Hornchurch Offensive

The Definitive Account of the RAF Fighter Airfield, Its Pilots, Groundcrew and Staff: 1941 to the Airfield's Final Closure

Richard C. Smith

Publication date:
October 2008
Publisher :
Grub Street
No associated books available.


Volume Two of this fascinating study of an airfield and its pilots starts just after the Battle of Britain when Hornchurch was at the forefront in taking the fight to the enemy, being heavily involved in the Sweeps and Circuses of 1941.

Next came the Dieppe raid in 1942 by which time Hornchurch was truly international with Czechs, Belgians, French and New Zealanders all flying from there.

Action was continuous and famous characters abound, people like Harry Broadhurst and Paddy Finucane, and as with the first book, the author is particularly adept at expressing their views, experiences and recollections.

Other events during the war where the base was predominant include the audacious German Channel Dash, Operation 'Starkey' with the Americans, forming Mobile Radar Units for D-Day, and countering the V-1 menace.

Post-war it served as an Air Crew Selection Centre, from 1948-1956, and thousands of people passed through, some famous like Max Bygraves and Norman Tebbit, who tell their stories.

With numerous photographs from private collections, this second volume maintains the excellence of the first to give the complete history through the eyes of those who were there.