Sunday, 18 February 2018

Air Force

2018: 100 Years of the Royal Air Force (Design: Glazier Design)
This year is the Royal Air Force centenary and the Isle of Man was quick of the mark and the first of the British islands to take to the skies (GB will issue their set next month).  A lot of thought has gone into the stamps because much more than the aircraft appear on the stamp

Aircraft: Sopwith Camel, Spitfire, Lancaster and Vulcan

for you will also find - the name of the aircraft, a medal ribbon and medal initials, the RAF ensign, the name of an important person associated with the RAF, the name of an RAF base and the GPS coordinates of the airfield.  The Sopwith Camel biplane, flown in the first world war, featured in the set also made a more dynamic appearance on an earlier British stamp issue
1968: Anniversaries (Design - Clive Abbott)
for the 50th Anniversary of the RAF (in the corner is a trio of English Electric Lighting fighters). 
The iconic Spitfire was teamed with an  'important person' name check of Air Chief Marshal the Lord (Hugh) Dowding
1986: Royal Air Force (Design - Brian Sanders)
and a 1986 GB stamp shows him with a Hawker Hurricane.  His foresight in introducing an integrated defence system, of radar, the observer corp, and significantly, fighter aircraft (the spitfire and hurricane) led to Britain being able to defend the country in the Battle of Britain in 1940.
Aircraft: Chinook, Harrier, Typhoon and Lightning
The other person who gets a mention on the stamps is an engineer whose name appears on the Harrier stamp, Air Commodore Frank Whittle,
1967: British Discovery and Invention (Design - Philip Sharland)
inventor of the turbojet engine which this stamp shows on a Vickers VC-10 airliner, only the supersonic Concorde has flown the Atlantic faster than the VC10.

The other feature of the Isle of Man stamps cannot be seen by the eye alone because it is printed in security ink and can only be discovered under UV light.  In Morse code the words of the famous sonnet 'High Flight' by John Gillespie Magee appear - "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth/And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings..." His story and poem appear here.  Magee flew for the Royal Canadian Air Force so lets see some Canadian airplanes
1980; Canadian Aircraft
and I must admit I always enjoy paintings of aircraft better than photographs and what better artist could one have but Robert Bradford whose paintings feature on this 16 stamp set.  The McKee Trophy featured on the cover is awarded to a Canadian citizen for achievements in aerospace.  The stamp paintings are of
a Hawker Hurricane and one of the Vickers Vidette flying boats that helped map the north of Canada. In one of those quirks of fate and coincidence Robert Bradford and his twin brother were born on December 17th 1923 exactly 20 years to the day of the first powered flight by Orville Wright.  They both joined the Canadian Air Force during world war two and in a happy coincidence for my featured Isle of Man cover Robert was stationed on the island although never flew in combat because of an aircraft accident.  Bradford was involved with the establishment of the Aviation Museum at Rockliffe Airport, Ottawa. For all us mail lovers a fun fact is that the Royal Air Force used the field for experimental mail flights in 1918.   I was rather disappointed I couldn't find a military airfield in my stamp collection to form another link with the Isle of Man stamps but I think this Australian stamp with a
1998: 50th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm (Designer - Sandra Harman)
Sea Hawk helicopter being brought into land on a frigate might be a good stand in. 

For Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter A - fly over to See It On A Postcard



Eva A. said...

Wow, a lot of information on every stamp, you're right. I don't like especially military stamps. _However, the stamps depicting any sort of plane... I find them especially appropriate for sending overseas letters!

violet s said...

It is interesting to see how the designs vary with each of these airplanes.
And, interesting, too, that no-one went with a country beginning with A!
(so far)

Bob Scotney said...

A great selection of many stamps that I had never seen before.