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BBMF Hurricane returns to Coningsby in Polish 303 Sqn colour scheme

19 Apr 2022

BBMF Hurricane returns to Coningsby in Polish 303 Sqn colour scheme

The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Mk II Hurricane LF363 recently returned to Coningsby repainted in a new colour scheme to represent the Polish 303 Kościuszko Squadron’s Mk I Hurricane V6665, with the code letters RF-J, which flew during the Battle of Britain.

The change of colour scheme formed part of the Hurricane’s Major maintenance programme carried out by The Spitfire Company (Biggin Hill) Ltd. This involved completely dismantling the aircraft and the meticulous inspection of all parts and components and refurbishing where needed, followed by reassembly, painting and ground testing.

Following the successful post Major maintenance air test at Biggin Hill on the morning of 13 April, LF363 returned to Coningsby later in the day ready to rejoin the fleet for the coming display season.

The BBMF likes to keep LF363 in a Battle of Britain colour scheme to commemorate the massive part played by Hurricanes during the Battle. After careful deliberation and research, it was decided that the aircraft would be painted to represent Mk I Hurricane V6665, ‘RF-J’, of 303 Kościuszko (Polish) Squadron, during September 1940. The Hurricane retains its actual military serial number LF363 and does not carry V6665.

Hurricane V6665 was delivered to 303 Tadeusz Kościuszko City of Warsaw Squadron at RAF Northolt on 7 September 1940 and painted with the code letters RF-J. Two days later ‘A’ flight commander F/Lt Johnny Kent, flying this Hurricane, claimed a Messerschmitt Bf 110 destroyed and a Junkers Ju 88 probably destroyed.

This Hurricane was also flown by Sgt Michał Brzezowski on 11 September when he claimed two Heinkel He 111s destroyed about 16.00. Brzezowski was the most successful pilot of V6665. Sadly he was shot down and killed four days later on 15 September. His Hurricane P3577, with the code RF-E, went into the sea and his body was never found. Brzezowski was the youngest Polish airman to participate in the Battle of Britain.

On 26 September Sgt Tadeusz Andruszków flew V6665 and claimed a Dornier Do 17 destroyed. But the following day, flying the same aircraft, he was shot down at 16.30 over Horsham and killed and the Hurricane was destroyed. Sgt Tadeusz Andruszków was 19 years old and is buried in Northwood Cemetery, grave H-208.

Hurricane V6665 was one of three in 303 Squadron painted with a red diagonal sash on the rear fuselage as an experimental identification marking. It also carried the 303 Squadron badge on both sides of the upper fuselage beneath the aerial mast.

The Polish 303 Squadron, flying Hurricanes from RAF Northolt, was the most successful squadron in the Battle with 126 confirmed victories, achieved in just six weeks of the 16-week Battle period for the loss of eight pilots, six from aerial combat.

The BBMF has said that Hurricane LF363 will allow the BBMF to tell the story of 303 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, its Polish pilots and its Canadian RAF flight commander F/Lt Johnny Kent. ​

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