1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft
Lot 375
1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft
£1.4 million - 1.7 million
US$ 2.3 million - 2.7 million
amended

Lot Details
1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA,Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft 1942 Hawker Hurricane XII
1942 Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA
Fully-airworthy Single-seat Fighter aircraft
Registration no. G-HURI
RCAF Service Serial No: 5711
Constructor's No: 72036
Current livery RAF Service Serial: Z5140 – Fuselage codes: 'HA-C'

Footnotes

  • "In short, I'd say that the Hurricane was a magnificent aeroplane to go to war in."
    Squadron Leader Geoffrey Page DSO DFC (Battle of Britain pilot)


    Bonhams is delighted to offer here this fully airworthy and beautifully maintained Hawker Hurricane Mark XIIA single-seat fighter aircraft. This Mark classification identifies the airframe of 'G-HURI' as one of the Canadian-built variants of what in wartime Britain was the Hurricane Mark II
    single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber design. This aircraft is one of some 1,400 Hurricanes that were built under licence by the Canadian Car & Foundry Company and was powered as-new by a nominally 1,300hp Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin 29 V12-cylinder supercharged engine.
    The immortal Hurricane is one of the most illustrious types ever to see service with both the Royal Air Force and other Empire and foreign air arms. This example - a rare twelve-gun version developed from the Battle of Britain-era eight-gun design – is believed to be the most original of the type's current flying survivors. It also bears emphasising that the Hurricane is now much more rare than its famous sister from the Second World War period, the Supermarine Spitfire. As such, 'G-HURI' offered here is one of only 12 currently airworthy surviving Hawker Hurricane aircraft, worldwide.
    Overall, Hawker Hurricane production of all variants continued from 1937-1944 and totalled 14,533 individual airframes. This aircraft served throughout its operational life with the Royal Canadian Air Force before eventually being struck off charge in 1947. It appears to have escaped the scrapman's attention by having been sold to a farmer who was more interested in cannibalising its engine then any further aviation use. Its outer mainplane wing sections were unbolted and removed for storage. The Hurricane fuselage and inner wings handily embody the undercarriage which allowed this main-frame to be wheeled into a barn where it was effectively forgotten, with the wings leaning separately against another barn wall. The story goes that the airframe remained there until being purchased by a Saskatchewan syndicate interested in World War 2 aircraft preservation. We understand that 'G-HURI' as offered here is one of two such Hurricanes acquired at one point by Lynn Garrison who, in 1964, established the Aircraft Museum of Canada.
    This aircraft, 'G-HURI', was acquired by the Historic Aircraft Collection in 2002. Following an eighteen-month repair and maintenance programme it emerged for the 2004 display season first wearing its present paint scheme.
    It had been repainted to represent Hurricane Mark IIb, 'Z5140', of 126 Squadron which had been based at Takali aerodrome on the island of Malta, during the Axis siege of the strategically-vital George Cross island.
    The contemporary squadron codes for No. 126 Squadron were 'HA', while the individual letter for airframe serial 'Z5140' had been 'C', thus 'G-HURI' became 'HA-C'. Perhaps not exactly coincidentally, these letters also represented its owners, the Historic Aircraft Collection.
    Historically, 'Z5140' had been a Gloster-built Hurricane which had been delivered to Malta on 6 June 1941, having been perilously flown off HMSArk Royal during re-supply Operation Rocket. While it might normally be expected that 'Z5140' would have been painted in a tropical camouflage scheme, such had been the urgency to deliver aircraft to the beleaguered island that they had been shipped in the 'temperate' north-west Europe scheme.
    In the early days of aircraft restoration, it was not considered important to presenta machine in its original detail specification, but during their years of ownership of 'G-HURI' the Historic Aircraft Collection has gone to great lengths to reintroduce authentic equipment. This has even included the discovery of a brand-new unused Merlin 29, to exactly the correct specification. It is a measure of the owner's persistence in returning the aircraft to its original specification, that the perfectly good Merlin initially fitted was removed and replaced by this correct power unit. An original period gunsight is also installed. In fact 'G-HURI's only modern equipment comprises the radio, the seat harness and long-range fuel tanks fitted discreetly into the wing-gun bays to enhance the aircraft's versatility, as amply demonstrated by its ground-breaking forays to Malta and Moscow.
    Ever since it was repainted in its current livery, 'G-HURI' has flown as a tribute to what was justifiably called 'The Epic of Malta'. It has also been operated in particular honour of Australian pilot, Sgt Jack Mayall, who was shot down and killed in the original 'Z5140' at Qormi, Malta, on 10 March 1942. It was in tribute to the heroic aerial defence of Malta, that 'G-HURI' was flown to Malta in September 2005, along with The HAC's sister Supermarine Spitfire Mark V, to take part in the 'Merlins Over Malta' project. The aircraft now offered here therefore became the first Hawker Hurricane for many decades to return to the Mediterranean skies above that historic battlefield...and it is believed to be the first time that a Hurricane has actually been flown from the UK to Malta, albeit in several stages.
    Furthermore, and as recently as August 2012, this remarkably active and much-flown old warrior undertook an epic long-distance flight to Russia and back, to participate in the centenary celebrations of the Russian Air Force, at Ramenskoye airfield, south-east of Moscow. In successfully fulfilling this mission, 'HA-C' became the first Hawker Hurricane to fly in Russian skies since no fewer than 2,952of the type were supplied via hazardous Arctic convoys to the Soviet Air Force from 1941.
    On this occasion, 'HA-C' was flown at Ramenskoye before President Putin by its regular pilot – serving RAF instructor and display specialist Flt Lt Dave Harvey. He then ferried 'HA-C' home via Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Belgium, displaying the aircraft at the Belgian Zoersel airbase en route. During this ambitious flight programme – successfully completed - 'HA-C' flew eighteen sorties and completed some twenty-one operational hours before Flt Lt Harvey returned it to its long-time home within the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
    After its initial storage and subsequent recognition in Canada as an historic aircraft worthy of preservation, 'G-HURI' now offered here was acquired by the Duxford-based Fighter Collection, in whose tenure it was painstakingly restored to airworthy condition under the direction of specialist engineer Paul Mercer. The Fighter Collection later operated it in a comprehensive programme of airshows, displays and film work between 1989 and 2002.
    This Hawker Hurricane was then acquired by The Historic Aircraft Collection, in whose hands it has been impeccably maintained ever since. It has been flown by them in continuously operational form since 2004.
    We are advised that, as entered for Sale here, its current operational data includes the following:
    Airframe hours 464.25
    Engine hours 171.05
    Propeller hours 171.05

    Avionics Equipment - Becker x 1 radio, Becker x 1 transponder along with Mode S

    Annual due 03/04/2013
    Permit due 12/07/2013
    Propeller o/h 25/03/2016

    Engine serial no: A265386

    As offered, 'G-HURI's exterior – with fabric-covered fuselage and tail empennage, plus aluminium-skinned cockpit, nose and mainplane wings - bears the wonderful, hard-earned, patina that would have been absolutely typical of a medium-hours wartime Hurricane in frontline squadron service.
    This fighter aircraft may be considered unique in that, unlike the majority of the few other surviving and airworthy Hawker Hurricanes, it has always been regarded as a 'complete' airframe...a tangible and integrated identity substantially preserved 'in the metal'. It is not a so-called 'data-plate reconstruction' embodying mostly new parts, replicating or replacing the contemporary originals. We understand that in substance 'G-HURI' has always has been very substantially the airframe it is today.
    Historic aircraft, even moreso than historic cars, are assemblies of consumable parts. Use them, or neglect them, and those consumable parts will consume themselves. Civil aviation authorities strictly monitor the structural and mechanical integrity of such aircraft before permission to fly is certified, and we understand that 'G-HURI' complies fully with such requirements. Yet notwithstanding essential repairs and replacements, it is estimated by the owners that as much as 65-70% of the machine's intrinsic structure is the original.
    Very few other airworthy Hurricane aircraft can boast such connoisseurial originality. Get up close and personal with this Hurricane and one can almost sense its spirit and its soul – the very essence of the desperately hard-fought 1940s period in which it provided such a bulwark to protect democracy. Its loved but well used character is evident, as is the very patina of an 'in-service' wartime Hurricane fighter. It is very much the charm and appeal of this particular Hurricane.
    But it is not only the provenance of 'G-HURI' that you as the successful bidder would acquire. You would also be buying into the Hurricane's legendary status as an iconic symbol of Great Britain's unaided survival against the Nazi onslaught of 1940. As such, the owner of this wonderful aircraft will become custodian of a critical part of not only this country's military and aviation heritage, but of the development and defence of western democracy itself. The significance of 'G-HURI' here extends far beyond the confined world of historic aviation...
    The Hawker Hurricane
    While it is true that the Supermarine Spitfire attracted greater publicity, and stole much more of the RAF Fighter Command glamour, it is equally true that the slightly older Hawker Hurricane matched the best aircraft of Britain's enemies at the critical moment of her greatest crisis...the 1940 Battle of Britain.
    The Hawker Hurricane was the RAF's first eight-gun monoplane fighter aircraft to enter squadron service. By the middle of 1938 the first 50 had been delivered. The War Ministry's Expansion Scheme E had included a target of 500 fighters of all types by the start of that year, but by the time of the Munich Crisis that October only two of the planned 12 Hurricane squadrons were fully operational. Yet by the time of the German invasion of Poland eleven months later there were 18 operational Hurricane squadrons and three more converting.
    During the Battle of Britain more Hurricanes than Spitfires were engaged, and according to Fighter Command figures the Hawker design accounted for 55 percent of the 2,739 German losses, against 42 per cent credited to the Spitfires.
    SqnLdr Geoffrey Page DSO DFC recalled: "In the Hurricane we knew that the Me 109 could out dive us, but not out turn us. With that knowledge one obviously used the turning manoeuvre rather than trying to beat the man at the game inwhich he was clearly superior. With a 109 sitting behind you, you'd stay in a really tight turn and after a few turns the position would be reversed and you'd be on his tail!".
    With its thick wing the Hurricane was marginally slower than the Spitfire, and slightly heavier to handle, but it provided a superbly stable gun platform. Its ability to survive damage – together with its tube-frame's simplicity of repair 'in the field' - made it immensely practical and popular amongst both pilots and ground crew.
    During World War 2 overall, it was upon the Hurricane that the greatest burden of responsibility rested to withstand the aerial onslaughts by Germany, Italy and later Japan and to buy time for survival while the arsenals of the Allies could forge new weapons of victory.
    The miracle of the Hurricane was that it was more than a match for the enemy while still employing a somewhat outmoded form of construction that had been based around the biplane era and the designs of aircraft like the 1930s Hawker Hart, Hind, Nimrod and Fury series.
    Here was an aircraft whose fuselage was covered in stretched and doped linen-fabric, shaped over wooden formers around a structural framework of steel tubes. It was an aircraft that initially even had fabric-covered wings, although the mainplane was quickly changed to all-metal aluminium-skinned wing construction. They housed a standard battery of eight .303-inch Browning machine guns, four in each wing.
    However, this hybrid form of construction had proved ideal to hurry the Hurricane into mass production when it was most desperately needed and when Britain's armed forces just had to stop the German Luftwaffe in its tracks after the triumphant air superiority which it had imposed over western Europe through 1940 and into 1941...
    Whilst the Hurricane went on to fight in more campaigns, on more fronts and in more theatres and countries than any other aeroplane of World War 2, it was, of course, most famous for its role in the Battle of Britain.
    But even before those desperate few months of intensive combat, the early-Mark Hurricanes had already seen critical service in the Battle of France and in the skies over Dunkirk.
    Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, C in C RAF Fighter Command, sent only Hurricane squadrons (not Spitfire) for service in France and it was here that they were first 'blooded' in action. In fact, operating from often rough or makeshift airfields in the French countryside, the rugged and wide-track undercarriage of the Hurricane was well suited for this type of punishing use. As one pilot recalled:
    "Landing was never a problem. One bounce it would absorb without a murmur. Two bounces and it would remind you to be careful and I never saw anyone bounce three times. If you did that, it would take over and drop in fairly straight on its wide legs. Without doubt, the Hurricane helped me to a state of proficiency I would never have achieved on any other fighter. It was a winner all the way. And yes, the aeroplane was probably more capable than many of the pilots who flew it in France."
    In the teeth of such savage assault, overall losses in France were huge but the Hurricane still more than held its own in difficult operating (and fighting) circumstances. Before the British withdrawal from France, the Hurricane force had downed many Luftwaffe aircraft and had seen the emergence of the RAF's first World War Two fighter 'ace'; the legendary New Zealander, Flying Officer Edgar J. 'Cobber' Kain DFC. But with the Battle of France lost, the Battle of Britain was about to begin, in which the Hurricane would face its toughest and most sustained test.
    During that battle the responsibility for Britain's aerial defence rested, primarily, with the RAF's Hurricane and Spitfire squadrons and it was the more numerous – and more robust - Hurricanes that shot down more enemy aircraft than did the Spitfires. Crucially, as one ground-crew member on both Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons classically observed:
    "If we'd had nothing but Spitfires we'd have lost the fight in 1940. The turnaround time on the ground was critical, and relatively so poor on the Spitfire that 'Jerry' could not have failed to get us. The Spitfire I and II took twenty-six minutes to turn around, compared to a Hurricane's nine minutes maximum. That is, complete service – re-arm, refuel and replenish oxygen – from down to up again."
    As in the defence of France, the Hurricane became the mount of fighter aces during the Battle of Britain with such now famous pilots as Douglas Bader, Bob Stanford-Tuck and 'Ginger' Laceyeach destroying several enemy aircraft when flying Hurricanes.
    Czech RAF Hurricane pilot Josef Frantisek downed at least 17 of the intruders over southeast England during September–October 1940. Wing Commander Frank Reginald Carey CBE, DFC & Two Bars, AFC, DFM,claimedno fewer than 28 more while flying Hurricanes 1939–43. Squadron Leader William 'Cherry' Vale DFC & Bar, AFC, downed 20 over Greece and Syria, while the Greek Campaign saw the Hurricane 'ace of aces' emerge as Squadron Leader Marmaduke Thomas 'Pat' Pattle, DFC & Bar, whoflew his Hurricane to destroyno fewer than 35 enemy aircraft before he was himself shot down. Another Czech Hurricane ace was Flt Lt KarelKuttelwascher with 18 combat victories.
    But most notably, of course, the RAF Fighter Command's only Victoria Cross of the entire war was awarded to Flt Lt James Brindley Nicolson, a Battle of Britain Hurricane pilot, who stayed with his burning aircraft to shoot down a Messerschmitt 110 over Southampton, sustaining severe burns in the process.
    The rugged Hawker Hurricane's singular ability to absorb combat damage became absolutely legendary and many returned from combat so badly shot through that it seemed a miracle they could even still fly.
    In so doing they had often saved their pilots' lives while some optimists, so trusting of their mount's robustness, even took to ramming their opponents when out of ammunition. One such was Pilot Officer 'Ken' McKenzie who returned with the entire starboard wing-tip of his Hurricane missing after he had used it literally to break off the tail off his adversary, a Messerschmitt 109. Another pilot, Sgt Ray Holmes, rammed a Dornier 17 over central London on 'Battle of Britain Day', Sunday 15 September, and although he was forced to bale-out, his sturdy Hurricane had still saved his life in what was one of the most famous incidents of that 1940 campaign.
    The Battle of Britain, then, had seen the Hawker Hurricane bear the brunt of the fight in British skies, and is was rightfully acclaimed as having been very much the saviour of the nation's "finest hour".
    By 1941, however, more sophisticated new fighter designs were progressing on the drawing boards and production lines – including many from the USA. Upgraded Spitfires were gradually replacing Hurricanes in front-line UK service, but even as the RAF took the fight to the enemy over France during 1941, so the Hurricane continued in frontline service.
    By that time, however, the night-bombing Blitz against British cities was getting into full swing and by that time the up-graded Hurricane II series aircraft with either twelve-gun wings (as in 'G-HURI') or equipped with the formidable punch of four 20mm cannon were entering service. It was on the Hurricane, too, that Flt Lt R. P. Stevens DSO DFC became the most successful RAF night fighter pilot of the Blitz using only his exceptional night vision in the remarkable Hurricane to destroy at least twelve German bombers.
    The Hurricane continued in front-line service over Europe well into 1942, when it played a significant multiple role in the Dieppe landings as a fighter, fighter-bomber and ground attack aircraft. Despite improvements in opposing Luftwaffe fighter aircraft, the Hurricane survived in a frontline role, and taking the war to the enemy included offensive 'night intruding' over occupied territory to attack German bombers upon take-off or landing at their bases.
    In fact, the Hurricane story just raged on and on, including service overseas in such theatres of war as Malta, North Africa and particularly in the Far East where the type again performed exceptional and sterling work. In addition, navalised variants emerged as the Sea Hurricane for operation from aircraft carriers and even catapult-equipped merchant vessels, while many Hurricanes were also supplied to the Soviet Air Force. It is overseas, too, that we turn for the specific story of G-HURI.
    Hawker Hurricane XII, Serial No: '5711' (today 'G-HURI' – service serial 'Z5140')
    Hurricane 'G-HURI' – identified by its constructor's number as '72036' and by its RCAF service serial as '5711' - was built in Canada in late 1942 by the Canadian Car Foundry (CCF), at Fort William, Ontario, amongst the company's sixth production batch.
    While a number of such CCF-built Hurricanes were sent overseas for service with the RAF and RCAF (including some during the Battle of Britain itself) records indicate that this particular example was retained for home service in Canada.
    On 18 August 1943 it was allocated to the Canadian Home War Establishment and taken on-strength by No 123 Squadron, based at Debert, Nova Scotia. No 123 was designated as an army co-operation training squadron, which provided training in close support and reconnaissance for the Canadian Army's 4th and 7th Divisions.
    Most significantly, the Hurricane proved itself to be an ideal intermediate advanced fighter/trainer aircraft in which new pilots could hone their skills before graduating to the later-Mark Spitfire, because its forward view and wide undercarriage made it a very forgiving and straightforward aeroplane to fly. We understand that this characteristic is still exploited today by the RAF's illustrious Battle of Britain Flight preferring its pilots to fly the Spitfire only after experience of Hurricane operation.
    The squadron at that time fell under the administrative control of No 3 Group, Training Command, of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and - on an operational basis - to Air Force HQ, Ottawa. In late 1943, No 123 Squadron was re-designated 439 'Westmount' Squadron, RCAF, and transferred to RAF Wellingore, Lincolnshire, England.
    Upon its deployment overseas, however, the Squadron left its Hurricane aircraft behind in Canada and '5711' was transferred, first, to 127 and latterly 129 Squadrons at Dartmouth. Later, this Hurricane was sent to No 1 Operational Training Unit, at Bagotville. Its service with 123, 127 and 129 Squadrons would also have seen '5711' flying on defensive patrols along Canada's eastern seaboard, probably tasked with maritime anti-submarine surveillance. Unfortunately, no photographs of this particular Hurricane in RCAF service have ever been traced, but this is very commonly the case with individual airframes which are similarly very well recorded in period. Finally, Hawker Hurricane '5711' is shown as having been 'Struck off Charge' by the RCAF in 1947.
    After its acquisition by the mentioned previously Saskatchewan-based consortium, it was eventually purchased and restored by the Duxford-based Fighter Collection. In their hands Hurricane '5711' (by that time British-registered 'G-HURI') wore the markings of the UK-based No 71 American Eagle Squadron, with the fuselage codes 'XR-T' and the service serial number 'Z7381'.

    This Sale now presents a rare opportunity to acquire one of the more 'user-friendly' – but unarguably one of the most historic – fighter aircraft types of the entire Second World War period. Furthermore, the current vendors – who base the aircraft at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, in Cambridgeshire – may be prepared to continue operating and maintaining 'G-HURI' for its new owners.

    Technical Specifications
    Wing Span: 40.0ft (12.19m)
    Length: 32.2ft (9.81m)
    Height: 13.0ft (3.98m)
    Power Plant: 1,460hp Packard built Merlin 29
    Weight: 8,100lb (3,674kg) loaded
    Maximum Speed: 322mph (518kmh)
    Service Ceiling: 32,100ft (9,785m)
    Range: 900miles (1,448km) standard
    Armament: 12 x Browning .303 machine guns

Saleroom notices

  • We are pleased to report that the Hurricane is offered in airworthy condition categorised as having a Permit to Fly certificate, expiry date 12 July, 2013 Please note that this lot will not be on view at Mercedes-Benz World. Viewing is by appointment only. Please contact +44 207 468 5801 should you wish to view this lot.
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