Ukrainian Hurricane Wrecks Discovery

Wartime Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIb Z5252 in Soviet use. (photo J Kightly Collection)
United Fuel Cells


It is rare in the 2020s for a previously unknown cache of aircraft remains to be revealed, but that’s exactly what broke at the end of June 2023, with the announcement of a set of dumped Hawker Hurricane wrecks being found near Kyiv in Ukraine. Comprising no less than eight airframes, they were apparently dumped in a ravine, after being stripped of useful or valuable equipment, such as instruments and guns, as part of the requirements under the Lend-Lease scheme to the Soviet Union, and funded by the USA.

130151811 tailbeingliftedout
The tail of one of the Ukrainian Hurricanes being lifted from the aircraft dump site. (photo National Aviation Museum of Ukraine)

Then, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, along with Russia, and fighting on the Eastern Front in what was known there as the Great Patriotic War. The aircraft remains were discovered after a check for buried metal following the discovery of a bomb in the area.

The National Aviation Museum of Ukraine have taken charge of the project with the objective of putting as much of the reassembled aircraft on display in due course. Valerii Romanenko, the museum’s Head of Research was quoted by the BBC as saying: “The Hurricanes are a symbol of British assistance during the years of the Second World War, just as we are very appreciative of British assistance nowadays. The UK is one of the largest suppliers of military equipment to our country now.”

Of the over 14,000 Hawker Hurricanes of all marks built, over 3,000 were supplied to the Soviet Union. Today there are over a dozen Hurricanes restored to airworthy condition operated predominantly in North America and Europe. There are a significant number more as static museum and display examples, including a number under restoration and further projects.

130148278 cleaningatmuseum 1
A recovered tailplane (horizontal stabilizer) is examined during cleaning. (photo National Aviation Museum of Ukraine)

Of the Soviet Lend-Lease airframes, a number have returned from the former Union to the UK and been restored, while two are in display in Russia; one inside at the Vadim Zadorozhny Technical Museum, Arkangelskoye, Moscow. Painted as ‘BN233’ it is actually AP740, and Mk.IIc BM959 on a war memorial at Revda, 200 miles from Murmansk. Details of the identities, if discoverable, of the Ukrainian examples haven’t been released yet.

img20230705 22404555a
Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc BM959 being lifted into position for the war memorial at Revda, Northern Russia. (photo via Mark Sheppard, Warbirds Worldwide Archive)

Harry Raffal, former RAF Museum Historian, and now RAF Museum Head of Collections & Research, said on Twitter: “Far from the most important story from Ukraine but it will be interesting to see how the eight wrecks are displayed and interpreted having previously had all instruments and recyclable metal stripped when they were dumped due to lend-lease conditions.”

Vintage Aviation News will continue to follow and report on this project.

a1813bac0e9352a2181c609c5e33f4c5?s=150&d=mp&r=g

James Kightly, from Melbourne, Australia, discovered his passion for aviation at the Moorabbin collection in the late 1960s. With over 30 years of writing experience for aviation magazines in the UK, US, Australia, and France, he is a feature writer for Aeroplane Monthly and an advisor for the RAAF History & Heritage Branch.

James has interviewed aviation professionals worldwide and co-runs the Aviation Cultures conferences. He has flown in historic aircraft like the Canadian Warplane Heritage’s Lancaster. At Vintage Aviation News, he ensures accurate and insightful aviation history articles.

Outside aviation, James has worked extensively in the book trade and museums. He supports the Moorabbin Air Museum and the Shuttleworth Collection. James lives in rural Victoria with his wife and dog.

Array
About James Kightly (Commissioning Editor) 57 Articles
James Kightly, from Melbourne, Australia, discovered his passion for aviation at the Moorabbin collection in the late 1960s. With over 30 years of writing experience for aviation magazines in the UK, US, Australia, and France, he is a feature writer for Aeroplane Monthly and an advisor for the RAAF History & Heritage Branch. James has interviewed aviation professionals worldwide and co-runs the Aviation Cultures conferences. He has flown in historic aircraft like the Canadian Warplane Heritage’s Lancaster. At Vintage Aviation News, he ensures accurate and insightful aviation history articles. Outside aviation, James has worked extensively in the book trade and museums. He supports the Moorabbin Air Museum and the Shuttleworth Collection. James lives in rural Victoria with his wife and dog.

2 Comments

  1. I wonder what will happen to the airframes? A flying restoration seems out of the question, but 8 Hurricanes.. I hope at least a couple get restored!

    • We’ll report back on this whenever possible. At this stage, I would expect refurbished airframe structures to go on display, which is a very possible objective with the resources available for a nation at war. Full restoration would require a huge amount of new material and funding, so I’d expect that unlikely for the foreseeable future, but stay tuned!

Graphic Design, Branding and Aviation Art

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*