The first of the engines is a dry recovery Merlin 20 which was a replacement in a Lancaster, with damage to the reduction gear, supercharger and crankcase but with complete valve and rocker gear and slight damage to one of the heads and with grease still evident in the bores and on crankshaft bearings, we hope to have many usable components. The second engine was recovered 30 years ago from a farmer's field in Lincolnshire which was from an early Mark I Hurricane 1939/40, Merlin 3, aircraft flying hours 20. Fortunately crank shaft and top banks and associated components are in excellent condition. The remains of a third engine were from a late Mark I Hurricane, Merlin 3, which was recovered a few weeks ago in Cambridgeshire. A fourth engine was recently acquired. A fifth engine plus a whole plethora of Merlin components and spares for the Hawker Fury.
A pair of fairly rare 5-spoke wheels have been acquired, with several sets of undercarriage legs and complete hydraulic system plus hand operated Dowty hand pump and associated equipment. As you can see by our workshop pictures, the Hurricane is well over half-way complete and will probably take another 7+ years to complete.
We have been trying to publicise the project with a view to attracting sponsorship. A brief article was published nationally in the FlyPast magazine concerning our major consignment of parts from Russia. We have also had articles published in Aeroplane Monthly and the RAF Magazine, AirClues. Locally we have been on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: 22/10/97, 20/1/98, 23/11/98 and 25/02/01. A new article was on the front page of the Cambridge Evening News on 6 March 2001 and we also have an article pending publication in the Daily Mail. Previous articles have been published in the Cambridge Evening News group of newspapers during 1997/98. A new filmed interview was shown on BBC Look East early in 2001. Filming has also been completed for Anglia Television and BBC Look East, and both these short clips have now been shown (end of 1997/early 1998). There continues to be TV/media interest which has generated some useful contacts. We have now gained a small sponsorship deal with a local engineering firm. As may have been noted from the opening page, we are now members of the 85 Squadron Association, the membership of which we hope will prove an invaluable source of knowledge and experience. The Association's newsletter has also given the project an extensive write up.
During the last few months we have negotiated a link which enables us to acquire a constant supply of Hurricane components, large and small, from outside Europe.
We believe we have found a home for the finished article which will entail loan agreements of approximately 2 years before considering donation to a premier museum in the UK or overseas. Further information in this connection will be confirmed at a later date. We must emphasise that we are a charitable non-profit making society and rely on the goodwill of others to fulfill our function.
The Society was formed in 1996 to perpetuate the history of 85 Squadron and all the servicemen which served in the Second World War, starting from the Battle of France; to commemorate my father's service in 85 Squadron working alongside Squadron Leader Peter Townsend; to fulfill the restoration of this Mark I Hurricane and Fury as a permanent memorial to those brave men and to make it available for educational purposes and historical research. Our main objectives are to advance aviation preservation and to preserve all aspects of the national aviation heritage. We have just rewritten our Constitution which is a 5-page document and includes this mission statement.
PARTS For anyone working on or about to start a restoration of this vintage, we have a number of items which will not be needed and are available for exchange preferably, or sale. Contact Paul Rogers at email@example.com