Hawker Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Hawker Motorcycles

Hawker motorcycles were produced from 1920 to 1924 by Harry Hawker and Tom Sopwith at the Sopwith factory at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, where both Ner-a-Car and ABC motorcycles were built.
  • 1920 Hawker and Sopwith, both famed for their work in aviation, announced their first model at the end of December. This was the Hawker, powered by a 292cc two-stroke engine driving with twin-chain primary drive and belt final-drive. It was to be sold by Jarvis, a large car firm in Wimbledon.

    1921 Late that year the first model was joined by three more. All with Blackburne engines - a 348cc and a 545cc sv, plus a 348cc OHV, all driving a three-speed Burman gearbox with chain drive.

    1922-1923 The range remained the same, with the addition of a model with a 249cc OHV engine.

    1924 The range reduced to the four-strokes that had been constructed in 1922. It was their final year of motorcycle production, and after that the Hawker firm continued with aircraft, right up to the modern-day Harrier.

Harry Hawker's Fate.

Harry Hawker, the Australian aviator, was killed while flying at Hendon. Hawker was practising with a Newport machine for Saturday's Aerial Derby. The spectators were horrified to see the machine burst into flames at a great height. The blazing plane suddenly took a nose dive, and crashed to earth. Hawker was thrown out as the machine crashed. His legs and arms were broken. The aviator died as a number of persons were running to his assistance.

The Northern Champion Taree, NSW Sat 16 July 1921. Via Trove NLA

"The nation has lost one of its most distinguished airmen, who by his skill and daring has contributed so much to the success of British aviation." - H.M. KING GEORGE V.

H.G. Hawker, Airman

Hawker Aircraft

Hawker Aircraft Ltd was a British aircraft manufacturer responsible for some of the most famous products in British aviation history. Post-WWI. Hawker had its roots in the aftermath of the First World War, which resulted in the bankruptcy of the Sopwith Aviation Company.

1920 Sopwith test pilot Harry Hawker and three others, including Tom Sopwith, bought the assets of Sopwith and formed H. G. Hawker Engineering.

1933 Private company.

In 1933 the company was renamed Hawker Aircraft Ltd and took advantage of the Great Depression and a strong financial position to purchase the Gloster Aircraft Co in 1934.

1935 The next year, it merged with the engine and automotive company Armstrong Siddeley and its subsidiary, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, to form Hawker Siddeley Aircraft. This group also encompassed A. V. Roe and Co.

1937 Aeronautical designers and constructors. "Fury" Aircraft. "Hurricane" Aircraft.

Hawker Aircraft continued to produce designs under its own name as a part of Hawker Siddeley Aircraft.

From 1955. Hawker Siddeley Group, until the name was dropped, along with those of the sister companies, in 1963. The Hawker P.1127 was the last aircraft branded as "Hawker".

1961 Designers and constructors of many famous aircraft, including the Hawker Hurricane (Battle of Britain), and currently the Hawker Hunter and Sea Hawk jet fighters. Also engaged on rocket and outer-space research.

Inter-War. Hawker produced a successful line of bombers and fighters for the Royal Air Force, the product of Sidney Camm (later Sir Sidney) and his team. These included the Hawker Hind and the Hawker Hart, which became the most produced UK airplane in the years before the Second World War.

WII. During the Second World War, the Hawker Siddeley company was one of the United Kingdom's most important aviation concerns, producing numerous designs including the famous Hawker Hurricane fighter plane that, along with the Supermarine Spitfire, was instrumental in winning the Battle of Britain. (During the Battle, Hawker Hurricanes in service outnumbered all other British fighters combined, and were responsible for shooting down 55 percent of all enemy aircraft destroyed).

Almost every Hawker Aircraft design of the Second World War was a success (even if not initially), mainly attributable to the design genius of Sidney Camm.

Source: Graces Guide

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