PZ865 is a Hawker Hurricane IIc
- Battle of Britain
Carried serials H3421, H3423, & H3424 and squadron codesMI-C, MI-D, MI-G, KV-A, & OK-I[N 1]
The last Hurricane ever built (of 14,533), PZ865 rolled off the Hawker production line at Langley, Bucks, in July 1944 with the inscription ‘The Last of the Many’ on her port and starboard sides. Keen to preserve in flight the last Hurricane ever built, Hawkers purchased the aircraft back from the Air Ministry and kept it in storage at Langley.
In 1950, PZ865 was entered in the King’s Cup Air Race by HRH Princess Margaret. Flown by Group Captain Peter Townsend CVO DSO DFC* it achieved second place. Over the next three years ‘PZ’ participated in several other air races and was modified for racing with the removal of its cannons and the installation of two ‘overload’ wing fuel tanks.
During the 1960s, ‘PZ’ was returned to its wartime camouflage scheme and made numerous display appearances, often in the hands of the famous fighter pilot and test pilot Bill Bedford OBE AFC. It also appeared in the film ‘Battle of Britain’. In March 1972, after a complete overhaul, PZ865 was flown to Coltishall and presented by Hawker Siddeley to the BBMF.
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. In 1996, replica 20mm cannons, funded by the Lincolnshire’s Lancaster Association, were fitted to ‘PZ’ to restore the aircraft’s appearance to that of a Mk IIC Hurricane.
In November 2010, PZ865 was sent to Duxford for major maintenance and refurbishment. From 2012 this famous Hurricane wore a new colour scheme, faithfully replicating Hurricane Mk IIC HW840, coded ‘EG-S’, of 34 Squadron, South East Asia Command during 1944, the personal aircraft of Canadian pilot, Flight Lieutenant Jimmy Whalen DFC.[N 2]
- ↑ OK-1 was the personal Hurricane of AVM Sir Keith Park
- ↑ The full story of Jimmy Whalen DFC and the Battle for Kohima is in the RAF BBMF 2012 Yearbook.