IWM Duxford: New display of seven airworthy Hurricanes

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A new exhibit at IWM Duxford this winter will bring together half of the world’s airworthy Hurricanes under one roof.

A celebration of World War II’s hardest-working fighter aircraft, the Hurricane, opens to visitors in December.

In a second opening, the Conservation in Action hangar at IWM Duxford will once again welcome the public after eight months of closure.

Visitors to the Cambridgeshire Museum can meet members of the IWM conservation team as they get to work on new restoration projects and raise nearly seven airworthy Hurricanes, together under one roof for the first time.

Royston Crow: loading bombs onto a Hurricane aircraft during World War II.Loading bombs onto a Hurricane aircraft during World War II. (Picture: IWM)

After last year’s success Spitfire: evolution of an iconin December, the Hawker Hurricane will take center stage with the opening of Hurricane: Unsung Hero in the Airspace Conservation Room on December 27, 2022.

With only 14 airworthy Hurricanes remaining in the world, this landmark exhibit will provide a unique opportunity to see seven of these warbirds come together to explore the rich history of Fighter Command’s finest enemy destroyer.

Royston Crow: Archive image of four uncoated Hurricanes Mark Is, T9530, W9320, W9349 and Z4095, in port echelon formation during a test flight from Abu Sueir, after arriving in Egypt via the route of West African air reinforcement from Takoradi, Gold Coast.File image of four non-tropical Mark Is Hurricanes, T9530, W9320, W9349 and Z4095, in port echelon formation during a test flight from Abu Sueir, after arriving in Egypt via the Western Air Reinforcement Route -African from Takoradi, Gold Coast. (Picture: IWM)

Often overlooked in favor of the Spitfire, the Hurricane accounted for around 60% of the aerial victories in the Battle of Britain.

Highlights of this new exhibit include a veteran Hurricane Mk1 from the summer of 1940, the only two-seat Hurricane in the world, and a Sea Hurricane Mk1b which was received by No 880 Squadron, the first squadron of the Fleet Air Arm to be equipped with Hurricanes.

Royston Crow: The world's only two-seater Hurricane that will feature in Hurricane: Unsung Hero at IWM Duxford.The world’s only two-seater Hurricane that will feature in Hurricane: Unsung Hero at IWM Duxford. (Picture: IWM)

Rebecca Harding, Head of Technology Objects at IWM Duxford, said: “With its impressive service history and distinctive appearance, the Hawker Hurricane is a true aviation legend that revolutionized air combat during World War II.

“This winter, IWM Duxford will highlight its historical significance and design and give visitors the unique chance to see seven airworthy variants up close to better understand why this famous fighter deserves such a special place in history.”

Hurricane: Unsung Hero will be open to general admission visitors to IWM Duxford from December 27, 2022 to February 19, 2023, with associated events and activities taking place throughout.

Royston Crow: Sea Hurricane Mk Ib Z7015 G-BKTH which will feature in Hurricane: Unsung Hero at IWM Duxford.Sea Hurricane Mk Ib Z7015 G-BKTH which will feature in Hurricane: Unsung Hero at IWM Duxford. (Picture: IWM)

After a full refurbishment, the doors to the Conservation in Action hangar at IWM Duxford will reopen from Thursday 17 November.

The reopening will allow visitors to see Duxford Museum’s dedicated team of curatorial staff and volunteers working to safeguard the history of the museum’s great objects for future generations to enjoy.

Royston Crow: File image of a Crusader II tank (codenamed 'Vidi') of the 4th Light Armored Brigade in the Western Desert, 20 September 1942. IWM's Crusader II will now be displayed in the Conservation In Action hangar.File image of a Crusader II tank (codenamed ‘Vidi’) of the 4th Light Armored Brigade in the Western Desert, September 20, 1942. IWM’s Crusader II will now be displayed in the Conservation In Action hangar. (Picture: IWM)

Work will take place on a number of items that have never been on display before, including a World War II Cruiser II Crusader tank, the only one on display in Europe, and a Staghound armored vehicle believed to have served with the Belgian Free Forces in Normandy in 1944.

Royston Crow: Archive image of a Staghound (M6) armored car photographed by the War Office in 1943. The IWM example will be restored in the Conservation In Action shed.Archive image of a Staghound (M6) armored car photographed by the War Office in 1943. The IWM example will be restored in the Conservation In Action hangar. (Picture: IWM)

Other restoration projects include an Avro Shackleton, a post-war British maritime patrol aircraft used extensively during the Cold War, and a German World War II Heinkel He 162 A-1 jet, the only variant A-1 still alive. type.

Royston Crow: Avro Shackleton MR.3 XF707 of No 206 Squadron flying over the North Cornwall coast near its home station of RAF St Mawgan in 1964. The IWM example, XF708, will be displayed in the Conservation In Action hangar .Avro Shackleton MR.3 XF707 of No 206 Squadron flying over the north Cornish coast near its home station at RAF St Mawgan in 1964. IWM’s example, XF708, will be displayed in the Conservation In Action hangar. (Picture: IWM)

A Jagdpanther self-propelled anti-tank gun, one of only seven survivors in the world and the only one in the UK to have been operational during the war, will also be present.

Royston Crow: File image of British troops examining a captured Jagpanther tank destroyer.File image of British troops examining a captured Jagpanther tank destroyer. (Picture: IWM)

In addition to these great items, there will also be an engine exhibit with archival photos and film footage of some of the engines on display.

Visitors can view live conservation work that takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Royston Crow: The IWM Large Objects Conservation Team prepares the IWM Crusader II for relocation to the Conservation In Action shed prior to restoration.The IWM Large Objects Conservation Team prepares the IWM Crusader II for relocation to the Conservation In Action hangar prior to restoration. (Picture: IWM)

Events and accompanying activities

Hurricane: Unsung Heroes Tour

On select dates in January and February, join one of IWM’s expert guides for a 60-minute talk exploring the history of the hurricane and the unique stories behind each of the aircraft in this landmark exhibit.

There’s even the option to go behind the ropes for a closer look at these iconic planes.

Hurricane: Unsung Hero in Airfix

Join the Airfix team members on January 15 as they explain the research, design and production processes that go into making their iconic aircraft model.

They’ll show how to take precise measurements of life-size aircraft using 3D scanners, how they use cutting-edge technology to design their kits, and how they design their famous box art.

Duxford in a different light: the unsung hero of the hurricane

Head to AirSpace after hours on February 4 where the aircraft will be lit in a variety of ways, including the use of colored and white lighting, to create magical photography moments.

This event is for experienced photographers and we suggest you bring a camera and tripod.

Royston Crow: Hurricane Mk I V7497 G-HRLI which will feature in Hurricane: Unsung Hero at IWM Duxford.Hurricane Mk I V7497 G-HRLI which will feature in Hurricane: Unsung Hero at IWM Duxford. (Picture: IWM)

IWM in Conversation: The Hurricane Conference

Join Duxford for a series of fascinating lectures on the history and heritage of the hurricane on February 18.

Hear a current Hurricane pilot and engineer talk about the intricacies of flying and maintaining the aircraft, learn what made the Hurricane such a powerful enemy destroyer in WWII from an IWM curator, and hear from Jim Nicolson whose uncle flew Hurricanes and was the only Fighter Command pilot in all of World War II to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

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