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The Hurricane

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The Hurricane

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The Hurricane

While the Spitfire retains a place in national hearts as the iconic fighter plane of the second world war, the Hawker Hurricane has often appeared to be in its shadow. (To read about the Spitfire, click here.) This is despite the fact that it was responsible for downing more enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain and other engagements, and that there were more Hurricanes than Spitfires in the Air Force armoury.

The Hurricane was the first monoplane fighter to be commissioned by the Air Force, and the first to attain flying speeds in excess of 300mph. Slightly predating the development of the Spitfire, the Hurricane was the work of Sydney Camm, who began work on it in 1934. It went into service just before Christmas 1937, running on a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine just like its stablemate.

Among illustrious Hurricane pilots of the war were Sergeant Josef Frantisek, a Czech airman who holds the record for the highest number of individual hits – 17 – and Flight Lieutenant James Nicolson, the only Fighter Command pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Nicolson downed an enemy aircraft while his own plane was under attack and on fire, before parachuting to safety.

Photo: Rob Roy



Your comments

There was another plane that did its bit during the Battle of Britain. The often forgotten Hurricane was very much the workhorse of the RAF in the early part of the war, and during the Battle, outnumbered the more famous Spit. Hurricanes were often designated to shoot down bombers whilst the Spits took on the German Fighters. In this respect the Hurricane could be said to have had more impact on the Battle. As well as this, the Hurricane was regarded as a more rugged and tough plane, perhaps more accurately reflecting the attitude of the nation at that testing time.

Michael Noding

The Hurricane was essential in the Battle of Britain, being easier to build (and so replace) and easier to fly. The german aircraft that bombed Buckingham Palace was shot down by a Hurri flown by "Ginger" Lacey.
David Hodson

Without the Hurricane, the Spitfire alone would not have prevailed in the Battle of Britain. Hurricanes being much simpler to build and to fly. Incidentally, the german aircraft which bombed Buckingham Palace was shot down by a Hurricane, piloted by "Ginger" Lacey.
David Hodson

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My nomination is the garden shed.