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Freiston Shore We'll Meet Again Museum has restored Hurricane aircraft from 1969 movie Battle of Britain, previously displayed at Newark Air Museum





A rare replica aircraft used in a famous war film is the latest display to be unveiled at a museum dedicated to bringing wartime history to life.

Paul and Linda Britchford, who opened the We’ll Meet Again WWII Museum, at Freiston Shore, near Boston, in 2017, have recently restored the missing Hurricane aircraft, which featured in the 1969 movie Battle of Britain, and was later mounted on a cinema roof to promote the film.

The £20,000 restoration project, funded by The Restart Fund, has been completed by museum volunteers who worked on the 40ft wide, 1.75 tonne aircraft, non-stop since August.

Volunteers from the team at We'll Meet Again WWII Museum, Fresiton Shore who restored the replica Hawker Hurricane - copyright Kate Chapman
Volunteers from the team at We'll Meet Again WWII Museum, Fresiton Shore who restored the replica Hawker Hurricane - copyright Kate Chapman

1940s enthusiast Mr Britchford is delighted with the finished Hurricane, which was unveiled during a special ceremony at the museum recently.

“We found the aircraft in a barn down south, it was in a bad way, but I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted it for the museum,’ says Mr Britchford, who has completed the aircraft’s restoration after being diagnosed with terminal cancer last year.

Museum voluteers stripping back the Hurricane before restoring it - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum
Museum voluteers stripping back the Hurricane before restoring it - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum

“It really looks amazing! I’ve always wanted to own something from the film, so this is a real bucket list moment for me.

“We’ve stayed true to the traditional materials and managed to refurbish the original panels, rather than replace them, stripping it all back and rebuilding using materials including canvas and doped linen over the frame.

“Everyone has been getting involved, my right-hand man here at the airfield Darren Avison, aviation expert Bradley Cooper and the youngsters who volunteer too, they’ve all been helping to sand it down. It’s been a real team effort.”

Museum voluteers stripped the Hurricane back before restoring it - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum
Museum voluteers stripped the Hurricane back before restoring it - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum

The historic film, which starred Michael Caine, Laurence Oliver and Christopher Plummer, endeavoured to be an accurate account of the Battle of Britain, when during summer and autumn 1940 the British RAF, aided by the Polish airforce, inflicted strategic defeat on the Luftwaffe, and so ensured the cancellation of Operation Sea Lion, Adolf Hitler’s plan to invade Britain.

Built by Pinewood Studios, the plane is one of five, with others located in New Zealand, America and two in the Battle of Britain Museum, in Kent.

When the film was screened at the Odeon Cinema, in Lincoln - between December 1969 and January 1970 – Mr Britchford’s replica, marked Hurricane H3426-J - was mounted on the building’s roof as part of a publicity stunt.

The Hurricane now takes pride of place at the We'll Meet Again WWII Museum, Lincolnshire - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum
The Hurricane now takes pride of place at the We'll Meet Again WWII Museum, Lincolnshire - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum

From there it was taken to Newark Air Museum, before being displayed at Midland Air Museum, in Coventry, during the 1990s and the Royal International Air Tattoo Fairford in July 2010. Since then, it has remained in private storage until rescued and lovingly restored by the museum team.

As well as being on show to visitors, it is also hoped the Hurricane will be taken to events around the county to help raise money for the museum.

Mr Britchford has always been fascinated by World War II and began collecting items from the era after he was given his grandfather’s war medals when he was a boy. The couple initially ran a mobile museum after seeing how children were fascinated by their items when they attended 1940s events. They taught about life on the front, the Land Army, rationing and evacuation and were delighted when they received a treasury grant so they could realise their dream of opening a static museum.

Volunteers at the We’ll Meet Again Museum in Frieston, Lincolnshire assemble a hurricane from the film The Battle of Britain before its unveiling today. The Hurricane was placed on the roof of the Odeon Cinema in Lincoln for the film premier in 1969 Credit: Lisa Harding / BAV Media
Volunteers at the We’ll Meet Again Museum in Frieston, Lincolnshire assemble a hurricane from the film The Battle of Britain before its unveiling today. The Hurricane was placed on the roof of the Odeon Cinema in Lincoln for the film premier in 1969 Credit: Lisa Harding / BAV Media

Their award-winning living history site is situated next to some of country’s best preserved World War Two coastal defences at Freiston Shore and museum visitors can access these too.

Their collection has continued to grow and includes a genuine Anderson war shelter, Vickers machine gun, uniforms, medals, decommissioned weaponry, photos and household items.

As well as continuing to teach schoolchildren - allowing them to touch, hold and try on their exhibits - they also host veterans, community groups and special events.

The museum is also home to an Anderson war shelter - copyright Kate Chapman
The museum is also home to an Anderson war shelter - copyright Kate Chapman
A special cake to mark the unveiling of the restored Hurrican - copyright Kate Chapman
A special cake to mark the unveiling of the restored Hurrican - copyright Kate Chapman
The Hurricane on top of the Odeon Cinema, Lincoln, where it was mounted in 1969 during the screening of Battle of Britain - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum
The Hurricane on top of the Odeon Cinema, Lincoln, where it was mounted in 1969 during the screening of Battle of Britain - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum
The Hurricane on top of the Odeon Cinema, Lincoln, where it was mounted in 1969, during the screening of Battle of Britain - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum
The Hurricane on top of the Odeon Cinema, Lincoln, where it was mounted in 1969, during the screening of Battle of Britain - copyright We'll Meet Again WWII Museum
Bradley Cooper & Darren Avison who helped with the Hurricane's restoration. Copyright Kate Chapman
Bradley Cooper & Darren Avison who helped with the Hurricane's restoration. Copyright Kate Chapman

The museum features a wartime shop front stocked with products from the era, a Lancaster VR flying experience, Blitz experience, wartime police station and Ration Book café.

For more information visit www.wma-ww2museum.co.uk

Which country attractions do you love to go to? Post your suggestions in the comments below



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