Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV ´JV-N´ KZ321 – an iconic World War II aircraft photographed while performing an amazing low pass over the Kleine-Brogel airfield, during the spotter day on 14th September 2019.
Hurricane Mk. IV was one of the final variants of the Hawker-manufactured fighter, produced between 1942 and 1944. At that time, Hurricane was no longer a pure fighter aeroplane, performing mostly the ground-attack missions (and therefore often nicknamed as ´Hurribomber´). The armament was adapted to the new role and included two bomb mounts (250 or 500 lb), two 40 mm Vickers S guns and eight RP-3 rockets, with additional two Browning .303 Mark II used for aiming the main armament. 524 aircraft of this variant were made.
The pictured aircraft was manufactured sometime between end of 1942 and March 1943, the exact date and serial number are not known, as the aircraft was previously intended for storage and all manufacturer plates (and also the original engine) were lost somewhere between 1946 and 1983. Its long and interesting history can be followed since March 1943, when Hurricane Mk. IV became operational with the 6th Squadron, Royal Air Force.
The 6th Squadron, flying over the Western Desert, was nicknamed ´The Flying Tin Openers´, just because of their anti-tank missions in Africa. When the Italian campaign started, the squadron was transferred to Italy, and then to Greece, with some deployments to Bastia, Corsica. The everyday operations were focused on attacking the harbours and ships along the Yugoslavian coast and the Dalmatian Islands.
In July of 1945 the squadron returned to Palestine, its initial location from 1938. And sometime there, at the beginning of 1946, the Hurricane Mk. IV was abandoned, as the 6th Squadron converted to Hawker Tempest aircraft.
Many years would past before the Hurricane was recovered from the scrapyard near Jaffa, Israel, in 1983. The aircraft returned to Biggin Hill, UK, and the long reconstruction process started. It was finalized in April 1991, when the aeroplane received the certificate of airworthiness again and was registered as G-HURY / KZ321.
The Hurricane Mk. IV was flying in UK until 2001, when the second restoration began and lasted two years. In 2006 the aircraft was sold to the private owner in Canada and was flying there until 2018, when it was offered for sale. Bought by the private owner from Belgium, the KZ321 was registered as OO-HUR and returned to Europe again, with Antwerp Airport being the new home for Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV.
The aircraft is now flying as JV-N aircraft, with the original 6th Squadron painting from the time the squadron was operating over the Western Desert and Tunisia between December 1942 and September 1943 – and its representing a Hurricane IID ´tank-destroyer´ variant with four cannons. The original KZ321 should carry the European camouflage scheme, a mix of Dark Green and Ocean Grey colours and should be armoured as the standard Mk. IV, described above.
The real Hurricane KZ321, flown by Pilot Officer Grey was lost on 24 May 1944, probably due to the anti-aircraft fire. Grey managed to bail out, he was then seen floating in the sea, but never recovered and having no known grave.
The OO-HUR / KZ321 is currently the only airworthy Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV.