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The Tigers proudly introduced the Lightning into RAF service. Sqn Ldr John Howe was CO when 74 received their first Fl. Here we see XM139/C and XM164/K. An Fl is preserved at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.  After the Fl came the F3 which 74 flew from April 1964 to September 1967. Under Sqn Ldr Bill Maish at Leuchars the F3s were subject to an Intensive Flying Trial, the purpose of which was to put 300 hours on to each of 6 aircraft as quickly as possible so that an accurate measure of component serviceability and servicing schedules could be taken. The theory seemed fine: in practice its value was doubtful. 74 was the first squadron to receive full production Lighting F6s. The major external difference was brought about by a determined effort to improve the aircraft’s abysmal endurance by the incorporation of a larger ventral tank. This is an interesting shot ofXR767 – a former Tiger’s aircraft.  The Squadron actually never flew camouflaged examples. When his photo was taken ‘767 was a Binbrook machine specially marked up for display purposes – date unknown.


In June 1967 74 Squadron deployed to Tengah, Singapore, a deployment code named Operation Hydraulic. They were to spend just over four years in the Far East. On 8th August ’67 first contact was made with 75 Sqn RAAF. Tiger Boss Ken Goodwin (left) greets Wg Cdr Flemming. ‘Like I said, you name it – we fly it! You fly it-we hack it. Welcome to Tengah!’

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In March 1968 74 (belatedly) celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Simon Bostok proudly paraded the Squadron Standard.  To mark the occasion a display formation was flown by The Frantic Five. The team comprised (from left to right) Fit Lt Clive Mitchell, Fit Lt Tony Doidge, Fl Lt Jim Jewell (team leader). Fit Lt lain McBride and Fg Off Dave Garden.

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The Squadron as at January 1969 – too many to name other than JEngO Fit Lt Tony Saw (extreme left) and SEngO Sqn Ldr David Pugh (extreme right).  The ‘other’ Squadron photo!


January ’69 and 74 practice buddy refuelling from Royal Navy Sea Vixens. Here Dave Roome is about to tank from an aircraft from 893 Sqn (HMS Hermes). Simon Bostok is in ‘Hotel’.


On 8th July 1970 Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew visited 74 and was shown over a Lightning. The Tiger’s stay in Singapore was a happy and interesting one but was curtailed by the Squadron’s disbandment in September 1971.


Dave Roome was a Flight Lieutenant with the Tigers during the Tengah years.


Bruntingthorpe – 27th July 2014

A great day at Bruntingthorpe celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the first flight of the Lightning.  XS904/BQ was also named in honour of Tiger John…

Thanks to Jim Jolly for these photos…

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