Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 3: Hawker Hurricane

Hawker Hurricane

Data current to 7 Jan 2021.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM640-S1-: CVA 260-1023)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 314), Vancouver, British Columbia, 1939.

The Hawker Hurricane is a single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1930s–1940s that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. for service with the Royal Air Force (RAF).  The Hurricane developed through several versions, as bomber-interceptors, fighter-bombers, and ground support aircraft in addition to fighters.  Versions designed for the Navy were popularly known as the Sea Hurricane, with modifications enabling their operation from ships.  Some were converted to be used as catapult-launched convoy escorts.  By the end of production in July 1944, 14,487 Hurricanes had been completed in Britain and Canada.

A major manufacturer of the Hurricane was Canadian Car and Foundry at their factory in Fort William (now Thunder Bay), Ontario.  The facility's chief engineer, Elsie MacGill, became known as the "Queen of the Hurricanes".  The initiative was commercially led rather than governmentally, but was endorsed by the British government; Hawker, having recognised that a major conflict was all but inevitable after the Munich Crisis of 1938, drew up preliminary plans to expand Hurricane production via a new factory in Canada.  Under this plan, samples, pattern aircraft, and a complete set of design documents stored on microfilm, were shipped to Canada; the RCAF ordered 20 Hurricanes to equip one fighter squadron and two more were supplied to Canadian Car and Foundry as pattern aircraft but one probably did not arrive.  The first Hurricane built at Canadian Car and Foundry was officially produced in February 1940.  As a result, Canadian-built Hurricanes were shipped to Britain to participate in events such as the Battle of Britain.  Canadian Car and Foundry (CCF) was responsible for the production of 1,451 Hurricanes.  (Wikipedia)

 (DND Archives Photo, PMR78-327)

Sub-Lieutenant Gardaien [sic] (left) and Canadian Pilot Officer Noel Stansfeld with a Hawker Hurricane Mk. I at No. 242 “Canadian” Squadron, RAF Coltishall, England, in 1940.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM640-S1-: CVA 260-1020)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 314), Vancouver, British Columbia, 1939.

Canadian built Hurricanes included 

Hurricane Mk. X
CCF-built variant.   A total of 1,025 Mk. II airframes were made for Holland (1), the RAF (624), and the RCAF (400), between July 1941 and May 1943. The Mk. X designation has been used by the RAF for the CCF-built Mk. I but it is usually defined as Mk. II airframes fitted with a Merlin 28 engine.  About two thirds of the CCF built Mk. II airframes shipped to Britain did so without an engine, the remainder being fitted with Merlin 28s in Canada, but the engine was nearly automatically removed upon arrival and a Merlin XX fitted instead and the aircraft called Mk. II by the RAF.  Apart from some test flights in Canada and England no Hurricane flew powered by a Merlin 28.  Canada also only imported 285 Merlin 28 for Hurricanes, all of which were shipped to Britain either as a separate engine or attached to a Hurricane.
Hurricane Mk. XI
Canadian-built variant. Designation used for 150 aircraft from the RCAF Mark XII order sent to Britain, these aircraft had their Merlin 29 removed and were either shipped without an engine or fitted with a Merlin 28. Fitted with Merlin XX on arrival in Britain and called mark II by the RAF.
Hurricane Mk. XII
Canadian-built variant. Single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber. Powered by a 1,300 hp (969 kW) Packard Merlin 29. Initially armed with 12 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns, but this was later changed to four 20 mm (.79 in) cannon.
Hurricane Mk. XIIA
Canadian-built variant. Single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber. An order for 400 mark II airframes for the RCAF powered by a 1,300 hp (970 kW) Packard Merlin 29, armed with eight 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns, production starting in June 1942. 150 sent to Britain in 1943 either engineless or fitted with a Merlin 28. Also a batch of 30 RAF order mark II airframes retained in Canada in late 1941 and initially fitted with Merlin III became Mark XII when later fitted with Merlin 29.
Holland standard Hurricane.
Canadian built variant. RAF serial airframe AM270 was completed around early March 1942 to Dutch standards, including US built Merlin, instruments and gun sight, as the prototype of an order for the Netherlands East Indies (KM/KNIL). Given the Dutch serial HC3-287, its subsequent fate is unclear beyond being used by CCF for test flying. AM270 was also used by the RAF for a Consolidated San Diego built Catalina creating a further level of confusion.

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I (50), (Serial Nos. 310-329, 1351-1380), Mk. IIC (1), (Serial No. A274 (ex HV961), Mk. XII (401), (Serial Nos. 5376-5775, 9426), Mk. XIIA (50), (V7402, BW835-BW884), Sea Hurricane (1), (Serial R4177), for a total of 503 aircraft.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM640-S1-: CVA 260-1019)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 314), Vancouver, British Columbia, 1939.

 (IWM Photo, IWM 01)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIE (Serial No. BE485), coded AE-W, No. 402 Squadron, RCAF, during Operation Jubilee over Dieppe, France, Aug 1942.

 (IWM Photo, CH 4566)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIE (Serial No. BE485), coded AE-W, No. 402 Squadron, RCAF, during Operation Jubilee over Dieppe, France, Aug 1942.  The Squadron was based at Warmwell, Dorset, often crossing the English Channel on intruder sorties into occupied France..  It carries 250 pound bombs slung under its wings.  The Mk. IIE version was fitted with a 'universal' wing, permitting a variety of armament and stores to be carried without the necessity of modifying control systems and electrical circuits.

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-6898)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIE (Serial No. BE485), coded AE-W, No. 402 (Fighter) Squadron, RCAF, banking.

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-4484)

Pilots from No. 401 Squadron, RCAF, run to their Hurricane aircraft ca 1941.  Groundcrew are waiting to help the pilots put on their parachutes and get into the aircraft.  The Hurricanes could skim off the ground three minutes after an alarm was sounded.

 (IWM Photo, HU69094)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIb (Serial No. P3021), coded AE-X, No. 402 Squadron, RCAF, based at RAF Digby, Lincolnshire, 1941.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3644386)

Squadron Leader Douglas Bader DSO (front centre) with some of the Canadian pilots of his Squadron, 242 (Canadian) Squadron, grouped around his Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft at Duxford, Sep 1940.  No. 242 Squadron pilots, Denis Crowley-Milling, Hugh Tamblyn, Stan Turner, (Saville (on wing), Neil Campbell, Willie McKnight, Douglas Bader, Eric Ball, Homer, Ben Brown, 1940.

 (IWM Photo, CH 1431)

Hawker Hurricanes of 242 (Canadian) Fighter Squadron led by Squadron Leader Douglas Bader DSO, DFC. Bader was one of the Royal Air Force's top fighter aces until he was shot down in 1941; he spent the remainder of the war in a German POW camp.

 (IWM Photo, CH1321)

Pilot Officer William Lidstone "Willie" McKnight, a fighter pilot from Calgary, Canada, photographed during the Battle of Britain, when serving with No. 242 (Canadian) Squadron RAF, Sep 1940.   Between May and November 1940, McKnight achieved 16.5 victories in combats over France and England.  He was shot down and killed during a low level intruder sortie ('Rhubarb') over France, on 12 January 1941.

 (IWM Photo CH 1733)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF No 1 Squadron pilots at Prestwick, Scotland, 30 Oct 1940.  Squadron Leader E.A. McNab, the Squadron Commanding Officer, stands fifth from the right, wearing a wedge cap.

 (IWM Photo CH 1670)

Howard Peter "Cowboy" Blatchford, DFC (25 February 1912 – 3 May 1943) achieved the first Canadian victory in the Second World War.  Blatchford was born in Edmonton, Alberta on 25 February 1912, and enlisted in the RAF in February 1936.  He was posted to No. 41 Squadron RAF in early 1937.  In April 1940 he was posted to No. 212 Squadron RAF, flying photo-reconnaissance operations.  In June he joined the Photographic Development Unit as a flight commander, later transferring to No. 17 Squadron RAF in September, flying Hawker Hurricanes.  He soon joined No. 257 Squadron RAF, under the command of Squadron Leader Robert Stanford Tuck.

In December 1940, Blatchford was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  His citation:

Flight Lieutenant Howard Peter BLATCHFORD (37715), No. 257 Squadron. In November, 1940, this officer was the leader of a squadron which destroyed eight and damaged a further five enemy aircraft in one day.  In the course of the combat he rammed and damaged a hostile fighter when his ammunition was expended, and then made two determined head-on feint attacks on enemy fighters, which drove them off.  He has shown magnificent leadership and outstanding courage.

Blatchford became commanding officer of No. 257 Squadron RAF in July 1941.  He was promoted to wing commander in September that year, becoming wing leader of the Digby Wing.  On 23 September 1941, John Gillespie Magee, the author of the famous flying poem "High Flight," arrived at Digby for his first operational posting, on RCAF 412 Squadron.   On October 12, 1941, Magee's squadron moved from the Digby aerodrome to the nearby RAF Wellingore, from which he was operating when he died.  Blatchford finished his tour of duty in April 1942, returning to operations in February 1943 as wing leader of the Coltishall Wing.

Leading the Coltishall Wing to escort bombers attacking a power station in Amsterdam, Blatchford was shot down and killed in action on 3 May 1943 by Obfw. Hans Ehlers (Officer) of II Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 1.  His body was never found.  He is commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.

At the time of his death, Blatchford had claimed five aircraft shot down, three shared aircraft shot down, three "probables", four damaged and one shared damaged.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 5010705)

Canadian fighter pilot, Sgt. G.D. Robertson, No. 402 Squadron RCAF after his first claim is painted on his Hawker Hurricane.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 5010699)

Hawker Hurricane (Serial No. 5054), coded AE-Q, Sgt. K.B. Handley talking with Sgt. G.D. Robertson, No. 402 Squadron, RCAF.

 (IWM Photo CH 1566)

Flight-Lieutenant M.H. Brown and Pilot Officer Chatham of No. 1 Squadron RCAF, standing by the nose of a Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, at Wittering, Huntingdonshire. Mark Henry Brown was the first Canadian fighter pilot of the war to become an 'ace'.  When this photograph was taken, he had shot down at least 18 enemy aircraft over France and Great Britain, and in the following month, was appointed Commanding Officer of No. 1 Squadron.  One year later, flying from Malta, he was killed in a fighter sweep over Sicily.

 (IWM Photo CH 1376)

 Flight-Lieutenant P.S. Turner of No. 242 Squadron RAF, rests on the tail elevator of his Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, after landing at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, (No. 242 Squadron was based at Coltishall, Norfolk at this time).  Turner, a Canadian citizen, was a successful fighter pilot over France and during the Battle of Britain in 1940, destroying ten enemy aircraft.

  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203344)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No.  315), No. 1 (F) Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 6 Sep 1939.  This aircraft was flown by FLt E.A. McNab.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3208141)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 315),  No. 1 (F) Sqn, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 5 Sep 1939. 

 (DND Archives Photo, PL-145)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No.  315), No. 1 (F) Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 15 Feb 1940.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203345)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No.  315), No. 1 (F) Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 6 Sep 1939.  This aircraft was flown by FLt E.A. McNab.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207274)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 315).

 (Griffin Library Photo via Fred Paradie)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 1362), on Noorduyn 10 skis being tested at the CC&F factory in 1942.  This Hurricane crashed on 8 March 1944 at Bagotville, Quebec.

(Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN 3614988)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF No. 1 (F) Squadron, Digby, England, 22 January 1941

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 361497)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF No. 1 (F) Squadron. being refueled, ca 1941.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574053)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 328), 26 Aug 1939.

(Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3614996)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, No. 1 (F) Sqn, S/L E.A. McNab, CO, Northolt, England, 12 Sep 1940.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203458)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF No. 1 (F) Sqn, 1939.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545933)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF No. 1 (F) Sqn, 1939.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581404)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 328), RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 26 Aug 1939.

 (RCAF Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 328), RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 26 Aug 1939.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3545871)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 315), No. 1 (F) Squadron and North American Harvard Mk. I, (Serial No. 1330), 1939.

 (DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadian-built Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII from No. 130 "Panther" (F) Squadron.  The squadron operated Hurricanes from RCAF Stations Mont-Joli and Bagotville in Quebec and RCAF Station Goose Bay, Labrador between September, 1942 and March, 1944.  The Hurricane superceded the Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. I which had been in use by the squadron between May and October 1942.  (The Serial No. would be in the 53xx, 54xx, 55xx, 56xx, 57xx series).  It is equipped with a Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, and twelve gun wing.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3592489)

Infantrymen of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment, who are riding in a Universal Carrier, talking with F/O O.K. Morgan, who stands in front of a Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII with No. 127 (F) Squadron, RCAF, Gander, Newfoundland, May 1943.  This Hurricane is equipped with a Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, and twelve gun wing. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 358371)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII with jettisonable fuel tanks, 19 May 1944.  It is equipped with a Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, and twelve gun wing.

(RCAF Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF (Serial No. 5625), No. 13 (Photo) Squadron, RCAF.  It is equipped with a Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, and twelve gun wing.  This Hurricane is painted with a Type C-1 roundel on her fuselage.  It was built at the Canadian Car and Foundry (CCF) factory at Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay).  5625 was delivered to No. 3 Training Command, and then went to a Home War Establishment squadron.  5625 survived the war, but after being struck off strength (SOS), languished in a scrapyard in Guelph, Ontario, until being sold for parts to Rem Walker of Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1980.  Components of 5625 (as well as two other CCF Hurricanes (Serial Nos. 5547 and 5424) were used in the restoration of Hurricane Mk. XII (Serial No. 5711).  5711, with 5625 parts, was then sold to B.J.S. Grey of Duxford, UK in December 1982.  This aircraft was shipped from Canada to the Fighter Collection at Duxford, on 9 June 1983. It was registered as G-HURI in Great Britain.

(RCAF Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF (Serial No. 5625), No. 13 (Photo) Squadron, RCAF.

 (RCAF Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF (Serial No. 5470), possibly RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec, ca 1945.  It is equipped with a Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, and twelve gun wing.

(Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207275)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 16 Sep 1942.  It is equipped with a Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, and twelve gun wing.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 3650867)

Hawker Hurricane Mk XII, RCAF (Serial No. 5698), Oct 1944.  It is equipped with a Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, and twelve gun wing.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650865)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF (Serial No. 5698).  It is equipped with a Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, and twelve gun wing.

(Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4164721)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583666)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF, aircraft controls, 7 Feb 1945.

(Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643694)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, cockpit.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643708)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, cockpit.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3582338)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF (Serial No. 5650), 26 Jan 1943.  It is equipped with a Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, and twelve gun wing.

 (RCAF Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF (Serial No. 5501), coded L, 28 Feb 1943.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583271)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF, with Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, twelve gun wing and auxilliary gas tanks, 31 Aug 1943.

(Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583034)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII, RCAF, with Hamilton Standard propeller without spinner, glare shields, twelve gun wing and auxilliary gas tanks, 31 Aug 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207506)

Hawker Hurricane, No.5 Operational Training Unit (RCAF Schools and Training Units), Boundary Bay, British Columia, 1 Dec 1942.

 (Author Photos)

Canadian Car & Foundry (Hawker) Hurricane Mk. XII (Serial No. 44013), RCAF (Serial No. 5418), No. 135 Squadron, Reynolds Aviation Museum, Wetaskiwin, Alberta.

 (Canadian Forces Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII (Serial No. 5584), (520199), Canada Aviation and Space Museum collection. 

 (DND Archives Photo, PCN-3898)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII (Serial No. 5584), (520199), Canada Aviation and Space Museum collection.

 (Author Photos)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII (Serial No. 5584).  Canada Air and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Kogo Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV, RAF (Serial No. KZ321), Vintage Wings of Canada, Gatineau, Quebec. 

 (Author Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV, RAF (Serial No. KZ231), JV-N,  No. 6 Squadron, RAF, Reg. No. CF-TPM, Vintage Wings of Canada, Gatineau, Quebec.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4283438)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV (Hurri-bomber), flown by these Canadian pilots in the Burma Theatre of War, 28 Feb 1945.  F/L F.H. Sproule and Warrant Officer H.E. Johnny Walker.  These two Canadian Hurri-bomber pilots were among the busiest men on the Burma front.  Frederick Howard Sproule was from Alberta.  He was later promoted to Squadron Leader and received the DFC in October, 1945.  Both he and Johnny Walker were pilots with the RAF's No. 42 (F) Squadron based at Onbauk, Burma, when the photo was taken.  Squadron Leader R. E. Stout was the commanding officer.  The Hurricane Mk. IV they are shown with here was flown by their squadron between October 1943 and June 1945.  They also flew the Hurricane Mk. IIc between April and June, 1945.  The squadron converted to the Republic (P-47) Thunderbolt Mk. II in July 1945.

The Hurricane Mk .IV had the "universal wing", able to mount different variations as needed, including four 20-mm cannon, two x 250 or 500 lb bombs, two x 40 mm Vickers 'S' guns, drop tanks, or eight '60 pounder' RP-3 rockets.  Two .303 in Brownings were fitted to aid aiming of the heavier armament.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

Hawker Hurricane, RAF (Serial No. BD867), coded QO-Y.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4982739)

Hawker Sea Hurricane, coded BV-T, No. 126 Squadron, RCAF, 9 Aug 1942, after being converted to Mk. XIIa by CCF.  This aircraft retains its eight-gun wing.

 (Francois Dutil Photo)

Hawker Sea Hurricane (Serial No. BW837), No. 118 Squadron, RCAF Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick, 1942.

 (RN Photo)

Catapult Aircraft Merchant (CAM) ships were equipped with a Hawker Sea Hurricane mounted on a catapult launcher.   They were used in convoys as an emergency stop-gap until sufficient escort carriers became available.  The CAM ships mounted a rocket-propelled railing that launched a single aircraft dubbed a "Hurricat" or "Catafighter" to destroy or drive away an attacking bomber.  Normally the Hurricane fighter would be lost when the pilot then bailed out or ditched in the ocean near the convoy.  CAM ships continued to carry their normal cargoes after conversion.  The concept was developed and tested by the five fighter catapult ships, commissioned as warships and commanded and crewed by the Royal Navy, but the CAM ships were merchant vessels, commanded and crewed by the Merchant Navy.  

When a CAM ship arrived at its destination, the pilot usually launched and landed at a nearby airfield to get in as much flight time as possible before his return trip.  Pilots were rotated out of CAM assignments after two round-trip voyages to avoid the deterioration of flying skills from the lack of flying time during the assignment.  CAM sailings were initially limited to North American convoys with aircraft maintenance performed by the RCAF at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. 

In total, there were nine combat launches.  Nine German aircraft were destroyed (four Condors, four Heinkels and a Junkers 88), one damaged and three chased away.  Eight Hurricanes were ditched and only one pilot was lost.

 (RN Photo)

 Catapult Aircraft Merchant (CAM) ship with a Hawker Sea Hurricane mounted on a catapult launcher.