The Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group in the U.K. has started a restoration of the rare World War II aircraft. They intend to fly the Tiffy (RAF slang for Typhoon) with an original Napier Sabre engine, something that hasn’t been seen, or heard, for nearly 70 years. Once complete, this legendary aircraft will be the only airworthy Hawker Typhoon in the world. The project will be funded entirely by public support and sponsorship with the goal of flying it in time for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day in 2024. The group’s intention after that is to have it serve as a centre piece for a Heritage Centre to preserve its history and educate the public. The site has not yet been chosen.
It began in 1999 when Dave Robinson moved to a house in Lichfield. There he discovered that almost every RAF Hawker Typhoon passed through the location on its way to a squadron. He started to research and a new hobby war born. He was pleased to discover there were enough surviving parts to make a complete Typhoon and original Hawker drawings were found in 2010 to change Dave’s ‘hobby’ into a ‘project’.
Then a fuselage, which had survived a forced landing in 1945, became available. It was purchased from a museum at Fort Veldhuis in The Netherlands allowing for its return after almost 70 years to the day after it had originally set out from the U.K. Another piece of valuable information came from ATA pilot Anna Leska-Daab’s log book confirming that it was delivered from RAF Lichfield to RAF Westhampnett on December 9, 1944.
In the fall of last year the project was officially launched to the public at Boultbee Flight Academy, Goodwood. 150 guests and media representatives along with relatives of Typhoon pilots saw the project in its current state, the most complete Typhoon in the world, outside of the RAF Museum example which is currently on loan to the Canadian Air & Space Museum in Ottawa.
They have outlined the 8 year plan for the rebuild and to do it they have also launched a Supporters’ Club. Artist Martin Bleasby has provided a piece of artwork, proceeds from each sale being donated to the project. The print is missing a title so both the artist and group are inviting visitors to their Facebook Page to help.
The front spar for the project is yet another of the many stories that together will make for a valuable history lesson when all is said and done. It comes from the wreckage of a Canadian Pilot. Following research conducted by the Association des Sauveteurs d’Aviateurs Alliés, sixty five years after F/O Henry “Harry” MacKenzie was lost, the wreck of his Typhoon JR523 was uncovered in the marshes of Sacy-le-Grand in France. After a number of days work the Napier Sabre engine was recovered, along with many smaller parts and personal items.
After that recovery the team decided to create a memorial to honour F/O MacKenzie and the centre piece would be the Napier Sabre engine. After much effort and work and in the presence of both French & Canadian authorities, villagers, members as well as members of the pilot’s family attended the unveiling of the new memorial dedicated to the 24 year old Canadian. MacKenzie was born on 17th April 1920, at Anyox, British Columbia. At the age of 21, he enlisted in the RCAF (Vancouver) receiving his wings in 1942.
Considering how important the Typhoon was in the Second World War and that over 3,000 of them were made, its amazing that there isn’t one flying today and only one complete example in a museum.
To make a donation use this link: http://hawkertyphoon.com/donate/