Hurricane 501 – V7497 latest update July 20th 2017
V7497 update – as you can see Hurricane 501 is close now to flight. The wings have been made in house by Hawker Restorations Ltd and are an absolutely amazing engineering marvel! The interior of the cockpit is almost complete, the fuselage and tail is almost complete and the wings have been fitted. We are still hopeful that V7497 will take to the skies by late 2017…. Fingers crossed for this Battle of Britain veteran getting airborne again really soon.
When war was declared in September 1939, 501 Squadron was based at RAF Filton, near Bristol. On 10 May 1940, with the attack on France, the Squadron became part of the Advanced Air Striking Force and moved to France where it saw extensive action, stationed at airfields as Bétheniville, Anglure, Le Mans and Dinard. Sgt. J.H. ‘Ginger’ Lacey of 501 Squadron shot down three enemy aircraft in a single day to win the Croix de Guerre. (He later returned to England with five victories). After the retreat from France through Saint Helier, Jersey, its battle-hardened pilots were reorganised at RAF Croydon and then moved on to RAF Middle Wallop and later RAF Gravesend (now Gravesend Airport). It subsequently served at RAF Kenley, south London, commanded by S/L. Harry Hogan, until 17 December 1940 by which time the squadron had claimed 149 enemy aircraft destroyed.
The squadron was originally formed as a day-bomber unit named No 501 (City of Bristol) Squadron as part of the Special Reserve squadrons on 14 June 1929, made up of volunteers and regulars, flying D.H.9As, which were later replaced with Westland Wapitis and later still with Westland Wallaces. In 1936 it became “No 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron”, changing the name to embrace a larger area of recruitment. On 1 May 1936 it was transferred to the Auxiliary Air Force and in July of that year the squadron converted to Hawker Harts. In March 1938 these were exchanged for Hawker Hinds, but at the end of 1938 No. 501 squadron was transferred from RAF Bomber Command to RAF Fighter Command, and Hawker Hurricanes began to arrive in March 1939.