Yorkshire Air Museum's Hawker Hurricane recognises achievements of Sir Sydney Camm

By Culture24 Staff | 07 January 2010
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a photograph of a camouflaged hurricane fighter plane next to a group of nissan huts

Yorkshire Air Museum's Hawker Hurricane fighter plane (above) will be transported to Windsor this summer in support of a campaign to recognise the achievements of its designer Sir Sydney Camm.

For most people the first aeroplane which comes to mind when they think about the Battle of Britain is the Spitfire. But in terms of the outcome of the battle it was the Spitfire's solid but redoubtable comrade in arms, the Hawker Hurricane, which contributed most to the famous British victory.

Designed by Camm in 1934, the ubiquitous Hurricane accounted for 80% of the enemy aircraft downed during the 1940 battle. Now, 70 years on, a campaign is underway to mark its designer's towering achievements.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Sir Sydney's only grandchild, Elizabeth Dickson, is working to establish a scholarship fund to recognise his work on the Hurricane and other Hawker aircraft.

Described by Dickson as a "quiet and reserved man" who was "not given to blowing his own trumpet", Sir Sydney is said to have taken some persuading to accept his knighthood.

Although little known today, aviation enthusiasts regard him as the "Isambard Kingdom Brunel of aeronautical engineering". At one time during the 1930s, his planes accounted for eight out of ten aircraft within the RAF, including the Hawker Hart, the Hind and the Fury.

To help support the campaign the Yorkshire Air Museum's full-size replica of the Hurricane will form a centrepiece display celebrating the achievements of the Windsor-born aeronautical engineer as part of the Windsor Tattoo, taking place between May 12-15 2010.

"We are very proud to have been invited to support the Windsor Tattoo and bring our Hawker Hurricane to Sir Sydney Camm's hometown," said Museum Director Ian Reed.

"The scholarship fund is an excellent way to ensure Camm's achievements can inspire future generations of aeronautical engineers. Work is now in progress to repaint the Hurricane and bring it into pristine condition for this superb event."

Sir Sydney joined Hawker in 1923. After World War Two he developed aircraft such as the Hawker Hunter, which in 1951 was the fastest aircraft of the time. He then became the pioneer of vertical take off and landing jet flight with the revolutionary Hawker Harrier, which is still in service more than 40 years after his death in 1966.

An example of the Harrier can also be seen at the Yorkshire Air Museum.

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