New photographs have been released of the remains of the eight Hawker Hurricane fighter planes that were found buried in Ukraine earlier this summer.
The remnants of the British WWII aircraft were discovered in a forest south of the capital Kyiv in June, in a find that has been described as exceptionally rare.
Staff from the State Aviation Museum of Ukraine spent the summer excavating the planes, which were uncovered following the detection of an unexploded bomb – also from World War II – in the vicinity.
Around 3,000 Hurricanes were sent by Britain to the USSR between 1941 and 1944 as part of the Lend-Lease programme, a package of military and financial aid sponsored by the United States to help the Soviets fight Nazi Germany.
Most Hurricanes were either destroyed in combat or dismantled for parts, although some were deliberately broken up and buried after the war, as the terms of the Lend-Lease compelled the USSR to pay for any aircraft that remained intact after fighting had ended.
This appears to have been the fate of the eight newly discovered Hurricanes, which were stripped of their instruments, radios, weaponry, and useful scrap metal, according to Ukrainian archaeologists.
Since the find was made, researchers at the State Aviation Museum have been examining name plates to establish the specific modifications of the aircraft, with a view to putting them on display eventually.
Oleks Shtan, a former airline pilot who led the excavation, said that the find was ‘very rare’, adding: ‘It’s very important for our aviation history because no Lend-Lease aircraft have been found here before.’
With its sturdy inner framework of metal tubes and powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, the Hurricane – designed by Sydney Camm – was considered a reliable aircraft to fly.
It was also cheaper and easier to build than the more famous Spitfire, although the Hurricane has been overshadowed in history by the Spitfire’s sleeker design.