Goodwood Aerodrome was built during the Second World War by the Royal Air Force as a relief landing ground for nearby RAF Tangmere.
The Airfield was created on land that formed part of the Goodwood Estate, home to the Dukes of Richmond for over 300 years, and was donated by the 9th Duke - the renowned amateur racer and aircraft engineer Freddie March - to assist the War effort.
Known as RAF Westhampnett, this satellite station was active from July 1940 to May 1946 as a Battle of Britain station, and home to 43, 129, 145, 602 and 610 Squadrons, operating Hawker Hurricanes, P-51 Mustangs, and Supermarine Spitfires.
Helping the war effort
Flying training began at Goodwood early in 1940 when young pilots were taught operational flying techniques in their Hurricanes and Spitfires.
It was also from RAF Westhampnett that the first operational sorties by the Fighter Groups of the US 8th Air Force flew in combat with the allies, one of the first sorties being the infamous Dieppe raid. The charismatic Douglas Bader flew his last wartime flight from Westhampnett during which he had to abandon his stricken Spitfire over Northern France. Today a full-size bronze statue stands as a tribute to Badar at Goodwood.
After the war, the airfield’s perimeter road was converted into a racing circuit, which was opened in September 1948 by Freddie March to host Britain's very first post-War motor race at a permanent venue as the spiritual successor to Brooklands.