Hawker Hurricane...

...The Multirole Fighter, new from Fonthill Media

Title: Hawker Hurricane
Author: Philip Birtles

Publisher: Fonthill Media
ISBN: 978-1-78155-587-3

The Spitfire and the Hurricane are two aircraft names which are so famous, even for those not directly interested in military or aviation history.  While the Spitfire has attracted much of the attention, perhaps 'glamour', it is nice to see this new book from Fonthill Media and author Philip Birtles which focusses and details the important contribution/ roles of the Hurricane throughout the war.

It starts by going back to before WW1 and the work of Tommy Sopwith.  He then taught a young Australian to fly, Harry Hawker.  A keen mechanic he became the main Test Pilot for Sopwith Aircraft.  His story is told along with Tommy Sopwith's and  after WW1, when the Sopwith Aircraft company failed, so no great surprise that he then started his own engineering company, H.E.Hawker.   It wasn't long before Sydney Camm came to work for the company as a designer,  The book then adds his story, as he became Chief Designer, responsible for so many famous aircraft designs, from pre-WW2 designs such as the Fury and Hart, post war designs such as the Hunter and the early Harriers.  In between times, he was also behind the Hurricane of course.

The chapters move on from the background to the Design, Development and Production of this famous fighter.  On to its' entry into service with the RAF, then both the Battles of France and Britain.  It served during the Battle of Britain in greater numbers than the Spitfire, was simpler to build, and capable of taking plenty of punishment that was then easier to repair as well.  Then there are the Sea Hurricanes, where the wider track undercarriage proved itself more stable than the narrow track of the Seafire.  As well as operating from carrier decks, they provided valuable service as Catapult launched aircraft from certain Merchant ship. or CAM (Catapult Armed Merchantmen) vessels.  With the Battle of Britain behind it, the Hurricane moved on to the Offensive along with Training and Support  units.  Then Canadian Hurricanes, the Mediterranean Theatre, along with both Deseret and Asian campaigns,.  It is all rounded off with details of Foreign Air Forces who operated the Hurricane, such as Belgium, and in more recent times, Rebuilding Hurricanes and returning some to flying condition.  To help even more there are 4 Appendices, providing lists of Preserved Hurricans, Hurricane Specifications, Production detail and Hurricane Equipped Units.

Throughout the book there are lots of archive photos to refer to and these in turn have helpful captions.  They also provide plenty of detail of the various marks, including camouflage and markings plus plenty of diorama ideas that offer handy inspiration.  ANother very good book, and if you have an interest in the Hurricane, as a modeller or an aviation historian, one I thun you will like to have on your bookshelf.  A fine book, packed with detail.

Robin