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Aeroplane Monthly May 2003 Story

The following story appeared in the May 2003 issue of the Aeroplane Monthly magazine

THE HAWKER COMPANY can trace its origins back to the nascent years of British aviation, when T.O.M. Sopwith founded his pioneering company at Brooklands in 1912. The company went into receivership in 1920 and re-emerged as the H.G. Hawker Engineering Company, which went on to produce a number of aircraft mainly for the military market. It was Sydney Camm's sublime Hart and Fury designs of the late 1920s which put the company, by this time called Hawker Aircraft Ltd, firmly in the vanguard of aircraft manufacturers.

The rest, as they say, is history. The company went on to produce several generations of classic military aircraft, including the vitally important and versatile Hurricane, the rugged tank-busting Typhoon, and the formidable Tempest, all of which played major roles in the Allies' victory in World War Two. After the war came the mighty Sea Fury, which saw action in Korea,

the Sea Hawk - Hawker's first jet which participated in the Suez conflict of 1956, and Camm's crowning glory, the Hunter, which served with 21 nations over its 50-year career. One of Hawker Aircraft's last designs was the innovative P1127 VISTOL aircraft, which evolved into the Kestrel and later the Harrier, The Kingston factory was also responsible for the best-selling Hawker Siddeley Hawk, still being developed by BAE Systems today.

On February 8, 2003, the Inaugural Meeting of the newly-minted Hawker Association was held in Kingston, on the site of the company's former sports and social club. With more than 250 members already, the Association's organisers have ample justification in feeling proud of themselves for bringing to fruition a long held ambition. The idea for the Association was first mooted by Hawker Chief Airworthiness Engineer Barry Pegram, who contacted a few former colleagues and invited

them to an informal meeting at his home in March 2002. Those present considered that an association for anyone who worked for the companies In the South-east of England which grew out of Sopwith Aviation would be welcomed by former and present employees. Those companies would be Sopwith Aviation, H.G. Hawker Engineering, Hawker Aircraft Lid, Hawker Siddeley Aviation (Kingston, Dunsfold and Hamble), British Aerospace (Kingston, Dunsfold, Weybridge and Farnborough) and BAE Systems (Farnborough).

The primary aims of the Association are to organise social meetings for the members, where old -friendships can be renewed and experiences passed between the generations, and to encourage the preservation of Hawker artifacts, papers and photographs. Members receive a quarterly newsletter, edited by former Chief Engineer (Dunsfold) and Hawker archivist Chris Farara, with reports on Hawker affairs and personal contributions from members. A number of talks by former Hawker staff have been scheduled for 2003, subjects including the Hawker jet era by P1127 designer Ralph Hooper, and "A Few Words From A Salesman" by Hawker legend John Crampton.

For more information on this most worthwhile organisation celebrating one of the most illustrious British companies of the 20th Century, visit the Association's website at www.hawkerassociation.org.uk, or contact the Membership Secretary, whose details may be found on this page.

The Hawker Association

Membership Secretary
Barry V. Pegram
12 Becket Wood,
Parkgate, Newdigate, Surrey,
RH5 5AQ,
Tel 01306 631125

Website. www.hawkerassoclation.org.uk

250 worldwide

Subscription rates:
5 per year

What you get:
Members receive a quarterly newsletter with contributions from members, and a full membership listing. Talks are given on a regular basis on Hawker-related subjects at Hawker Leisure in Kingston, the site of the Hawker company's former sports and social club. Visits to places of interest are also organised, the first being a trip to the Tangmere Museum on May 14

Association aims

1 To keep alive the spirit of the Hawker companies
2 To organise social and other meetings for members
3 To provide a means of communication between members
4 To preserve Hawker artifacts and memorabilia

LEFT The third production Hunter F.1 was WT557, seen here up from Farnborough during the 1953 SBAC show. The first production F.1, WT555, first flow 50 years ago on May 16,1953, in the hands of Hawker test pilot Frank Murphy.