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November 18, 2021

Amazing Photos of the Royal Air Force During the 1950s and ’60s

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom’s air and space force. It was formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, becoming the first independent air force in the world, by regrouping the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).

Following the Allied victory over the Central Powers in 1918, the RAF emerged as the largest air force in the world at the time. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain.

Today, the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being “leading-edge” in terms of technology. This largely consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including those in the following roles: fighter and strike, airborne early warning and control, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR), signals intelligence (SIGINT), maritime patrol, air-to-air refueling (AAR) and strategic & tactical transport.

Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm and the British Army’s Army Air Corps also operate armed aircraft.

Here below is an amazing photos collection from Etienne du Plessis that shows the Royal Air Force during the 1950s and ’60s.

A group of eight de Havilland Sea Hornets of the Fleet Air Arm line up on the flight deck of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Implacable (R86) during a sea exercise in July 1950

Fleet air Arm Hawker Sea Furies, Iwakuni, Japan, 1951

Boeing B-29A, Washington, 1953

The Mk.24 was the final variant of the Spitfire and this particular aircraft, built in 1947 (registration VN485), saw RAF service in Hong Kong with 80 Sqdn, 1953

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth's coronation on June 2, 1953 the RAF laid on the biggest display of Military air

De Havilland Chipmunk, 1954

Fleet Air Arm, Westland Wyvern, Douglas Skyraider and Hawker Sea hawk aircraft on the deck of HMS Eagle, 1955

The crew of an Avro Vulcan B.1 bomber pose in front of their aircraft, 1956

An RAF medical officer climbs aboard Westland Whirlwind HAR.2 XJ728 of ‘A’ Flight, No. 22 Squadron based at RAF St Mawgan, but temporarily deployed to RAF Valley for mountain rescue exercises, 1957

Avro Vulcan B.1 XA896 at RAF Waddington, August 21, 1957

Avro Vulcan B.1 XA906 of No. 83 Squadron is seen under-tow by a Douglas Sentinal Tugmaster heavy towing unit at RAF Waddington, October 1957, a few months after the Vulcan entered service

Blackburn Beverley C.1 XB284 of No 47 Squadron based at RAF Abingdon, 1957

De Havilland DH.115 Vampire at RAF Swinderby, 1957

These five Royal Navy Seahawk FB 3s of 783 NAS team at Farnborough were the first aerobatic team to produce smoke during a display on September 5, 1957

An instructor shows Aircraft Apprentices of No.1 School of Technical Training at RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire how to load a gun pack of four Aden 30mm cannon into an instructional airframe of a Hawker Hunter, 1958

English Electric Canberra B.6s, WH948, WH958 and WT201, of No. 12 Squadron based at RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire, are seen in flight, September 1958, the squadron’s fox head emblem visible on the aircraft's tails

Handley Page Hastings C.1 TG587 of No 511 Squadron taxies across a dusty airfield at Amman, Jordan, July 1958

Handley Page Victor B.1 XA936 of No. 10 Squadron seen during a flight from its base at RAF Cottesmore, September 1958

De Havilland DH114 Heron CC.4 XM296, of the Queen''s Flight at RAF Masirah, Oman, 1959

Flying Instructor Flight Lieutenant J Davis with his student, Flight Cadet TC Porteous of No. 76 Entry, in a De Havilland Vampire T11 at the RAF College Cranwell, Lincolnshire, 1959

Parachutists of the RAF Parachute Brigade boarding a Blackburn Beverly via the rear loading ramp. Possibly during Exercise Red Banner, October 1959

Squadron Leader Ulf Burberry’s crew run towards a Handley Page Victor of No. 15 (XV) Squadron during a demonstration scramble at RAF Cottesmore, June 1959

The first Bristol Britannia C.1 in RAF service, XL636 'Argo' of No. 99 Squadron is seen during a flight from its base at RAF Lyneham, soon after its delivery to the RAF on June 4, 1959

The first Bristol Britannia C.1 in RAF service, XL636 'Argo' of No. 99 Squadron, RAF Transport Command, during a flight from its base of RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, shortly after the aircraft was delivered in June 1959

Two senior aircraftmen check an F.52 camera before placing it in a Vickers Valiant B(PR).1 aircraft of No. 543 Photo Reconnaissance Squadron RAF's base at Wyton, Cambridgeshire, 1959

Vampire T.11s of the RAF College's Flying Wing, June 23, 1959

A Hawker Siddeley P.1127 'Kestrel' after landing vertically on the test pad at Dunsfold, 1960

Six English Electric Canberra PR.9s and their crews, from No. 58 Squadron part of the Strategic Reconnaisance Force seen at RAF Wyton near St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, September 1960

Blackburn Beverley (XL149) of No. 30 Squadron RAF in flight over the Kenyan bush, 1961

Five Hunter F.6s which formed part of the display team of No. 92 Squadron - The Blue Diamonds’ - are seen in tight line abreast formation rehearsing for the 1961 season

A Beverley heavy transport aircraft operated by the Royal Air force Transport Command stuck in the sand on the airstrip at RAF Sharjah in the UAE, 1962

Buccaneer S.1 at the 1962 Farnborough Airshow; the anti-flash white color scheme is for the nuclear strike role, 1962

Freight being off loaded from a Beverley heavy transport aircraft operated by the Royal Air force Transport Command at RAF Sharjah in the UAE, 1962

De Havilland Comet C.2 XK715 ‘Columba’ of No 216 Squadron RAF flying from RAF Lyneham is turned around at RAF Gan, on Adu Atoll in the Maldives, 1962

A Gloster Javelin FAW.9R (XH890) of No. 23 Squadron banking away from the camera. This aircraft is flying from No. 23 Squadron's base at RAF Coltishall, Norfolk, 1963

English Electric Lightning F.2 of No 19 Squadron stationed at RAF Leconfield, South Yorkshire, 1963

No. 56 (F) Squadron English Electric Lightning F.3 having Firestreak missiles loaded on it at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, 1963

The RAF's sole English Electric Lightning equipped display team - The Firebirds of 56 Squadron from RAF Wattisham - which was led by Squadron Leader Dave Seward, are seen practicing their signature ‘Diamond Nine’ formation roll, 1963

A Handley Page Victor K.1 aircraft (XA918) prepares to refuel two aircraft flying close to its wings, 1964

Avro Shackleton MR.3 XF707 of No. 206 Squadron flying over the north coast of Cornwall near its home station of RAF St Mawgan, 1964

Five Foland Gnat T.1s, the Yellowjacks aerobatic dislay team from No. 4 Flying Training School, RAF Valley practise an inverted loop in 'T' formation over Holyhead, north Wales, during the team's only season, 1964

Sergeant Michael 'Jacko' Jackson, air engineer of Avro Shackleton MR.3 XF707 of No. 206 Squadron, checks the wheel bay and undercarriage of his aircraft pre-flight at RAF St Mawgan, Cornwall, 1964

The Queen leaving a HS Andover at RAF Thorney Island West Sussex, 1964

English Electric Lightning F6 fighters of No. 11 Squadron prepare for take-off at RAF Leuchars in Fife, 1965

Vickers Valiant, 1965

30 Squadron Blackburn Beverley landed at an oasis somewhere in the Ar Rub al Khali, 1966

Four Gloster Javelin FAW.9Rs of No. 64 Squadron seen during an air-defence patrol over Malaysia, May 1967

A Hawker Siddeley Andover C.1 (XS606) of No 52 Squadron flying from the Squadron's station at RAF Seletar, Singapore, 1968


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