Last Of The Many

THE HISTORY OF HURRICANES BUILT IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Buckinghamshire can be proud of its contribution to the WWII effort in so many ways: food and military equipment production, the secret war waged at some of Buckinghamshire’s stately homes, military bases including Bomber Command and military units such as the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry.

Most significantly, as far as this article is concerned, Buckinghamshire produced the iconic Hawker Hurricane at Langley near Slough (now part of Berkshire). Designed in the early 1930s by Sir Sydney Camm, the Hurricane became Britain’s first 300 mph monoplane.

In the early stages the Air Ministry showed no interest in the Hurricane as they had already committed to a Spitfire prototype. However, with persistence and modifications by Camm, a prototype was ordered and flew 5 months before the Spitfire. Following this, an initial order for 600 Hurricanes was placed and production began in June 1936.

By the end of the war, over 14,000 had been built at Hawker factories in Langley, Brooklands and Kingston as well as sub contractors Gloster Aviation, Austin Motor Company and the Canadian Car and Foundry, Canada. The Hurricane became the stalwart of RAF fighters, with 29 squadrons compared to 19 with the Spitfire.

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