Spitfire heroes get together for launch

PROUD Former Spitfire pilots at the book launch
PROUD Former Spitfire pilots at the book launch
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FORMER Spitfire pilots gathered for a poignant ceremony and to mark the launch of a new book about their heroics.

The ceremony was held on Saturday to remember hundreds of American Spitfire pilots and airmen based at Goodwood in the summer of 1942.

War veterans and relatives of one of the American pilots, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Strawn, gathered at Goodwood in memory of the USAAF airmen.

The men of the 31st Fighter Group flew from RAF Westhampnett, which today is the Goodwood Airfield and Motor Circuit, to take on Hitler’s Luftwaffe. The ceremony coincided with the launch of a new book, To War in a Spitfire about Lt Col Strawn.

The book’s co-author, Greg Percival, a Goodwood pilot from Gosport, was at the event.

He said: ‘Harry’s two daughters flew in from the States especially for the event and were overwhelmed by our efforts. They said how wonderful it was to see their father’s diary account in print.

‘We also were very privileged to have with us a number of original Spitfire pilots and ground crew from the Second World War, including Squadron Leader Nigel Rose, 90, who was a Battle of Britain pilot and is quite famous.’

Mr Percival added: ‘The book launch was a great success with many people turning up and buying books.

‘Our display was a great success, with the sun coming out enough for a Boultbee Spitfire to roar into life and provide us with a sizzling display.’

To order copies of the book go to towarinaspitfire.co.uk