V7497 is a Hurricane Mk 1, manufactured in mid 1940 by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. Flown operationally at the very height of the Battle of Britain from the famous fighter station, RAF Kenley, East London, the aircraft was lost during an operational patrol on 28th September over Sutton in Kent.
V7497 was part of the fourth Hawker production block by Hawker Aircraft Limited, manufactured at the new Langley facility near Heathrow (then a tiny grass airfield) in Berkshire to Air Ministry Contract no. 62305/39. The aircraft was powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin 111. Hurricane deliveries from this block commenced on the 2nd July, 1940 and were completed on the 5th February, 1941. The average rate of production about two aircraft per day.
V7497 – Given the manufacturer’s construction number 41H-136172 the aircraft was allocated RAF serial number V7497 on completion and issued to 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron in September 1940. The Hurricane was delivered to Kenley during September 1940 primarily to make up losses which had been inflicted on the squadron throughout the summer. (Photo ACG)
Block 4: Fourth Hawker Produced Block – V7497 was one of 50 Hawker Hurricane fighters within it’s serial range.
Serial Ranges: V7200 – V7209 (10), V7221 – V7260 (40), V7276 – V7318 (43), V7337 – V7386 (50), V7400 – V7446 (47), V7461 – V7510 (50), V7533 – V7572 (40), V7588 – V7627 (40), V7644 – V7690 (47), V7705 – V7737 (33), V7741 – V7780 (40), V7795 – V7838 (44), V7851 – V7862 (12), AS987 – AS990 (4) Total 500. Within the same serial batch of aircraft as V7497 was Hawker Hurricane V7467 – the aircraft flown by Squadron Leader Douglas Bader, 242 Squadron RAF, LE-D – this airframe, after seeing service with 242, was sent to 111 Squadron before being destroyed in a crash while with 59 OTU at Crosby-On-Eden.
Aircraft produced by Hawker Aircraft Limited at Langley. To Contract 62305/39, powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin III’s. Aircraft deliveries commenced on the 2nd July, 1940 and were completed on the 5th February, 1941. Average rate of production about two aircraft per day. The first 25 aircraft of this block were completed with fabric covered wings, but were later modified to metal wings at Maintenance Units, the remaining 475 aircraft completed with metal wings by manufacturer.
Like many fighters at the height of the Battle of Britain, its service career was short lived, and it was shot down by a Messerschmitt Bf109 over Kent on 28th September after only seven operational sorties. The airframe came to earth in Sutton and the pilot, P/O E.B. Rogers survived the incident by taking to his parachute.
Gustav Sprick (More info) – He was the Staffelkapitan of 8./JG26, (Officer Commanding) He was rewarded with the “Ritterkreuz” (Knight’s Cross) for his deed on the 28th September for downing V7497. (Aces of the Luftwaffe)
The morning of the 28th September 1940, 501 were 12 pilots strong. Along with 6 pilots from 605 squadron, they were ordered to patrol around Sevenoaks. According to the flight report of the Squadron Leader of 605 squadron, the two squadrons were over Tenterden (North West of Dungeness) with 605 at 22,000ft & 501 lower and behind them. 12 109s were then spotted heading in a North Westerly direction coming from the Deal area at 26,000ft. It seems from here that the 109s got into an advantageous position behind the formation and attacked the lower and slower 501 as they approached the Dover area.
SD-X designated aircraft where flown by notable 501 Squadron pilots including Squadron Leader ‘Ginger’ Lacey and Wing Commander K.W. MacKenzie (V6799). SD-X designated aircraft also appeared in the movies; `Reach for the Sky’, the story of Douglas Bader, starring Kenneth Moore, T4107/SD-X and appropriately filmed at Kenley.
The following record of operational missions carried out by V7497 was derived from study of the Operations Record Book for 501 Squadron (September, 1940) held in the UK National Archive at Kew:-
24th – Sgt. Saward: 16.50 – 17.10 Active Ops, patrol.
25th – P/O E.B. Rogers: 08.55 – 09.50 Active Ops, patrol.
26th -P/O E.B. Rogers: 16.30 – 17.15 Active Ops, patrol.
27th – P/O E.B. Rogers: 09.05 – 10.10 Active Ops, patrol.
27th – P/O E.B. Rogers: 11.20 – 12.25 Active Ops, patrol.
27th – P/O F. C. Harrold: 15.10 – 15.55 Active Ops, patrol.
28th – P/O E.B. Rogers: 09.45 (take off) – Active Ops, patrol (a/c destroyed due to enemy action).
HAWKER HURRICANE 1 – V7497 (G-HRLI)
Hawker Restorations Ltd – The Battle of Britain Hawker Hurricane MK.1 V7497 is being restored by aircraft restoration and historic motorsport specialists Hawker Restorations in the United Kingdom, only a few miles from the Battle Of Britain operational airfields used in 1940. Hawker Restorations have been involved in a majority of the rebuilds of the current airworthy Hawker Hurricane aircraft in the World along with Supermarine Spitfire, Avro, Yak and Sopwith aeroplanes. V7497 is undergoing a ‘ground up’ nut-and-bolt restoration to flying condition under the guidance of type expert Tony Ditheridge. The restoration is progressing with a target of first engine runs and first flight during 2018 – we will keep you updated on progress here.