Royal Air Force Abingdon Open Day.

15th June 1968

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the RAF.

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In the Statement on Defence Estimates 1968...
The two squadrons of Blue Steel carrying Victors will be disbanded later this year. The strategic reconnaisance and tanker Victors will continue in service. The last Javelin squadron is being withdrawn from the Far East. Argosies will be phased out by 1971.

"Air Pictorial's" March 1968 estimate of the strength of the RAF: 96 Vulcan and Victor V-bombers, 144 Canberras, 204 Lightnings, Javalins and Hunters, and 50 Shackletons. The Victor B2s will be phased out by the end of the year. Transports: 14 VC10s, 10 Belfast, 5 Comet C4, 23 Britannias, 66 Hercules (being delivered), 56 Argosies, 31 Andover C1 plus some Twin Pioneers overseas. On order: 100 Phantoms, 60 Harriers plus possibly 10 T2s, 200 Jaguars including trainers that will replace the Gnat and Hunter T7s, also 38 Nimrod.

The Fighters

Sopwith Camel

Sopwith Camel.

In 1968...
Capt.W.E.Johns, the creator of 'Biggles' died in June at the age of 75.


Gloster Gladiator I. Introduced in early 1937, though most squadrons had re-equipped with Hurricanes or Spitfires by September 1939. It continued in service until 1944, being used for communications and meterological work. 746 were built. It was also used by the Fleet Air Arm and exported to several other countries.


Supermarine Spitfire I. In the 1939 colours of 72 Squadron.

In 1968...
Former Spanish Messerschmitt 109's appear on the British civil register for the forthcoming film 'The Battle of Britain'.


Boulton Paul Defiant. Painted as a night fighter of 1941.


Bristol Beaufighter. Representing a 1942-43 night fighter.

Hawker Tempest V

Hawker Tempest V. First deliveries made in April 1944. The thinner elliptical wing remedied some of the shortcomings of the Typhoon as an interceptor. It was successful against the V-1 flying bombs and the Me 262.
See the Links page for more about the Tempest.

Gloster Meteor F8

Gloster Meteor F8 from the 1950's.

In 1968...
British European Airways fleet consists of 2 Heron, Viscounts and Vanguards, Argosies, 1-11 500 on order, Comet 4B, Trident 1C with 2E being delivered, 1 Westland Sikorsky S-55, 5 S-61N and a Jet Ranger.

BEA Silver Wing holidays. 2 weeks in sunny Majorca from as little as £38. Night tourist return.

DH Vampire F3

DH Vampire F3 from the 1950's.

In 1968...
BOAC's fleet consists of 12 VC10's, 17 Super VC10's, 13 Conway powered 707's, and 4 cargo 707's.

The first Boeing 737 entered service, with Lufthansa, in February.

"Jane's all the World's Aircraft 1967-68", cost 8 guineas.

Gloster Meteor NF13

Gloster Meteor NF13. From the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down.

On the 30th April 1968, Strike Command was formed with the merger of Bomber and Fighter Commands.

Supermarine Swift

Supermarine Swift FR5.


Gloster Javelin FAW9. In service in the Far East.


BAC Lightning F6.
See the Links page for more about the Lightning.

On the 25th May, the first Lightning for Kuwait made its maiden flight. HS125 sales reach 150. 1-11 sales now total 157. Cessna 182/Skylane deliveries reach 10,000.

The Bombers

The Fighters

Communications and Helicopters

Trainers and Transport

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