Britain's most spectacular commemoratives, No19: 1965 Battle of Britain 4d

No stamp issue of the 1960s was as spectacular and controversial as the set marking the 25th anniversary of the conflict in which so much was owed by so many to so few.

For the first time, six different designs were combined in the same sheet. Even more amazingly, four of them had silhouettes of Germany’s defeated aircraft alongside Britain’s victorious fighters and the Queen’s head. Clearly visible emblems included the Luftwaffe iron cross logo and even the hated swastika, which was sure to offend some members of the public. 

What made this particular stamp acceptable was that the swastika was shown half-submerged, on a downed Dornier bomber with victorious Hawker Hurricanes flying overhead. Still, the bravery of Royal Mail echoed that of the pilots in those glorious days of September 1940.

Design: David Gentleman and Rosaline Dease.

Printing: gravure by Harrisons.