Saturday October 29th 2016 may be remembered as a significant date in the history of the Hawker Typhoon.
Your Secretary has been in touch with three Typhoon restoration projects recently. One, at the Jet Age Museum, Staverton we know well. There a cockpit section and other Typhoon parts are being expertly restored to static display condition. Two other projects aim to restore Typhoons to flying condition. One of those is in Canada, the other is in Britain. The British team are beginning to restore RB396, using fuselage parts recovered from Holland as the nucleus of the aircraft.
TECT was invited to join in the public launch of the RB396 project at Goodwood, formerly RAF Westhampnett, from where the first Typhoon operational sorties were flown in 1942. Four of our veterans, David Ince, Derek Lovell, George Wood and Bernard Gardiner agreed to attend the event. Unfortunately, Bernard was prevented, at the last minute, from flying in from Jersey as he had planned.
Once we had pushed a Spitfire and a Mustang out into the open we began to set up in the Hangar, normally the base of the Boultbee Academy where people can learn to fly Spitfires! Various Typhoon components were assembled in the centre of the hangar while other displays, including the TECT stall, were set up around the side walls. Our stand had leaflets and cards to give out to visitors and "Two Typhoons" prints to sell, together with a number of copies of David Ince's book "Brotherhood of the Skies". We also were able to show Typhoon videos during the day.
Approximately 150 guests arrived and were soon inspecting the various exhibits. A team from Belgium had brought two Sabre engine cylinder blocks, complete with working sleeve-valve gear and they were mounted on the engine bearers of RB396. Many visitors were seen turning the wheel which drove the sleeve-valves, marvelling at the complex movement of the sleeves.
There was to be a silent auction to raise funds for the project. TECT had donated a framed copy of the "Two Typhoons" print which was eagerly bid for.
Sam Worthington-Leese, who is training himself to become the pilot of the restored Typhoon, welcomed guests, introduced the other members of the team and described the objectives of the project. Particularly exciting was the news that one or more restorable Sabre engines might soon be available to the project.
Our veterans were then assembled behind a table and began a busy period of signing books, prints and other memorabilia and answering many questions about the Typhoon. Great interest was displayed by all of the visitors, especially Callum, a young boy whose great-grandfather had been a Typhoon armourer. Callum, as a homework assignment, had produced an A2-sized Typhoon mosaic. That was soon inspected and signed by the veterans.
It was a great event and a significant step forward. One day we may be able to reproduce the "Two Typhoons" image in real life, perhaps over Goodwood.