For the first time in many years three Hawker Hurricanes now reside at the same airfield in the UK, that of Old Warden in Bedfordshire, with the arrival of recently restored Battle of Britain veteran P3717.
For many years the only example of the type based at Old Warden was the Shuttleworth Collection’s unique Sea Hurricane until 2015 when it was joined by Mk.I R4118 under the Hurricane Heritage, set up by entrepreneur James Brown when he purchased the Battle of Britain veteran from Peter Vacher and decided to base it at Old Warden where it could be seen on a regular basis both in the museum and flying at air displays.
R4118 has now gained a stable mate with the arrival of P3717 which will be operated by Hurricane Heritage/Bygone Engineering Ltd for its debut airshow season. These two Battle of Britain veterans will fly together as a reminder and a memorial to the bravery and sacrifices of those airmen who flew in combat at that time.
P3717 made its first post restoration flight from Turweston aerodrome in March before moving to Old Warden to continue test flying. The Hurricane has been restored into its Mk.II configuration but wears the scheme it wore during the Battle of Britain when it served with 253 Squadron.
In August 1940 the squadron, including P3717, was scrambled to intercept incoming Messerschmitt Bf-110s of which it downed one over Redhill. P3717 was badly damaged in the combat and was returned to Hawkers for repairs, where the Hurricane was upgraded to Mk.II standard before being sent to Russia where the aircraft was recovered in the 1990s.The
three Hurricanes being based together will surely be a big draw for
enthusiasts and will hopefully be seen in the air together at
Shuttleworth airshows, a huge coup as it is rare to see more than two
Hurricanes in the air together at any one time. It will hopefully be an
opportunity to raise the profile of the Hawker Hurricane amongst both
enthusiasts and the public alike, which is often overshadowed by the
Spitfire, and the important role the type, its pilots and ground crews
played during the war.