In the beginning….
Cambridge Bomber & Fighter Society, together with 85 Squadron Association and many others over the coming years, hope to restore a Battle of France Hawker Hurricane MkI L-series using as many original parts as possible. Depending on funding and the expertise which can be brought to bear, possibly to flying condition but more likely to be for static display.
The Hurricane project was started a few years ago but the Fury is still at an early stage. The generosity of the people and organisations who are active in this field is already evident and in addition to the components which we have already acquired, technical assistance, fabrication and offers of plans have been received in abundance.
At the moment most of the components which have been obtained are cockpit instruments, undercarriage and complete fuselage plus two centre sections, two tail planes , stabilizer fins, rudder and many other hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Before the end of the year we hope to be able to take up promises on:-
Wings and flaps, early type circular 1937
One or more of five engine offers – finally received 2006
Canopy, radiators, header tank – received 2001
Centre section – received 2001
Control assemblies – received 2004
Undercarriage legs – 4 sets – received 2001
3 no. Tail plane and rudder – received 2001 and 2006
Engine mounting frame – 2 no. – received 2001
Rear fuselage, fin, tail plane – received end of 2006
Computer dead reckoning – received 2006
Engine and cockpit cowlings – received 2008
New set of ignition harnesses – received 2008
New set of serviceable plugs for the Merlin engine – received 2010
Griffon header tank – received 2010 (not for the Hurricane!)
Merlin II engine
Two early Sutton harnesses
1940s parachute, unused
2 main 33 gallon fuel tanks
28 gallon reserve tank
Engine mounting frame, badly damaged – received 2008
Control grip and instruments – received 2008
Main undercarriage wheels – received 2008
Some fish plates – received 2007
Damaged fuselage pieces – received 2007
Early engine, damaged but OK for static use
A frame and skid mechanism – received 2010
A further 1800 engineering plans for the Fury and others – received 2010
Rudder and Kestrel 1 engine – received 2015
Header tank – 2018
As with any project of this nature time, patience and the goodwill of many people will be put to the test over the coming years but at least a major start has been made and hands are getting dirty – pictures of the workshop/work being done can be seen on subsequent pages!
There will be a separate page for the Fury project in due course.
The first of the engines is a dry recovery Merlin 20 which was a replacement in a Lancaster, with damage to the reduction gear, supercharger and crankcase but with complete valve and rocker gear and slight damage to one of the heads and with grease still evident in the bores and on crankshaft bearings, we hope to have many usable components. The second engine was recovered 30 years ago from a farmer’s field in Lincolnshire which was from an early Mark I Hurricane 1939/40, Merlin 3, aircraft flying hours 20. Fortunately crank shaft and top banks and associated components are in excellent condition. The remains of a third engine were from a late Mark I Hurricane, Merlin 3, which was recovered a few weeks ago in Cambridgeshire. A fourth engine was recently acquired. A fifth engine plus a whole plethora of Merlin components and spares for the Hawker Fury.
A pair of fairly rare 5-spoke wheels have been acquired, with several sets of undercarriage legs and complete hydraulic system plus hand operated Dowty hand pump and associated equipment. As you can see by our workshop pictures, the Hurricane is well over half-way complete and will probably take another 7+ years to complete.
We have been trying to publicise the project with a view to attracting sponsorship. A brief article was published nationally in the FlyPast magazine concerning our major consignment of parts from Russia. We have also had articles published in Aeroplane Monthly and the RAF Magazine, AirClues. Locally we have been on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: 22/10/97, 20/1/98, 23/11/98 and 25/02/01. A new article was on the front page of the Cambridge Evening News on 6 March 2001 and we also have an article pending publication in the Daily Mail. Previous articles have been published in the Cambridge Evening News group of newspapers during 1997/98. A new filmed interview was shown on BBC Look East early in 2001. Filming has also been completed for Anglia Television and BBC Look East, and both these short clips have now been shown (end of 1997/early 1998). There continues to be TV/media interest which has generated some useful contacts. We have now gained a small sponsorship deal with a local engineering firm. As may have been noted from the opening page, we are now members of the 85 Squadron Association, the membership of which we hope will prove an invaluable source of knowledge and experience. The Association’s newsletter has also given the project an extensive write up.
During the last few months we have negotiated a link which enables us to acquire a constant supply of Hurricane components, large and small, from outside Europe.
We believe we have found a home for the finished article which will entail loan agreements of approximately 2 years before considering donation to a premier museum in the UK or overseas. Further information in this connection will be confirmed at a later date. We must emphasise that we are a charitable non-profit making society and rely on the goodwill of others to fulfil our function.