This site is dedicated to all those who flew, maintained, designed and built the de Havilland Hornet and Sea Hornet, spanning its development and subsequent operational career, with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navyís Fleet Air Arm.
The Hornet type DH.103 was designed by the de Havilland Aircraft Company of Hatfield in Hertfordshire, UK as a high speed, long range fighter. A mock-up was prepared during January 1943, with major design and development work following shortly after, and eventual first flight of prototype RR915 being on 28th July 1944. Production of the aircraft was initiated at Hatfield, but it eventually moved to Chester because of demands on Hatfieldís production lines made by other types under development such as the Dove and Comet airliner. Design and development of the Sea Hornet was passed to the Heston Aircraft Company. Further development was carried out at the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire to pass the aircraft through official armament and handling trials, before introduction into squadron service.
There were four RAF versions of the Hornet: The F.Mk.1, PR.Mk.2. F.Mk.3, and the F.Mk.4. The first F.Mk.1 arrived at RAF Horsham St.Faith in Norfolk during February 1946, however 64 Squadron did not gain enough Hornets until May of that year to become fully operational on the type. The last F.Mk.3 and 4ís were withdrawn from service while in Malaya, some nine years later in May 1955.
There were three main Fleet Air Arm versions of the Sea Hornet: The F.Mk.20, NF.Mk.21, and the PR.Mk.22. However, it is noted that up to 39 F.MK.20 were delivered as FR.MK20s to provide a secondary reconnaissance role, but it appears that all F.MK.20s received the same airframe modifications with the provision of rear fuselage camera windows. The first F.Mk.20 entered service with 801 Squadron at Ford, UK, in July 1947. The last Sea Hornets were still operational with some second line units in the UK, after ten years service in February 1957.
A total of 389 aircraft were produced. This figure was made up from 2 prototypes, 60 F.1, 5 PR.2, 132 F.3, and 12 F.4, equalling 211 Hornets, and 77 F.20/FR20, 78 NF.21, and 23 PR22, equalling 178 Sea Hornets. All are thought to have been scrapped, as no complete survivor is known to exist.
NEW HORNET BOOK OUT! - FROM 2010
From May 2010 a new is book on the de Havilland Hornet, written by Tony Buttler, David Collins and Martin Derry is available from Dalrymple and Verdun Publishing: www.dvpublishing.co.uk or directly from David Collins dh103hornethotmail.co.uk for the proceeds to go into supporting the Hornet Project.
This book is the latest in the series which includes Sea Fury, Javelin, Attacker, Sea Vixen, Scimitar, etc. We have gone to great lengths to research the information going into this book, and have been able to correct a few often misquoted statistics about the type. A large proportion of the photos included are previously un-published, including some rare colour images. Many personal recollections from those who worked on, and flew Hornets have been collected together that really bring the subject to life.
New full colour profile artwork specially commissioned for the book from Mark Gauntlett, has been created with reference to original Hornet manufacturing drawings, and our extensive photo collection.
1/48th Hornet F.1 model painted to represent PX274 of 64 Squadron. Model by David Collins.
Peter Sheppard - Hornet aircrew and ground crew liaison, can be contacted:
phone on: +44 (0) 1285 642997 or by email as: dhhornet50hotmail.com
David Collins - Hornet Project Manager, can be contacted:
by phone on: +44 (0) 781 666 0476 or by email as: dh103hornethotmail.co.uk
For any questions or suggestions about this website please contact David Collins.
This website was last updated on the 12th September 2012.