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Rainham author pens new book on Surrey airfield

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 September 2017

Richard Smith, second from left, with his new book Kenley Scramble and members of the RAF and artist Barry Weekley at Biggin Hill. Picture: Richard Smith

Richard Smith, second from left, with his new book Kenley Scramble and members of the RAF and artist Barry Weekley at Biggin Hill. Picture: Richard Smith

Archant

An acclaimed Rainham author has published his latest book, which provides a soaring insight into RAF Kenley Airfields, in Surrey.

The book, Kenley Scramble, has been written by Richard Smith, using true historical accounts and never before seen pictures.

The tome was released last week at the Biggin Hill Festival of Flight airshow in Surrey, near Kenley Airfields.

This is the 61-year-old’s 15th book published, and he has been writing for 17 years – including the popular Hornchurch Streets of Heroes in 2013.

Richard told the Recorder: “Writing a book is like a jigsaw puzzle, you write about a specific period one day in 1920, the next day you find information from 1938, it’s a jigsaw puzzle. You will keep finding more later on.”

He began the book in October last year, gathering new and unseen photographs and fresh information.

Richard explained: “A friend of mine from Surrey asked me: ‘Why don’t you write about the airfields?’”

The rare photographs were found through the archives at the Surrey Heritage Centre, preserved in old glass photographic plates.

These pictures, which make up 40 pages of images in the book, were supplemented with photographs from the Imperial War Museum and Getty Images.

Richard said: “Lots of people go straight to look at the photos and I get excited for the people who are interested in them.”

He also explained he was lucky to be able to interview a number of the soldiers from the Battle of Britain, and include their stories in his book.

Richard will be at Hornchurch Country Park, in South End Road, Hornchurch, on September 16 and 17 for a military show.

He will be speaking about Kenley Scramble, and signing his other books for the public.

“To see what I have written in print, to picking up the book, it’s the biggest excitement”, he said.

“I am always looking for something new to write about.”

The paperback copy of Kenley Scramble can be purchased for £12, and there are also 100 limited edition copies on sale.

Visit mitorpublications.co.uk for more information about Richard and all of his books.

They are also available at Swan Books in Upminster.

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