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The redbrick architecture of Universal Works allows it to represent just about anywhere in the World that was industrialised in the 19th century while its modular construction also allows the close comparison of trains and aircraft.




The redbrick architecture of Universal Works allows it to represent just about anywhere in the World that was industrialised in the 19th century while its modular construction also allows the close comparison of trains and aircraft.  

As such, for the layout's debut at
the Cheltenham GWR Modeller's Exhibition in April 2010, there could arguably be no better theme to illustrate this multi-disciplinary capability than a salute to English Electric - a company whose products have captivated both train and plane spotters for over six decades.  While an overview of the company, its ancestors and descendants can be found at English Electric Exportese, this article looks at the models set to spotlight some of English Electric's greatest achievements.


ENGLISH ELECTRIC AIRCRAFT


DE HAVILLAND VAMPIRE


From 1917 until 1926 Dick Kerr and then English Electric built both flying boats and ultra light aircraft and during World War II built Handley Page Hampden and Halifax twin and four engined bombers. After 1945, over 1 300 De Havilland Vampire fighter bombers were built at Samlesbury while the designing company was busy with the pioneering Comet airliner.




From 1917 until 1926 Dick Kerr and then English Electric built both flying boats and ultra light aircraft and during World War II built Handley Page Hampden and Halifax twin and four engined bombers.  After 1945, over 1 300 De Havilland Vampire fighter bombers were built at Samlesbury while the designing company was busy with the pioneering Comet airliner.

Originally known as the Spider Crab, the De Havilland Vampire followed the equally notable Gloster Meteor to become the second British jet aircraft to enter service. The first De Havilland Vampires joined 247 Squadron early in 1946 and took part in the Victory Fly Past on 8 June 1946. With 45 and 72 Squadrons receiving Vampires in September 1946, the three units came together to form the first Vampire wing and were based at Odiham in Hampshire.

In July 1948 six Vampires of 54 Squadron made history by completing the first Transatlantic flight by jet aircraft of the Royal Air Force. After being prepared at RAF Kemble they crossed to the United States, refuelling at Iceland, Greenland and Labrador on the way.

The success of the Vampire was phenomenal and more of these aircraft were exported than any other British type.  The De Havilland Vampire was also built under licence in several Commonwealth and European countries.

Capable of many roles, including day fighter, ground attack fighter/bomber, night fighter and advanced trainer, the Vampire was still in service with many air forces - such as that of the unilaterally independent Rhodesia - as late as the 1970s.



Although De Havilland Vampires have appeared in Gloucestershire Transport History articles in Swedish and Rhodesian markings, the Corgi die cast ( AA37301 ) representation of Vampire FB Mk 5 WG833 not only represents a typical Royal Auxilliary Air Force machine but has a wider significance as the mount of its pilot, Wing Commander E.G. L. Millington.


Although De Havilland Vampires have appeared in Gloucestershire Transport History articles in Swedish and Rhodesian markings, the Corgi die cast ( AA37301 ) representation of Vampire FB Mk 5 WG833 not only represents a typical Royal Auxilliary Air Force machine but has a wider significance as the mount of its pilot, Wing Commander Ernest Millington.

Ernest Millington had served with RAF Bomber Command and in 1945 a wartime by-election made him the youngest and most reluctant Member of Parliament and the only elected representative of the left wing Common Wealth Party.

Meanwhile, on 10 May 1946, 603 Squadron reformed as a Royal Auxiliary Air Force unit, began recruiting in June and by October was operational with Supermarine Spitfires at RAF Turnhouse near Edinburgh.  603 Squadron converted to Vampire FB5s in May 1951 and was followed by 612 Squadron a month later. 612 had formed in November 1946 as a Spitfire unit  at Aberdeen / Dyce.

Turnhouse, whose concrete runway was extended to 6 000 feet in 1952 to accommodate the new Vampire FB5s, would later evolve into Edinburgh's civilian airport and both 603 and 612 flew Vampires as the Caledonian Wing under Millington's command until the Royal Auxiliary Air Force disbanded on 10 March 1957.

Ernest Rogers Millington was born at Ilford on February 15 1916, the middle son of Edmund Millington, a sergeant-major and staunch Tory who became a senior print union official, and the former Emily Craggs. At ten he won the third best scholarship in the county, but his father was sceptical of the benefits of education; Ernest had to hitchhike to Chigwell School to persuade the headmaster to give him a place.

He loved the classics, but resented his classmates as "fat and stupid sons of Essex farmers" and by 16 was on the committee of the Labour League of Youth, addressing meetings all over the London area. When his father found him speaking from a Socialist platform  - alongside Ted Willis, the latterly ennobled creator of Dixon of Dock Green - Edmund  threw Ernest out of the house and Ernest was forced to leave school. An employer who spotted him doing the same in Hyde Park dismissed him on the spot, and throughout the 1930s he would get a job because he was bright, only to lose it because of his politics. He eventually became an accountant at an electrical works.

The Labour Party disliked his campaigning for a united front against Fascism, and the Ilford party expelled him after Herbert Morrison went there in person and threatened members with disbandment. Millington vowed not to rejoin until Morrison asked him.

Millington joined the Territorial Army as a sapper after the 1938 Munich crisis, became a gunnery officer but found life with his anti-aircraft battery undemanding and volunteered for the RAF, becoming a pilot instructor.

Life as a pilot instructor also palled, so he transferred to heavy bombers, flying 30 sorties including daylight raids over Stettin, Stuttgart and Wilhelmshaven, and attacks on oil installations in Romania, Czechoslovakia and Eastern Germany. At Christmas 1944, his squadron was called in to blunt the German counter-attack in the Ardennes by bombing concentrations of heavy armour.

On one of these raids his aircraft was hit. Two engines caught fire, but he pressed on to the target and got home safely. After taking his seat at Westminster he was awarded the DFC, which, he said modestly, "came in the post on completion of a tour". The citation read: "The fine record of his squadron is undoubtedly due to his courage and leadership, and the enthusiasm with which he inspired his crews."

Those qualities were spotted by Air Vice Marshal Sir Ralph Cochrane. Called to a conference of senior officers (all of whom far outranked him) at 5 Group, Millington heard with dismay that new tactics were to be adopted with squadrons flying in close formation over enemy territory. When no-one else spoke up, he objected that this would be impossible without very heavy casualties, as squadrons had never been trained to fly in formation.

That afternoon Cochrane arrived, asked Millington to repeat his objections, agreed with him and countermanded the proposal. He promoted Millington – whose radicalism he shared – on the spot to Squadron-Leader, and a few days later in 1944  made him a Wing Commander,  in charge of the new 227 Squadron based at Balderton, Nottinghamshire, and equipped with Avro Lancasters.

Also in 1944, attracted by its doctrine of Christian socialism, he decided to join Common Wealth, the idealistic party founded in 1942 by Sir Richard Acland, 15th baronet and an immensely rich Devon landowner.  

Following 1942's great social security plan put forward by William Beveridge, Sir Richard Acland abandoned the Liberal party and formed Common Wealth with a manifesto of common ownership, democracy, and morality in politics.

Wing Commander Ernest Millington became a sought-after speaker; at one meeting Margaret Hilda Roberts - later Mrs Thatcher – who lived in Grantham close to where his family was lodging – was impressed by his delivery, if not his content.

In 1945 Millington was still commanding 227 Squadron when Chelmsford's Conservative MP, Colonel JRJ McNamara, was killed on the way home to take up his seat after visiting his old regiment in Italy. Under the wartime electoral truce Labour and the Liberals agreed to a Conservative taking the seat unopposed, but Common Wealth – founded in 1942 by Socialists who rejected the truce – put forward Millington, and in April 1945 he won the by-election with a majority of 6,431. Aneurin Bevan told him the result persuaded the Labour leadership to end the wartime coalition, and precipitate a general election before Japan was defeated.

Chelmsford was a predominantly rural seat and the Conservatives' fifth safest, but its electorate had been inflated by thousands of munitions workers from London. Millington – selected at a meeting in Newark station waiting room between briefing his squadron and take-off – aimed his campaign at them, but all three party organisations were ranged against him; the Conservative candidate even produced a telegram of support from Clement Attlee. Nevertheless Millington trounced him, polling 24,548 votes.

Millington, who described himself as "a communist with a small 'c'", found himself at 29 the "baby" of the House. He made an immediate impact as one of the first public questioners of the morality of area-bombing German cities, saying: "What we want – that is the people who served in Bomber Command and their next of kin – is a categorical assurance that the work we did was militarily and strategically justified." Yet he was a strong defender of Arthur "Bomber" Harris, insisting he had been much maligned.

Wing Commander Millington first arrived at the Commons with his newly awarded Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon inexpertly self-sewn on to his uniform. A Conservative MP, who was a Squadron Leader in the RAF police, approached and said "You are improperly dressed" .

"If you are talking to me as an RAF officer," Millington replied, "take your hand out of your pocket and address a senior officer as 'Sir'. If you are addressing me as a fellow MP, mind your own business and bugger off." He did.


When the 1945 general election was called, Millington convened a meeting with Chelmsford's other opposition parties, which resulted in the Labour candidate withdrawing. Campaigning on the need to nationalise land, he went on defeat the former Essex cricketer and Great War Military Cross holder Hubert Ashton by 2,080 votes.  Wing Commander Millington held Chelmsford for Common Wealth – the only one of the party's three MPs to survive.

As a party leader at Westminster – albeit a party of one – he was entitled to speak from the Opposition front bench, and did so on four occasions, once elbowing Churchill out of the way. But as a one-man band he was ineffective; the Common Wealth organisation had fallen apart (though it lingered on until 1993) and even Acland had joined the Labour Party.

Millington stuck to his pre-war pledge not to rejoin Labour until Morrison asked him. Then, one day in 1948, Morrison, now deputy Prime Minister, did just that, unaware the young MP was someone he had personally thrown out. But the Labour Party offered little comfort – Millington found the trade unions visionless and once had a stand-up row with Ernest Bevin. Defeat in 1950 came almost as a relief.

Millington was an energetic and popular Member, assiduous in taking up farm workers' grievances over tied cottages. But he disliked the Parliamentary grind, the constraints of party and the "poverty" of trying to keep a family in the style his constituents expected on £1,000 a year. Moreover Chelmsford had never been Labour territory, and at the 1950 election Ashton ousted him by 4,859 votes.

Millington struggled to find a job, and after being blocked from chairing a radio series because of his politics, he rejoined the RAF in 1954 as a flight lieutenant, only to leave the service in disgrace less than four years later.

Appointed personal assistant to the Air Commandant at RAF Halton, he was commissioned to write the base history and became entertainments officer, but left for a posting in Malta without handing in £25 2s 3d, the proceeds of three dances. Millington claimed he had not been able to contact the officer to whom the sum was due and had always had funds to cover the amount. But a court-martial in January 1958 heard he was in financial straits after a cancelled posting to Aden, and sentenced him to be cashiered for fraudulently misapplying Service money. On review, the sentence was reduced to dismissal from the service.

After leaving the RAF he trained as a teacher. His first charge was a class of school leavers in Shoreditch whose only ambition was to work for the Kray twins. He got them to turn the school's rubble-strewn site into a productive garden, then made them remove mantraps they had dug to stop other children stealing the vegetables.

In 1965 Millington became head of social education at Shoreditch comprehensive, and two years later took charge of Newham council's Teachers' Centre, which he ran until 1980, also writing books on East End history. In retirement he moved with his second wife to a converted bakery in the Dordogne, France.

He maintained his interest in British politics, observing that until Tony Blair became leader, the Labour Party had failed to understand it could not win more than one term of office without middle-class support. Yet he disdained Blair for lacking idealism.

In Who's Who Ernest Millington listed his ambition as "to survive to 100!" but died on Saturday 9 May 2009 aged 93 -  the last surviving MP to serve during the Second World War. By his death he also held the record for the longest time lived after leaving the Commons.




Turnhouse, whose concrete runway was extended to 6 000 feet in 1952 to accommodate the new Vampire FB5s, would later evolve into Edinburgh's civilian airport and both 603 and 612 flew Vampires as the Caledonian Wing under Millington's command until the Royal Auxilliary Air Force disbanded on 10 March 1957.


ENGLISH ELECTRIC CANBERRA


Prior to 1939 most medium and heavy bomber designs had bristled with guns for self defence but wartime experience proved that speed alone could allow an aircaft to overcome flak and fighters to reach its target. Two particular designs were to exemplify this approach. On the Allied side the light yet powerful De Havilland Mosquito ( above) required a minimum of crew whether attacking at low level or performing high altitude reconnaissance duties while German technology produced the Arado Ar 234, below.


Prior to 1939 most medium and heavy bomber designs had bristled with guns for self defence but wartime experience proved that speed alone could allow an aircraft to overcome flak and fighters to reach its target.  Two particular designs were to exemplify this approach. On the Allied side the light yet powerful De Havilland Mosquito ( above)  required a minimum of crew whether attacking at low level or performing high altitude reconnaissance duties while German technology produced the Arado Ar 234, below.

The first prototype Ar 234s had twin Junker Jumo 004 turbojets but the sixth and eighth machines were powered by pairs of more powerful BMW 003 gas turbines, making them the first four-engined jets to fly.  

The twin engined Ar 234 V7 prototype also made history on 2 August 1944 as the first jet aircraft ever to fly a reconnaissance mission while twin engined B versions notably bombed the Ludendorff bridge at Remagen in an attempt to stop the Allied advance on Germany in March 1945.

The Ar 234C variant seen below however was too late to see combat.  Powered by four engines and featuring rocket assisted take off bottles on outer wing pylons, some examples were designated as launch platforms for V1 flying bombs as this model shows.  These early pulse-jet powered cruise missiles had in fact been already launched at Greater Manchester by piston engined Luftwaffe bombers flying over the North Sea although the dorsal - rather than ventral -position of the V1 on the Ar 234 might not have been successful.  A similar arrangement caused at least one Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird to crash when attempting to launch a ramjet powered reconnaissance drone in the 1960s.


The Ar 234C variant seen below however was too late to see combat. Powered by four engines and featuring rocket assisted take off bottles on outer wing pylons, some examples were designated as launch platforms for V1 flying bombs as this model shows. These early pulse-jet powered cruise missiles had in fact been already launched at Greater Manchester by piston engined Luftwaffe bombers flying over the North Sea although the dorsal - rather than ventral -position of the V1 on the Ar 234 might not have been successful. A similar arrangement caused at least one Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird to crash when attempting to launch a ramjet powered reconnaissance drone in the 1960s.


The English Electric Canberra was Britain's first jet bomber, prototype VN799 making its maiden flight on Friday 13 May 1949 from Warton, Lancashire, powered by two 6 000 lb thrust Rolls Royce Avon RA2 turbojets and chased by a De Havilland Vampire.  

The first Canberra delivered to the RAF was a B Mark 2 for 101 Squadron, Binbrook, Lincolnshire, on 25 May 1951 and this was followed by a further 415 examples of the same variant.  

In 1944, the year that the first Gloster Meteors entered RAF service, the Ministry of Aircraft Procurement had issued a specification for a fast, high altitude jet bomber to replace the De Havilland Mosquito and Hawker Typhoon.  At English Electric, W.E.W. "Teddy" Petter - formerly of Westland Aircraft - took up the challenge and eventually chose a circular section fuselage for ease of pressurisation and used the relatively small overall diameter of the Rolls Royce Avon engine to mount two prime movers in the straight, broad wings.

The light blue prototype Canberra, VN799, was distinguished from production aircraft by a rounded tip to the fin and a long tail-fin strake along the top of the fuselage.  Production began with B2 version WD929 which was named "Canberra" by Australian PM, the Hon R G Menzies on 19 January 1951 at Biggin Hill.

Production of all English Electric Canberras totalled 1 352, of which 901 were built by English Electric and its sub contractors Avro, Handley Page and Shorts, 48 were built under licence in Australia for service with the Royal Australian Air Force and 403 were built as the B-57 by the Martin company of Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

The Canberra was a remarkable aircraft which served with the Royal Air Force into the 21st Century and captured several World speed and altitude records. 


English Electric Canberra B Mk2 WH 640 of 10 Squadron RAF Honington, Suffolk, detached to Nicosia, Cyprus, October 1956 as represented by Corgi die cast model AA 34701.


English Electric Canberra B Mk2  WH 640 of 10 Squadron RAF Honington, Suffolk, detached to Nicosia, Cyprus, October 1956 as represented by Corgi die cast model AA 34701.

On 26 July 1956, President Nasser of Egypt made a speech that included his Government's intention to nationalise the Suez Canal Company.  He seized control of the company's Egyptian offices, declared Martial Law in the Canal Zone and ordered all employees, including foreigners, to remain at the posts.  The major shareholders of the Suez Canal Company were Britain and France whose reaction was one of expected militancy and preparations were set in place immediately to bring the Canal back under international control by the use of force if neccessary.  In anticipation of hostilities, five squadrons of Canberras were deployed to Luqa, Malta, and a further seven to Cyprus, including 10 Squadron.

The Israeli forces opened hostilities when they invaded Egypt on 28/29 October 1956.  This led the way for Canberra bombing operations to commence in order to neutralise the Egyptian Air Force.  

With so many aircraft in the area, it was important to identify friendly forces involved in the conflict, so all British, French and Israeli aircraft were hastily painted with black and yellow stripes on the wings and fuselages in the manner of 1944's Normandy invasion.  This was an afterthought and the RAF ran out of yellow paint, having to improvise with white paint, as can be seen on WH640.  

Also visible on WH640 are the 10 squadron markings of a red "Speedbird" on the nose and red winged black arrow on tip tanks.

The strike operations by Canberras and Valiants were successful, with only the loss of one Canberra aircraft.  "Operation Musketeer" continued until 5 November 1956 when Allied forces regained military control of the Suez Canal.  Unfortunately, political interference by the USA and USSR was to later negate these victories.



Also visible on English Electric Canberra WH640 are the RAF 10 squadron markings of a red "Speedbird" on the nose and red winged black arrow on tip tanks.


The most distinctive feature of the Canberra B(I)8 design was the replacement of the full-width shallow-blown cockpit canopy with an offset non-opening fighter style canopy to improve visibility in the ground attack role. However, only the pilot had an ejector seat, his bomb aimer being forced to bale out of a hatch if the aircraft needed to be abandoned. A similar disparity was also a weakness of the Avro Vulcan.


Tony Neuls kind loan of WT 365 represents the later Bomber ( Interdictor ) 8 version of the English Electric Canberra.
 
The prototype B (I) 8 - VX 185 - had started life as a long-fuselage PR3 variant and was converted to become the prototype B5 target marker. In this guise VX185 made a record-breaking double crossing of the Atlantic on 26 August 1952, being flown from RAF Aldergrove (Northern Ireland) to Gander, Canada and back by Wing Commander Roland P. Beamont - English Electric's Chief Test Pilot - and crewed by Peter Hillwood and Dennis Watson. The flight took 10 hours 3 minutes 29.28 seconds at an average speed of 411.99 mph. 

However, as the target marking Canberra concept was not taken up, VX185 was converted  to become the prototype B(I)8 and first flown on 23 July 1954.  Its fuselage is now preserved at the Museum of Flight at East Fortune in Scotland.

The most distinctive feature of the Canberra B(I)8 design was the replacement of the full-width shallow-blown cockpit canopy with an offset non-opening fighter style canopy to improve visibility in the ground attack role. However, only the pilot had an ejector seat, his bomb aimer being forced to bale out of a hatch if the aircraft needed to be abandoned.  A similar disparity was also a weakness of the Avro Vulcan.

The 82 B(I)8s built could be fitted with a removeable ventral 4x20mm gun pack and also featured underwing bomb pylons as well as the capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon.

In June 1956, WT365 was issued to 88 Sqn at RAF Germany Wildenrath, the first of the Strike Squadrons to be equipped with the new B(I)8. WT 365 stayed with 88 Sqn at RAFG Wildenrath for virtually its whole working life continuing with them when 88 Sqn was renumbered to 14 Sqn in December 1962.

When 14 Sqn itself was stood down in June 1970, WT365 was transferred to 16 Sqn at RAFG Laarbruch. Finally it was transferred to 23 Maintenance Unit at Aldergrove on 16 April 1971 as 'Non-Effective Aircraft' (surplus to requirements). WT365 was eventually Struck Off Charge on 8 October 1971 and scrapped in January 1972.

WT 365 has been modelled with the snake emblem of 88 Squadron. In fact 88 Squadron had a live snake named Fred Aldrovandi as a mascot which flew aboard its Canberras to Gibraltar.  As long as he could snooze in the sun on the bomb aimer's mattress, Fred did not mind being at 40 000 feet one bit! He was the original "snake on a plane" long before Samuel L. Jackson.


The high altitude two seat photo reconnaissance variant featured an opening offset canopy for the pilot and the observer being shut behind a hinged nose. Powered flying controls applied to the longer wing with an increased chord on the sections inboard of the Rolls Royce Avon 206's, the most powerful engines ever fitted to a production Canberra.


The RAF's final Canberra was the PR9, XH 208 here being part of the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection.

The high altitude two seat photo reconnaissance variant featured an opening offset canopy for the pilot and the observer being shut behind a hinged nose.  Powered flying controls applied to the longer wing with an increased chord on the sections inboard of the Rolls Royce Avon 206's, the most powerful engines ever fitted to a production Canberra.

This new wing shape was flown with WH793 - a PR7 converted by Napier - on 8 July 1955 while XH 179  - the first of 23 "final shape" PR9s  built by Short Brothers in Belfast - first flew on 27 July 1958.

Canberra PR9s joined the RAF with 58 Squadron at RAF Wyton in February 1960 and continued with 39 Squadron at RAF Marham until 2006.



Canberra PR9s joined the RAF with 58 Squadron at RAF Wyton in February 1960 and continued with 39 Squadron at RAF Marham until 2006.


ENGLISH ELECTRIC LIGHTNING


The Lightning stemmed from a 1947 requirement for a fighter capable of unprecedented performance. English Electric's design was so radical at the time that the Royal Aircraft Establishment took exception to some parts of it. They went so far as to award Shorts with a contract to put together an aircraft to show English Electric just what parts of their design were wrong.


The Lightning stemmed from a 1947 requirement for a fighter capable of unprecedented performance. English Electric's design was so radical at the time that the Royal Aircraft Establishment took exception to some parts of it. They went so far as to award Shorts with a contract to put together an aircraft to show English Electric just what parts of their design were wrong.

The Short SB.5, which could have its wing sweep and tailplane position varied between flights, first flew on 2 December 1952 and by early 1954, the trials had confirmed EE's choice of low tailplane and mainplane sweep angle.

The first prototype - designated the P.1 and powered by two vertically integrated Sapphire engines - took to the air on 4 August 1954, piloted by Roland Beamont . During its third flight - on 11 August 1954- the P1 became the first British aircraft to exceeded Mach 1 in level flight.

The second prototype, the P.1A (a P.1. with twin 30mm cannon and later a bulged belly fuel tank), took to the air on 18 July 1955 and was displayed at that year's Farnborough show. The P.1s, while recognisably Lightning ancestors, had a number of differences in appearance. Most obviously they had yet to receive a radar holding nose cone and the nose intake was egg-shaped rather than round. No ventral fuel tanks were fitted to start with and the vertical tail was substantially smaller.

English Electric were by now working on a possible production variant, the P.1B. This had a ventral fuel tank, Ferranti AI-23 radar, raised cockpit and Avon engines. Armament had improved with the inclusion of a ventral pack to take either two more cannon, two retractable rocket packs or two Firestreak infra-red homing missiles. The vertical tail was increased in size from the fourth P.1B onwards, after some slight directional stability problems had been found when flying at high speeds. In fact, the P.1B was a very different aircraft to the P.1 and P.1A; so much so that EE had some worries that the government could cancel this 'new' project if EE presented it as such. Accordingly, the designation for this new variant was merely P.1B, which made it at least sound like a minor modification instead of a major advance.

In late 1956 an order for 20 of these aircraft was placed so that testing of every aspect of the new fighter could be accelerated. EE's decision on the P.1B designation may very well have saved the project, because the 1957 Duncan Sandys Defence White Paper cancelled almost every advanced aircraft project in development, but left the P.1 alone.

While the P.1 had survived the Defence White Paper, export prospects practically disappeared. In later months, the government even went so far as to sabotage English Electric's own efforts to sell the aircraft to Germany - after frustrating and fruitless attempts to sell the aircraft to the Luftwaffe, EE discovered a government representative was actually telling the Germans not to buy the aircraft!

On the 4 April 1957 the first P.1B flew and also exceeded Mach 1 without using reheat. In July, the world jet air speed record (then at Mach 1.72) had been broken. Flight testing was not without its mishaps; problems with the canopy release mechanism resulted in no less than three in-flight losses of the canopy. The pilots involved were lucky to survive (one canopy self-jettison occurred at supersonic speed, making the pilot, de Villiers, the fastest open-cockpit pilot in the world). Some amusement in the press was caused by these failures; Punch printed a cartoon showing the P.1 with rope wrapped around the fuselage and canopy with a caption of "Had a little trouble losing cockpit canopies, but I think we've mastered it."

With performance of the aircraft better than predicted, EE designed new wings with a kinked and cambered leading edge which gave better subsonic performance and a little more available space to store fuel in. These were flown on the P.1B but EE did not want to proceed with the new wings until they were absolutely sure of their usefulness, and official indifference led to the new wings not entering production until many years later. In October 1958, the RAF officially named their new aircraft Lightning and one month later, using minimum afterburner, the Lightning attained Mach 2.0.

The initial requirement did not actually specify Mach 2 performance, but EE had seen that it was possible and the Lockheed F-104 programme was also progressing towards Mach 2 . Roland Beamont later stated that the Lightning's performance at Mach 2 was much superior to the F-104, with less noise and vibration and better controllability.

A planned Double Scorpion rocket mounted in the rear of belly tank of the P.1B was cancelled as the aircraft's new Rolls Royce Avon engines were found to give enough extra performance to render the rockets pointless. Besides, the space lost to the rocket and its fuel would have meant even less room for jet fuel, and the Lightning was short enough of that as it was.

Late 1959 saw the RAF finally getting their hands on some Lightnings to trial. The Lightning F.1 differed very little from the P.1B except that the ventral fuel tank now had a small fin, the main vertical tail was enlarged. Lightning F1s entered service with 74 squadron at Coltishall in 1960, and the F.1A followed on, entering service with 56 and 111 squadrons at Wattisham. The only difference of note was that the F.1A had attachment points for an in-flight refuelling probe - the Lightning's limited fuel capacity meant that interception missions were almost limited to the area of the airfield otherwise!

Variable afterburners made their appearance in the F.2 variant, while the F.3 had some more major changes - improved AI-23B radar, more powerful Avon engines, a larger square-topped fin, cannon armament removed, Red Top ( as opposed to Firestreak)  missile capability and auxiliary overwing fuel tanks. XR 749, pictured above, and XP 764, pictured at the top of this article, are examples of English Electric Lightning F3.

 

 

   
  Corgi Aviation Archive diecast model AA323308 of 56 Squadron Lightning F3 XR719 (pictured above) joined the Jet Age Museum Reserve Model Collection in 2011 and represents the RAF Wattisham based aircraft in its 1965 condition, eight years before being written off on 7 June 1973.  
 

 

   
  The early days of Lightning operation were characterised by ever bolder paint schemes, culminating in 56 squadron's famous red and white-checked tails, along with a red and white arrowhead in front of the nose roundel. However, officialdom soon decreed that the colourful squadron markings had to go, and Lightnings reverted to natural metal finishes with much more discreet and standardised markings.

Despite this ruling, a nine strong aerobatic team called The Tigers was formed in 1961 by 74 Squadron while 56 Squadron formed The Firebirds in 1963. Taking over from The Tigers, the red and white markings of the flamboyant 56 squadron were applied to the aircraft and this, as well as the amazing displays, endeared them to airshow crowds throughout Europe. At the time, 56 Squadron made much of their image, with pilots appearing in national newspapers and magazines proudly sporting their red and white checks.

Corgi Aviation Archive diecast model AA323308 of 56 Squadron Lightning F3 XR719 (pictured above) joined the Jet Age Museum Reserve Model Collection in 2011 and represents the RAF Wattisham based aircraft in its 1965 condition, eight years before being written off on 7 June 1973.

The F.6 was the definitive Lightning variant, featuring a much larger ventral fuel tank, with twin ventral fins. Cannon armament was back along with a larger, more efficient wing with kinked and cambered leading edges. These modifications were also applied to some F.2 airframes, which then became known as F.2As. These were equivalent to an F.6 apart from not having Red Top capability. Some F.3s were also converted to F.6 standard, lacking only the overwing tanks and being briefly known as F.3As in the process, before being fully converted to full F.6 standard.

Export versions for Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were also produced; five F.52s for Saudi Arabia (basically F.2s) and  the F.53 which was basically an F.6 with additional air-to-ground capability in the form of rocket pods and bombs on underwing and overwing pylons.

Two T.54 (essentially T.4 side-by-side trainers were built for Saudi Arabia followed by the T.55, which was a super-T.5 with the large ventral fuel tank and enlarged wings of the F.6, while the RAF's T.5s only had the small ventral fuel tanks and wings of earlier variants.

F.53s (pictured below ) and T.55s for Kuwait were given a K suffix but differed little from the Saudi versions. The Saudi's F.53s saw brief action in December 1969 during a brief conflict in the South Yemen border area. Several ground attack sorties were flown, these ending the situation almost without any help from the Saudi army. Saudi pilots loved the Lightning, and had a habit of making noisy passes over villages - with the result that many locals thought the sonic booms were a manifestation of Allah!

Although very much a pilot's aeroplane, the Lightning was much more complex than the Hawker Hunter it replaced.  Despite this, it was to continue in RAF service until June 1988 when finally supplanted by the air defence variant of the Panavia Tornado.

 


F.53s (pictured below ) and T.55s for Kuwait were given a K suffix but differed little from the Saudi versions. The Saudi's F.53s saw brief action in December 1969 during a brief conflict in the South Yemen border area. Several ground attack sorties were flown, these ending the situation almost without any help from the Saudi army. Saudi pilots loved the Lightning, and had a habit of making noisy passes over villages - with the result that many locals thought the sonic booms were a manifestation of Allah!


HUNTING PERCIVAL JET PROVOST T5 AND BAC 167 STRIKEMASTER MK 88


Although available in the colours of the Sultan of Oman's Air Force in the 1970s, the Airfix 1/72 scale model Strikemaster is currently issued with box artwork and decals for NZ6374 of 14 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force based at Ohakea in 1978, as pictured above. Other Strikemaster options are Mark 84 numbers 301(B) and 303 (D) of 130 Squadron of the Royal Singapore Air Force. Both aircraft boast a black edged yellow fuselage sash on the curve of the fin but while 301 has the older red-white-red roundel, 303 - depicted later in the 1970s - has the red and white winged ying-yang.


In 1960 English Electric merged with Vickers and Bristol Aircraft to form the British Aircraft Corporation and Warton, Lancashire, continued as a centre of excellence producing both all-British flying machines and those resulting from international collaboration.

The British Aircraft Corporation 167 Strikemaster was based on the Jet Provost T5, itself a much refined version of the earlier Jet Provost T3 and T4 basic trainers which in turn sprang from the Hunting Percival Provost piston engined trainer.  Hunting Percival Aircraft had also become part of the British Aircraft Corporation - by way of Vickers -  and its design office had originated the BAC 1-11 twin jet airliner, originally known as the H107.

110 Jet Provost T5s were delivered to the RAF and served with the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell and the Central Flying School at Little Rissington, Gloucestershire.  The 167 Strikemaster featured an uprated Rolls Royce Viper 20 turbojet of 3 140 lb static thrust, pressurised cockpit and a 3 000 lb carrying capacity on its four underwing pylons.  Strikemasters have been exported to eight countries, including New Zealand where they were known as "Blunties".

Although available in the colours of the Sultan of Oman's Air Force in the 1970s, the Airfix 1/72 scale model Strikemaster is currently issued with box artwork and decals for NZ6374 of 14 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force based at Ohakea in 1978, as pictured above. Other Strikemaster options are Mark 84 numbers 301(B) and 303 (D) of 130 Squadron of the Royal Singapore Air Force.  Both aircraft boast a black edged yellow fuselage sash on the curve of the fin but while 301 has the older red-white-red roundel, 303 - depicted later in the 1970s - has the red and white winged ying-yang.




In spring 1970 the Red Pelicans re-equipped with the last variant of the Jet Provost delivered, the T.5. They continued for a further four seasons before the team disbanded permanently at the end of the 1973 season, bringing the curtain down on 15 years of CFS Jet Provost teams


Similarly, just as the 1970s alternative to a Strikemaster was Jet Provost T5 XW294 of the Little Rissington based Red Pelicans aerobatic display team ( pictured above ), so the current RAF T5 variant is XW423 of 1 Fighter Training School, RAF Linton on Ouse in 1982 - a red, white and grey aircraft I very likely saw flying over York at the time.

The Red Pelicans, along with The Black Arrows ( the 22 strong all-black Hawker Hunters of 111 Squadron ) gave half of their names to the current RAF display team The Red Arrows, more of which below.

The era of the Jet Provost aerobatic teams begun as early as 1958, when the Central Flying School based at RAF Little Rissington formed a 4-ship team of Jet Provost T.1s, known simply as 'The Sparrows'. The unit had previously flown 4 Hunting-Percival Piston Provosts and had just re-equipped with the Jet Provost the previous year.

The CFS put up a two ship team for the 1959 season, known as 'The Redskins'.  However, during the latter part of 1959 the CFS received the first six Jet Provost T.3s and the T.1s were slowly phased out of service.

As a result the existing Redskins team was disbanded and the unit formed a new 4-ship team in preparation for the 1960 season, called "The CFS Aerobatic Team". Its aircraft had no special markings applied, but wore the standard silver and orange day-glo training colours of the day. The team continued until halfway through the 1962 airshow season, at the same time the T.4 Jet Provost was beginning to arrive on strength.

Halfway through the 1962 season the team re-equipped with four Jet Provost T.4s and a smoke system was also fitted to each of the display aircraft. The "Red Pelicans" team was born, and they performed at shows up and down the country, including the annual SBAC show Farnborough in September 1962.

The 1963 season saw the team extended to six aircraft under the leadership of Flt Lt Ian Bashall, and the aircraft in a new colour scheme. Their standard training colours were replaced by a overall dayglo-red scheme, and the Red Pelicans performed at displays in Belgium and France as well as across venues in the UK. At the end of the season the RAF decided that the "Red Pelicans" should continue as the official Royal Air Force aerobatic team for the 1964 airshow season, replacing the RAF 56 Sqn. "Firebirds" Lightning team in the role, which could no longer be spared for display purposes.

The 1964 Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team was captained by Flt Lt T.E.I. Lloyd, who took the six-ship team to participate in shows in Belgium, France, Netherlands and Norway in addition to their UK display commitments. During the latter part of the season the team gave co-ordinated displays with the RAF's first Gnat-equipped team, the "Yellowjacks" from No 4 FTS at Valley, and the team again appeared at SBAC Farnborough in September 1964. 
 


The bright lemon yellow aeroplanes ( as represented by the above model of XR991 at the 2010 IPMS exhibition at Churchdown) complemented the red Jet Provosts well, and the Gnat soon started to earn a reputation for being a superb aerobatic mount. As a result of this the type was chosen as equipment for the 1965 RAF Aerobatic Team - the "Red Arrows".
 


  The bright lemon yellow aeroplanes ( as represented by the above model of XR991 at the 2010 IPMS exhibition at Churchdown) complemented the red Jet Provosts well, and the Gnat soon started to earn a reputation for being a superb aerobatic mount. As a result of this the type was chosen as equipment for the 1965 RAF Aerobatic Team - the "Red Arrows".

With the newly-formed Red Arrows in place as the RAF's premier aerobatic team, the Red Pelicans subsequently trimmed down to four aircraft without a smoke system facility, and were all re-painted into a post-box-red scheme.  The 4-ship team continued to participate in shows across the UK for the next five seasons.

In spring 1970 the Red Pelicans re-equipped with the last variant of the Jet Provost delivered, the T.5. They continued for a further four seasons before the team disbanded permanently at the end of the 1973 season, bringing the curtain down on 15 years of CFS Jet Provost teams.

 
 

 

   
 

The Central Flying School is the longest serving flying school in the world beginning in Upavon, Wiltshire, England on 12 May 1912. In February 1962 Len Hill of Birdland, Bourton on the Water,  presented CFS with its first official and live mascot, "Patrick" the pelican. Patrick represented the CFS at many events and a BBC documentary was made about him before he died in 1969.

 
 

 

   


The Central Flying School is the longest serving flying school in the world beginning in Upavon, Wiltshire, England on 12 May 1912. In February 1962 Len Hill of Birdland, Bourton on the Water,  presented CFS with its first official and live mascot, "Patrick" the pelican. Patrick represented the CFS at many events and a BBC documentary was made about him before he died in 1969.

On 7 January 1971 'Frederick' became CFS mascot. Born in Kenya but trained at Birdland Institute of Zoology at the park in Bourton, Frederick died in 1986 of natural causes. On 26 June  1987 'Cedric' become CFS mascot before making way for  'Duncan Le Gayt' in May 2001.


SEPECAT JAGUAR GR3


 The Jaguar was a collaborative venture between the British Aircraft Corporation and Dassault-Bregut who formed the international company SEPECAT to manufacture 400 Jaguars: 200 for the RAF and 200 for the French Air Force. Jaguars were also sold to the air forces of India, Ecuador, Nigeria and Oman. The RAF received 165 Jaguar GR1s and 35 Jaguar T2 two-seat advanced operational trainers. The first French built Jaguar flew in September 1968 and the first British built Jaguar in October 1969.



The Jaguar was a collaborative venture between the British Aircraft Corporation and Dassault-Bregut who formed the international company SEPECAT to manufacture 400 Jaguars: 200 for the RAF and 200 for the French Air Force.  

The finished product owed much to the French  Bregut 121 design and was powered by two Rolls Royce Turbomeca Adour engines, each producing 6 950 lb thrust, which yielded a speed of 840 mph at 1 000' altitude.  As well as being fitted with the advanced Navigation and Weapon Aiming Sub System (NAVWASS) the Jaguar also had a laser ranger and marked target seeker as well as pilot's head-up display.

Jaguars were also sold to the air forces of India, Ecuador, Nigeria and Oman.  The RAF received 165 Jaguar GR1s and 35 Jaguar T2 two-seat advanced operational trainers.  The first French built Jaguar flew in September 1968 and the first British built Jaguar in October 1969.  

The first Jaguars were delivered to 226 OCU at Lossiemouth in September 1973 and the first operational squadron was 54, which became fully operational at RAF Coltishall on 9 August 1974, closely followed by 6 Squadron on 6 November 1974.

With the introduction of the Tornado and the subsequent conversion of the Germany based Jaguar squadrons, the requirement for such a large OCU disappeared and during the latter 1980s the OCU gradually became the size it is today.  Despite being a training squadron, the OCU prided itself on its continuing links with the front line.  Whenever possible instructors benefited from major exercises with the operational squadrons and OCU pilots were involved in all operations including the 1991 Gulf War.  The Jaguar display was traditionally an OCU task and  continued every year since its inception in 1974.  The pilot regularly completed over 40 displays per season, which were viewed internationally by approximately 5 million people.

One of the major changes in the OCUs history came after the decision to reduce the number of front line Tornado squadrons and allocate their number to the OCUs as reserve squadrons. On 24 June 1994 226 OCU became 16 Reserve Squadron and moved from Lossiemouth to Coltishall.

16 Squadron was originally formed with Bleriot aircraft on 10 Feb 1915 at St Omer, France, and subsequently became known as The Saints.  The Squadron's main role in World War 1 was reconaissance and artillery spotting and the badge "Two Keys in Saltire" symbolises unlocking the enemy's secrets, the gold by day and the black by night.  Motto Operta Aperta latin for "Hidden things are revealed."  

Corgi die cast model AA35403 represents SEPECAT Jaguar XX117 in 90th anniversary markings.


Corgi die cast model AA35403 represents SEPECAT Jaguar XX117 in 90th anniversary markings.


Also in the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection is this model of a SEPECAT Jaguar numbered XX116 but wearing the RAF 54 Squadron blue and yellow chequers  supplied with the Airfix kit of XX721, which offered the alternative of finshing the 1/72 model as XX726 of 6 Squadron RAF.  This model was included in the line up for the 2010 Easter Parade at Brockworth opposite the aircraft representing The Russian Front


Also in the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection is this model of a SEPECAT Jaguar numbered XX116 but wearing the RAF 54 Squadron blue and yellow chequers  supplied with the Airfix kit of XX721, which offered the alternative of finshing the 1/72 model as XX726 of 6 Squadron RAF.  This model was included in the line up for the 2010 Easter Parade at Brockworth opposite the aircraft representing The Russian Front 


BRITISH AEROSPACE HAWK T1


The first display season with Red Arrows Hawks was in 1980 and XX294 ( pictured above ) joined the team from 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley, Anglesey, in 1988.


In 1977 Hawker Siddeley Aviation - which had previously absorbed the Gloster Aircraft Company -  merged with the British Aircraft Corporation to become British Aerospace (BAe), renamed BAe Systems in 1999 after a further merger with Marconi Electronic Systems.  This further concentration of Britain's aircraft industry yielded more work for the former English Electric airfield at Warton, Lancashire, and - with the appearance of the Hawk single engined twin-seat jet trainer in 1974 - forged links with the former Blackburn Aircraft base at Brough, Yorkshire.

In 1964 the Royal Air Force specified a requirement (Air Staff Target (AST) 362) for a new fast jet trainer to replace the Folland Gnat. The SEPECAT Jaguar was originally intended for this role, but it was soon realised that it would be too complex an aircraft for fast jet training and only a small number of two-seat versions were purchased.

Accordingly, in 1968, Hawker Siddeley Aviation began studies for a simpler subsonic aircraft, initially as special project (SP) 117. This project was funded by the company as a private venture, in anticipation of possible RAF interest, and the design was conceived of as having tandem seating and a combat capability in addition to training, as it was felt the latter would improve export sales potential.

In 1969 the project was first renamed P.1182, then HS.1182. By the end of the year Hawker Siddeley Aviation had submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Defence based on the design concept, and in early 1970 the RAF issued Air Staff Target (AST) 397 which formalised the requirement for new trainers of this type. The RAF selected the HS.1182 for their requirement on  1 October 1971 and the principal contract, for 175 aircraft, was signed in March 1972.

The new trainer was named "Hawk" - breaking an RAF tradition of University themed titles - and first flew on 21 August 1974. It is still in production with over 900 Hawks sold to 18 customers around the world.  Indeed, despite being ordered off the drawing board - a rare phenomenon among modern warplanes - the Hawk is now recognised as Britain's most successful jet aircraft.  That achievement notwithstanding, the McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk - developed from the BAe Hawk - is now the standard carrier training jet for the US Navy.

The Hawk is characterised by a low-mounted swept cantilever monoplane wing and is powered by a non-augmented two-spool Rolls Royce Turbomeca Adour turbofan fitted to the aft fuselage and fed by air inlets above the roots of the wings. The stepped cockpit, allowing the instructor in the rear seat a good forward view, was an innovation subsequently adopted by many other training aircraft.

The low-positioned one-piece wing was designed to allow a wide landing gear track and to enable easier maintenance access. The wing is fitted with wide-span, double-slotted, trailing-edge flaps for low-speed performance. Integral to the wing is 836 litre (184 imperial gallon) fuel tank and room for the retractable main landing gear legs. Designed to take a +8/-4 g load, the original requirement was for two stores hardpoints but Hawker Siddeley  designed the Hawk with four hardpoints.

The fuselage design was led by the need to get a height differential between the two tandem cockpits, this enabled increased visibility for the instructor in the rear seat. Each cockpit is fitted with a Martin-Baker Mk 10B zero-zero  rocket assisted ejection seat. The centre fuselage has an 823 litre (181 Imperial Gallon) flexible fuel tank. A ram air turbine is fitted just in front of the single fin as well as a gas turbine auxiliary power unit above the engine. The nose landing gear leg retracts forward.

The Hawk was designed to be manoeuvrable and can reach Mach 0.88 in level flight, and Mach 1.15 in a dive, thus allowing trainees to experience transonic flight before advancing to  a supersonic trainer.  

The The Hawk entered RAF service in April 1976, replacing the Folland Gnat and Hawker Hunter. Hawk T1 (Trainer Mark 1) was the original version used by the RAF and deliveries commencing in November 1976 with 176 being ordered.

In RAF service the Hawk can be fitted with a 30mm Aden canon in a centreline pod and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles under the wings.  From 1983 to 1986, Hawks so fitted were given the designation T1A and in the event of war would have worked with Panavia Tornados, whose Foxhunter airborne search radar sets would have vectored non-radar-fitted Hawk T1As - flown by instructor pilots  - against enemy targets.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s Hawks are no longer tasked with this role although they have played aggressors in simulated air combat with Tornado ADVs.

The Hawk subsequently replaced the English Electric Canberra as a target tug while the Royal Navy acquired a dozen Hawk T1/1As from the RAF, for use as aerial targets for the training of ships' gunners and radar operators.

Eighty Hawk T1/1A aircraft have been upgraded under the Fuselage Replacement Programme (FRP), which involves the replacement of the aft, centre and rear fuselage sections, using new build sections derived from the export Mk. 60 version of the Hawk.

 


Also in the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection is this Hawk in the more recent black livery of RAF training aircraft,  Like SEPECAT Jaguar XX116, it was included in the line up for the 2010 Easter Parade at Brockworth opposite the aircraft representing The Russian Front
 


Also in the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection is this Hawk in the more recent black livery of RAF training aircraft,  Like SEPECAT Jaguar XX116, it was included in the line up for the 2010 Easter Parade at Brockworth opposite the aircraft representing The Russian Front 
 


In 2009, the RAF began receiving the first Hawk T2 aircraft, which will replace the T1 in the advanced trainer role, although the most famous RAF operator of the Hawk is the Red Arrows aerobatic team, which adopted the plane in late1979.  






The first display season with Red Arrows Hawks was in 1980 and XX294 ( pictured above ) joined the team from 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley, Anglesey, in 1988.

The Red Arrows badge shows the aircraft in their trademark diamond nine formation, with the motto Éclat, meaning "brilliance" or "excellence". They were formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by RAF commands.
 


The Red Arrows were equipped with seven Folland Gnat trainers ( a model of one of which from the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection is pictured above ) which were inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks display team. The Folland Gnat aircraft - designed by W.E.W. Petter, who had also designed the English Electric Canberra -  was chosen because it was less expensive to operate than front-line fighters such as the English Electric Lightning.
 


The Red Arrows were equipped with seven Folland Gnat trainers ( a model of one of which from the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection is pictured above ) which were inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks display team. The Folland Gnat aircraft - designed by W.E.W. Petter, who had also designed the English Electric Canberra -  was chosen because it was less expensive to operate than front-line fighters such as the English Electric Lightning.

The first ever Red Arrows display was on 6 May 1965 at RAF Little Rissington, Gloucestershire, home of the Central Flying School and parent to their own satellite airfield at RAF Kemble.  Later in 1965 The Red Arrows flew at 65 shows across Europe and were awarded the Britannia Trophy by the Royal Aero Club for their contribution to aviation.

In 1968 the team was increased to nine members, enabling them to develop their trademark  Diamond Nine formation under the command of Squadron Leader Ray Hanna, who would later receive a bar to his AFC for leading The Red Arrows for a record four seasons.

In 1983 the Red Arrows left Gloucestershire for a number of bases in Lincolnshire as the Central Flying School moved from RAF Little Rissington to Scampton.

Normally each pilot, including the Squadron Leader, stays with the Red Arrows for three seasons and in this way maximum expertise is retained from year to year.  The Synchro Pair, Reds 6 and 7 , perform the highly popular solo manoevres within the second half of the display.  They provide extra excitement and ensure that there is always some activity going on in front o the crowd while the Team Leader is repositioning the remaining aircraft for the next flypast.  

The Team Manager is Red 10 and flies the tenth Hawk to displays away from Scampton, making the spare aircraft ready to use in case one of the others becomes unserviceable. Rather than flying in displays however, the Team Manager stays on the ground and commentates on the Red Arrows performances.

Each Red Arrows Hawk differs from the standard advanced trainer only in having a slightly uprated engine and smoke generator equipment.



The Red Arrows badge shows the aircraft in their trademark diamond nine formation, with the motto Éclat, meaning "brilliance" or "excellence". They were formed in late 1964 as an all-RAF team, replacing a number of unofficial teams that had been sponsored by RAF commands.


EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON


The Corgi die cast model of the Warton built single seat Eurofighter Typhoon F2 depicts ZJ913 in the markings of 17 (Reserve) Squadron based at RAF Coningsby in 2006. By 2007 however, ZJ913 had been re-allocated to 29 (Reserve) Squadron at the same Lincolnshire aerodrome which is currently home to the RAF's other Typhoon-equipped squadrons - numbers 3 and 11.


The Corgi die cast model of the Warton built single seat Eurofighter Typhoon F2 depicts ZJ913 in the markings of 17 (Reserve) Squadron based at RAF Coningsby in 2006.    By 2007 however, ZJ913 had been re-allocated to 29 (Reserve) Squadron at the same Lincolnshire aerodrome which is currently home to the RAF's other Typhoon-equipped squadrons - numbers 3 and 11.

Eurofighter Typhoon is a multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations, from air policing and peace support to high intensity conflict as a replacement for the RAF’s Tornado F3 and Jaguar aircraft.  One major advantage of the Typhoon over both the Tornado and Jaguar is its ability to undertake "swing role" missions  switching between air-to-air and ground-to-air modes within a single sortie.

 Its two Eurojet EJ200 turbojets  each yield 20 000 lb of thrust, taking the 15.96m long, 11.09m wide canard delta aircraft to Mach 2 and a maximum altitude of 65 000 feet.  Missile armament includes Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile ( AMRAAM ), Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), Brimstone, Storm Shadow, Enhanced Paveway and  Paveway IV

Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain formally agreed to start development of the aircraft in 1988 with contracts for a first batch of 148 aircraft – of which 55 were for the RAF – signed ten years later. Deliveries to the RAF started in 2003 to 17 Squadron, based at BAe Systems Warton Aerodrome in Lancashire, alongside the factory in which the T1 two seat trainer  and single seat F2 aircraft are assembled, while detailed development and testing of the aircraft was carried out.

17 (Reserve) Squadron, the Typhoon Operational Evaluation Unit was officially reformed with the presentation of the Squadron Standard at RAF Coningsby on 19 May 2006


Following the 55 Tranche 1 aircraft, the RAF is due to receive 89 Tranche 2 aircraft with capacity to be upgraded to deliver further enhanced ground-attack capability and the mixed powerplant rocket and jet propelled Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile. Earlier Tranche 1 aircraft will be upgraded to this standard.

Negotiations were concluded in late 2004 on a contract for the Tranche 2 batch and the placing of a £4.3 billion contract for 89 aircraft was announced that December. Commitment to Tranche 3 procurement is not expected for some years. The MoD is planning for the introduction of multi-role Tranche 2 aircraft with improved ground-attack capabilities, introduced under a planned upgrade programme, to enter service after 2010.

 The Typhoon airframe is largely constructed of carbon fibre composites and light alloys to save weight while the aircraft is equipped with the advanced ECR90 radar, which can track multiple targets at long range. The pilot can carry out many functions by voice command while aircraft manoeuvre; weapon and defensive aid deployment is done through a combined stick and throttle. All of these innovations dramatically simplify operation of the aircraft in combat. Combined with an advanced cockpit that is fully compatible with night-vision goggles, the pilot is superbly equipped for air combat.

Eurofighter is easily recognisable from any angle. The engine intake is mounted on the bottom of the fuselage and Typhoon also has canards (foreplanes) mounted before the main wing. These come to rest at an oblique angle when the Typhoon is inactive.

The delta (triangular) mainplane is very deep at the point it joins the main fuselage while the tail fin is tall and sharply swept just above the twin jet pipes. The two-seat version has a large bubble cockpit for the additional pilot and a deeper upper fuselage giving a more humped appearance.

17 Squadron's gauntlet emblem is a reference to its earlier equipment with Gloster Gauntlet aircraft and other types flown have included Hawker Hurricanes, English Electric Canberras and SEPECAT Jaguars.


17 Squadron's gauntlet emblem is a reference to its earlier equipment with Gloster Gauntlet aircraft and other types flown have included Hawker Hurricanes, English Electric Canberras and SEPECAT Jaguars.


ENGLISH ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES


Co-Co diesel electric "Deltic"


Following its successes with 0-6-0 diesel electric shunters and Britain's first mainline Co-Co diesel electrics - LMS 10000 and 10001, English Electric looked to both home and export markets with "Deltic", assembled in the former Dick Kerr tram works at Strand Road, Preston in 1955.  Although referred to DP1 ( Diesel Prototype 1 ) or even "Enterprise" during construction, the cream lined blue behemouth with the prominent nose headlights was finally called "Deltic" after its two D. Napier & Son 'Deltic' D18-25 opposed piston engines, each developing 1,650hp.


Following its successes with 0-6-0 diesel electric shunters and Britain's first mainline Co-Co diesel electrics - LMS 10000 and 10001, English Electric looked to both home and export markets with "Deltic", assembled in the former Dick Kerr tram works at Strand Road, Preston in 1955.  Although referred to DP1 ( Diesel Prototype 1 ) or even "Enterprise" during construction, the cream lined blue behemoth with the prominent nose headlights was finally called "Deltic" after its two D. Napier & Son 'Deltic' D18-25 opposed piston engines, each developing 1,650hp.

Indeed, Deltic was a speculative venture both to prove the rail use of the Napier Deltic engine - which was already widespread in marine applications  - and to create a passenger locomotive with a better power to weight ratio than those being designed at the time with more conventional diesel prime movers.  In the end, Deltic was to offer 800 bhp more than a 1Co-Co1 "Peak" and still weigh 32 tons less!

After acceptance tests Deltic was allocated to Liverpool Edge Hill depot, from where it commenced work on 13 December 1955 on Euston services. Trials with BR test vehicles over the arduous Settle to Carlisle route followed in early 1956 and by Autumn Deltic was back at Edge Hill, again working on Euston services such as the "Merseyside Express" and the "Shamrock".

With the West Coast main Line scheduled for electrification, early 1959 saw Deltic transferred to Hornsey on the former Great Northern lines of Eastern Region, although the 3 300 bhp locomotive could only use certain platforms at Kings Cross with a wide enough loading gauge. On one occasion Deltic also hit the platform edge at Manors near Newcastle, and on another lost its cab footsteps at Darlington.

However, by March 1959 high speed performance tests were carried out on the East Coast Main Line, which involved operations at up to 105mph with a BR dynamometer car. Until June 1959 Deltic had always operated south of the border, but late in the month five days of testing were carried out in the Edinburgh area and over the Waverley route.

By July 1959 most testing was complete and Deltic was diagrammed for general ECML work alongside its resident A4 Pacifics.  Indeed, as early as 1958 a fleet of 22 Deltics - later collectively known as Class 55 - had been ordered to replace 55 ex LNER pacifics - largely due to the efforts of Eastern Region General Manager Gerald Fiennes.

 In March 1961 a serious engine failure befell Deltic and it was returned to English Electric's Vulcan Foundry and stored pending a decision on its future. A proposal was made in September 1961 to modify Deltic for operation in Canada in an attempt to attract overseas sales but the idea was not pursued. Under BR operating the locomotive had covered over 450,000 miles.

Deltic remained at Vulcan Foundry until 1963, when a decision was made to restore its bodywork and present the non-operational locomotive to the Science Museum in London, where it arrived on 28 April 1963 on the back of a road low loader. Deltic remained in the Science Museum until a re-design required it to be found another home. In October 1993 Deltic was lifted from its bogies, removed from the Science Museum hall and taken by road to the National Railway Museum, York.  In 2004 however, Deltic moved again to the National Railway Museum's "Locomotion" display at Shildon, County Durham.

The model of Deltic pictured above has been kindly loaned for display at Cheltenham by Andy Peckham



Class 20 Bo-Bo diesel electric D8195


The English Electric Company had the honour of delivering the first Pilot Scheme diesel locomotive - numbered D8000 - to British Railways in June 1957. The 1 000 bhp electric-transmission Bo-Bo design - later known as Class 20 - was to become an icon of industrial design and outlived many locomotives of similar specifications built afterwards by other makers.


The English Electric Company had the honour of delivering  the first Pilot Scheme diesel locomotive - numbered D8000 - to British Railways in June 1957.  The 1 000 bhp electric-transmission Bo-Bo - later known as Class 20 - was to become an icon of industrial design and outlived many locomotives of similar specifications built by other makers afterwards.

Intended as freight locomotives without a steam heating boiler, these Type A ( later Type 1 ) machines were designed with one cab positioned at one extreme end of the "hood" format. When running cab first, the driver's view from the two large windows was excellent but working bonnet-first made the sighting of some signals very difficult.  As a result, many Class 20s spent their working lives coupled nose to nose and worked in multiple with Blue Star equipment.

The first 20 examples were all allocated to Devons Road shed in east London which had the distinction of becoming Britain's first all-diesel depot and since then Class 20s have worked all over Britain and even helped build the Channel Tunnel.

Mass production of Class 20s began with D8020 in October 1959 and continued until D8127 was outshopped in July 1962 - both first and last of these batches being assembled by English Electric's Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn division at Darlington rather than Vulcan Works at Newton Le Willows, Lancashire.

Following operational problems with the supposedly superseding Class 17 "Clayton" design however, Class 20 production restarted with Vulcan built D8128 in June 1966 and all subsequent English Electric Type 1 Bo-Bos - up to D8327 of February 1968 - were outshopped with four-character headcode panels replacing the original steam-era train describing discs and lamps.  

As seen on the model of D8195 here, the first character represents the type of train ( from 1 equalling express passenger to 9 for ballast ), Z represents a special train and T one of a range of internal trains within a region.  The final two numbers characterise the individual working within the first two categories.

D8195 itself left Vulcan Foundry in February 1967 with works number 3676/ D1071, was first allocated to London Midland Nottingham Division (D16) and was renumbered as 20 195 in December 1973.  It was finally withdrawn in January 1992 and cut up by MC Metals of Glasgow in  February 1995.


D8195 itself left Vulcan Foundry in February 1967 with works number 3676/ D1071, was first allocated to London Midland Nottingham Division (D16) and was renumbered as 20 195 in December 1973. It was finally withdrawn in January 1992 and cut up by MC Metals of Glasgow in February 1995.


Class 50 Co-Co diesel electric 50 008 "Thunderer"


Contracts were signed between the British Transport Commission and EE in 1966 for the construction of fifty ‘’Type four-and-a-halves’’ (as the Class 50 locomotives were affectionately known during production) to fill the electrification gap north of Crewe. With Loughborough and Crewe busy building Class 47s, English Electric was also - along with BREL Doncaster - given the job of building Class 86 ac electric locomotives from 1965 onwards as well as assembling 42 Class 73 electro-diesels and replacing the original Mirrlees engines in the Brush built Class 31s.


English Electric's Class 50 locomotives were ordered and built to speed up services on the non-electrified Crewe to Glasgow section of the West Coast Main Line. 

 

Following the energisation of the 25 000 volt overhead catenary between Euston and Weaver Junction, just north of Crewe, on 18 April 1966 the quickest Euston to Glasgow journey was 6 hours 35 minutes. The section between the capital and Crewe had  witnessed a travelling time reduction of at least a third since the commencement of the electric timetable but there was still a strong desire to speed up services north of Crewe. 

 

The situation arose during the Brush Type 4 (Class 47) construction programme, which had begun in 1962 but had proved initially troublesome. Although an engine rebuild and exchange exercise was taking place, British Rail was unsure whether the modified 12LDA Class 47 powerplants would be reliable enough to work Crewe-Glasgow expresses.

 

In the meantime, English Electric had been experiencing success with its private venture  DP2 (Diesel Prototype 2), a Deltic-bodied 16CSVT engine test bed first run in May 1962. DP2 ran on the East Coast Main Line alongside production Deltics, where it proved popular with locomotive crews. It demonstrated a greater acceleration than its counterparts, although it was neither as powerful nor as fast as them, with engine output  of 2 700 bhp and a top speed of 90 mph. This compared with the Deltic’s combined twin Napier engine output of 3 300 bhp, and a top operating limit of 100 mph. 

 

BR was interested in DP2 but the nationalised organisation’s Chief Draftsmen and Mechanical & Electrical Engineers were keen to incorporate untried and untested devices such as slow speed control, rheostatic braking, and a clean air compartment, which was responsible for the ‘’hoover’’ noise from which the Class 50s were nicknamed.   These gadgets would later prove too complicated and too advanced for the machine they were intended for. 

 

The BR Design Panel’s attitude towards locomotive design had also changed, and locomotive noses – trademarks of English Electric products – were deemed unfashionable, and future body shells had to utilise flat fronts.


Contracts were signed between the British Transport Commission and EE in 1966 for the construction of fifty ‘’Type four-and-a-halves’’ (as the  Class 50 locomotives were affectionately known during production) to fill the electrification gap north of Crewe.   With Loughborough and Crewe busy building Class 47s, English Electric was also - along with BREL Doncaster - given the job of building Class 86 ac electric locomotives from 1965 onwards as well as assembling 42 Class 73 electro-diesels and replacing the original Mirrlees engines in the Brush built Class 31s.



Construction got underway on the Class 50 fleet at Newton-le-Willows in February 1967 and the last production-line BR locomotive was completed in December 1968. At the same time ten externally similar Class 1800 diesel electric Co-Cos were built for Portuguese Railways. These were more simple and robust machines - lacking the fancy modifications imposed by British Railways - but did share the tendency for the generator to flashover with the resultant high repair cost of armature rewinding.

The fifty locomotives were numbered in the D400 – D449 series, but at this time, a cash-strapped BR could not afford to buy the fleet outright. A leasing arrangement had, however, been agreed on, which suited English Electric as much of the company’s substantial income was subject to high taxation. Leasing the then new diesels rather than selling them allowed the company to spread its profits over time, reducing the amount of its income being lost as tax.

 

The D400 series utilised the same 16CSVT engine used in the DP2 and reportedly, the locomotive which later became No. 50023 reused the original engine block of DP2, which had been written off in an collision with Gloucester RCW built cement wagons in 1967. Unlike the Brush Type 4 fleet (excepting Nos. D1500 to D1519 of the East Coast Main Line), the D400 series was equipped with Electric Train Heating (ETH), and had a top operating speed of 105 mph, despite nowhere being passed for this speed. Interestingly, only locomotive Nos. D400 and D401 were fitted with multiple-working jumper boxes on their cab fronts from the outset.

By 1974 the northern WCML from Crewe to Glasgow was electrified, and the Class 50 fleet - now numbered 50 001 to 50 050 under TOPS - was displaced by new Class 87 electrics to Western Region, where they in turn replaced Class 52 "Western" diesel hydraulics on mainline passenger services west of Paddington and  between Birmingham New Street and Bristol Temple Meads.

Following the earlier withdrawal of the Class 41,  42 and 43 diesel hydraulic  "Warships", BR decided to apply this naming policy to the Class 50s. In January 1978, 50035 was named "Ark Royal" with 50 008 becoming "Thunderer" in September 1978 and 50 011 receiving the name "Centurion" in August 1979.  

From 1976 however, InterCity 125 trains had begun to take over the fastest passenger turns between London, South Wales and the West Country allowing the Class 50s to take over Waterloo-Exeter workings formerly hauled by Class 33 Bo-Bos which had themselves replaced Class 42 and 43 diesel hydraulic "Warships" in the early 1970s.

During their migration to Western and then Southern Regions however, the earlier over-complicated electronic designs in the English Electric Type 4s had begun to manifest themselves, resulting in poor reliability and the enthusiast nickname of "Fifty-Fifties".  As a result, the whole fleet was refurbished between 1979 and 1984 at BREL Doncaster, which had taken over responsibility for the class now that they were British Rail purchases rather than English Electric property.

The work involved simplifying the complex electronics and removing redundant features such as slow speed control and rheostatic braking. In addition, modifications took place to the air intake fan arrangement which eliminated the characteristic sucking noise which had earned the "Hoover" nickname. The original air circulation arrangement was the cause of many failures in traffic as the filtration system often became clogged with moisture, dust and other particles.  This in turn prevented fresh air entering the engine room and stale, oily air could not then escape, leading to many main generator failures.  During refurbishment, filters were adapted to cope with humid British air.

Externally, the locomotives all received high-intensity headlights, which changed the appearance of the front end. Starting with 50006, the first six locomotives were outshopped in the standard BR Blue livery. However, in 1980, 50 023 "Howe" became the first to be outshopped in Large Logo livery with wrap around yellow cabs, large bodyside numerals and BR logo. The final loco to be refurbished was 50 014, released to traffic in the latter half of 1983. Following refurbishment, the fleet was concentrated at Plymouth Laira and Old Oak Common depots.

In 1984, 50 007 "Hercules" was repainted into lined Brunswick Green livery and renamed Sir Edward Elgar to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Great Western Railway along with four Class 47 locomotives. Another locomotive repainted in a special livery was 50 019 "Ramillies" which was repainted in a variation of BR Blue by staff at Plymouth Laira depot.

In 1986 the West of England Main Line came under the control of the Network South East (NSE) sector of British Rail, which saw the introduction of a new livery with upswept red and white stripes on blue with a white cab surround. The first locomotive in this livery was again 50 023 "Howe".  In 1988 the NSE livery changed with the red and white stripes continuing to the body ends with a blue cab surround. In the revised livery the overall blue became a darker shade.

Around this time, some Class 50 locomotives were also transferred to the civil engineers department to work maintenance and engineering trains and the fist "Hoovers" were withdrawn, starting with 50011 "Centurion"  in February 1987. This locomotive's nameplates were transferred in July 1987 to 50040, which was previously named "Leviathan". A further two locomotives, 50006 "Neptune" and 50014 "Warspite" were withdrawn in 1987, followed by a further five locomotives (50010/13/22/38/47) in 1988.

In 1987, consideration was given to using the class on freight trains. To this end, 50049 "Defiance" was renumbered to 50149, equipped with modified Class 37, lower-geared bogies and outshopped in the new trainload grey livery with Railfreight decals. It was based at Laira depot, and tested on local china clay trains in Cornwall as well as heavy stone trains to London from Devon quarries. The project was, however, not an outstanding success, and by 1989, the locomotive had returned to its original identity. Ironically, the electronic anti-wheeslip equipment (with which, the entire class had originally been built) which would have been key to the success of this experiment had been removed during the refurbishment process.

At the start of the 1990s, the reliability of the fleet became a problem again. By this time, the class was solely used on the West of England route, having been replaced on the Oxford route by Class 47/7 locomotives. Arguably, the Class 50s were not suitable for the stop-start service pattern of Waterloo-Exeter services, nor to the extended single-line sections of this route, where a single locomotive failure could cause chaos. Therefore the decision was taken to retire the fleet, temporarily replacing them with Class 47 locomotives, which were in turn replaced by new DMUs. From 1992, the Oxford route was worked by Class 165 and 166 units, whilst Class 159 units were introduced onto the West of England route in 1993.

By 1992, just eight locomotives remained in service, these being 50 007/ 008/ 015/ 029/ 030/ 033/ 046/ 050. Several of these locomotives were specially repainted to commemorate the run-down of the fleet. The first-built locomotive, 50050 "Fearless" was renumbered D400 and painted in its original BR Blue livery. Two other locomotives, 50 008 "Thunderer" and 50 015 "Valiant" were also repainted, the former in a variation of BR Blue (the same as 50 019 had previously carried), and the latter in "Dutch" civil-engineers grey/yellow livery.

Of the final eight locomotives, three were retained until 1994 for use on special railtours, these being 50007"Sir Edward Elgar", 50033 "Glorious" and 50050 "Fearless". 50007 was returned to working order using parts from 50 046, which surrendered its recently-overhauled power unit and bogies. By this time, 50 050 had been repainted into Large Logo livery and 50007 also received a repaint into GWR green as the 1985 paint was wearing very thin. The final railtours operated in March 1994, during one of which 50 033 was delivered for preservation at the National Railway Museum. The final railtour operated with 50007 and 50050 from London Waterloo to Penzance and returning to London Paddington. Both locomotives were later preserved.

50 008 "Thunderer" was one of several English Electric Class 50s that featured the relevant warship crest above the nameplate whilst allocated to Western Region.  The crest and nameplate for this particular model are etched brass items from the Shawplan range ( R50008r ) supplied by Rural Railways ( 01905 641150 )

D408 itself was outshopped from Vulcan Foundry in March 1968 as 3778 / D1149 and was allocated to the Western Lines division of London Midland Region.  It was renumbered as 50 008 in February 1974 and named "Thunderer" in September 1978.



D408 itself was outshopped from Vulcan Foundry in March 1968 as 3778 / D1149 and was allocated to the Western Lines division of London Midland Region. It was renumbered as 50 008 in February 1974 and named "Thunderer"in September 1978.


ENGLISH ELECTRIC TRAMS


Although most famous for its locomotives and aircraft, English Electric grew from a long and proud history of tram building.  To illustrate this, Gloucestershire tram enthusiast Mark Hughes very kindly loaned me this Corgi die cast model of one of English Electric's "Balloon" double deckers built for Blackpool and has has also written the following appreciation of the company's output.


Although most famous for its locomotives and aircraft, English Electric grew from a long and proud history of tram building.  To illustrate this, Gloucestershire tram enthusiast Mark Hughes of Mark Hughes Models very kindly loaned me this Corgi die cast model of one of English Electric's "Balloon" double deckers built for Blackpool and has has also written the following appreciation of the company's output:


Electric tramcar building at the Strand Road works in Preston originated in 1899 under the ownership of the English Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Works Ltd ( formed in 1898 )


Electric tramcar building at the Strand Road works in Preston originated in 1899 under the ownership of the English Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Works Ltd ( formed in 1898 )

The EER&TCW was one of two companies set up by the Kilmarnock firm of Dick, Kerr & Co, a major railway and tramway contractor.  The second company was the Equipment Syndicate Ltd who built the West Works across the road from the original building to focus on electrical equipment.  This works was sold in 1900 to the English Electric Manufacturing Company Ltd, but this was absorbed in 1903 into Dick Kerr & Co Ltd, another related company which had been set up in Preston in 1899.


A rationalisation of the industry in 1905 saw the EER&TCW renamed The United Electric Car Co. Ltd. which absorbed addditionally the Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Works Ltd, G.F. Milnes & Co Ltd and British Electric Car Co Ltd.


A rationalisation of the industry in 1905 saw the EER&TCW renamed The United Electric Car Co. Ltd. which absorbed addditionally the Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Works Ltd, G.F. Milnes & Co Ltd and British Electric Car Co Ltd.

The First World War saw extensive Government supervision and control of the enneering industry and its end saw Dick, Kerr and Co and the UECC included in a new company, the English Electric Co Ltd, set up in December 1918 by people from the John Brown group of companies.

Gloucester Corporation bought electrical equipment for 20 trams in 1903-4 and a complete water car in 1905.  Three trams - numbered 21 to 23 - were built in 1920 for the Cheltenham & District Light Railway Company.



The best known English Electric trams were the fleet of streamlined types built for Blackpool Corporation in 1933-35.  These were "Railcoach" single deckers, "Balloon" double deckers and "Boat" open single deckers and some will ven remain in service after the forthcoming rebuilding of the Blackpool and Fleetwood  tramway to modern light rail standards.


The best known English Electric trams were the fleet of streamlined types built for Blackpool Corporation in 1933-35.  These were "Railcoach" single deckers, "Balloon" double deckers and "Boat" open single deckers and some will ven remain in service after the forthcoming rebuilding of the Blackpool and Fleetwood  tramway to modern light rail standards.

Other major customers over the English Electric years were Manchester, Nottingham and Bradford Corporations and London County Council.

Tramcar building was undertaken in the East Works - on the east side of Strand Road - with electrical equipment manufactured across the road in West Works.  However, the last trams built in Preston, the four prototype cars for Aberdeen Corporation ( two four-wheel and two bogie ) were built in the West Works as the East Works had been turned over to military aircraft production.  For the same reason the construction of the last English Electric trams, the post War batch of centre-entrance cars for Aberdeen, were subcontracted to R.Y. Pickering & Co of Wishaw in Scotland.

English Electric also built bus bodies from 1905 to at least 1941.


Collett Transport was set up over 40 years ago in Keighley, Yorkshire, when David’s father and grandfather started the firm of Richard Collett trading as R Collett & Sons. Original loads were a lot lighter than today’s 150-tonne CAT3 traffic, as Collett carried churns on flatbed lorries for the Milk Marketing Board (MMB). The introduction of the UK to the Common Market in 1971 sounded the end of transporting milk by churns and Richard decided not to invest in tankers and Collett began to establish itself as a general haulage operator.


Collett Transport was set up over 40 years ago in Keighley, Yorkshire, when David’s father and grandfather started the firm of Richard Collett trading as R Collett & Sons. Original loads were a lot lighter than today’s 150-tonne STGO CAT3 traffic, as Collett carried churns on flatbed lorries for the Milk Marketing Board (MMB). The introduction of the UK to the Common Market in 1971 sounded the end of transporting milk by churns and Richard decided not to invest in tankers and Collett began to establish itself as a general haulage operator.

Today R. Collett & Sons (Transport) Ltd specialises in general haulage, heavy transport, warehousing, distribution and handling.  The company owns a modern fleet of over 40 vehicles and 70 trailers which are fully maintained in-house on a purpose designed 5 acre site.  The day to day running of the transport operations is fully computerized, and all vehicles are fitted with GSM phones.

Employees of R. Collett & Sons (Transport) Ltd wear uniforms and are put through the in-house training program which focuses on LGV, Hazchem, Forklift truck and associated specialist operations.  BX 08 CGU, modelled here by Oxford Diecast, is another variation on the MAN TGX XXL 6x4 tractor, this time with an eight axle trailer, and makes an interesting comparison with a similar prime mover - also modelled by Oxford Diecast - in the fleet of Eric Vick of Gloucestershire.



Employees of R. Collett & Sons (Transport) Ltd wear uniforms and are put through the in-house training program which focuses on LGV, Hazchem, Forklift truck and associated specialist operations.  BX 08 CGU, modelled here by Oxford Diecast, is another variation on the MAN TGX XXL 6x4 tractor, this time with an eight axle trailer, and makes an interesting comparison with a similar prime mover - also modelled by Oxford Diecast - in the fleet of Eric Vick of Gloucestershire.


The Post World War II centre-entry double-deck streamliner Aberdeen bogie trams mentioned in the article above  - along with a more modern Manchester Metrolink six axle articulated train in the foreground of the picture above - are just some of the exciting tram and bus items now available from Mark Hughes Models.  For a free catalogue, why not email hm.hughes@ukonline.co.uk today?

The Post World War II centre-entry double-deck streamliner Aberdeen bogie trams mentioned in the article above  - along with a more modern Manchester Metrolink six axle articulated train in the foreground of the picture above - are just some of the exciting tram and bus items now available from Mark Hughes Models.  For a catalogue, why not email hmarkhughes@gmail.com today?