The English Electric Lightning was a fighter far ahead of its time and the prototypes spent years in development resulting in a fighter aircraft capable of Mach 2 and with an unforgettable appearance. The prototype Lightning first flew in August 1954, with the first production prototypes flying in October 1959. No 74 Squadron was the first RAF Squadron to receive the Lightning F1 in 1960.
This cover shows a F3 Lightning of No 74 Squadron in 1964 showing the distinctive 'Tiger' on the tail with Tiger stripes either side of the roundel and bears our own BFPS 2777 postmark for the 40th Anniversary of the Lightning F3 in RAF Service with No 74 Squadron 14 April 2004.
Hand signed by Air Vice-Marshal J.F.G. Howe CB CBE AFC
200 Signed, Numbered and Certified
Air Vice-Marshal J.F.G. Howe CB CBE AFC, who was Commanding Officer of No 74 Squadron from 1960-1961 flying the very first squadron to be equipped with the Lightning F1s. He was later station commander of RAF Gutersloh the home of the Lightning F2s of Nos 19 and 92 Squadrons. He was a SAAF pilot during the Korean War joining the RAF in 1954.