Shuttleworth Sea Hurricane – A picture recreated.
Every picture tells a story, and its all part of the fun to try to research what that story is and put the pieces together to bring that story to life. When, however the picture, story and subjects can be brought together for a recreation over 70 years later than that is too good an opportunity to miss.
During the war years there were 5 or 5 Fleet Air Arm intakes at the RAF Training School at RAF Halton and Jack Colbeck was in one of them in 1939. After training he was posted to HMS Dasher and it was while on this ship during Operation Torch in November of 1942 that he had his picture taken with two mates, in front of a Sea Hurricane Mk IIc of 804 Sqn on which Jack served as an Aircraft Artificer. Jack is on the right of the three.
Jump forward nearly 71 years and Jack is on the Shuttleworth flightline, having had a really good look round the Shuttleworth Collection’s Sea Hurricane Ib, and a long chat with the aircraft’s engineering custodians Steve and Toby. There was much comparing of notes, “they all leak oil through the breather”, “everything is easy to see but the further forward you get the more difficult it is to get at” and “those exhausts are wrong” among them. Its good to see that despite their difference in age there is always common ground when discussing aircraft designers and the propensity of pilots to break aircraft. Wouldnt it be a superb idea to recreate that photo. No sooner said than done, this time Jack has his son Roger for company.
During the war, Jack went on to serve on Barracuda and Swordfish squadrons, ending up on the Corsairs of 1831 Sqdn in the Far East. When subsequently commissioned, post war he saw the introduction of jet aircraft on Attacker, Sea Hawk, and Sea Venom squadrons. Including a spell at Hal Far, Malta on Meteor TT20’s. After leaving the FAA he went to Saudi Arabia on the British Aerospace Lightning Contract. The future was less bright for HMS Dasher Shortly after getting to the Firth of Clyde on 27 March 1943, she suffered a major internal explosion and sank in circumstances that have never been explained. But that as they say, is another story.
A very big thank you to Jack and Roger for telling their story and allowing me to use their photos. Thats the magic of Shuttleworth, you never know who you will bump into.