Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 3: The Second World War, Westland Whirlwind

Canadian Warplanes of the Second World War, Westland Whirlwind

Data current to 16 Dec 2018.

The Westland Whirlwind was the first single-seat, twin-engined, cannon-armed fighter of the RAF.  When it first flew in 1938, the Whirlwind was one of the fastest combat aircraft in the world, and one of the the most heavily armed, with four Hispano-Suiza HS.404 20-mm autocannon in its nose.  During the Second World War, three RAF squadrons were equipped with the Whirlwind but despite its success as a fighter and ground attack aircraft, it was withdrawn from service in 1943. 

Quite a few RCAF pilots were assigned to fly the Whirlwind fighters.  No. 25 Sqn tested three aircraft between May and July 1940.  No. 263 Sqn flew Whirlwinds between July 1940 and Dec 1943.  The Sqn's code letters were HE.  No. 137 Sqn flew Whirlwinds between Sep 1941 and June 1943.  The Sqn's code letters were SF.

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P5112), ca 1942.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P5112), ca 1942.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P7048), ca 1942.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P7048).  This aircraft was damaged by flak on 17 April 1942, and sent back to Westland's for repair.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P6997).  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P6969), No. 263 Sqn, lost on 8 Feb 1941.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P7110), ca 1942.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P7110), ca 1942.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P7110), ca 1942.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF (Serial No. P7110), ca 1942.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind heavy fighter, operated from 1940-1943.  It was fast and excelled in the low ground attack role.  The Peregrine engines which powered it had many development issues and therefore only 116 were built before it was withdrawn from service.  Whirlwinds were flown by RCAF pilots serving in the UK early in the Second World War.  None have been preserved in Canada.  

Westland Whirlwind Mk. I, RAF (Serial No. P7094), HE-T, of No. 263 Squadron, on the ground at Warmwell, Dorset, with Flying Officer J P Coyne, a Canadian pilot, in the cockpit.  The markings below the cockpit indicate that this aircraft was presented to the RAF by the Bellows Foundation in South America. (IWM Photo)

Westland Whirlwind photo taken on the day it was removed from the Secret List and released to the Press, Friday 20 March 1942.  From left to right - S/L Robert Woodward DFC, P/O Philip Harvey, Sgt John Walker, F/S Cecil King, F/L Geoff Warnes (on wing), P/O Les Currie, P/O Herbert Blackshaw, Sgt John Meredith, Sgt Mick Muirhead RCAF and Sgt Ken Ridley are watching F/L Cliff Rudland who flew a solo demonstration for the cameras.  (Rob Bowater)

 Westland Whirlwind of RAF No 137 Squadron being rearmed with 250lb bombs, March 1943, at which time they were stationed at Manston in the UK.  (RAF Photo)

Westland Whirlwind, RAF being bombed up.  (RAF Photo)