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Richard Flagg
02-02-2012, 01:45
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Flying Past A History of Sheppey Aviation by David T. Hughes
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: The History Press Ltd; First Edition edition (1 July 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0752452282
ISBN-13: 978-0752452289

Reviewed in Airfield Review issue 125

This book is primarily a collection of photographs, many previously unseen, illustrating the history of aviation on the Isle of Sheppey. This history has revolved around two airfields in particular: Leysdown and Eastchurch. Leysdown (also known as Shellbeach) was the first site for the Royal Aero Club in 1909 as well as being the first Short Brothers works. Both entities soon moved inland to a new site at Eastchurch. These early days are recorded in the book, along with the early military use and the rapid increase in facilities at Eastchurch during World War One. Further chapters deal with the inter-war period, World War Two and post-war activities. Each chapter is started with a brief written summary of events over that period. There are several good aerial photographs of the airfields, including one of Leysdown in 1918 showing what appears to be a Type F or G hangar and two Bessoneaux.

Unusually for such a book, it is strongest on the earlier days of flying and there are surprisingly few photographs illustrating World War Two, as well as no mention of the activities at Leysdown during the conflict. The book is not intended to be a definitive history of aviation in the area but does provide a good photographic record, and will be of particular interest to those with an interest in World War One and earlier aviation.