The Stuart-Buttle hangar is dedicated to the memory of Squadron Leader Stuart-Buttle, who was an RFC/RAF fighter pilot in WWI, and it was opened in 1995 by his widow Mrs A. Stuart-Buttle whose generous donation greatly helped in the completion of this, the Museum's largest building.
The hangar contains full sized replicas of Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft that were built for the 1968 film "The Battle of Britain", much of which was filmed at Hawkinge. Once the film was completed many of the replicas were destroyed but the Museum has been lucky enough, over the years, to recover and restore a number of them and now have the largest collection to be seen in one place. Ironically, there are probably considerably fewer of these replicas existing these days than there are of the genuine item! As well as the above there is also an original de Havilland Tiger Moth, a North American Harvard and a Miles Magister (which is part replica), all of which played a vital role in the training of our pilots. In February 2015 we were very pleased to add an example of a Boulton Paul Defiant in its' daytime Battle of Britain camouflage scheme, built over a period of some 50,000 manhours, by a team of enthusiasts, led by two men who had built them during the war; this is one of only two examples of this aeroplane in the world – the second being a night fighter version on display at the RAF Museum at Cosford.
Another 'plane that deserves special mention is the full sized wooden replica of the prototype Spitfire K5054. This 'plane was built by Clive de Cros and fitted with a Jaguar V12 engine which he then flew on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, an undercarriage failure on landing, whilst being flown by ex-BBMF pilot Peter Thorne, provided a set-back and its' flying days ended after a forced landing by a CAA pilot. For a time it then served as a mobile exhibit for the Solent Sky Museum at Southampton. Bought by Hawkinge in May 2011, it is now undergoing restoration and will be re-painted in the correct colours of the prototype, silver, and run up on certain "high days and holidays". We would also like to give our sincere thanks at this point to Clive, who has come down to the Museum on numerous occasions from Spain, to help us restore his wonderful creation.
Hanging from the roof of this hangar is a replica fuselage of a Messerschmitt Bf 110 which was built and used in an episode of the TV series "Monarch of the Glen". Once the episode was filmed it was put on display at the Aviemore Ski Lodge but, following a complaint by a member of the public, who objected to the swastika marking on the tailfin, the owner/builder put it up for sale on eBay! Needless to say it was promptly added to our collection. Perhaps the oddest item amongst the aircraft came from the film "Battle of Britain"; it is a small, foreshortened model of a Hurricane which, when filmed from a certain camera angle, appeared on the screen as a full-sized aircraft. It particularly featured in the Polish fighter pilot scenes in the film.
There are eleven vehicles on display with the 'planes, depicting some of the various types that would have been seen and used on an Operational Fighter Station in 1940. Amongst these is an Ford WOT 1 ambulance, (War Office Transport), a Bedford MW truck with water tank body, an Austin Tilly light van and a Beavertte armoured car, this last being a Standard 10 motor car which, clad in boiler plate and with the addition of a Bren gun, (but lacking, however, any armour protection to the floor against land mines) would have had to face German Panzers in the event of an invasion in 1940!
Lastly, there is a row of fifteen Rolls Royce Merlin engines, recovered from Battle of Britain crash-sites including those from of Hurricanes, Spitfires, one from a Boulton Paul Defiant and one from a Fairey Battle light bomber shot down in the Battle of France. The Boulton Paul Defiant engine is particularly rare, being the only example ever recovered from a Battle of Britain loss. Two squadrons flew the Defiant during the Battle, both suffering heavy losses during July and August 1940. Most of the aircraft were shot down over the English Channel and a high proportion of the crews remain missing to this day. All the engines are accompanied by a detailed display about the pilot or aircrew who flew the aircraft and the events that led to it being shot down. The photographs of those mentioned in the displays form a lasting tribute to those who flew, fought, died or carried their wounds to the end of their days.