Celebration of 20 Years’ Work of Volunteer Team who Brought a WWII Hurricane back to life

Brooklands Hurricane

The Worshipful the Mayor of the Borough of Elmbridge, local Councillors and VIPs will be joining a gathering of Trustees and supporters from Brooklands Museum to celebrate the achievements of a dedicated team of volunteers who have restored a Hawker Hurricane aircraft.

The Hurricane was Britain’s most successful fighter aircraft of the WWII era and was designed by Sydney Camm at nearby Kingston. It was assembled and first flown in prototype form at Brooklands in November 1935. Altogether, 3,012 Hurricanes were produced at Brooklands – one fifth of the total built. When the Battle of Britain was fought in the summer of 1940, it was due to the tremendous production and test flying effort at Brooklands and other factories, and to the skills of the RAF pilots, that the Hurricane became the chief victor of this decisive engagement. Almost 25% of all RAF fighters in this conflict were Brooklands-built Hurricanes.

On permanent display as part of the vast collection of aircraft at Brooklands Museum is Hawker Hurricane Z2389. Built in 1940 it served with five different RAF Squadrons in 1941, including the American volunteer 71 ‘Eagle’ Squadron at Martlesham Heath. As part of emergency war supplies for Russia, it was shipped to Murmansk on 21st May 1942. On the 20th June 1942, it engaged two Messerschmitt Bf109Fs and five Bf110s over a remote part of Murmansk but was shot down along with two other Hurricanes. The pilot, F/Lt Ivan Kalashnikov survived the forced landing.

Fifty years later it was found by Russian historians, recovered in 1996 and then acquired by Brooklands Museum in 1997. It became the first historic aircraft to be purchased with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The Hurricane volunteer restoration team assembled in 1999 and has worked up until 2019 to complete the incredible restoration of this aircraft. As well as the work itself, the team, alongside Museum staff, have sourced materials, spares and raised money. Their biggest and most memorable achievement has to be sourcing a Merlin Mark II engine entirely by chance when an interested visitor said he had one sitting in his garage!

It has taken the team 60,000 dedicated man hours to rebuild the steel and wooden structure, stitch the fabric on the fuselage, paint the wings, restore the cockpit and plot’s seat to bring this iconic British aircraft to its present form. Furthermore, they have introduced this specialist area of restoration work to younger generations by encouraging Duke of Edinburgh participants to assist them; some members who completed the required levels have chosen to stay on and join the Museum’s volunteer programme.

Now, visitors to the Museum can see an original Hawker Hurricane that saw active war-time service. This milestone will be celebrated on 3rd September, 80 years to the day that Britain announced it was at war with Germany.

www.brooklandsmuseum.com

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