Canadian Warplanes 1: Hawker Hind

Hawker Hind

(Author Photo)

Hawker Hind (Serial No. L7180), on display in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

The Hawker Hind was a light bomber biplane of the inter-war years, developed from the Hawker Hart day-bomber and introduced in 1931. The RCAF had three Hinds on strength, (Serial Nos. A73), ex-RAF L7201, (Serial No. A74), ex RAF K4654, and (Serial No. A75), ex-RAF K6837., all received from the UK Air Ministry on 30 May 1940. They were struck off strength in 1943.

The HG Hawker Hind was one of the last and among the most successful derivatives of the Hawker Hart. It was procured against Specification G.7/34 to replace the Hawker Hart itself, whilst operating in very similar roles as a light day-bomber. Its purchase allowed a number of new squadrons to be formed in advance of the arrival of more modern types, such as the Fairey Battle and Bristol Blenheim into RAF service. In the event, the Hawker Hind was to see service with some 20 RAF Bomber Squadrons and a further seven Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons.

The Hawker Hind used a more powerful version of the Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine, the 640hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel V. The type benefited from an improved bomb-aiming position and a cut-down rear cockpit, similar to that previously adopted on the Hawker Demon. The Hawker Hind was also fitted with revised exhausts and a tailwheel, rather than a tailskid. The first prototype (K2915) was flown for the first time on 12th September 1934 and was used for a number of trials, prior to the completion of the first production aircraft (K4636), which was flown on 4th September 1935. The production RAF orders were for batches of 20, 193, 244 and 70 aircraft, totalling 527 aircraft. The Hawker Hind was also successful in the export market, with some 54 aircraft exported to a number of European countries. (BAE Systems Web Page)

Hind L7180 in the CASM was built in 1937 as a light bomber for the RAF, and flew with No. 211 Squadron.  It was one of nineteen Hinds donated to the Royal Afghan Air Force in 1939.   L7181, arriving in Kabul on 30 Aug 39. The Afghan Hinds apparently equipped No. 1 and No. 3 Squadrons of the Royal Afghan Air Force, each squadron flying at least eight aircraft. They were based at Kabul (Sherpur) airfield together with a squadron of Italian supplied Meridionali IMAM Ro.37 bis aircraft, serving through the 1940s.  L7180 became a training airframe and was used as a teaching aid for mechanics and ground crews in the 1950s.  In 1974, an interest in collecting a significant military biplane from the interwar era led the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum staff to enquire whether any Hinds remained in Afghanistan.  The Afghan government located this Hind in the compound of the Civil Aeronautics Board at Kabul Airport, and, after some negotiation, the country's President donated it to Canada as a means of furthering relations between the two countries.

In Kabul, L7180 shared the compound with the even more battered remains of the 1937-built ex- 211 Squadron RAF Hind (Serial No. L7181), which was also taken to Canada, where it contributed parts to the restoration of L7180.   The remains of L7181 are now in the UK for eventual restoration, having been acquired by Aero Vintage in 1995 and registered with the Historic Aircraft Collection as G-CBLK.  There are seven Hinds surviving in aviation museums.

Alfred J. Shortt, Assistant Curator, and W. Merrikin, Chief Restoration Officer at the CA&SM, travelled to Kabul in October 1975 to disassemble these two Hinds and to help the Canadian Forces load them onto a Lockheed CC-130 Hercules transport.  The Hercules carrying the Hinds arrived at Uplands airport, Ottawa, in November 1975, and the two aircraft were trucked to Rockcliffe airport.  Restoration of the Hind on display was undertaken by George Neal in Toronto in 1984.  The work was completed in 1988 and L7180 was returned to the Museum.  (CA&SM)

(Author Photo)

Hawker Hind (Serial No. L7180), on display in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

(Clemens Vasters Photo)

Hawker Hind in the RAF Museum, Cosford, UK.

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