Early in the war the RAF placed a large order with Canada Car & Foundry in Fort William, for several hundred Hurricanes. The first 50 were to be Sea Hurricane Mk. 1a, and were intended for the Halifax based pool of the RAF's Merchant Ship Fighter Unit. This unit operated the expendable "Hurricats" from converted merchant ships, in a desperate attempt to provide some fighter cover to the North Atlantic and Russian-bound convoys. The first few aircraft were ferried to Dartmouth by RAF pilots in November 1941, where they placed under the care on No. 118 (F) Squadron, RCAF, pending their assignment as replacements to the catapult equipped camships docking in eastern Canada.
It appears that the future of these aircraft changed after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. By 12 December, the aircraft started to be taken on RCAF charge, and were issued to RCAF units on the east coast. This helped fill the gaps created in Canadian fighter coverage when so many RCAF aircraft were shifted to the west coast to meet the anticipated Japanese threat.
These aircraft were all built as Sea Hurricane Mk. 1a, with Merlin III engines, 8 gun wings, and catapult spools - but without arrester hooks or wing folding. The RCAF, however, referred to them as simply a "Sea Hurricane". In 1943 the survivors were converted to "Hurricane Mk. XIIA", with North American built Merlin XXIX engines.
Still photos are from 16mm movie film.
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