Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

Royal Air Force Centenary stamp issue - 20 March 2018

This is the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force and this stamp issue pays tribute not only to the significant part it has played in British military history but also to its ongoing role of protecting the country and its interests, providing humanitarian assistance and saving lives

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare organisation and is the oldest independent air force, i.e. independent of army and navy forces, in the world. The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the air arm of the British Army formed in 1912 until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1st April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force.

This stamp issue commemorates the 100th anniversary of the RAF and pays tribute not only to the significant part it has played in British military history but also to its ongoing role of protecting the country and its interests, providing humanitarian assistance and saving lives. It also highlights the bravery and heroism of its personnel and the innovation and technological advancement that has helped make the RAF the envy of the world.

   RAF Centenary first class stamps.
RAF Centenary £1-40 stamps.
RAF Centenary £1-57 stamps.
Monitor page
for changes

it's private
powered by

1st class:
Lightning F6; Hurricane Mk1

Vulcan B2; Typhoon FGR4

Sopwith Camel F1; Nimrod MR2

RAF Centenary Red Arrows miniature sheet of stamps. 

Miniature Sheet

2 x 1st class
Flypast; Swan.

2 x £1.40
Synchro; Python.

RAF Centenary PSB Cover. RAF Centenary PSB Pane 1.
RAF Centenary PSB Pane 2. RAF Centenary PSB Pane 3.
RAF Centenary PSB Pane 4. RAF Centenary PSB Pane 5.
2p stamp from RAF PSB. 5p stamp from RAF PSB. £1-17 stamp from RAF PSB.

The Prestige Stamp Book contains 5 panes of stamp making it the most expensive PSB issued, aside from the limited editions.

Pane 1:
2 x 1st class Lightning &
2 x £1.40 Typhoon

Pane 2:
1st class Hurricane
£1.40 Vulcan
£1.57 Sopwith Camel and Nimrod

Pane 3:
4 x 1st class stamps from 2015 Battle of Britain Anniversary MS, one of them repeated.
These are currently listed in major catalogues only as a complete MS, so their inclusion here as separate stamps will guarantee them a separate listing.

Pane 4:
All four stamps from the Red Arrows miniature sheet, in a different format which will guarantee them a listing in major catalogues.

Pane 5:
Machin definitives with security coding MPIL M18L

3 x 2p, 2 x 5p
2 x £1.17.

This is the second new 5p and  £1.17 MPIL stamps issued this year, the previous one being in the Game of Thrones PSB with year code M17L.

In th RAF book the phosphor has a very solid finish which obscures the MPIL coding at top right.  These photos are far from perfect but the text under the phosphor is almost impossible to see with the naked eye.
RAF Centenary retail booklet. 1st class definitive stamp from RAF retail booklet. Two retail booklets complete this issue, each containing four 1st class Machin definitives and two special stamps.

A booklet containing the two 1st class RAF stamps is issued on 20 March, and a second containing two 1st class Red Arrows stamps is scheduled for 11 May 2018.

The booklets are printed on Security Printed Backing Paper type 2. Definitives are coded M18L MCIL

Stamp details:

1st Class: Lightning F6
The Lightning represents the fastest British-made fighter of all time, being the first supersonic craft to enter RAF service (in 1959). It featured two Rolls Royce engines in a unique ‘stacked’ configuration and its power allowed for take-off and a rate of climb faster than any other jet. Later variants (the F.6) were capable of twice the speed of sound and it was the RAF’s principle interceptor for 20 years.

1st Class: Hurricane Mk I
The Hurricane is credited with winning the Battle of Britain, accounting for 55% of German losses, as well as essential service during the Dunkirk evacuation and was the RAF’s principal single seat night fighter facing German bombing raids in 1941 and 1942. Hurricanes also saw action in the defence of Malta, North Africa and the Far East.

£1.40: L Vulcan B2
The Vulcan is the iconic delta wing bomber and a major UK engineering triumph. Designed as a high altitude bomber it entered service in 1956 and was withdrawn in 1984. It was part of the V-force which were designed to carry Britain’s nuclear deterrent. The more powerful B2 entered service in 1960. When the nuclear deterrent passed to the Royal Navy submarines in 1969, the role of the Vulcan became one of a tactical bomber. It was called into action in the Falklands Conflict of 1982.

£1.40: Typhoon FGR4
The state of the art fighter – one-third British and the current principal craft defending UK skies and increasingly deployed in overseas activity. It is a multi-role fighter, first deployed to the RAF in 2003 and first saw active service in Libya in 2011. It can fly at up to 55,000 feet and at Mach 1.8. At full strength the RAF will operate 160 craft. Markings of No 3 Squadron recommended (as historic squadron and first to fly aeroplanes).

£1.57: Nimrod MR 2
The Nimrod was introduced in 1969 for maritime patrol, surveillance and anti-submarine roles. Sophisticated radar and electronic surveillance equipment was in the extended nose and tail. The upgraded MR2 entered service in 1979 and was deployed in the Falklands Conflict and in the Gulf War. It’s enhanced capabilities also permitted search and rescue operations. It was retired from service in 2010.

£1.57: Camel F1
The Sopwith Camel F1 is the best known and most successful Allied WW1 fighter and scout aircraft though it was difficult to fly and required huge skill. Credited with shooting down almost 1,300 enemy aircraft it was also successful as a ground attack craft. Squadrons of Camels were also important for home defence, protecting cities from Zeppelin raids.

Minisheet 2 x 1st Class & 2 x £1.40
In addition to the six stamps, Royal Mail is also issuing a Miniature Sheet celebrating the RAF Red Arrows Aerobatic Team which has been displaying since 1965. One of the premier aerobatic teams in the world, comprising 120 personnel including pilots, engineers and support staff, the Red Arrows are based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. They fly the Hawk T1 at speeds in excess of 600mph and the nine display pilots, including the team leader undergo extensive training and practise.

Technical details:

The 41 x 30 mm square stamps are designed by Royal Mail using illustrations by Michael Turner.  The miniature sheet is designed by Turner Duckworth, with 41 x 30 mm stamps, the sheet being 192 x 74 mm overall.
Stamps and sheet are printed in lithography on ordinary gummed paper by International Security Printers; the separate stamps are se-tenant in sheets of 60 stamps. 

Red Arrows stamps: Flypast photo by Cpl Andy Benson © MoD/UK Crown copyright 2007; Swan photo by Sgt Ross Tilly © MoD/UK Crown copyright 2016; Synchro photo by Cpl Steve Buckley © MoD/UK Crown copyright 2015; Python photo © EJ van Koningsveld 2007; sky background on stamps © itsskin/Getty Images; miniature sheet background design by Turner Duckworth referencing a photo of a Red Arrows Hawk © Mike Rivett/Fotomotion; All RAF and Red Arrows logos are trademarks of the UK Secretary of State for Defence and used under licence; all MoD/UK Crown copyright images reproduced with the permission of the Controller, HMSO, Londo,n no reproduction permitted without agreement from Royal Mail.  This website © Norvic Philatelics 2018. 

Product range - we will be stocking the stamps from the booklet and some stamps from the PSB.

Set of 6 stamps  -  Miniature Sheet -  Presentation Pack containing all 6 stamps & Miniature Sheet  - Set of 11 Stamp Cards  - Two retail booklets.

First Day Covers x3 (including definitive pane from PSB) - Prestige Stamp Book

The set of stamps and the miniature sheet are also being sold as framed products at £29.99 each, aimed at RAF/aircraft enthusiasts.

Special postmarks available for the day of issue are/will be shown in Royal Mail's Postmark Bulletins (download here)

This page created 1 March 2018

Keep up to date on our blog
Home Page
Visit our online shop!

Norvic Philatelics, PO Box 119, Dereham, NR20 3YN, GB.
UK Phone: 08450 090939 -- Skype:ian.billings-norvic