The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seater monoplane fighter aircraft designed by Sydney Camm at Hawker Aircraft in the early 1930’s. It saw exemplary service in World War II and accounted for over 60% of the air victories in the Battle of Britain.
A total of 1,715 Hurricanes in fact flew with Fighter Command during the period of the Battle of Britain, far in excess of all other British fighters combined. It is estimated that Hurricane pilots were credited with four fifths of all enemy aircraft destroyed in the period July – October 1940.
Of all the aircraft involved in the Battle of Britain, Hurricane OK-1 was that which made the most impact. ‘One single aircraft. It didn’t shoot down anything during the battle, despite being piloted by an Ace with twenty victories to his name (all during WWI),’ says Jim Schofield, an aviation expert on Quora.
‘OK-1’s impact came as a result of being the trusted personal aircraft of Air Vice Marshal Sir Keith Park.
‘“If any one man won the Battle of Britain, he did” – Air Chief Marshal Lord Tedder (1947)
‘Sir Keith saved the entire world, becoming the first General to defeat the Nazis in a large battle, in what may be the most-pivotal and most important battle in world history. His Hurricane, OK-1, was the plane he flew while doing it. It’s important to note that Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding is as crucial as Sir Keith, and was Fighter Command’s overall commander. Plus, massive contributions from so many others. I believe Lord Dowding didn’t fly around as of the Battle of Britain; if he did, his plane would be here too!’
‘This photograph shows Sir Keith and OK-1. The handwritten inscription indicates it was taken on the 15th of September, presumably of 1940; a date now celebrated as Battle of Britain Day. That day was the climax of the battle, when some 1,500 aircraft fought above London and Southern England. The RAF and Sir Keith (and OK-1!) emerged victorious.
‘Sir Keith’s beloved ‘dear old Hurricane’ seems to have served him and the RAF extremely well throughout the battle.
‘So, what’s so special about OK-1? Physically not much, it’s like all the other Hurricanes. She was a Block 3 Mk.1 Hurricane, with a Merlin III engine, with the serial number P3854. It’s her precious cargo, Sir Keith, who OK-1 kept safe and sound is what makes her so important… Although she does have appropriate, badass nose art; Cerberus, the three headed dog of Hades, who guards the underworld to prevent the dead from escaping!’
‘Sir Keith is an incredible, sadly under-recognised hero.
‘And that’s why Hurricane, OK-1 is the aircraft that had the most impact on the Battle of Britain!’
Photo credit: Crown Copyright
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