Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Camm, Sir Sydney (1893–1966)

British aircraft designer who specialized in military planes. Born in Windsor, England, on 5 August 1893, Sydney Camm showed a keen interest in aviation at an early age. In 1912, he designed and flew a man-carrying glider. Shortly before the outbreak of World War I, he joined the Martinsyde Aircraft Company as a woodworker. He left Martinsyde in 1923 to be a senior draftsman with the Hawker Engineering Company, rising to chief designer within 2 years. He remained with Hawker for 43 years, where his work emphasized simplicity, symmetry, and lightness.

From 1925 onward, Camm concentrated on military design, working closely with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and producing the Rolls-Royce aircraft engines that were closely integrated into the aircraft. His first big success was the Hawker Hart day-bomber biplane and its variants, of which 3,000 were eventually built. In 1933, Camm moved over to monoplanes, and in 1934, he took on a British Air Ministry order for an eight-gun fighter named the Hurricane. The Royal Air Force's first monoplane fighter aircraft, the Hurricane was fast, maneuverable, and sturdy. A low-wing plane with retractable landing gear and an enclosed cockpit, it was built around the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. The Hurricane carried eight .303 machine guns and reached a top speed of 315 mph at its first flight in late 1935.

During the Battle of Britain, the Hurricane made up the bulk of Fighter Command's aircraft and bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe onslaught. Though outclassed by the Bf-109, the Hurricane could, in the right hands, hold its own against the German fighter. Later versions were used successfully as fighter-bombers in North Africa. By August 1940, over 2,000 Hurricanes had been delivered to the RAF and were serving in 32 squadrons. During the war, a total of 14,500 Hurricanes were produced, many of which went to the Soviet Union. Camm designed two more fighters for the RAF during World War II, the Typhoon and the Tempest. Both were successful ground-attack aircraft.

Following the war, Camm began designing jet aircraft, including the Hunter and the first operational vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, the Harrier. He continued to serve on the board of Hawker Siddeley Aviation until his death in Surrey, England, on 12 March 1966.

M. R. Pierce and Priscilla Roberts


Further Reading
Bader, Douglas. Fight for the Sky. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1973.; Fozard, John W., ed. Sydney Camm and the Hurricane: Perspectives on the Master Fighter Designer and His Finest Achievement. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.; Gallico, Paul. The Hurricane Story. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959.; Richards, Denis, and Hilary St. G. Saunders. The Royal Air Force, 1939–45. 3 vols. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1975.
 

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