Hurricane history

The Hurricane

The Hawker Hurricane is one of the classic fighters of all time, designed and built for war. It was at the forefront of Britain’s defence in 1940 and it played a major part in achieving the victory of 1945.

501 Sqn Hurricanes Sir Sydney Camm CBE commenced the design work for the Hurricane in 1934 (Camm went on to design the Typhoon, Tempest, Hunter and Harrier). The prototype Hurricane (K5083) made its maiden flight on 6th November 1935 and deliveries to the RAF commenced just before Christmas 1937 to 111 Squadron at Northolt (8 months ahead of the Spitfire).

The Hurricane was the first British monoplane eight-gun fighter, the first RAF aircraft to exceed 300 mph in level flight and the first production fighter with a retractable main undercarriage.

During the Battle of Britain, RAF Fighter Command fielded more Hurricanes than Spitfires, and Hurricanes achieved a similarly greater proportion of combat kills during the Battle.

A remarkable total of 14,533 Hurricanes were built and the aircraft served operationally on every day throughout hostilities, in every operational theatre and in many roles. At the end of World War Two in 1945, Hurricanes were still in the front-line helping to ensure final victory in the Far East.

84 Sqn Hurricane With the end of the war, Hurricanes were quickly retired from service as the rapid progression of aircraft design and capabilities had effectively rendered them obsolete and the aircraft’s job was done. The vast majority were simply scrapped and broken up. Sadly, today, there are only 12 Hurricanes still airworthy worldwide; only 6 of those in UK. The BBMF is proud to operate two of these historically important and rare aircraft.


Header Image: Hurricane during wartime.

Image 1: Hurricanes of 501 Sqn Kenley taking off 16 Aug 1940.

Image 2: Albert Lewis 84 Sqn Hurricane VY-R BoB 1940.

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