View Full Version : The Archaeology of Airfields - Bob Clarke

Richard Flagg
14-05-2008, 10:57

The Archaeology of Airfields - Bob Clarke
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: The History Press (1 Dec 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0752444018
ISBN-13: 978-0752444017

I have just received in the post from Amazon this morning this book. Having flicked through the pages on first impression it looks like a thoroughly good book covering aspects of the changing face of airfields. there are some great photos in it as well.

22-05-2008, 20:17
On the subject of spelling, this book has more spelling mistakes than I've seen for a long time.

Lemella hangars, Costal Command, Nordon bombsite, plus some 30 or so
misspelled airfields, e.g. Arbroth, Turnhill, Neatheravon.

There is a photo of a Lamella, which sadly is an 'E' type.

Some of the information has come from Wikipedia, hence we find that Skipton and Tilstock were FIDO sites. (They certainly were not.)

We also have Brigg as an airfield in 1 group (no such station).

It's a good read, but mistakes like these are unacceptable, there are many authorities on the subject who could have proof read this document and improved it no end.

An opportunity lost.

09-09-2008, 00:10
As mentioned above I was somewhat appalled at the number of errors in this publication. A few hours work by an accomplished reader would have eliminated most of them.

Spelling / typos with page numbers.
Neatheravon (14, 41, 60, 91), Ballyliffin (20), Llangfni (25), Laria (25), Farseley (29), Weston-on-the-green (54), ADBG (71), North Coates Fittes (72), Turnhill (74,75), Lacarno Treaty (80), Hells Mouth (84), Lemella (86), Costal Command (99), Pembury (108), Turn Hill (109, 121), Limavardy (120), Stornaway (120), Holme upon Spalding Moor (116, 130), St Athans (118), Elsham Wold (130), Arbroth (132), Operation Gomorra (136), Faldinworth (137), Nuthamstead (142), Nordon Bomb Sight (142), thirty-seven MU (167), Bruntingthorp (170), Thor MRBM, (177), Macrihanish (185), Pershaw (185), Seakings (195), Bassingbourne (208)
Factual Errors
(83) Harwell is actually due south of Abingdon.
(91) The hangar is an E type, not a Lamella.
110 Pevensey and Poling are not airfields. Limpness airfield = no such place (Lympne perhaps ?)
(121) South Cerney was not an ASU.
(137) Brigg was not an airfield. The only establishment which existed there was 209 MU at Broughton Wood, and was never part of 13 Base.
(137) Sturgate and Ingham were satellites of Hemswell. The latter reported to Bawtry.
(137) No.11 Base in mid 1944 was HQ Lindholme, plus Blyton and Sandtoft. Swinderby was in 5 Group as 51 Base from March 1943 to Nov 44 when it became 7 Group.
(138) West Hartlepool was never a major site, as was virtually defunct by Dec 1943.
(139) 6 Group Croft is substantially to the east of Middleton, not west. Dalton is just south of Topcliffe, not 10 miles east.
(154) Skipton and Tilstock were never FIDO stations.

The above represents major errors, there is also a number of confusing maps and statements, e.g.

ALG Map page 156 very confusing 25 sites, names scattered bearing little relation to the sites.
(180) Barnham was a gas weapon store true, but it was principally a major conventional (HE) Forward Ammunition Depot.

What we have now is a book which could have become a valued reference manual, however owing to the large number of errors it must be regarded with suspicion. An attempt to contact the publisher failed as Tempus Publishing appear to have gone to the wall and are now part of the History Press.

Paul Francis
30-09-2008, 16:32
Serious then?

bob clarke
07-01-2009, 00:10

Not my finest hour I can tell you! The story is long and tedious involving a slack pre-submission read by me followed by a company not printing the post-proof but my original, uncorrected submission. Tempus went to the wall as this was being printed so I suppose the blame is 50/50. Anyway 'The History Press' are reprinting it soon and I have the text for a re-proof. I have taken note of the comments so far, any other constructive points would be greatfully received. Once again sorry for the scruffy nature of the last copy, especially to anyone who actually bought it! Just as a foot note you will be glad to hear that as Tempus went I had no royalties for it. Lesson Learned.

Best wishes Bob Clarke.

07-01-2009, 08:47
Bob: Interesting to hear from your side of the book the problems that occurred. Thank you for being brave enough to stick your head above the parapet and keep us inthe picture on what is happening.

Paul Francis
07-01-2009, 10:27
Yes, I will second that. Very well done. Carnaby on here is an excellent proof-reader - he does a lot of my stuff.

07-01-2009, 23:44
I second that too. I bought the book and although I liked it's content I was disappointed with the errors.
Trust your book on the JP will be OK Bob............!

bob clarke
08-01-2009, 11:21
Yes I should hope so. I changed publishers for a start. I have been working with my original editor (who also moved). Campbell oversaw my Cold War and Berlin Airlift books and they both ran quite nicely. JP had three reviews, one by Air Marshal Sir Dusty Miller, so one would hope that should be fine. I am awaiting copys at the moment. The problem with all this is that the author only has a limited amount of control over the process once it is submitted for print. That does not excuse a badly prepared submission on the authors part, airfield being a point in case. To give you an example 'Berlin Airlift' centres around Tempelhof however the proof reader changed all refs. to Templehof, even the cover. Luckily I caught that one!

Best wishes Bob Clarke

Paul Francis
08-01-2009, 13:13
You need a proof reader that has knowledge of the subject!

bob clarke
08-01-2009, 15:27
Indeed you do. And that is the responsibility of the publisher. Thats why you only receive 8% of the cover price in royalties. Tempus had employed one from Midland Publishing just before they went.

Paul Francis
08-01-2009, 16:58
Hmmm now days its not really worth it. They want upwards of 100,000 words, photos, plans, maps etc plus maybe an index and all this for a couple of thousand pounds!

bob clarke
08-01-2009, 17:30
And lets not forget when Amazon sell at a discount you only get 8% of that! Which is why its more than a little depressing when the publishers side of things collapse like it did for 'Arch of Air'. On a standard run of 1200 as with Cold War I made just over 1000. Am I tempting anyone?


Paul Francis
08-01-2009, 18:09
Certainly not, like I said it just aint worth it. By the way Bob welcome to the forum - you know you can post elsewhere too - you are not just limited to this thread?

bob clarke
08-01-2009, 20:15
Splendid, thank you for the welcome. Ok who would like some Boscombe Down photos posted? and what is the size limit?


08-01-2009, 21:40
I see that on pprune tonight there is a thread about a book called "Jet Provost - The Little Plane with a Big History". I used to call them 'constant speed variable noise machines'. A Cranwell they all seemed to bumble along at the same speed, irrespective of what they were doing, the only difference being the amount of noise they were chucking out behind them. The slower they wnet the louder they seemed to be. Bring back the Phantom I say!

The pundit who posted on pprune had got his book from Amazon at some massive discount, as indicated by Bob above.

Richard Flagg
09-01-2009, 17:30

Thanks for joining the forum and explaining the problems you had. Welcome to AiX anyway and I look forward to your posts and input on the forum.

09-01-2009, 22:52
Just as a foot note you will be glad to hear that as Tempus went I had no royalties for it. Lesson Learned.

Good luck with the update Bob - it will become a valuable reference I'm sure.
You are not the only one to be ripped off by Tempus (and its earlier guises). Some good friend of mine published a book through them, (it became a 'bible' in its field) and reserved the rights to buy their unsold copies at a later date for a nominal price. The publisher ignored this part of the contract and sold them to another dealer, at a tiny fraction of the price my mates would have paid. They have nothing good to say about the company.

This link (http://www.thebookseller.com/news/63331-alan-sutton-returns-again.html) is of interest.


bob clarke
10-01-2009, 23:22
reserved the rights to buy their unsold copies at a later date for a nominal price. The publisher ignored this part of the contract and sold them to another dealer, at a tiny fraction of the price my mates would have paid.

Same here unfortunately. My Berlin Airlift book was sold en-mass to Postscript only a few months after publishing. I had the rights on those as well. They were having a cash flow problem at the time!! Oh well.

I have been through all your suggestions and made changes where needed. Thank you for pointing them out. I have also tightened the text up in around 150 places and added the paragraph which was left out of chapter six (page 135 between para two and three). Hopefully it should be far better this time around.

Best wishes


Chris Lowe
04-12-2009, 00:27
The Archaeology of Airfields - Bob Clarke ISBN 978-0-7524-4401-7 I've just received this book from Amazon has anyone else read it? It looks at first glance pretty well written and informative.

Martin Bull
04-12-2009, 08:53
Thanks to this thread I've just ordered a copy - I hadn't previously been aware of this publication.....

07-12-2009, 11:11
I've had my copy a few months now and i've found it very imformative and useful. I think that knowledge on the subject of Airfields and anything relating to it can't be condensed in one book, and many sources are required. A worthwhile purchase.

11-12-2009, 10:04
Ive had a copy for a while and think the content is very good, a little about everthing and its nice to be able to relate to some of the sites mentioned.

Typos, well F7 does wonders, shame my staff dont use it though.

Peter Kirk
11-12-2009, 17:26
Is this the second edition that Bob mentioned earlier in the year?

Paul Francis
11-12-2009, 18:43
Must be PNK, otherwise people would be negative

11-12-2009, 19:24
Just checked Amazon who state that it is re-edited. One review says, 'Oh and the re-print has benefitted from a re-edit and is much tighter now.'

Well done Bob :smile:


03-08-2010, 19:47
I've just received a History Press version from Amazon, very good at first glance. All Graham's corrections have been amended. I got it at just over a tenner, cover price is 19.99.

04-08-2010, 08:05
Now I'm confused...I have a Tempus edition which states "First published 2008" and "(c) Bob Clarke 2008".

The newer (?) History Press version on Amazon shows that it was published in 2007

04-08-2010, 13:01
The newer (?) History Press version on Amazon shows that it was published in 2007
History Press site states 1 Nov 2009. Guess Amazon got it wrong.


04-08-2010, 15:34
Thanks Graham

30-12-2010, 15:02
My copy has just arrived from Amazon this morning, I had'nt found this thread before I ordered it, but it looks a very good book. I've already found a few errors but after reading Bob's postings I fully understand his problems.
It states its published in 2008 so guess they have'nt corrected the errors.