The Hawker Fury FB.11 is a British fighter aircraft designed and manufactured by Hawker. The Fury on display at Wings & Wheels, construction number 37539, was produced by Hawker’s as a Fury ISS – Iraqi Single Seat for the Iraqi Air Force, as part of contract number 53/1/012 for 60 aircraft, and was numbered 315 within this production batch. The aircraft was bought to Orlando, Florida, USA from Iraq in 1979 by Ed Jurist and David Tallichet. In 1989 the aircraft passed to Coleman Warbird Museum, Coleman, Texas where it was rebuilt to airworthy condition, before flying again in April 1991. She was imported back into the UK from Australia and she was re-registered as G-CBEL.
The aircraft has been refurbished and repainted by Air Leasing Ltd in the colours of one of Hawker’s Fury prototypes coded SR661, which was a modified Fury Mk.II with a tail hook fitted, but without the folding wings included on subsequent production aircraft.
Joining the Sea Fury is the Hawker Hurricane Mk.I G-ROBT - Serial Number P2902 – which was built in 1939. This Hurricane MK 1 was built by Gloster Aircraft during 1939 under contract no 962371/38/C.23a. It first flew on or around the 20th Oct 1939. By May 1940 P2902 was operational with 245 Fighter Squadron, based at Drem on the East Coast of Scotland, engaged on shipping protection patrols.
On the 31 May 1940, carrying the code DX and the individual code R for Robert, it was piloted by Pilot Officer Kenneth McGlashan. Heading for the French coast to provide cover for the armada of small ships collecting thousands of Allied troops trapped on the shore, as the Germans swept across Northern France towards the Channel, he engaged and was hit by fire from a Messerschmitt 109. The badly injured pilot managed to bring the damaged aircraft down to crash land on a beach in Dunkirk, where it remained until recovered by French enthusiasts in 1988. It was obtained some time later by its current owner, who subsequently employed the services of several restorers before finally engaging Hawker Restorations, where it was returned to flying condition.
During Operation Dynamo (the evacuation from Dunkirk of British, French and Belgian troops cut off by the German army during the Battle of Dunkirk), the Hawker Hurricanes operated from British bases. Between 26 May and 3 June 1940, the 14 Hurricane units involved were credited with 108 air victories. A total of 27 Hurricane pilots became aces during Operation Dynamo, led by Canadians, Pilot Officer W. L. Willie McKnight (10 victories) and Pilot Officer Percival Stanley Turner (seven victories), who served in No. 242 Squadron, consisting mostly of Canadian personnel. Losses were 22 pilots killed and three captured.
These two Hawker aircraft are a welcome addition to the airshow line-up.