Merlins, Tea and Bacon!

It is often difficult when visiting former wartime airfields to pick out period buildings or to be able to create a mental image of what they may have been used for. It is only through personal accounts and wartime images that some appreciation of the hustle and bustle of a busy wartime airfield can be gleaned – as Mark Hillier reveals.

The 309th Fighter Squadron’s Captain Winfred ‘Salty’ Chambers outside Fishers Cottage. (COURTESY OF NANCY STRAWN ADAMS, COLOURISED BY DAN JARMAN)

Many buildings found on the various wartime airfields in the UK were constructed to standard Air Ministry patterns and were therefore similar from station to station. At some airfields, local buildings and farms were requisitioned, or even ‘acquisitioned’, to provide essential accommodation for personnel and one such airfield that had virtually no purposebuilt accommodation prior to its military use was the fighter station of RAF Westhampnett in West Sussex, now known as Goodwood Airfield.

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