More than 75 years after, Hurricane Mk I Serial Number P2902 that crash-landed on the beaches of Dunkirk, which remained buried in the sand and covered in sea water until recovered by French enthusiasts in 1988, is now being restored to flying condition.
Discovered by French fishermen and dredged up by WW2 French enthusiasts, it was obtained some time later by warbird operator Rick Roberts, who employed the services of several restorers before finally engaging Hawker Restorations.
As Hawker Restorations reports, this aircraft, Hurricane MkI Serial Number P2902, was built by Gloster Aircraft during 1939-1940 under contract number 962371/38/C.23a. It first flew on or around 20th October 1939. By May 1940, it was operational with 245 Fighter Squadron, based at Drem on the East Coast of Scotland, engaged on shipping protection patrols. Carrying the code DX and the individual code R for Robert, the aircraft was crash landed on a beach in Dunkirk in 1940 after engaging two Messerschmitt 109s.
Pilot Officer Kenneth McGlashan was at the controls, and he was heading for the French coast to provide cover for the armada of small ships collecting thousands of Allied troops trapped on the shore as the Germans swept across Northern France towards the Channel, when it was hit by fire from a Messerschmit 109 and the badly injured pilot managed to bring the aircraft down in one piece.
Some years ago, this airworthy restoration seemed impossible, but 25,000 skilled man-hours of labour - and a bill for £2million- have done that the aircraft P2902, is ready to take to the skies again. Its work restoration began six years ago. Now, we can see another Hurricane airworthy with a sound and robust provenance, that embeds of as many original parts as humanly has been possible.
As Daily Mirror reports, Andrew Wenman of Hawker Restorations said: "This Hurricane has a unique history - it was part of one of the most important operations in the war, one that marked a turning point in the conflict" - "For us it has been a long-term project but now we are in the last stages - the wings will be attached and we estimate that by the end of March it will be ready to fly."
Over 14,583 Hurricanes were built and at least 13 survive in airworthy condition worldwide. Restored Hurricane MkI Serial Number P2902 will join them in a short time.
During Operation Dynamo (the evacuation from Dunkirk of British, French and Belgian troops cut off by the German army during the Battle of Dunkirk), the Hawker Hurricanes operated from British bases. Between 26 May and 3 June 1940, the 14 Hurricane units involved were credited with 108 air victories. A total of 27 Hurricane pilots became aces during Operation Dynamo, led by Canadians, Pilot Officer W. L. Willie McKnight (10 victories) and Pilot Officer Percival Stanley Turner (seven victories), who served in No. 242 Squadron, consisting mostly of Canadian personnel. Losses were 22 pilots killed and three captured.