Warbirds News has learned that the RAF Museum is loaning their unique Hawker Typhoon Mk.IB to the Canada Aviation & Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. The aircraft, RAF serial MN235, is the sole surviving complete and original example of the breed, and as such it is an extraordinary honor for the Canadian museum to receive her for display. It is also a mark of respect for the many Canadian pilots who fought and often died in the type flying perilous, low-level, ground-attack missions against the Germans in WWII. Typhoons were the scourge of the German army leading up to, and following D-Day, and played a major role in defeating the enemy. Several Royal Canadian Air Force units, including 440 “City of Ottawa” Squadron, flew the Typhoon, or “Tiffie”, as it was often affectionately referred to.
Considering the important role the Typhoon played in the Second World War, and the fact that Hawker produced over 3,300 of them, it seems remarkable that just one complete example remains. And even the lone survivor owes its existence to a quirk of fate, as MN235 was only spared the mass, post-WWII scrapping operations because she was still in the USA following wartime evaluation and comparison trials. For some reason, the Typhoon escaped the scrap man in the USA as well, and joined the nascent National Air Museum whose curator, Paul E. Garber, is credited with saving many other rare and historic aircraft when few others cared. The National Air Museum eventually became what we know today as the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum. MN235 was part of NASM until 1968, when the Smithsonian traded her for Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc LF686 from the RAF Museum in part as a good will gesture celebrating the RAF’s 50th anniversary. The Hurricane was also more interesting to NASM, as it represented a more significant historical type that wasn’t then a part of their collection.
MN235 will go on display at the Canada Aviation & Space Museum sometime this spring, and in time for the 70th Anniversary celebrations of D-Day on June 6th. Hopefully a few of Canada’s former-Typhoon pilots will be able to gather around their old mount for one last time and reminisce with their friends and families of what it was like to fly and fight in such a fearsome beast. Both the RAF and Canada Aviation & Space Museum are to be commended for bringing this moment to fruition. And from a recent press release it seems clear that both parties are happy with the deal….
AVM Peter Dye, RAF Museum Director General
“The Royal Air Force Museum is privileged to support the Canadian Air & Space Museum in honouring those thousands of Canadian airmen who served alongside the Royal Air Force in two world wars, many of whom lost their lives in the defence of freedom and the shared values that unite our two nations. We are also delighted to be able to recognise the invaluable support that Canada has played in helping to train British aircrew over the past century and the close professional partnership and mutual respect between our air forces that continues to this day. In loaning Hawker Typhoon MN235 we hope to be able to repay a small part of the immeasurable debt owed to the Royal Canadian Air Force and to honour its veterans for their selfless and enduring achievements.”
Stephen Quick, Canada Air and Space Museum Director General
“This is an incredible collaboration between two national Museums to commemorate the memory and the stories of men and women who gave so much. It simply could not have happened without the inspired leadership and support for the project of Director Peter Dye and his superb team at the Royal Air Force Museum and the dedication of the Royal Canadian Air Force.”
About the Canada Aviation and Space Museum
The Canada Aviation and Space Museum houses the most extensive collection of aircraft in Canada, and one of the most remarkable such collections in the world. The museum also features iconic artifacts representing Canada’s contribution to space exploration. This national museum is a highly esteemed by aerospace enthusiasts and experts from around the world. It engages thousands of families and children each year, delivering fascinating, memorable and educational experiences to all visitors.
About the Royal Air Force Museum
Combining the history of the RAF with a free, fun day out, the Royal Air Force Museum is Britain’s only national Museum dedicated wholly to aviation. With a world-class collection and display of aircraft, integrated with special exhibitions, films, interactives, engines, missiles, simulator rides and more, the Museum takes an innovative approach while keeping with tradition.