Rare Battle of Britain Hurricane will remain in the UK

Fears that the sole surviving Hawker Hurricane from the Battle of Britain would be sold to an international buyer were allayed today, with the announcement that the aircraft has been purchased by a British aviation enthusiast.

British software entrepreneur James Brown is the new owner of Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 R4118, ensuring that this unique Battle of Britain veteran remains in the UK.

Delivered new to 605 Squadron in August 1940, R4118 flew 49 operational sorties during the Battle of Britain, shooting down five enemy aircraft before being shot down itself. After a meticulous restoration by previous owner Peter Vacher, the aircraft is now regarded as the most historic British aircraft to survive in flying condition from the Second World War.

On his purchase, James Brown said: “R4118 is a remarkable survivor from the Battle of Britain.  When I heard the aircraft was on the market, I knew it was critical that this unique piece of Britain’s history remained in the UK, so I’m very pleased to have been able to achieve that.

“My goal is to ensure that the Hurricane remains in the pristine condition that Peter [Vacher] has returned it to and that it continues to be a regular feature at British air shows for many years to come. Thanks to Peter’s efforts to return R4118 to flying condition, the aircraft commands huge affection from the British public and I’m proud to be able to play a part in her future.”

Discovered in 1995 by retired businessman Peter Vacher during a trip to India, R4118 had stood out in the open for 54 years before it was returned to Britain for restoration.  Despite its exposure to the elements, the airframe was still in surprisingly good condition and, after a three-year restoration, the aircraft returned to the skies in December 2004.

Commenting on the sale, Peter Vacher said “R4118 has been a huge part of my life for many years, but I have other projects that I’m keen to focus on and it’s time for a new owner to take on the mantle. I’m delighted that James’s purchase means not only that R4118 will remain in the UK, but that it will be cherished by a true enthusiast”.

R4118 has been moved to its new home here at Old Warden Aerodrome, Bedfordshire where it will be placed on public display within the hangars of the Shuttleworth Collection.

Tim Routsis, Aviation Trustee for The Collection, said that “the aircraft’s historical significance would make it of particular interest to visitors, and Old Warden felt very privileged to have been chosen as the place people can come to see it on display.”

As well as continuing its participation in major airshows nationwide throughout 2016, it is hoped that the aircraft will also become a regular participant at Shuttleworth Collection events alongside Old Warden stablemate, Sea Hurricane Mk 1B Z7015.

(Image – Darren Harbar Photography)