The last Lightning

Nine Lightning F1 of No 74 Squadron RAF display at the 1961 SBAC show, Farnborough. Photo credit: TSRL

Thunder and Lightnings
by Jan Mark,
illustrated by Jim Russell.
Puffin Books 1978 (1976).

‘I wonder if that was the last Lightning of all,’ said Andrew.
‘Well, if that wasn’t, that ought to have been. What a way to go out, eh?’

Chapter 17

This is a tale of oddballs, obsessions and, to some extent, opposites. It is also a well observed sketch of friendship, of the inevitability of change, and of being comfortable with being who you are.

Two schoolboys in 1980s Norfolk are thrown together with nothing to suggest they have anything in common except being outsiders in their school, Andrew whose family are incomers and Victor who would be possibly be identified now as having learning difficulties.

And yet there is more to either than appears on the surface, and they will have more in common than their social backgrounds and familial aspirations would suggest, bonded at first by Victor’s obsession with English Electric Lightning warplanes and then by a comfortable companionship. And yet that easy companionship may be tested by matters outside their control.

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