Sir Sydney Camm, CBE, FRAeS (5 August 1893 – 12 March 1966) was an English aeronautical engineer who contributed to many Hawker aircraft designs, from the biplanes of the 1920s to jet fighters; one particularly notable aircraft he designed is the Hawker Hurricane fighter – “The People’s Fighter”.
Sydney Camm was born at 10 Alma Road in Windsor, Berkshire, the eldest child of the twelve children of Frederick Camm, a carpenter/joiner and Mary Smith. In 1901 he began attending the Royal Free School in Windsor until in 1908 Camm left school to become an apprentice carpenter.
Camm developed an interest in aeronautics, Camm and his brothers began building model aircraft and were keen members of Windsor Model Aeroplane Club. His accomplishments as a model aeroplane designer and builder culminated in a man-carrying glider which he and others at the club built in 1912.
Shortly before the start of the World War I Camm obtained a position as a carpenter at the Martinsyde aircraft and motorcycle company which was located at the Brooklands motor racing circuit in Weybridge, Surrey.
In November 1923 Camm joined the Hawker Aircraft Company based at Canbury Park Road in Kingston upon Thames as a senior draughtsman. His first design was the Cygnet, the success of which led, in 1925, to his being appointed chief designer. During his employment at Hawker he was responsible for the creation of 52 different types of aircraft, of which a total of 26,000 were manufactured; among his early designs were the Tomtit, Hornbill, Nimrod, Hart and Fury. At one time in the 1930s 84 per cent of the aircraft in the RAF were of Camm design! He is most recognised as being the designer of aeroplanes that would become mainstays of the RAF in the Second World War including the Hawker Hurricane, Hawker Typhoon and Hawker Tempest.
Camm was President of the Royal Aeronautical Society(RAeS) from 1954 to 1955. Since 1971 the RAeS has held the biennial Sir Sydney Camm Lecture in June, given by the current commander-in-chief of RAF Air Command. Camm retired as chief designer at Hawker in 1965, however, he remained on the board of its successor, Hawker Siddeley until his death on 12 March 1966 while playing golf at the Richmond Golf Course aged 72 and he was buried in Long Ditton.