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Hawker Hurricane IIc - PZ865
 

The last of 14.533 Hurricanes ever built, PZ865 rolled off the production line at Langley, Buckinghamshire, in the summer of 1944 with the inscription "The Last of the Many" on her port and starboard sides.

The aircraft was almost immediately purchased back from the Air Ministry by Hawkers and initially mothballed, before being employed as a company communications and test aircraft. In 1950, wearing the civilian registration G-AMAU, it was entered in the King’s Cup Air Race by HRH Princess Margaret. Flown by Group Captain Peter Townsend it achieved second place.

During the 1960s, PZ865 was returned to its wartime camouflage scheme and was used as a company hack and communications aircraft. It appeared in "The Battle of Britain" film and also made numerous display appearances, often in the hands of the famous fighter pilot and test pilot Bill Bedford. After a complete overhaul, PZ865 was flown to Coltishall in March 1972 and given to the Memorial Flight by Hawker Siddeley. For many years the aircraft appeared as "The Last of the Many" but eventually the inscription was removed and put on display in the BBMF headquarters.

PZ865 is currently painted to represent Hurricane IIc BE581, "Night Reaper" with code JX-Y, the aircraft flown by the Czech fighter ace Flight Lieutenant Karel Kuttelwascher during night intruder operations from Tangmere in 1942 with the RAF’s legendary 1(F) Squadron. In only 15 night intruder missions "Kut"’, as he was know to his colleagues, shot down 15 enemy bombers (3 in one night on May 5, 1942) over their own airfields in France; he also damaged a further five bombers and shot up several steam locomotives and "E" boats.

The single-seat Hurricanes were not radar equipped, so targets could only be found visually and without the benefit of modern aids to night vision. With their Hurricanes fitted with long-range drop tanks, night intruder pilots flew long sorties of up to 3½ hours, often in poor conditions and completely alone. "Kut"s aircraft, BE581/JX-E, wore the "Night Reaper" motif on the starboard engine cowling and "Kut" had swastika kill symbols painted under the cockpit on the port side. When his three kills from the night of 5 May 1942 were added there were 11 swastika symbols displayed ("Kut" eventually achieved a total of 18 confirmed kills).

The aircraft’s rudder and a panel on the port wing had to be replaced with black-painted items from a "Turbinlite" Hurricane (BD770) due to Flak damage incurred by BE581 on that sortie. This is all faithfully replicated on PZ865 as a snapshot in time. "Kut" survived the war but died in 1959 from a heart attack on the age of 42.

 

Hawker Hurricane IIc
PZ865 - JX-Y

Hawker Hurricane IIc - PZ865 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   Hawker Hurricane IIc - PZ865 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   Hawker Hurricane IIc - PZ865 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   Hawker Hurricane IIc - PZ865 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom
 
Hawker Hurricane IIc - PZ865 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom   Hawker Hurricane IIc - PZ865 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - United Kingdom  
 
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