Hawker Hurricane Mk. I ‘P3717’ (G-HITT)
Survivor of the Battle of Britain Hurricane
• Aircraft Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
• Operator: Bygone Aviation Ltd
• Year of Manufacture: 1940
• Powered by: Rolls Royce Merlin
• Colour Scheme: 253 Squadron RAF
Hawker Hurricane G-HITT Serial Number P3717 was built in 1940 as one of 544 Hurricanes built as part of the 3rd production batch. She was delivered to 253 Squadron at Kirton in Lindsey on the 13th of July 1940 and was flown by Pilot Officer W M C Samolinski. The unit then transferred to its new base of operations, RAF Kenley, on the 29th August 1940
P3717’s Battle of Britain was brief. After landing and refuelling at Kenley on the 29th the aircraft of 253 were scrambled at 16.00 for a standing patrol. This however proved uneventful. 10.50 am the following day saw a squadron scramble to counter the 3 incoming waves of Albert Kesselring’s Luftflotte 2. Samolinski and P3717 were in the thick of the action and a running fight developed across the south of England. This culminated in Samolinksi and P3717 being credited with the destruction of a Bf110 over Redhill in Surrey. P3717 however was so badly damaged in this action that she had to be returned to Hawkers for significant repairs.
After rebuild at Hawkers she was sent to Russia. It was from here that she was recovered on the late 1990’s and the long road to returning to airworthiness started.
2017 is P3717’s debut season and she is based along with her Hurricane Heritage stable mate Hurricane R4118 at Old Warden Aerodrome. Both of these iconic British aircraft serve as a poignant reminder of the nerve, bravery and skill of the young men who flew them and that the Hurricane force destroyed more than twice as many enemy aircraft during The Battle as all of our other defences combined.
Images: Darren Harbar.