The Hawker Hurricane

Just along the river, about 15 minutes stroll on the Windsor side, close to Alexandra Gardens, you will find a full-size replica World War II aircraft.

This full-size replica is a permanent memorial to Windsor resident Sir Sydney Camm CBE FRAeS (1893-1966).  It bears the markings of an aircraft flown in the Battle of Britain by Squadron Leader John Grandy who, as Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir John Grandy GCB GCVO KBE DSO KStJ, was Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle from 1978-88.

Sir Sydney Camm CBD FRAeS

Sydney Camm attended the Royal Free School in Bachelor’s Acre, Windsor.  He was a talented model aircraft designer who sold his creations to the boys at Eton College, delivered under the cover of darkness to avoid detection!    During WWI he joined the GH Martinsdale Aeroplane Company and then, in 1922, the Hawker Engineering Company at Canbury Park Road in Kingston, rising from Senior Draughtsman to Chief Designer.

Several of his designs can be viewed at the RAF Museum in Hendon and there are also small displays in the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum at Windsor Guildhall.

Sydney Camm was appointed CBE in 1941 and knighted in 1953.  He became President and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society; he is considered one of the most prolific aircraft designers of all time.

The Hurricane, Camm’s best-known design, first flew in 1935 and entered RAF service in 1937.  Powered by the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, it was the first RAF monoplane fighter with an enclosed cockpit and retractable undercarriage.  It was resilient, easily repairable, had a stable firing platform, and was highly manoeuvrable.  In the 1940 Battle of Britain Hurricanes shot down more enemy aircraft than the combined totals of all other aircraft and ground forces.  It was the only fighter aircraft to serve in every British theatre during WWII.  Over 14,000 were built, many at nearby Langley, and it remained in RAF front line service until 1947.  The last Hurricane built was PZ865, which still flies today with the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Sir Sydney Camm lived in Windsor, at 10 Alma Road, SL4 5HU, where you will see a Blue Plaque to commemorate the achievements of this fascinating former Windsor resident.