Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Canadian Warplanes 1: The Biplane Era, Hawker Tomtit, Fury, Hart, Audax and Hind

Canadian Warplanes of the Biplane Era, 

Hawker Tomtit, Fury, Hart, Audax and Hind

Data current to 8 Sep 2019.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Air Museum)

Hawker Tomtit, RCAF (Serial No. 140), biplane trainer.  None are preserved in Canada.

Hawker Tomtit (2), (Serial No. 139 and 140).  These two training aircraft were flown by RCAF No. 7 Squadron and No. 12 Squadron.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390687)

Hawker Tomtit, RCAF (Serial No. 140), Camp Borden, Ontario, ca 1932.  The Royal Canadian Air Force brought two Hawker Tomtits on strength on 15 May 1930.  They first served with No. 112 (Army Co-operation) Squadron (Auxiliary) at RCAF Station Winnipeg, Manitoba.  From there, Tomtit (Serial No. 140) shown here, served with No. 1 Air Armament School at RCAF Station Camp Borden, Ontario.  Both Tomtits were loaned to No. 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario from No. 7 (General Purpose) Squadron's Communications Flight at RCAF Station Ottawa.  They finally served with No. 12 (Communications) Flight which was formed at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario on 10 September 1939.  The Flight had been formed from the Air Force Headquarters Communications Flight which in turn had been the Communications Flight, also known as the General Purpose Flight, of No. 7 (General Purpose) Squadron.  The Flight was re-designated as No. 12 (Communications) Unit on 30 July 1940 and then as No. 12 (Communications) Squadron on 30 Aug 1940.  In April 1941, these aircraft were converted to instructional airframe status and given the new serial numbers A 130 and A 131 respectively.  Both aircraft were struck off strength from the RCAF on 24 July 1943.

 (RCAF Photo)

Hawker Tomtit, RCAF (Serial No. 978), Camp Borden, Ontario, ca 1932.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Air Museum)

Hawker Tomtit, RCAF (Serial No. 140).

 (Alan Wilson Photo)

One Hawker Tomtit is still in airworthy condition, flying in the UK, RAF (Serial No. K1786), Reg. No. G-AFTA.  Built in Jan 1931, K1786 initially flew with RAF No. 3 Flying Training School.  It joined the British civil register in April 1939.  It was acquired and restored by Hawker in 1949.  In 1960, it became part of the Shuttleworth Collection, where it was restored to its original RAF colours in 1967.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3521020)

Hawker Fury, RAF (Serial No. K2901), No. 1 Sqn, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 28 June 1934.

The Hawker Fury was a British-built biplane fighter flown by the RAF in the 1930s.  It was a fast, agile aircraft, and the first interceptor in RAF service capable of speed higher than 200 mph.  It was the fighter counterpart to the Hawker Hart light bomber.  RAF No. 1 Squadron toured Canada with its Hawker Furys in 1934.

  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580856)

Hawker Fury, RAF (Serial No. K2900), No. 1 Squadron,  warming up, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 14 July 1934.

 (Tony Hisgett Photo)

Hawker Fury Mk. I (Serial No. K5674) in airworthy condition is owned and maintained by the Historical Aircraft Collection and based at the Imperial War Museum Duxford in the United Kingdom.  This Fury was delivered to the RAF in 1935 and allocated to No. 43 Squadron, where it was flown until 1939.  In 1940, it was sent to South Africa where it was flown by No. 13 Squadron of the South African Air Force.  It was written-off after making a forced landing, due to running out of fuel.  It was returned to the United Kingdom in 2003 and restored to flying condition, with the civil registration G-CBZP, making its first post-restoration flight in July 2012.

A second surviving Hawker Fury Mk. I (Serial No. K1928), is being restored at Little Gransden Airfield by the Cambridge Bomber and Fighter Society.  K1928 was part of the first production batch of 21 aircraft built in the 1930s and was also flown by No. 43 Squadron.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3642454)

Hawker Hart, RCAF (Serial No. K3012), with skis, 14 Apr 1937. 

Hawker Hart (3), (Serial No. K3752), later (Serial No. A82), (Serial No. K4757), later (Serial No. A92), and (Serial No. K3012).  The Hawker was a British two-seater biplane light bomber aircraft odesigned during the 1920s by Sydney Camm.  The Hart was a prominent British aircraft in the inter-war period, but was obsolete and already side-lined for newer monoplane aircraft designs by the start of the Second World War, playing only minor roles in the conflict before being retired.  Several major variants of the Hart were developed, including a navalised version for the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers.  The RCAF flew three during cold weather testing in 1937.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581144)

Hawker Hart, RCAF (Serial No. K3012), after a crash landing.  (Serial No. K3012).

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3256159)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3582961)

Hawker Hart, RCAF (Serial No. K3012), 14 Apr 1937. 

   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574051)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581143)

Hawker Hart, RCAF (Serial No. K3012), 1937.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 4731278)

Hawker Audax on skis, RCAF, 20 Mar 1935.

Hawker Audax (6), (Serial No. A77), (Serial No. A78), (Serial No. A79), (Serial No. A80), (Serial No. A81), and (Serial No. K3100).  The Audax was exported to Canada with one aircraft being used by the RCAF for trials and five ex-RAF aircraft supplied after 1939 as instructional airframes.

 (RAF Photo)

Hawker Audax, RAF (Serial No. K2012), ca 1930s.

The Hawker Audax was a Hart variant, designed for army cooperation, seeing much service in the British Empire.  The first Audax flew in late 1931 and over 700 Audaxes were produced.  The Audax was similar to the Hart, though it had some modifications, including a hook to pick up messages.  The Audax was armed with a single .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis light machine gun and a .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun.  The Audax was powered by a version of the Kestrel engine and had a maximum speed of 170 mph (274 km/h).  A number of variants of the Audax were produced.  The Audax saw limited service during the Second World War, ending its service by 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 358089)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4731365)

Hawker Audax, RAF, Rockcliffe, Ontario, ca 1935.

 (Author Photo)

Hawker Hind (Serial No. L7180), on display in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario. 

The Hawker Hind was a light bomber biplane of the inter-war years, developed from the Hawker Hart day-bomber and introduced in 1931

L7180 was built in 1937 as a light bomber for the RAF, and flew with No. 211 Squadron.  It was one of nineteen Hinds donated to the Royal Afghan Air Force in 1939.   L7181, arriving in Kabul on 30 Aug 39. The Afghan Hinds apparently equipped No. 1 and No. 3 Squadrons of the Royal Afghan Air Force, each squadron flying at least eight aircraft. They were based at Kabul (Sherpur) airfield together with a squadron of Italian supplied Meridionali IMAM Ro.37 bis aircraft, serving through the 1940s.  L7180 became a training airframe and was used as a teaching aid for mechanics and ground crews in the 1950s.  In 1974, an interest in collecting a significant military biplane from the interwar era led the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum staff to enquire whether any Hinds remained in Afghanistan.  The Afghan government located this Hind in the compound of the Civil Aeronautics Board at Kabul Airport, and, after some negotiation, the country's President donated it to Canada as a means of furthering relations between the two countries. 

In Kabul, L7180 shared the compound with the even more battered remains of the 1937-built ex- 211 Squadron RAF Hind (Serial No. L7181), which was also taken to Canada, where it contributed parts to the restoration of L7180.   The remains of L7181 are now in the UK for eventual restoration, having been acquired by Aero Vintage in 1995 and registered with the Historic Aircraft Collection as G-CBLK.  There are seven Hinds surviving in aviation museums.

Alfred J. Shortt, Assistant Curator, and W. Merrikin, Chief Restoration Officer at the CA&SM, travelled to Kabul in October 1975 to disassemble these two Hinds and to help the Canadian Forces load them onto a Lockheed CC-130 Hercules transport.  The Hercules carrying the Hinds arrived at Uplands airport, Ottawa, in November 1975, and the two aircraft were trucked to Rockcliffe airport.  Restoration of the Hind on display was undertaken by George Neal in Toronto in 1984.  The work was completed in 1988 and L7180 was returned to the Museum.  (CA&SM)

 (Author Photo)

Hawker Hind (Serial No. L7180), on display in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Clemens Vasters Photo)

Hawker Hind the the RAF Museum Cosford, UK.