• On 11 September 1991, whilst en route from Coningsby to Jersey, LF363?s engine suffered a mechanical failure and it started to run rough and to lose power, pouring smoke from the exhaust stubs. The pilot diverted to RAF Wittering but the engine failed completely at a late stage of the approach, resulting in a crash-landing on the airfield. The aircraft was seriously damaged by the crash and the ensuing fierce fire; fortunately the pilot escaped with a broken ankle and minor burns. LF363 was completely re-built by Historic Flying Ltd at Audley End between 1994 and 1998, when it flew again for the first time in seven years, subsequently re-joining the BBMF.

    LF 363 currently wears the colours of Hurricane Mk1 P3878 ?YB-W?, the aircraft of Flying Officer Harold Bird-Wilson of No 17 Squadron during the Battle of Britain. Throughout the Battle, No17 Squadron was in the thick of the action over southern England, mainly based at Debden and Tangmere. ?Birdy? had previously had a pre-war flying accident in which he was badly burned, becoming one of the earliest aircrew ?guinea pig? patients of the famous, pioneering plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe. After his recovery he joined No 17 Squadron in April 1940 and fought continuously through the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain, achieving 6 confirmed kills, sharing in the destruction of several others and being awarded a DFC. His luck ran out on 24th September when he became Adolf Galland?s 40th victim and had to bale out of a flaming YB-W over the channel. ?Birdy? survived the war and retired as an Air Vice Marshall having been awarded the CBE, DSO, DFC and Bar and the AFC and Bar. He died aged 80 in August 2000. No 17 Squadron currently operates the latest RAF fighter, the Typhoon, and is based at RAF Coningsby alongside the BBMF.
    Anyway here are a couple of photo's taken at Odiham in 1946, with her in a silver dope.
    Regards Duggy.

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