REVIEW: SOUTHERN AND WEST COUNTRY AIRFIELDS OF THE D-DAY INVASION AIR FORCE by Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes
 
 
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Untitled.jpg1.jpg2I won’t keep you long. Behind the enormously wordy title hides an extremely handy little book bringing the D-Day air war right to your door. Best of all you won’t need to change your pounds shillings and pence into any of those troublesome euros because all the action happens right here in Blighty. So you won’t need a ferry ticket or have to hop on the Eurostar. The stuff of this book is firmly routed exactly where the title says. This is all great, unless perhaps you live in Piqua, Ohio, or somewhere not so adjacent to Tangmere or Hartford Bridge; but you might be over here on vacation and managed to have packed the significant other off to look round that gaffe they use in Downton Abbey or whatever and have better use for your time and your hire car.  All is not lost, because Peter Jacobs, an airman himself; has worked it all out for you.

So, what does the book offer? You get a history of the 2nd TAF, and then a run down on what they got up to on D-Day. This is followed by an excellent location by location guide to the airfields and landing grounds of the regions the book encompasses. So, you’ll be zooming around in Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset in the main; but the book also touches on things further west, so you could have lunch with Rick Stein. But the best bits, by far, are the descriptions of day to day squadron operations and pen portraits of some of the leading characters involved. All this bolstered by histories of the landing grounds brought right up to date and what you can and more often, can’t see now. I can’t fault the thing for the text and I do like the snaps. It’s a pocket guide and this makes total sense and it really does the job intended. The bloke can write and he knows his stuff. If Pen & Sword have any brains they will combine the author’s works into something more substantial with a bit more glamour to smother a coffee table. Get it out in time for the D-Day 70th Anniversary. Are you listening in Barnsley?

I commend this book to the house.

Mark Barnes

SOUTHERN AND WEST COUNTRY AIRFIELDS OF THE D-DAY INVASION AIR FORCE
2nd Tactical Air Force in Southern and South-West England in WWII
By Peter Jacobs
Published by Pen & Sword Aviation £12.99
ISBN: 978 1 84415 901 7