Hurricane LF363

Hurricane LF363 (Mk IIc)

LF363 was built at the Hawker factory at Langley near Slough. It first flew in January 1944 and is believed to be the last Hurricane to enter service with the RAF. The aircraft served with No 63 Squadron at Turnhouse, No 309 (Polish) Squadron at Drem, where it was used on shipping protection patrols off the east coast of Scotland, and No 26 Squadron with whom it flew naval artillery spotting and reconnaissance sorties before the end of the War.

Hurricane LF363 LF363 was then stored in the open air at Langley, waiting to be scrapped. Fortunately, it was rescued in mid-1949, largely through the intervention of Air Commodore (later Air Vice Marshal) Stanley Vincent CB, DFC, AFC. After arranging for LF363 to be made airworthy, Stanley Vincent himself led the Battle of Britain flypast over London in the aircraft in September 1949.

Between 1949 and 1956, LF363 was held and maintained, rather unofficially, by a series of front-line squadrons and Station Flights, being flown on ceremonial occasions and appearing in various films. After a major re-fit at Hawkers, LF363 became a founding aircraft of the Historic Aircraft Flight, the forerunner of the BBMF, when it was formed in 1957.

LF363 suffered a major accident on 11th September 1991 when, as a result of an engine failure, it crashed on the runway at RAF Wittering. The aircraft was seriously damaged by the impact and the ensuing fierce fire; fortunately the BBMF pilot escaped with a broken ankle and minor burns. Subsequently, LF363 was re-built by Historic Flying Ltd between 1994 and 1998 and then re-joined the BBMF after 7 years out of action.

Hurricane LF363 Hurricane LF363 has been painted with temporary code letters commemorating the aircraft flown by two surviving Battle of Britain pilots. The port side has the code letters GN-F worn by the 249 Sqn Hurricanes (P3616 and V7313) flown by Tom Neil in the Battle of Britain. Tom retired as a Wg Cdr with a DFC* and an AFC.

The starboard side has SD-A, the code letters of one of the 501 Sqn Hurricanes (P2760) flown by Paul Farnes during the Battle of Britain. He flew this aircraft from the official start of the Battle on 10th July to 14th September 1940. He was awarded the DFM and retired from the RAF as a Wg Cdr.

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