Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Bruno Ghils, Marc Arys, Coll SBAP - Translation: Marc Arys  sbap 2016

Chichester/Goodwood Airport (IATA: QUG, ICAO: EGHR), normally referred to as Goodwood Airfield or Goodwood Aerodrome is located 1,5 nautical miles north northeast of Chichester, West Sussex, England.
Chichester (Goodwood) Aerodrome has a CAA Ordinary License that allows flights for the public, transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorized by the licensee (Goodwood Road Racing Company Limited).


Wartime use

The airfield was built in 1938 by the Royal Air Force as an emergency landing airfield for fighter aircraft and relief landing ground for nearby RAF Tangmere.
Built on land belonging to the Goodwood Estate, the then landowner, the Duke of Richmond Frederick Gordon-Lennox retained the Title Deed to the land. The site was the former Westhampnett Farm and part of the Goodwood Estate. It was known as RAF Westhampnett. RAF Westhampnett was a Royal Air Force station, located in the village of Westhampnett near Chichester, in the English County of West Sussex.
During the Battle of Britain two fighter squadrons (145 Sqn and 602 Sqn) were based at Westhampnett and integrated in the n 11 group area. After the Battle, many squadrons were based here.
On August 9th, 1941 the famous pilot Douglas Bader took off from Weshampnett with his Spitfire Mk V (W3185) for his last combat mission. The combat was held above France and Douglas Bader downed a first Me 109. He took on a second one and shot it also but during this second dogfight his airplane was seriously damaged as a result of a mid-air collision with a Me 109 or he was simply shot down (history is not clear about the real causes). Douglas Bader had to leave his aircraft without his prosthetic legs. He was captured and tried to evade on many occasions. Finally Douglas Bader was a prisoner of war in the famous Colditz castle.
Later on, Westhampnett was used by the United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force as a fighter airfield for the 308th and 309th Fighter Squadrons of the 31st Fighter Group from RAF Atcham and RAF High Ercall with Supermarine Spitfire V's.
The 31st FG flew its first sorties with the RAF, (total of 1,286 losing 5 aircraft) on 10 September 1942 and flew its last mission from Great Britain in late October 1942. The group then moved to Gibraltar and fought with the 12th Air Force in North Africa and Italy.
After this American period, the Royal Air Force deployed the 616 Squadron at Westhampnett. This squadron was specialized in high altitude fights against the German aircraft. 616 Squadron was joined by 131 Squadron specialized in the "Circus" and "Rhurbarb" missions. Various Spitfire or Typhoon equipped units were based at Westhampnett. Just to have an idea, have a look at the list hereunder.
Activities seriously increased as D-Day was approaching. The last Spitfires arrived in April, left the base and Westhampnett became the home base of the Typhoon Mk I equipped 184 Squadron.
When the V-1 campaign started, the activities increased again with Spitfire Squadrons deployment.
As soon as most of the RAF squadrons moved to the continent after the allied invasion, the Westhampnet activities decreased and the airfield was taken over by support units.
On May 13th, 1946 RAF Westhampnett was closed.


RAF Westhampnett units based during the World War II

                                                             No. 41 Squadron
                                                             No. 43 Squadron
                                                             No. 65 Squadron
                                                             No. 91 Squadron
                                                             No. 118 Squadron
                                                             No. 124 Squadron
                                                             No. 129 Squadron
                                                             No. 130 Squadron
                                                             No. 131 Squadron
                                                             No. 145 Squadron
                                                             No. 167 Squadron
                                                             No. 174 Squadron
                                                             No. 175 Squadron
                                                             No. 184 Squadron
                                                             No. 245 Squadron
                                                             No. 302 Polish Squadron
No. 303 Polish Squadron
No. 340 Squadron
No. 350 Belgian Squadron
No. 402 Canadian Squadron
No. 416 Canadian Squadron
No. 441 Squadron
No. 442 Canadian Squadron
No. 443 Canadian Squadron
No. 485 New Zeeland Squadron
No. 501 Squadron
No. 602 Squadron
No. 610 Squadron
No. 614 Squadron
No. 616 Squadron
No. 787 Squadron
31st Fighter Group (308 & 309 FS)

RAF Westhampnett aerial photography
from 1946 took by a recce plane of the 138 Squadron

RAF 602 Squadron at Westhampnett during the Battle of Britain
  309 Fighter Squadron at Westhampnett in August 1942
 RAF 245 Squadron just before D-Day period RAF 501 Squadron in 1943

Postwar use

After the war the airfield was returned to the Goodwood Estate and the perimeter track of the airfield has been used since 1948 for motor racing and called the Goodwood Circuit. The airfield currently has a large flying school and many historic aircraft. Goodwood Circuit is a historic venue for both two- and four-wheeled motorsport in the United Kingdom. The 3,8 kilometres (2,4 miles) circuit is situated near Chichester, West Sussex, close to the south coast of England, on the estate of Goodwood House, and completely encircles Chichester/Goodwood Airport. This is the racing circuit dating from 1948, not to be confused with the separate hillclimb course located at Goodwood House and first used in 1936.

History 1948-1966

The racing circuit began life as the perimeter track of RAF Westhampnett airfield with the first race meeting taking place on 18 September 1948, organised by the Junior Car Club and sanctioned by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. The winner of the first race was P. de F. C. Pycroft, in his 2,664 c.c. Pycroft-Jaguar at 66.42 m.p.h. Stirling Moss won the 500cc race (later to become Formula 3), followed by Eric Brandon and "Curly" Dryden, all in Coopers.
Goodwood became famous for its Glover Trophy non-championship Formula One race, the Goodwood Nine Hours sports car endurance races run in 1952, 1953 and 1955, and the Tourist Trophy sports car race, run from 1958-1964. The cars that raced in those events can be seen recreating (in shorter form) the endurance races at the Goodwood Revival each year in the Sussex trophy and the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy (RAC TT).
Goodwood has, over the years, played host to many famous drivers: Mike Hawthorn and Graham Hill had their first single seat races there, Roger Penske visited in 1963, and Jim Clark and Jack Sears competed in 1964. The accident that ended Stirling Moss's International career happened at St. Mary's Corner in 1962.
Donald Campbell demonstrated his Bluebird CN7 Land Speed Record car at Goodwood in July 1960 at its initial public launch, and again in July 1962, before being shipped to Australia-where it finally broke the record in 1964. The car was a 30-foot-long (9,1 m) Bristol Siddeley turbine-powered 4,500 hp (3,400 kW) streamliner, with a theoretical top speed of 450 to 500 miles per hour (720 to 800 km/h). The laps of Goodwood were effectively at "tick-over" speed, because the car had only four degrees of steering lock, with a maximum of 100 mph (160 km/h) on the straight on one lap.
Goodwood saw its last race meeting for over 30 years in 1966, because the owners did not want to modify the track with chicanes to control the increased speeds of modern racing cars. The last event was a club meeting organized by the British Automobile Racing Club on July 02, 1966.


The circuit claimed the life of McLaren-founder Bruce McLaren in a testing accident on June 02, 1970.
The accident happened on Lavant Straight, when a rear bodywork failure on McLaren's M8D car caused it to spin and leave the track, hitting a structure on the infield at over 100 mph while travelling sideways.

 RAF Westhampnett became the fabulous Goodwood circuit in 1948 Start of a race in the late 1950's, note the former control tower
Goodwood Today...
 ( Marc Arys)

Main events there:

Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Goodwood Festival of Speed held in late June or early July is an annual hill climb, not on the circuit, but in the nearby grounds of Goodwood House. It features historic and modern motor-racing vehicles. In 2010, the event had over 176,000 visitors over four days.

Goodwood Revival
Following the success of the Festival of Speed hill climb, racing returned to the Goodwood Circuit in 1998. The Goodwood Revival is a three-day festival held each September for the types of cars and motorcycles that would have competed during the circuit's original period, 1948-1966. Historic aircraft help to complete the vintage feeling. In 2008, a crowd of 68,000 people attended the event on the main Sunday - 9,000 more than in 2007. The track is now used for classic races, track days, and try-out days. Nearly everyone dresses up in vintage outfit from mods and rockers to racing drivers and just smart period clothes.

 One of the main building restaured
( Bruno Ghils)
Another specific race building
( Serge Van Heertum)
Race control tower
( Marc Arys)
( Marc Arys)
 You have a sport car? A run is always possible on the circuit
( Serge Van Heertum)
Modern car...
( Serge Van Heertum)
 ...or old car
( Serge Van Heertum)
( Serge Van Heertum)
A wonderfull race place
( Marc Arys)
( Marc Arys)
 Refueling trucks and control tower
( Bruno Ghils)
Noorduyn AT-16 Harvard MK IIB from Goodwood aeroclub
( Serge Van Heertum)
 Tecnam P2008-JC from Omega Sky Taxi Ltd
( Serge Van Heertum)
Extra 300L from Power Aerobatics Ltd
( Serge Van Heertum)
 ( Marc Arys)

Goodwood Airfield became the home base of the Boultbee Flight Academy, which in 2014 was allowed to perform passengers Spitfire flight. This was the first company authorized to propose this unique experience. The academy is also a flying school dedicated to the one who wants to get a Spitfire pilot license.
So after our visit to RAF Tangmere and the local air museum, we were on our way to Goodwood (former RAF Westhampnett, satellite base of Tangmere during the war) and were granted a little visit to this amazing academy and their splendid warbirds.

 North American P-51D Mustang (KH774)  (G-SHWN)
( Serge Van Heertum)
112 RAF Squadron markings
( Bruno Ghils)
 De Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth II was built in 1943
( Serge Van Heertum)
De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10  WG348
( Serge Van Heertum)
 Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXT  (SM520)
( Serge Van Heertum)
The unique opportunity to be a passenger
( Serge Van Heertum)
His Majesty Spitfire
( Marc Arys)
Original publicity support
( Marc Arys)
 North American P-51D-20NA Mustang "Miss Helen"  (44-72216)
( Serge Van Heertum)
( Serge Van Heertum)
  Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX (code unknown) 
in restoration with Johnny Edward Jonhson markings
( Serge Van Heertum)
 Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXe "City of Exeter"
Owned by Martin Phillips and based at Boultbee academy
( Serge Van Heertum)
The pilot office of the RR232
( Marc Arys)
 Two prestigeous foghters
( Serge Van Heertum)
Cockpit details
( Serge Van Heertum)
 More information's, about the Boultbee Flying Academy?  Click on the car  ( Serge Van Heertum)

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