They have the usual format of a relatively brief text complemented by many pictures mainly from USAAF sources, with tables of airfield details, flying units present and a site plan.
Raydon was used by three different fighter groups: the 357th, 358th and 353rd over a two year period. The first two were in the Ninth Air Force and carried out ground attack and bomber support missions over mainland Europe before moving nearer the South-East in readiness for D-Day. Raydon then transferred to the Eighth Air Force and its Thunderbolts and Mustangs were mainly used for bomber escort duties. The book is well illustrated and includes many that will be of interest to ARG members. For example there are several shots of the airfield under construction, interior and exterior shots of the control tower, one of an interesting runway caravan, inside the parachute packing store etc. Wartime and recent aerial photos are also included.
The Nuthampstead book is very similar in content, in fact too much so in one case. One of the pages from the Raydon book has found its way into this volume; in general better proof reading in this series would be of benefit. Nevertheless the story is well told given the limited space and again many photos are of interest. One that caught the eye was of an attempt by a drunken airman to drive a Jeep into the Officers’ Club Nissen hut, whilst several shots of the airfield construction machinery are also interesting. Nuthampstead opened in September 1943 and was initially used by the Lightnings of the 55th Fighter Group. They were replaced in April 1944 by the B-17s of the 358th Bomb Group. Both phases of its use are well covered and shots are included of the lovely memorials to both units, located outside the Woodman pub.
Subsequent to publication, the publisher issued replacement pages for those misprinted to all subscribers. This is indicative of the good service provided by GMS Enterprises.