Notable Facts: Struck off charge from RCAF in 1946
Acquired from the legendary aircraft restorer Harry Whereatt of Assiniboia, Saskatchwan in 1988
Serial Number: RCAF Serial Number 5447 C/N 46002
Current Registration: C-GGAJ
Recent Markings: Stripped... soon to be marked as Hurricane LE-A of 242 RAF - Canadian Squadron
The F/O William Lidstone McKnight Hawker Hurricane XII
First Flight: 1935
Total Production (All Marks): 14,533+
Wingspan: 40 ft 0 in (12.19 m)
Engine: Rolls Royce Merlin 29
Maximum Speed: 531 km/h (330 mph)
The Spitfire will forever be associated in the public's mind with the Battle of Britain, but it was the Hawker Hurricane that shouldered the lion's share of the fighting and the eventual victory during that titanic aerial struggle. Day after day, the exhausted RAF and Commonwealth pilots from 32 Hurricane-equipped squadrons rose from the airfields of East Anglia to meet and eventually defeat the Luftwaffe, thereby making this aircraft forever synonymous with the “Few”.
The “Hurry” was a design of many firsts for the Royal Air Force. The Hurricane was the first monoplane fighter aircraft of the RAF, its first fighter with both an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear as well as the first to exceed 300 mph in level flight. While it may have been first, it proved to be an exceptional design which could be adapted to just about any role needed from a single seat aircraft, from interceptor to naval reconnaissance to ground attack.
"Willie" McKnight of 242 Squadron was the first Canadian ace and Canada's fifth-highest scoring ace of the Second World War. McKnight joined the RAF in early 1939 and served in No. 242 Squadron RAF during the final phase of the Battle of France, covering the Allied retreat from Brittany, and later the Battle of Britain. McKnight's aircraft wore a distinct cartoon of a jackboot kicking Hitler on the port side of the engine cowling. His Hurricane also carried a human skeleton image which held a sickle in its hand under the cockpit, on both sides of the aircraft. McKnight scored 17 victories, as well as two shared and three unconfirmed kills. McKnight was shot down and killed on January 12, 1941 during a fighter sweep over Calais.
The Hurricane XII project has been slowly taking shape over the past five years and soon the fuselage will be mated with its wings. We have decided to honour this great Canadian for his spectacular but short flying career and will paint our Hurricane in his honour and in the unique markings of the 242 “Canadian” Squadron Hurricane which he flew.