Hawker Hurricane, copyright RAF Museum Hendon

More than twice as many Hurricanes compared with Spitfires were on squadron service when the War began. The Hurricane was the product of Hawker’s head designer, Sydney Camm. He had designed a whole series of bi-plane fighters for the RAF. The Hurricane was the direct descendent of the last of these. It was to replace the Hawker Fury bi-plane which had been standard on many RAF squadrons, and entered squadron service in January 1938.

The Hurricane’s construction followed the same pattern as its antecedents. The body and the wing of the Hurricane were covered in fabric. The aeroplane was slightly larger than the Spitfire and in comparison it was slightly slower, having a top speed of 328mph, but it was a thoroughly reliable gun platform. Moreover, pilots who flew it swore by its performance. The aircraft was considered highly manoeuvrable: it could turn more tightly that both the Me109 and Spitfire. The aircraft had the advantage of being relatively simple to service. It also had the major advantage of being able to take a great deal of punishment from enemy fire. It was more simple and straightforward to manufacture than the Spitfire.