70 years on from the Normandy landings on D-Day, the RAF Museum Hendon’s Hawker Typhoon Mk.IB has been loaned to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, as a tribute to the Royal Canadian Air Force pilots who flew the aircraft during Operation OVERLORD.
Visitors to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (CASM) will have the rare privilege of admiring a legendary Second World War aircraft – the last remaining of its kind – exactly 70 years after the D-Day beginning of the Normandy landings.
The Royal Air Force Museum (RAFM) of London, U.K., has bestowed upon CASM the prestigious honour of lending its iconic Hawker Typhoon Mk.IB MN235. This Typhoon is the sole remaining complete aircraft of its kind.
Hawker Typhoons saw active service during the Second World War, notably during operations leading to the Liberation of Normandy, and were flown by several Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons during the War, including the City of Ottawa 440 Sqdn.
The Typhoon on loan to the CASM by the RAFM was originally allocated to the United States Air Force (USAAF) for evaluation and comparison trials. After the War, it was allocated to the U.S. National Air Museum, and eventually placed in storage with the Smithsonian Institute, before being returned to the RAFM and the U.K. in 1968. It was the centrepiece of the RAFM’s “D-Day” commemorative display in 1994.
“We are incredibly grateful to the RAFM for honouring us with their trust by lending us this unique artefact, the last remaining witness of its kind to some of the most important events of the Second World War“, said Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation (CSTMC) Interim President and CEO Fernand Proulx. “Showcasing such a legendary aircraft flown by Canadian pilots in their finest hour gives Canadians an unforgettable way of commemorating the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 90th anniversary”.
“This is an important collaboration between two national museums”, said CASM Director General Stephen Quick. “It echoes the collaboration between two great nations during the Second World War when young Canadian and British pilots flew together and tamed this wild aircraft. Three RCAF squadrons used it to great success in stopping the onslaught of German armoured divisions in the days and months following the D-Day landings leading to ultimate victory. This is an incredible opportunity for Canadians to see this unique aircraft and experience the stories and an incredible gift from the RAF Museum in loaning this aircraft for us to remember”.
“The Royal Air Force Museum is privileged to support the Canada Aviation and 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”, said RAF Museum Director General Peter Dye. “We are also delighted to be able to recognize 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”.
Later in the year, GAR’s D-Day 70 series will take an in-depth look at the role of RAF Typhoons operated by the RAF’s Second Tactical Air Force in the lead up to D-Day and throughout the Battle of Normandy.