Restored Hawker Hurricane to Take to the Skies Again

For Pilot Officer Kenneth McGlasham his flight from Kent in May 1940 to provide cover at Dunkirk on the French coast for evacuating British troops, was very short.

His Mk 1 Hawker Hurricane of 245 Squadron, damaged by fire from a Messerschmitt 109, and with him badly injured, forced a crash landing on the beach.  McGlasham escaped being captured by scrambling aboard a paddle steam that returned him and 2,000 other servicemen back to Britain.

The aircraft, reduced to a frame after McGlasham set fire to it to prevent the aircraft from falling into enemy hands, remained on the sands, eventually washed out to sea and covered by sand and tides.  Now, the venerable fighter is set to fly again 75 years later after a lengthy and expensive restoration.  It may have never been found except for French fishermen who complained that their nets were being damaged and discovered the submerged airplane.

It was dug up by enthusiasts and purchased in 1993 by Suffolk-based Hawker Restoration after changing hands a number of times.  Several times it changed hands before it wound up at the back of their hangar where restoration work began in 2011.

For the team, it has been a long–term assignment consuming 25,000 man-hours and costing £2 million to have aircraft P2902 ready for flight in March, explained company spokesman Andrew Wenman.  The Hurricane has a unique background.  It took part in one of the most critical operations of World War Two, one that signified a turning point in the conflict, Mirror reported.

Pilot Stuart Goldspink, a commercial pilot who is also highly respected for his experience flying warbirds, will pilot the Hurricane on its maiden flight.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE