Handley Page Herefords of No.185 Squadron

Handley Page Herefords of No.185 Squadron

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Handley Page Herefords of No.185 Squadron

The Handley Page Hereford was a version of the Hampden powered by two Napier Dagger engines. Problems with the engines meant that the type had a short life span, and only saw service with No.185 Squadron, between August 1939 and April 1940, at a time when that squadron was serving as an Operational Training Unit for the Hampden.

Unit History: RAF Cottesmore

RAF Cottesmore is a Royal Air Force station in Rutland, England, situated between Cottesmore and Market Overton. The station houses all the operational Harrier GR7 squadrons in the Royal Air Force, and No 122 Expeditionary Air Wing.

RAF Cottesmore opened on 11 March 1938. The station was used mainly for training, and the first squadrons were equipped with Vickers Wellesley aircraft, but soon converted to Fairey Battles. Later RAF Bomber Command took over the airfield, again as a training station, flying Handley Page Hampdens.

These units remained in residence until a few days before the outbreak of war in 1939 when they were sent to RAF Cranfield to serve as a pool providing replacements for combat losses. Their place at Cottesmore was taken by Nos. 106 and 185 Squadrons, with Handley Page Hampden, moving in from RAF Thornaby.

Early Wartime Use
However, with the outbreak of war, the aircraft and crews were sent to locations in the north and west, as enemy air attacks were expected over the southern half of England. As these never materialised, the Hampdens returned in the spring of 1940 and No. 185 Squadron became the Hampden operational training unit, No. 14 OTU.

Cottesmore’s Hampdens’ first trespass into hostile airspace was a leaflet dropping operation over northern France. In October 1940, No. 106 Squadron moved to RAF Finningley while No. 14 OTU remained training crews for Bomber Command, its Hampdens and HP.53 Herefords being replaced by Vickers Wellingtons in 1942. Training continued for three years and three months until August 1943 when No. 14 OTU moved to RAF Market Harborough.


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Handley Page Hampden

The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden was a British twin-engine medium bomber of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was part of the trio of large twin-engine bombers procured for the RAF, joining the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and Vickers Wellington. The newest of the three medium bombers, the Hampden was often referred to by aircrews as the "Flying Suitcase" because of its cramped crew conditions. [1] The Hampden was powered by Bristol Pegasus radial engines but a variant known as the Handley Page Hereford had in-line Napier Daggers.

The Hampden served in the early stages of the Second World War, bearing the brunt of the early bombing war over Europe, taking part in the first night raid on Berlin and the first 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne. When it became obsolete, after a period of mainly operating at night, it was retired from RAF Bomber Command service in late 1942. By 1943, the rest of the trio were being superseded by the larger four-engined heavy bombers such as the Avro Lancaster.



In 1932, the Air Ministry issued Specification B.9/32 seeking a twin-engined day bomber with higher performance than any preceding bomber aircraft. [2] Accordingly, Handley Page responded with their design to meet the requirements of B.9/32 this same specification also drew other submissions from rival aircraft manufacturers such as Vickers, who would proceed to develop the Wellington bomber to it. The design team, led by George Volkert, drafted an extremely radical aircraft, initially centering upon the politically-favoured Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine however, by mid-1934, development of the Goshawk looked less promising and thus the Air Ministry acted to relax the tare weight (unloaded weight) requirement of the specification, allowing for the use of heavier and more powerful radial engines such as the Bristol Perseus and Bristol Pegasus. According to aviation author Philip J.R. Moyes, the Handley Page design soon found support with the Air Ministry in part because it was judged to represent a fair compromise between range, payload, and speed. [2]

During early 1936, the first prototype, designated as the HP.52 and given the serial number K4240, was completed. On 21 June 1936, the prototype, powered by a pair of Bristol Pegasus P.E.5S(A) engines, conducted its maiden flight from Radlett Aerodrome, Hertfordshire, piloted by Handley-Page Chief Test Pilot Major J. L. H. B. Cordes. [2] In late June 1936, the prototype was put on public display in the New Types Park, Hendon Air Show, London. In August 1936, in response to the successful flight trials performed by K4240, the Air Ministry issued an initial production order for the type, ordering 180 production aircraft to be manufactured to meet Specification B.30/36 concurrently, a second order for 100 aircraft powered by the Napier Dagger was issued to Belfast-based Short & Harland. [3]

In early 1937, a second prototype, which received the serial number L7271, was completed this second prototype had several differences from the first, including the pitot tube being repositioned below the fuselage, a more rounded ventral gun turret, and a slightly modified nose. [4] L7271 later received a pair of Dagger engines and was accordingly re-designated as the HP.53 on 1 July 1937, it performed its first flight after having received the new engines. Another prototype, L4032, was produced to serve as the production-standard prototype on 24 June 1938, the third prototype conducted its maiden flight. [4] L4032 differed from the previous two prototypes in that it was powered by a pair of Pegasus XVIII engines, the nose incorporated an optically-flat bomb-aiming panel, as well as the ventral and dorsal gun positions being revised. [4]

Handley Page elected to name their new aircraft after John Hampden, a 17th-century British politician and defender of civil liberties. [2] On 24 June 1938, L4032 was officially christened by Lady Katharine Mary Montagu Douglas Scott, Viscountess Hampden, at a ceremony held in Radlett Aerodrome, the same day on which its first flight took place. [4] [5] L4032 and L4033, which was the second production-standard Hampden to be produced, would be later assigned to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk. [6] On 20 September 1938, the third production Hampden, designated L4034, following the completion of handling trials conducted by the Central Flying School at Upavon Aerodrome, Wiltshire, become the first aircraft to enter RAF squadron service, being delivered to No. 49 Squadron. [7]


By late 1938, the mass manufacturing plans for the Hampden had been formalised. In addition to Handley-Page's own production line, the type was to be built under subcontract by English Electric at their factory in Preston, Lancashire on 6 August 1938, English Electric was awarded an initial contract to manufacture 75 Hampdens. [7] In addition, Canadian interest in domestic production of the type had resulted in the establishment of the joint Anglo-Canadian Canadian Associated Aircraft company, which promptly received an initial order from the RAF for 80 Hampdens to be completed in Canada this facility would effectively act as a shadow factory during wartime. [7] On 1 September 1938, in response to interest expressed by the Royal Swedish Air Force (RSAF) in the Hampden, including in a potential licence production arrangement for 70 aircraft to be built in Sweden, a single production Hampden was supplied to Sweden. Designated P.5 by the RSAF, it was operated by the service through to November 1945, after which it was sold to Svenska Aeroplan AB (SAAB) to serve as a flying testbed before being retired in late 1947. [7]

On 22 February 1940, the first Preston-built Hampden, P2062, conducted its maiden flight. English Electric would go on to manufacture a total of 770 Hampdens, more than any other company, prior to delivering its final aircraft on 15 March 1942. [8] In July 1940, Handley-Page terminated its own production line for the Hampden upon the completion of its 500th aircraft. [8] On 9 August 1940, the first Canadian-built Hampden, P5298, made its first flight by October 1940, Canadian production had risen to 15 aircraft per month. [8] A total of 160 Hampdens were completed by Canadian Associated Aircraft, many of which were ferried to the United Kingdom for wartime service. The final Canadian-built aircraft was delivered in late 1941. [9]


The Hampden Mk I had a pilot, navigator/bomb aimer, radio operator and rear gunner. Conceived as a fast, manoeuvrable "fighting bomber", the Hampden had a fixed forward-firing .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine gun in the upper part of the fuselage nose. To avoid the weight penalties of powered turrets, the Hampden had a curved Perspex nose fitted with a manual .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine gun and a .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K installation in the rear upper and lower positions. The layout was similar to the all-guns-forward cockpits introduced about the same time in Luftwaffe medium bombers, notably the Dornier Do 17. During the Norwegian Campaign, these guns proved to be thoroughly inadequate for self-defence in daylight the single guns were replaced by twin Vickers K guns, a process led by Air Vice Marshal Arthur Harris of No. 5 Group RAF in 1940. [10]

The Hampden had a flush-rivetted stressed skin, reinforced with a mixture of bent and extruded sections in an all-metal monocoque design. [11] A split-assembly construction technique was employed: sections were prefabricated and then joined, to enable rapid and economic manufacture. [4] The fuselage was in three big sections – front, centre and rear – that were built using jigs. [11] The centre and rear sections were made of two halves, which meant that the sections could be fitted out in part under better working conditions prior to assembly. All possible assembly work was performed at the benches prior to installation upon each aircraft. [4]

The wings were made up of three large units: centre section, port outer wing and starboard outer wing, which were also subdivided. [12] Each section was built around a main girder spar, leading edge section and trailing edge section. [11] The wing made use of wingtip slots and hydraulically-actuated trailing edge flaps the flaps and ailerons had stress-bearing D-spars. [11] According to Moyes, the configuration of the wing was a key feature of Hampden, being highly tapered and designed to exert low levels of drag these attributes were responsible for the aircraft's high top speed for the era of 265 mph (230 kn 426 km/h) while retaining a reasonably low landing speed of 73 mph (63 kn 117 km/h). [4]

The Hampden's flying qualities were typically described as being favourable Moyes described it as being "extraordinarily mobile on the controls". [13] Pilots were provided with a high level of external visibility, assisting the execution of steep turns and other manoeuvres. The control layout required some familiarisation, as some elements such as the hydraulic controls were unobtrusive and unintuitive. [13] Upon introduction, the Hampden exhibited greater speeds and initial climb rates than any of its contemporaries while still retaining favourable handling qualities. [4]

The slim and compact fuselage of the aircraft was quite cramped, being wide enough only for a single person. The navigator sat behind the pilot and access in the cockpit required folding down the seats. Once in place, the crew had almost no room to move and were typically uncomfortable during long missions. [13] Aircrews referred to the Hampden by various nicknames due to this, such as Flying Suitcase, Panhandle, and Flying Tadpole. [4]

I did my first flight and first tour on Hampdens. A beautiful aeroplane to fly, terrible to fly in! Cramped, no heat, no facilities where you could relieve yourself. You got in there and you were stuck there. The aeroplane was like a fighter. It was only 3 feet wide on the outside of the fuselage and the pilot was a very busy person. There were 111 items for the pilot to take care of because on the original aircraft he had not only to find the instruments, the engine and all that, but also he had all the bomb switches to hold the bombs.

Operational history

UK service

In September 1938, No. 49 Squadron received the first Hampdens by the end of the year, both 49 and 83 Squadrons at RAF Scampton had re-equipped with the type. [15] A total of 226 Hampdens were in service with ten squadrons by the start of the Second World War, with six forming the operational strength of 5 Group of Bomber Command based in Lincolnshire. [15] [16]

With the outbreak of war in 1939, Hampdens were initially used to perform armed aerial reconnaissance missions, observing German naval activity during daylight. [17] However, despite its speed and manoeuvrability, the Hampden proved to be no match for Luftwaffe fighters in December 1939, Bomber Command is claimed to have discarded the belief that aircraft such as the Hampden could realistically operate by day and instead chose to predominantly employ them under the cover of darkness during nighttime operations. [17] During 1940, Hampdens of 5 Group conducted 123 nighttime airborne leaflet propaganda missions, losing only a single aircraft in the process. [17]

On 13 April 1940, days after Germany's invasion of Norway, a large number of Hampdens were dispatched on night-time mine-laying (code-named "gardening") flights in the North Sea in areas deemed unapproachable by British shipping. According to Moyes, this activity proved highly effective, experiencing a low casualty rate of less than 1.9 aircraft per sortie. [17] The Hampden also saw a return to its use as a daytime bomber during the Norwegian Campaign, but quickly proved to be under-gunned in the face of German fighters. [10]

On 19 March 1940, Hampdens took part in the first deliberate bombing of German soil in a nighttime raid upon the seaplane hangars and slipways in Hörnum, Sylt. [8] The type continued to operate at night on bombing raids over Germany. Flight Lieutenant Rod Learoyd of 49 Squadron was awarded the Victoria Cross for a low-level attack on the Dortmund-Ems canal on 12 August 1940 where two of five aircraft failed to return. [18] [19] On 25 August 1940, Hampdens from various squadrons participated in the RAF's first bombing raid on Berlin. [20] Sergeant John Hannah was the wireless operator/air gunner of an 83 Squadron Hampden and was awarded the Victoria Cross on 15 September 1940, when he fought the flames of the burning aircraft, allowing the pilot to return it to base. [18]

In April 1942, the Hampden-equipped 144 Squadron and 455 Squadron RAAF were transferred from Bomber Command to Coastal Command to perform the torpedo bomber role. Later that year, detachments from both squadrons were dispatched to Vaenga airfield, Murmansk, Russia, to help safeguard the Arctic convoys in the vicinity. [20] A total of four squadrons assigned to Coastal Command would be equipped with Hampdens. These squadrons continued to use the type into late 1943 the last Coastal Command squadron transitioned from the type on 10 December 1943. [21]

Almost half of the Hampdens built, 714, were lost on operations, with 1,077 crew killed and 739 reported as missing. German Flak accounted for 108, one hit a German barrage balloon, 263 Hampdens crashed because of "a variety of causes" and 214 others were classed as "missing". Luftwaffe pilots claimed 128 Hampdens, shooting down 92 at night. [22]

The last Bomber Command sorties by Hampdens were flown on the night of 14/15 September 1942 by 408 Squadron, RCAF against Wilhelmshaven. [23] After being withdrawn from Bomber Command in 1942, it operated with RAF Coastal Command through 1943 as a long-range torpedo bomber (the Hampden TB Mk I with a Mk XII torpedo in an open bomb bay and a 500-pound (230 kg) bomb under each wing) and as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

Non-UK service

The Hampden in RCAF service included the 160 examples manufactured in Canada by the Victory Aircraft consortium. Of the total built, 84 were shipped by sea to Great Britain, while the remainder came to Patricia Bay (Victoria Airport) B.C., to set up No. 32 OTU (RAF) used for bombing and gunnery training. Typical exercises at 32 OTU consisted of patrolling up the West Coast of Vancouver Island at night or flying out into the Pacific to a navigational map co-ordinate, often in adverse and un-forecast inclement weather. Due to attrition from accidents, about 200 "war weary" Hampdens were later flown from the U.K. to Pat Bay as replacements. [24]

In Operation Orator, during September 1942, the crews of 32 Hampden TB.1 torpedo bombers from No. 144 Squadron RAF and No. 455 Squadron RAAF flew to Northwest Russia, to protect arctic convoy PQ 18 from German surface vessels, such the battleship Tirpitz. The Hampden crews flew from Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands to Vaenga (Vayenga later known as Severomorsk) in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. This was a hazardous route, often subject to poor weather and spanning more than 2,100 nautical miles (3,900 km), partly over enemy-occupied territory in Norway and Finland. Eight Hampdens were lost or damaged beyond repair en route. [25] [26] [27] 144 and 455 Squadrons flew a small number of sorties from Vaenga. While it was originally intended that the Hampdens would be flown back to Scotland, the prevailing west-east headwinds on such a flight might have pushed the Hampdens beyond their maximum endurance and it was decided to transport the wing's personnel back to Britain by sea and gift the Hampdens to the Soviet Navy.

Aircrews and mechanics from Maritime Military Fleet Aviation (Aviatsiya Voenno-Morskogo Flota VMF) were trained by members of 144 and 455 Squadrons, before their return to Britain in October. [28] The 3rd Squadron, 24th Mine-Torpedo Aviation Regiment (24 Минно-торпедный авиаполк 24 MTAP) operated the "balalaika" – the Russian nickname for the Hampden, in reference to its unusual shape – until mid-1943, [29] when losses, a lack of replacements and a shortage of spares forced its retirement. 24 MTAP then reverted to the Ilyushin DB-3/Ilyushin Il-4.

In Sweden, the Flygvapnet assigned an HP.52 to Reconnaissance Wing F 11 at Nyköping for evaluation, under the designation P5. After the war, the aircraft was sold to SAAB where it was used as an avionics testbed.


The Hampden was powered by two 980 hp (730 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII nine-cylinder radial engines. A Mk II variant, designated the HP.62, was developed by converting two Hampdens to use the 1,000 hp (750 kW) Wright Cyclone engine in 1940, but no further work was done on that project. [20]

Interest in the HP.52 by the Swedish Air Force led to the creation of the HP.53 prototype, which was subsequently used as a testbed for a pair of 1,000 hp (750 kW) Napier Dagger VIII 24-cylinder H-block air-cooled inline engines.

In August 1936, the Air Ministry placed an order for 100 Hampdens equipped with the Dagger engine. Those aircraft subsequently received the designation HP.53, along with the name Hereford. [3] Manufactured by Short & Harland in Belfast, their performance was almost identical to that of their Hampden cousins, but there were problems with the engines. [30] From the outset, the Dagger engine proved to be problematic, being both noisy and unreliable. In particular, cooling problems plagued the engine while being run on the ground, resulting in distortions and premature failures. [31] The problems were not satisfactorily resolved, with the result that most of the Herefords on order were converted to Hampdens instead, while those that were constructed were often re-engined to become Hampdens. A limited number of Herefords did enter squadron service, but were only used as crew trainers by training units. [11]

Handley Page Hereford

The current Covid restrictions in force over here in UK have closed our flying fields again - not that I went flying in the interim as it was a bit of a hassle to book a slot to fly in stead of just turning up on a suitable flying day. At the moment I have a workshop stuffed with models so no room to build - but have been missing building. Since I no longer have a wife around to complain about me bringing my hobby indoors (she died almost a year ago now) and I do still have a field available a short walk away I decided that I needed a small hand-launched model that I could take out and fly on my own (the club rules are that there should be someone else present) on the spur of the moment.
I therefore decided that since I have motors and ESCs available intended for a much larger Vickers Viscount I would design an airframe suitable for 2 of them.

In line with my customary avoidance of duplicating other peoples' designs of more popular types, I decided of the Hereford, a variant of the better known Hampden. The Hereford saw service mainly in no.16 OTU at Upper Heyford where they were first delivered on 7th May 1940. Somewhat strangely one flight of no.185 squadron was also equipped with Herefords while the other 2 flights had Hampdens.

The main difference between Hampden and Hereford were the engines, the former having Bristol Pegasus XVIII radials and the latter Napier Dagger inline engines. Both engines were rated at 1,000hp.

My first interest in the Hereford was over 50 years ago (as long ago as that? Good grief, where does the time go?!) when I designed and built (but did not fly) an 82" span Hereford for .35 glow engines, but my new design would be only 53" span.
Below are the few pictures I have of my original attempt.


Nice idea, building a Hereford. There are loads of old planes that don't get the attention they deserve from the commercial kit makers. I suppose it just comes down to market size - they know they can always sell another version of a Mustang or whatever.

Hi guys - and welcome!
It did occur to me to wonder why so few Herefords were built as I would expect that with the same power available from an inline engine the Hereford should have gained between 5 and 10 mph due to having less frontal area than the Hampden.
The first flight of a Hampden converted to the Napier Dagger was in 1937 and the first production aircraft (of 100 originally ordered) flew in late 1939.
Although I have not researched it I guess the major clue would be that Short and Harland in Belfast were its builders and they would have been pretty much at capacity building the Sunderland - of far more strategic value than a medium bomber given the Nazi attempts at cutting off the supply line between USA and UK.

I have previously built a series of small models of around 48" span for speed 400 motors (in the bad old days of brushed motors - at least they were cheap!) and hefty NiCad batteries, before LiPos became available. In those days we had to learn how to build both strong and light to compensate for the considerable weight of batteries that had to be carried. Then the struggle was to achieve flight times exceeding 3 or 4 minutes (my Beaufighter managed 12-15). These days using brushless motors and LiPos I am disappointed not to get twice that time in the air per charge.

Types in this category are Bristol Beaufighter, Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, Fairey Hendon and even a Gloster Meteor F3 using pusher props (plans available from Sarik Hobbies)
I have very few photos of these as they were before the days of digital cameras and the prints were sent to the publishers and were never returned.

Since those days my main focus has been on achieving scale flying speeds as it is immediately apparent that it is a model that is being flown if it is howling around at F15 speeds while pretending to be something from a previous era. However well a model is being flown otherwise, if it is too fast then the bubble is burst.
Models in the past have been built far too strongly (and therefore heavily) so now that power systems are so much lighter in weight we have every chance of achieving scale flying speeds. For the current Hereford I therefore drew up my plan for traditional balsa construction at a span eased up to 53" span to give a lower wing loading. I include the drawing below so that anyone who fancies building to it can do so free of charge. Perhaps someone else would like to add their own build to this thread?
The only revision I would point out is that since doing the drawing, comparison with photos suggests that the nacelles should project forward of the wing leading edge by a further inch.

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Valom 1/72 Handley Page Hereford (201*)

Interestingly, the sprues above will make a standard Hampden. You need the following for a Hereford

Decals for 2 RAF aircraft are provided.

Mar 24, 2013 #2 2013-03-24T18:28

It's a tight squeeze in there

Mar 24, 2013 #3 2013-03-24T18:31

Some sub-assemblies. The undercarriage is impressive to me

The wing-fuselage joint needed a little attention, but otherwise, fit was good

Mar 24, 2013 #4 2013-03-24T18:35

I don't wish to recount just how many times I had to fight the Carpet Monster for that teeny, tiny little gun in the nose.

H29 Dark Earth is as good a primer as any

Add the H116 green and black and she's ready for Klear and decals and then a bit of Humbrol Mattcote.
Job done.

Mar 24, 2013 #5 2013-03-24T18:43

Valom 1/72 Handley Page Hereford, 14 OTU, No.185 Squadron, RAF Thornaby, August 1939 - April 1940


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Handley Page Hampden

Directive B.9/32

The end of the year 1932 the british Ministry of aviation has drawn up the specifications marked B.9/32, these specifications were formulated requirements for a new bomber aircraft. Yet in the same year, these were the specifications forwarded to the four suppliers of aviation equipment and their design teams began to immediately work on new projects. In may 1933 were ministerial commission selected the projects of the two companies, the first of them was Armstrong Whitworth Limited, which has ordered the construction of two prototypes of heavier bombers with the designation AW.38, later, this type was known as Whitley, this aircraft was considered to be more suitable for night bombing. The other selected company was Handley Page Limited with the project of your daily bomber HP.52 and these two companies join a big british gun company Vickers Armstrongs Limited where dr. Barnes Neville Wallis developed a two-engined bomber, the Vickers Type 271 with the geodetic construction of the fuselage - a later Wellington. We further we will discuss mainly the project of the company Handley Page Limited, headquartered in Cricklewood with the factory designation of HP.52, the Project was the work of dr. Gustav Lachmanna and his design team.

Project Handley Page HP.52

Dr. Lachmann suggested in comparison with the competition light, fast and agile bomber, which, however, range and payload of bombs behind the competition gets left behind. HP.52 was designed completely differently than competitive aircraft, its fuselage was extremely slim (only 3 ft), this match also defensive weapons, all machine guns (Vickers) were stored in the stations and were manually controlled, i.e. passed out the weight of the motor-driven gun turrets, it must be said, however, that the version without the gun turrets definitively decided until in may 1938, by that time it was not the Ministry of aviation fully decided and still pointed to the fact that narrow range greatly limits shooting angles (which later also fully confirmed). The crew was a four piece and each member of the crew had available only their relatively tight space and it was the drawback of such a structure, e.g. the pilot was on the flight depend only on himself, if he was injured in the fight, he couldn't have it no one from the crew to replace - I just did not get into the pilot's seat. On paper, everything looked good, and so the project was HP.52 approved, subsequently ordered the construction of a wooden mock-ups in scale 1 : 20, that was completed in the summer of 1933, and after her blowing off the ministerial committee of the project approved and ordered the construction of two prototypes.


The construction of the prototypes is somewhat late, the delay was caused by the selection of drive units. Originally, the specifications required the engines Bristol Mercury VI or Rolls-Royce Goshawk. The first prototype (Sn. K4240), was powered by a pair of radial devítiválců Bristol PE 5, the final assembly of the aircraft took place in the Radlettu and from the local factory airport prototype flew, it did so on 21. June 1936. Behind the wheel sat the factory šéfpilot J. L. B. H. Cordes. After the factory trials, the aircraft was flown to the Research institute of aircraft and weaponry in the Martlesham Heath (AND&AEA), where he was subjected to further tests, in the meantime he was 6. July of the same year brought to the air show, the present was even king of Edward VIII. Test pilots in the course of the tests found a fairly decent flight characteristics and, as expected, was the prototype of the HP.52 faster and more agile than its competitors. Pilots praised as a very low landing speed, thanks to the slots accommodate offloading of spa and the landing klapkám was around 120 km/h. At the end of the year 1936 the machine received the name of Hampden, and thanks to its narrow fuselage still the nickname of the "Flying Suitcase" (the flying trunk). According to the latest manufacturing regulations changed the arrangement of defence equipment, this change was most visible in the installation of glazed aerodynamically clean the bow, where he had his place navigator-bombardier and front gunner in one person. All required adjustments were made on the second prototype, which was completed in may 1938, this machine represented a sample piece for a mass produced aircraft. In the meantime, however, she was already from August 1936 negotiated delivery 180 serial machines, and this was soon followed by another order for 100 bombers, which had to be delivered "the shadow factory" Short & Harland Limited in northern Belfast.

Mass production Hampdenů

The first mass-produced aircraft Handley Page HP.52 Hampden B Mk.I were designed for the tests and began to leave the parent factory in Cricklewood in mid-1938, the final assembly took place in assembly halls in Radlettu. These aircraft were powered by jumo devítiválci Bristol Pegasus XVIII about the power of 720 kW (965 hp). Tensions in Europe grew and so the production of Hampdenů was soon initiated also by English Electric Co. Ltd. in Preston and Canadian Associated Aircraft Limited in Canada (here was established a total of 160 aircraft of this type).

The Handley Page HP.52 Hereford B Mk.I

Even in 1939 was launched the serial production of the aircraft in "shadow" factory Short & Harland in Belfast. This production was preceded by the test, which was used by Sweden neodebraný prototype HP.53 (Sn.L7271). This modified machine has remained in the Uk, the fly was 1. 7. 1937 and after the end of the tests was handed over to the firm of Short & Harland Ltd. There manufactured aircraft from the other Hampdenů be distinguished by installing the dorsal turret, and above all the drive units. The prototype HP.53 after adjustments made, however, was certainly not successful and finally ended up as a flightless tool designed for training. The ministry of aviation after these experiences definitely left from the gun turrets and there built the machines differed only propulsion units. On the basis of the requirements of the Ministry of aviation have been in the motor nacelles installed just completed air-cooled čtyřiadvacetiválcové engines Napier Dagger VIII on the take-off power 712 kW (955 hp). These engines have been modified so that it can be mounted to the engine bed Hampdenu. This modified version of the Hampdenu bore the designation of the Handley Page HP.52 Hereford B Mk.Even and should be a kind of fuse, for the possible lack of engine the Pegasus. Unfortunately, the engines of the Napier Dagger VIII at all did not succeed, after their installation in Hereford with the full manifestations of fatal problems with the regulation of the temperature of the engine in all modes of flight, these engines couldn't heat efficient at full power and vice versa when the economic engine running this engine has considerably cooled. Problems with these bombers have acquired such a nature, that all the produced aircraft Hereford (150) were transferred to the training, i.e., up to 24 machines, to which were mounted the engines of the Pegasus. First got the Farm to your loadout 35. squadron in the Finningley, later had them in service with one squadron of the 185. squadron in Cottesmore. Only one aircraft of this type get into a single combat action, the other combat actions of the RAF with this bomber, didn't dare.

The Operating activities of the Bomber Command

The first unit armed with the new Hampdeny was 49. squadron RAF, which was in August 1938 the base in the Scampton. By the end of 1938 were Hampdeny armed with three squadrons and to the end of August 1939, i.e. before the outbreak of war was armed with ten squadrons of subject Bomber Command.
Hamdeny B Mk.I started fighting activity already 3. September 1939, because at this stage of the war not to bomb enemy cities and so were a target selected enemy ships for Wilhelmshavenu. The event was attended by 27 bomber Hampdenů from 49., 83. and 144. the squadron, these units belonged to the 5. bomber group RAF (Well. 5 Bomber Group RAF) and to the list of all the aircraft full, I have to mention nine Vickers Wellingtons belonging to the 37. and 149. squadron 3. bomber group RAF. The whole event was rather infamous - over the target area was a large cloud cover and the bombers plus kept coming here already quite late and so their crew could not the German ships found. The return of the unsuccessful action was also challenging, but most pilots in the dark, never been on a plane. The last Hampden lock on the parent airport just after midnight. For the success of so can be considered the fact that the crews of all bombers made it difficult to return at night and avoid any losses. Another important finding was the inadequate level of training of crews of the bombers, I mean, just the fact that the pilots of the bombers never fly in the night, or the fact that Hampdeny in the meantime, never do not bear the full load of bombs, it was the very warning signs. The RAF tried to drive Hampdenú put into daily action, this is, after all, determine their speed and agility, but the lack of armament was causal to their relatively numerous losses (more in the article self-conscious entree. ). In the period of the "phoney war", the units were armed with these machines intensively deployed in the actions, first dropped on the German cities a ton of flyers, and later they were naval mines, and bombs. Over the sea were their losses great, but if they were Hampdeny deployed to remote airstrikes on targets in Germany, their losses were growing. During the service some machines were retrofitted with additional armor protection and machine guns in the dorsal and the bottom střelišti were duplicated. RAF over time shifted unit Hampdenů to the night of the bombing, the crew was subsequently mostly extended by another member. At the Headquarters of bomber command the air force have done a unit armed with Hampdeny significant piece of work - to carry out 16 541 combat take-off on enemy targets toppled 9 100 tonnes of bombs and all this while the total losses of 607 aircraft, from this amount, however, was "only" 413 aircraft lost due to combat activity. Their last major action was the raid on Wilhelmshaven, which took place in the night from 14. 15. September 1942, their fighting activities at the Bomber Command was still hampered but continues to be used for reconnaissance or perform tasks for the meteorological units of the RAF.

Deployment at the Headquarters of the coastal air force

After they were Hampdeny withdrawn from first line service at the Headquarters of bomber command the air force expected is still a service at the Coastal Command, here the discarded bombers operational flying until the end of 1943 and were particularly successful in zaminovávání German shipping routes and ports. Magnetic mines laid Hampdeny the straits between Denmark and Germany was damaged several German ships (the magnetic mines had a weight of 907 kg). These aircraft engage in raids against the battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau a victim of them fell submarine U-227. In the years 1942-1943, that is, after completion of bombing operations was 144 Hampdenů B Mk.And regulated by the torpedo bombers with the designation Handley Page Hampden TB Mk.Also, the adjustment mainly involved the bomb bay and also fitting external pylons, after these modifications it was possible in the bomb bay to carry one osmnáctipalcové air torpedo Mk.XII (caliber 457 mm) of a weight of 730 kg. Torpedo Hampdeny mostly not the lower range.

In the foreign services

Hampdeny served almost exclusively in the air force states of the Commonwealth, with the exception of the kingdom of Sweden, which Hampdeny have expressed interest. The swedes demanded plovákovou adjustment and different armament, the 22. October 1938 was for Sweden was being prepared, a prototype designated the HP.53, eventually was delivered one modified aircraft HP.52 Hampden, with a different armament. This aircraft in the Swedish air force subsequently served under the designation P.5 unit Article 11 with the base in Nyköpingu, in November 1945, was sold by SAAB that it was used as a test until November 1947 with the civil registration SE-BAP. A second foreign user was the Soviet union. In the fall of 1942 operated from the airport Vaenga (Ваенга) north of the Murmansk two british troops, have been 144. and 455. wing, their mission was to provide air protection to the convoy PQ-18. After the completion of this task would be the staff of both units shipped back to the Uk and their armament, consisting of 23 Hampdeny was on 12. October 1942 transferred 2. and 3. squadron, 24. mino-torpedo regiment (24. МТАП) of the Northern fleet, Hampdeny here have been for lack of spare parts soon to be consumed. The last combat flight was made 4. July 1943. The Russian pilots did not have these aircraft in the over-popular and used for them the mocking name "Balalaika".

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