Lutterworth Museum has a Merlin Engine from a Mk 1 Hurricane that was shot down in 1940. The engine is on permanent display, and we can tell you its story. Why not visit us?
Rolls-Royce Merlin Engine
Lutterworth Museum is proud to have on display a Rolls Royce Merlin Engine that was recovered from a Hawker Hurricane Mark 1, a World War Two Fighter Plane that was shot down over Swanage during the Battle of Britain in 1940. The Merlin is often referred to as “the engine that won World War II”, due to its wide use in Hawker Hurricanes, Supermarine Spitfires, DeHaviland Mosquitos and Avro Lancaster Bombers. It was also used in the USA’s P51 Mustang in order to significantly increase its power.
Interestingly, the Merlin engine had its first successful bench run on October 15th 1933 – three years AFTER Frank Whittle had applied for a patent for his design for the jet engine! The Hurricane, which sustained heavy fire from a Messerschmitt Bf109s during the battle, was able to return to within a few miles of an RAF base before the pilot bailed out uninjured while the plane itself crashed in a field nearby.
The engine has been largely renovated however still demonstrates the damage received upon impact while clearly showing the internal workings. Thanks to the installation of a small electric motor, visitors can actually see the engine work (although at slow speed!) The museum also has a fully documented history of the engine, the aircraft into which it was installed, and the pilots who flew it, and this forms part of the display.
The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1930s–1940s that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although overshadowed by the Supermarine Spitfire, the aircraft became renowned during the Battle of Britain, accounting for 60 percent of the RAF air victories in the battle. It served in all the major theatres of the Second World War. The Hurricane originated from discussions during the early 1930s between RAF officials and British aircraft designer Sir Sydney Camm on the topic of a proposed monoplane derivative of the Hawker Fury biplane.
Despite an institutional preference at the time for biplanes and repeated lack of interest by the Air Ministry, Hawker chose to continue refining their monoplane proposal, which resulted in the incorporation of several innovations that would become critical to wartime fighter aircraft, including retractable undercarriage and a more powerful engine in the form of the newly developed Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. The museum is in the process of securing a scale model of the Mark 1 Hurricane which should be on display later in the year.