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-   -   Lightnings! (https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/340256-lightnings.html)

Tim McLelland 23rd Aug 2008 22:06

Okay, I'm on another mission, sorry chaps...

Next project is a major new book on the Lightning, so I need to begin a search for photographs - preferably ones which haven't been published too many times before, so we can give the reader something refreshing to look at!

Anyone have any nice pictures tucked away? Or any old RAF/MoD or manufacturer shots? All contributions gratefully received, and credited to the source if used of course.

My email is - [email protected]


Tim McLelland 25th Aug 2008 10:20

Good grief, I thought Lightnings were supposed to be popular!:ooh:

VfrpilotPB/2 25th Aug 2008 14:44

Good afternoon Tim,

I have a picture taken as the sun was setting, on the departure of the last ever Lightning to leave British Aerospace, its flight was to Cosford apparently the A/c had never seen any service and was a gift to the museum from the Saudi Royals(allegedly) the photo however was signed by the BA test pilot who did this last flight Kieth Hartley, this was passed to me from a friend at Ba who knew of my interest in such exotic (or should that be Erotic) Aircraft, if it is of any use I will do a copy and E mail it to you.

Peter R-B

Tim McLelland 25th Aug 2008 14:50

Love to see a copy of course. You know how the situation is with Lightning books - there have been so many, it's incredibly difficult to come-up with anything which hasn't been seen many times before. From a writer's viewpoint I could just be lazy and churn-out the same old pictures, but from a creative viewpoint, it's nice to look for stuff which people might not have seen before. As a buyer of books as well as a writer of the same, I know what it's like to grab a new book, only to find you've seen it all before. Not good!

chevvron 25th Aug 2008 15:07

I'd like to have seen the landing at Cosford; 1100m with a ravine at the west end?

BYALPHAINDIA 25th Aug 2008 16:07

Got quite a few 'rare' photos etc, I will try and 'Dig' them out for you.

It would be good to see more photos of the 'silver' lightnings in books.

Warmtoast 25th Aug 2008 16:37

Hello Tim,

I'd like to help but my only graphic contribution would be of screen-grabs from 8mm cine film which wouldn't be of printable quality. However if you want a brief résumé of their flying display see below.

I shot the 8mm cine film of 74 Sqn displaying their Lightnings at the Paris (Le Bourget) Airshow (24th Paris Salon Aéronautique) in May 1961. Witness these screen grabs. Displayed as grabbed frames the quality is poor, but they look 100% better when projected.

I was one of the two crews from 99 and 511 Sqn that accompanied a RAF Transport Command Britannia that was on static display or the duration of the display. One of my better trips IMHO.

The flying display programme was long, lasting (with a lunchtirne interval of an hour-and-a-half) from nearly ten in the morning till after six in the evening and had something for everyone.

As I recall after 47-years (with the help of some notes made at the time), 74's display as led by Sqn Ldr John Howe was first class and consisted of wingovers with nine aircraft (in 1961 the largest number of Lightnings ever seen publicly together) and rolls with four. One manoeuvre at the end had the Parisian spectators on their feet applauding.
As the main formation of Lightnings wheeled away to the front with spectators turning to watch them, a singleton flown by Flt. Lt. Ken Goodwin, who'd detached himself from the nine-man formation came screaming from behind the spectators at near sonic speed with his afterburners at full blast and at very low-level just over the spectator’s heads.
The sudden shock of noise hit like a thunderclap and startled everyone, but when it was realised that it was part of the display and spectators had recovered from the shock, they were on their feet and clapping in a very appreciative manner, something I’d never experienced before, especially as it was the French applauding the British!

Flt Lt Goodwin then did a solo aerobatics display which included Derry turns and low inverted fly-bys.






The 1961 24th Paris Salon Aéronautique static park. RAF aircraft on display included ours (Britannia), Vulcan, Victor, Javelin, Argosy and possibly others.

Tim McLelland 25th Aug 2008 18:26

Those indeed were the days...
At first glance, I thought your images showed the Firebirds - I don't know why it is, but that team seems to have been neglected by photographers during the short time that they operated. Pictures of the team are in very short supply (just the odd ground shot at Wattisham mostly) but images of the team in flight seem to be extremely rare. The RAF's main site included some beautiful MoD images until they re-vamped the site and kindly removed most of the good stuff, including the Lightnings!

The 74 Sqn team (as shown on your photos) seem to have fared rather better in terms of pictures, but even they don't seem to have been exactly over-photographed. It's a mystery to me why teams which were the official RAF aerobatic teams at the time, were not the subject of many more photographs. I guess back in those days there were far fewer people armed with cameras?!

CharlieJuliet 25th Aug 2008 19:31

Hi Tim,
Difficult job as most have been published. I may have one or two (literally) from the mid 60's but will take time to look them out! Ex 5 Sqn 66 - 68

Geezers of Nazareth 26th Aug 2008 10:24

Tim (or anybody?)

do you have any information about the Lightnings in the flypast at the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965? I've been trying to find out about them for many years. I've seen reports that there were 16 a/c, and similar reports saying there were 4 a/c.

I'd love to see something written about that.

(slightly off track) ... I can remember reading about somebody who had a massive collection of photo's of every single F-4 Phantom that was ever built - except one - and I wonder if anyone had ever considered doing a collection/publication of similar photos of the Lightning (just a few less to consider!). Ex-jockeys would be able to see pics of the aircraft they flew, and 're-live' the contents of their log-books. Does such a thing exist?

BEagle 26th Aug 2008 11:59

It probably won't float your boat, Timmy, but this will bring back memories to many Lightning mates:

The good old days before political correctness...:yuk::yuk:

Tim McLelland 26th Aug 2008 17:56

Geezers, I'm afraid I don't have any information on that flypast (not as yet anyways!) other than that it took place - simple as that (and yes, as mentioned below, I believe it was only a four-ship, judging by movies/photos). As for a book of Lightning photos covering every example, I guess it could happen, but it would have to be courtesy of one of the many smaller publishers that can handle short-run publications. Much as you (and I) would love such a book, it wouldn't interest any major publishers as they're never interested in anything that is deemed to be anything less-than hugely popular, these days! I would imagine it would be much more likely to be a task for someone on the internet, indeed there's at least one good site which is already going some way towards illustrating every Lightning. As for "tales from the logbook", well I'll be doing my best to address that matter in my book, if I can!

Beagle, shame on you for straying from the righteous path of PC! :p Reminds me of the infamous Pilot's Pals calendars... Mind you, I suppose some of the RAF/MoD spin doctors might still go for a photo like that if she turned out to be a trannie? oops, *slaps own wrist*

lightningmate 26th Aug 2008 18:47


If I recall correctly, long time ago, the funeral flt-past was 4 x Treble-One jets. This is based on comments from one participant that were made some time after it happened - I joined the squadron after the actual event.


Warmtoast 27th Aug 2008 06:19


The Times had this piece here:


...and another press report about the funeral fly-past said:

“From the wintry sky to the east appeared 16 Lightnings of 56 and 111 Sqns, Wattisham, and 19 and 92 Sqns, Leconficld, led by Wg Cdr A. F. Jenkins. In four boxes of four in long line astern they came in a shallow dive to 500ft. the thunder of their passage sounding the final deep notes of the day’s poignant music.”

Warmtoast 27th Aug 2008 06:34


56 Sqn Firebirds

images of the team in flight seem to be extremely rare.

You mean like this?


Amos Keeto 27th Aug 2008 22:42

ANOTHER Lightning book? :eek: Surely the 'golden goose' has been well and truely milked, as I have far too many books already on the Lightning and most have my photos in them!!

Tim McLelland 27th Aug 2008 23:12

You might be forgiven for thinking so - but then I don't choose the subjects, that's down to the publishers. And if you think the Lightning's a little overdone, spare a thought for the other book I have to tackle - on the TSR2!:p

TSR-2 28th Aug 2008 12:07

You might be forgiven for thinking so - but then I don't choose the subjects, that's down to the publishers. And if you think the Lightning's a little overdone, spare a thought for the other book I have to tackle - on the TSR2!http://static.pprune.org/images/smilies/tongue.gif
Now that's more like it!

spekesoftly 28th Aug 2008 14:16

Best I can offer is one Firebird


Tim McLelland 28th Aug 2008 14:43

Cheers for the photo - think I should be able to tweak it a little in Photoshop so that we can use it:)

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