Images of War, The English Electric Lightning, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives

This new addition to the hugely popular “Images of War” series tells the story of the outstanding English Electric Lightning. This is a story of sadness and success. The Lightning was the last all-British fighter but it performed amazingly. – Highly Recommended

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NAME: Images of War, The English Electric Lightning, Rare Photographs From 
Wartime Archives
FILE: R2827
AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES: 114
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: point defence interceptor, supersonic fighter, Mach 2 fighter, RAF, 
RSAF, last all British fighter, RAF Coltishall, RAF Wattisham 

ISBN: 1-52670-556-7

IMAGE: B2827.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y5thguqm
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:   This new addition to the hugely popular “Images of War” 
series tells the story of the outstanding English Electric Lightning. This is a 
story of sadness and success. The Lightning was the last all-British fighter but 
it performed amazingly. -  Highly Recommended

The English Electric Company was bought up by the General Electric Company during its rapid 
expansion under Arnold (later Lord) Weinstock. It is interesting that the first British jet bomber and 
the first British supersonic fighter both came from the aviation division of an electrical manufacturer 
that became part of GEC near the peak of its expansion when it designed and built everything from 
washing machines and television sets to advanced mine hunters, to very successful advanced military 
jets.

The design of what became the first military jets in their classes incredibly began during WWII, leading 
to specifications for purchase from the RAF in 1947. These aircraft were outstanding in their classes 
and the Canberra bomber was built in large numbers for the RAF and for export, including a licence 
build agreement with Martin for the USAF. The Canberra also enjoyed a very long service life and 
became an outstanding reconnaissance aircraft equipped for 'spy' missions. The Lightning was equally 
successful in many respects at a particularly challenging time for fighters.

The Lightning was not without its flaws. It was always short of fuel, being designed originally as a point 
defence interceptor that could achieve an unbelievable rate of climb from take-off. Adding in-flight 
refuelling and a conformal belly tank were the only options to help it meet the new challenges facing 
fighters during the height of the Cold War, where interceptions of Soviet bombers approaching from 
their polar bases way out over the North Sea were required. Generally, the Lightning was a maintenance 
heavy aircraft, spending far more time in the hanger workshops than in the air. It was a brutal looking 
aircraft, particularly with the swollen belly that was intended to improve its sparse fuel reserves. It was
also vulnerable to fire. The over and under configuration of the two jet engines left little space around 
them and fuel leaks, over heating and electrical sparking resulted in a number of aircraft crashing as a 
result of engine bay fires.

The defects aside, the Lightning was loved by pilots being incredibly fast for the time and very 
responsive to the pilot. Rate of climb was amazing and looked like a rocket in flight. The aircraft was 
a stable gun platform to the point that it could serve in the ground attack role and its Firestreak missiles 
made it a potent bomber killer.

East Anglia was covered with airfields during WWII to accommodate RAF and USAAF aircraft and 
many were on the same runway headings. This provided an example of how the Lightning could deal 
with the unexpected. The old fighter base at St Faiths became Norwich Airport and its runway was on 
the same heading as nearby RAF Coltishall. In error a pair of Lightnings heading for RAF Coltishall 
landed on the then disused airfield that was being turned into Norwich Airport. The aircraft landed 
without mishap and later took off for their intended destination.

The author is a leading aviation historian, living close to the site of one of the two main Lightning bases 
in the UK. He presents an excellent selection  of photographs in support of clear and carefully researched 
text, the photographic illustration being extensive as is to be expected of books in this very successful 
series.