Royal Mail will release a six-stamp miniature sheet commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain on July 16.

The first major battle in history fought entirely in the air was contested over southern England from July to October 1940. It proved a key turning point in World War II, as the Royal Air Force denied Germany’s Luftwaffe the air superiority which was the prerequisite of an attempt to invade.

Unlike the famous issue of 1965, the stamps feature monochrome photographic images and focus mainly on the people involved, including fighter pilots, ground crew, observers and operations room staff.

The border depicts Prime Minister Winston Churchill visiting a coastal defence position near Hartlepool on July 31, and reproduces his famous quote that ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’.

The stamps were designed by The Team and the miniature sheet by Supple Studio. The issue was printed in litho by International Security Printers.

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RAF fighter pilots rush to their Hurricanes after receiving the ‘scramble’ call to engage enemy aircraft.

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Supermarine Spitfires of 610 Squadron, based at Biggin Hill in Kent, patrol the skies in close formation.

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Armourer Fred Roberts re-arms a Spitfire while its pilot, Sergeant Bernard Jennings, talks to his mechanic.

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New recruits as spotters for the Auxiliary Territorial Service receive their first lesson in identifying enemy aircraft.

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The Operations Room at Bentley Priory in north-west London, the headquarters of RAF Fighter Command, was the hub of a complex air defence system.

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Fighter pilots of 32 Squadron relax between flying missions at RAF Hawkinge in Kent.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

In the presentation pack, designed to recall the posters and publications of the era, Peter Devitt, Curator of the RAF Museum at Hendon, describes how the Battle of Britain unfolded and celebrates the key people and aircraft involved.

Stamps cards and a first day cover are available as usual, and a special coin cover will be issued on September 15.

 

PRICES

Miniature sheet £5.88

Presentation pack £6.40

Stamp cards £3.15

First day cover £7.53

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   4/5

This was a big moment in British history, although it’s odd that the 75th anniversary is being marked, when the 50th wasn’t

QUALITY OF DESIGN   2/5

It’s an interesting set of photographs, but one which lacks action and dynamism

WOW FACTOR   2/5

This is a low-key commemoration in comparison with the iconic 1965 set, but a different approach was necessary this time