Battle of Britain Hurricane fighter plane restored after 50 years in bog

A neurosurgeon has restored a Battle of Britain fighter plane which was in a bog for fifty years - and now it can fly.

The World War Two Mk1 Hawker Hurricane was shot down over Canterbury by a Luftwaffe fighter pilot ace in 1940.

It plummeted into a bog where it lay undiscovered until the 1990s when it was found and excavated by a group of metal detectorists.

The decaying frame was bought two years ago by consultant Peter Kirkpatrick, 57, who spent two years on the £2m restoration.

Peter Kirkpatrick, 57, bought the decaying frame of a World War Two Mk1 Hawker Hurricane after it was found and excavated by a group of metal detectorists. He has spent spent two years on the £2m restoration (pictured, restoration work underway)

Peter Kirkpatrick, 57, bought the decaying frame of a World War Two Mk1 Hawker Hurricane after it was found and excavated by a group of metal detectorists. He has spent spent two years on the £2m restoration (pictured, restoration work underway)

The restored fighter plane - RAF no V7497 - contains 35 per cent of the original, and is one of just 14 Hurricanes still flying. The painstaking task of rebuilding the 78-year-old warplane was undertaken by Hawker Restorations of Milden near Sudbury, world leaders in putting Hurricanes back in the air (pictured, Mr Kirkpatrick in the vehicle)

The restored fighter plane - RAF no V7497 - contains 35 per cent of the original, and is one of just 14 Hurricanes still flying. The painstaking task of rebuilding the 78-year-old warplane was undertaken by Hawker Restorations of Milden near Sudbury, world leaders in putting Hurricanes back in the air (pictured, Mr Kirkpatrick in the vehicle) 

The Hurricane was found in the early 90s by an excavation team who sold it to Peter, who asked Hawker Restorations to repair it. They kept the stainless steel joints, but had to replace some unsalvagable parts of the plane (pictured, the plane in the bog)

The Hurricane was found in the early 90s by an excavation team who sold it to Peter, who asked Hawker Restorations to repair it. They kept the stainless steel joints, but had to replace some unsalvagable parts of the plane (pictured, the plane in the bog)

Late last year, Mr Kirkpatrick took the controls for his maiden flight in the 78-year-old warplane (pictured in the air). He is now seriously considering leaving his job at Addenbrooke's Hospital so he can fly the 350mph plane at air shows around the world as a full-time display pilot

Late last year, Mr Kirkpatrick took the controls for his maiden flight in the 78-year-old warplane (pictured in the air). He is now seriously considering leaving his job at Addenbrooke's Hospital so he can fly the 350mph plane at air shows around the world as a full-time display pilot

Mr Kirkpatrick spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on the restoration - and is one of three stakeholders who stumped up the £2m total, including Hawker Restorations which still retains a 25 per cent share of the plane. He raised his contribution through remortgaging the home he shares with wife Leisha, who supports his hobby

Mr Kirkpatrick spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on the restoration - and is one of three stakeholders who stumped up the £2m total, including Hawker Restorations which still retains a 25 per cent share of the plane. He raised his contribution through remortgaging the home he shares with wife Leisha, who supports his hobby

HURRICANE: CHAMPION OF BATTLE OF BRITAIN 

Some 55 per cent of the 2,739 German losses were caused by the Hurricane. Here are some Hawker Hurricane facts:

Introduced - 1937

Total number of planes built - 14,533

Wingspan - 40ft

Engine - Rolls Royce Merlin 1,185hp at 21,000ft

Max speed - 339mph

Armament - 4 x 20mm cannons, 2 x 226kg bombs

Number of Hurricanes at start of Battle of Britain - 2,309

Planes lost during Battle of Britain - 565

The restored fighter plane - RAF no V7497 - contains 35 per cent of the original, and is one of just 14 Hurricanes still flying.

Late last year, Mr Kirkpatrick took the controls for his maiden flight in the 78-year-old warplane.

He is now seriously considering leaving his job at Addenbrooke's Hospital so he can fly the 350mph plane at air shows around the world as a full-time display pilot.

Mr Kirkpatrick, a married father-of-one, said: 'In some respects flying is like surgery - there is very little room for error.

'Both involve the hand and eye co-ordination and in the end it comes down to having to make very rapid life-or-death decisions.

'I believe passionately in the history of these aircraft and the role they played in the last world war.

'Thanks to the courage and bravery of the young men who flew them we enjoy much of what we enjoy today and to be able to fly a Hurricane is a huge privilege.

'There are only about a dozen in the world still in an airworthy condition and although the Spitfire may have garnered more attention it was the Hurricane that was the real workhorse of the war - and the Battle of Britain statistics prove it was the plane that predominantly saved the day.

'My first solo flight was fantastic and a tribute to those who sacrificed their lives all those years ago. Without them we would have lost the war.'

Mr Kirkpatrick (pictured in the plane), who learned to fly while he was a medical student in the 1980s, made the maiden flight in September 2019 at Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire. He already regularly flies his Pitts Special plane at displays and when he has built up more hours flying the Hurricane, he'll fly it at organised, public displays

Mr Kirkpatrick (pictured in the plane), who learned to fly while he was a medical student in the 1980s, made the maiden flight in September 2019 at Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire. He already regularly flies his Pitts Special plane at displays and when he has built up more hours flying the Hurricane, he'll fly it at organised, public displays

Work takes place to remove the Hurricane from the Kent bog where it lay undiscovered until the 1990s. The Hurricane was found by an excavation team who sold it to Mr Kirkpatrick, who asked Hawker Restorations to repair it

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Work takes place to remove the Hurricane from the Kent bog where it lay

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