100 Years of the Royal Air Force

100 Years of the RAF Isle of Man Stamps

Project Info

Client Isle of Man Post Office
Skills Graphic Design, Illustration

Project Description

The Story Behind the Making of the RAF100 Stamps

This a short form of the stamp information. For a full description, see the story of how we made the stamps here:  http://www.glazierdesign.com/raf100stamps/

We are honoured to present the official RAF100 Centenary stamps designed for the Isle of Man Post Office. This set of eight stamps marks 100 years of the oldest independent combat air force in the world.

On the 1st of April 1918, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were united to form the Royal Air Force. The RAF holds great importance to the Isle of Man and there has been a long history of innovation associated with the Island. The Martin Baker ejector seat was developed in the Isle of Man and the airfields, Jurby and Andreas, served the RAF during the Second World War and beyond. The Isle of Man also paid for Douglas Bader’s Spitfire.

How it began:

The story behind the stamps begins, as most of our stories do, over a glass of wine. Ben was discussing the history of the RAF with the then Secretary of the RAF Club; they were talking about Ben’s grandfather Geoffrey Glazier, a Royal Flying Corps pilot, who on the founding of the RAF on 1st of April 1918 became one of the first RAF Officer Pilots.

Having just issued the successful Einstein to Hawking, 100 years of Gravitational Theory stamps, Ben spoke to IOM PO and proposed an issue on RAF100. Ben made contact with the MOD RAF100 committee and the process of research and discovery began.

Family History:

Geoffrey Glazier was Ben Glazier’s grandfather. Born in 1899, he was a student at Aldenham School in Hertfordshire, England; he left school one day with a group of friends and signed up with the Royal Flying Corps. After a short period of training in a Grahame-White Biplane and the Avro 504, he travelled to France, arriving on the 26th of March 1918. On the 15th of April 1918 he was shot down whilst flying a Sopwith Camel low over German trenches and invalided back to England.

His short war lasted only three weeks, however one week into it, on the 1st of April 1918, the RAF was formed; as an RFC pilot on active service, he became on of the first RAF Officer Pilots. Geoffrey was one of the lucky ones, he lived through the war, training other pilots. After the war he returned to the family business, Herbert Johnson Hatters.

Respect for Tradition

Our designs sought to respect both the traditions of the RAF and the sentiment of the general public to aircraft that have become national icons. There are many that we could have included, but these eight proved the most popular. As usual with our stamps, we have hidden layers of information in them, including medal names, the GPS reference of airfields, the name of someone important to the RAF.

Each stamp also includes a secret message in morse code, which is only visible under UV light. Once deciphered, the message will reveal a well-known poem ‘High Flight’, by John Gillespie Magee, a Canadian Air Force pilot who trained at the RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire and died ejecting from a Spitfire during training, just weeks after he wrote the poem. He was just 19.

These stamps are available to collectors and the public and you can order them from www.iomstamps.com/raf – special sets are available, including a First Day Cover, a special sheetlet of six stamps and framed editions.

What Secrets Lie Beneath:

Find out more by following our Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/glazierdesign/

First Stamp:

Our first stamp features the Sopwith Camel, perhaps the best remembered of the First World War aircraft. It was a fighter aircraft, developed by the Sopwith Aviation Company, with a single rotary engine and two Vickers machine guns; it had a box-like wooden construction and a fabric-covered fuselage, wings and tail, with plywood around the cockpit. A humped metal fairing over the gun breeches earned it the name ‘Camel’ and it was credited with shooting down 1294 enemy aircraft. Towards the end of the war it was adapted to carry bombs as a ground-attack aircraft.

Second Stamp:

The single seater Spitfire is the most iconic British fighter aircraft. More than 20,000 were built in many different marks, of which fewer than 100 remain flying today. An all-metal semi-monocoque construction with a liquid-cooled in-line engine, it was well-balanced and easy to fly. First armed with eight machine guns and later with a mixture of cannons and machine guns, it achieved legendary status during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was the only RAF fighter aircraft to be in constant production throughout the Second World War.

Third stamp:

The Avro Lancaster was the principal heavy bomber used by the RAF in the Second World War. The four engine aircraft was used extensively in night raids, its long bomb bay being capable of holding the largest 12,000lb bombs; a total of 7,377 aircraft were built. During the night bombing of Europe they delivered over 600,000 tons of bombs in 156,000 sorties, most famously the Upkeep ‘bouncing bombs’ that 617 Squadron dropped on the Ruhr Valley dams.

Fourth stamp:

The Avro Vulcan was a high-altitude bomber that served the RAF from 1956 to 1984. It was a light-alloy delta wing jet aircraft protected by electronic countermeasures but no traditional defences. As the main aircraft in the V-Force, it was the backbone of the UK nuclear deterrent, carrying 20 kiloton nuclear weapons throughout much of the Cold War. The Vulcan also played a role in the Falklands conflict in 1982.

Fifth stamp:

The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an instantly recognisable twin rotor heavy-lifting aircraft used for troop movements, supply and battlefield casualty evacuation. With a crew of four, it can carry up to fifty-five people or up to 10 tons of freight. The Chinook has been heavily used in Afghanistan and it has full night-time capability when operated with night vision goggles; it has advanced avionics and defensive measures, allowing it to operate day or night in a wide range of theatres.

Sixth stamp:

The Harrier or Harrier Jump-Jet was a jet powered aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing, making it highly versatile. It is remembered for its role in the Falklands War and is beloved of the British public still. The GR7 and later GR9 were equipped with a wide range of precision weaponry enabling laserguided precision attacks, and defence measures that offer greater protection to the pilot.

Seventh stamp:

The Typhoon is an agile multi-role combat aircraft used in conflict, peace-keeping and air-policing. The advanced cockpit has voice activated control over weaponry and Head Equipment Assembly (HEA), which comprises the aircrew helmet and all the sub-system elements needed to display a real world overlaid picture on the helmet visor, offering supreme control in intense conflict situations. The aircraft can be armed with a range of weaponry and missiles.

Eighth stamp:

The Lockheed-Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, known in the UK as the Lightning II is a 5th generation STOVL multi-role supersonic stealth aircraft with a hugely capable and flexible weapons system. It will join the Typhoon in providing the core of combat aircraft capability from 2018. The RAF has received nine aircraft, which are currently stationed in the USA. In early 2018, 617 Squadron will reform and fly the Lightning II from RAF Marham. This aircraft is the future face of RAF combat.

This a short form of the stamp information. For a full description, see the story of how we made the stamps here:  http://www.glazierdesign.com/raf100/