Mk1b Hawker Typhoon
WWII

Hawker Typhoon: WWII's Forgotten Aircraft?

The aircraft saw flight in the D-Day invasion but was scrapped after just four years of service...

Mk1b Hawker Typhoon

The single-seat fighter was a ground attack and support aircraft of the Second World War (Picture: PA).

Royal Air Force Typhoons guard the UK 365 days a year and are currently deployed across the Middle East in operations against so-called Islamic State - but they are not the first RAF aircraft to hold that name.

In the Second World War, the Hawker Company made 3,317 of the fighter aircraft.

All were built at the Gloster Aircraft Company's Hucclecote factory but only one complete example is believed to exist today.

It was originally intended to be a high and medium altitude interceptor and replacement to the Hawker Hurricane.

The single-seated aircraft was apparently difficult to start, especially in cold weathers.

Hawker Typhoon MN235 at RAF Museum
An example of a complete Hawker Typhoon shown at the RAF Museum in Hendon (Picture: Dapi89/Hohum).

There were two types of the Hawker Typhoon, split into Typhoon 1A and Typhoon 1B.

Typhoon 1A faced engine sleeve jams which caused the cylinder to explode which could have resulted in dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide being emitted into the cockpit.

The 1A was seen to have been plagued with technical difficulties but the aircraft saw flight in 1940 and continued until mid-1941 but this time with a new prototype, the Typhoon 1B.

Following bomb load tests the Typhoon 1B was cleared to carry 500-pound bombs but problems persisted with it.

Issues included oil cooler failures, engine problems and structural failures.

The 1B variant took part in the D-Day invasion with the RAF's 2nd Tactical Airforce, which contained 18 squadrons of Hawker Typhoons.

The aircraft was in service for four years and after their retirement, unlike any other aircraft, they were scraped and sold off.

Last year, the rare aircraft cockpit was found in a scrap yard and later restored.

The cockpit was found in Chippenham in 1996 and went on display in a museum near Gloucester. Reconstruction took over 7,000 hours and some parts had to go through a 3D printer as they were unsalvageable.