The first in a series of books detailing the air battles and wartime activity over Britain focuses on the leafy 'stockbroker' county of Surrey. The skies that are now full of charter flights from Gatwick and international arrivals heading for Heathrow once echoed with the roar of engines and the clatter of machinegun fire as young men fought to the death in Spitfires and Messerschmitts. This book records for the first time Surrey's decisive part in the legendary "Battle of Britain"; the devastating attacks on the airfields at Croydon, Kenley and Brooklands, and the battles fought overhead. It is possible to walk around Surrey unaware of many historical events and happenings as so few have attracted permanent memorials. The aim of this work is to make the reader more aware of the history of their own region and hopes to stimulate further research by readers in the future; this can be immensely satisfying, as one never quite knows where such an undertaking may lead to. The accounts gathered many years ago have now been combined with reports from the National Archives that have recently been released to provide the most comprehensive account possible.
Simon Parry is now one of Britain's leading aviation historians, but his roots are in Surrey where he began his research into the battles and aircraft crashes in the county 30 years ago, a time it was possible to interview many witnesses to the events. His interest in the air war lead him to become a profession researcher at the National Archives, undertaking a assignments for those not able to conduct their own investigations. Since the publication of his first book in 1987 he has focussed his attentions on the editing and production of over 40 aviation books for publishers. He is also one of Europe's most experienced aviation archaeologists, contributing to several TV shows, and is now working with Channel 4 on a documentary about the Dambusters.