Handley Page's H.P.52 (later named Hampden) was to share with the Wellington and Armstrong Whitworth Whitley the major portion of Bomber Command's early raids over Germany in World War II.
Unorthodox in appearance because of its deep fuselage and slender tailboom, it was to earn the nicknames 'Flying Panhandle' and 'Tadpole'. Unorthodox or not, it was faster than both the Wellington and Whitley but, like a number of British bomber aircraft, suffered heavy losses when deployed against German targets by day, largely on account of inadequate defensive armament. Temporarily grounded while this deficiency was rectified, they returned to operational service with twin Vickers K-type machine-guns in dorsal and ventral turrets, armour protection and flame-dampers for the exhausts.
By early 1940 they were back in service again but, of course, operating by night. Of conventional all-metal stressed-skin construction, the Hampden's thick-section mid-set monoplane
wings tapered both in chord and thickness. Handley Page slots on the leading edge of the wing outer panels, plus trailing-edge flaps, made possible a low landing speed. Somewhat cramped accommodation was provided for a crew of four.
Hampdens notched up a number of 'firsts' for Bomber Command: the first mine-laying operations; together with Whitleys dropped the first bombs of World War II on the German mainland; took part in the first attack on Berlin; and added their numbers to the first 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne. By mid-September 1942 they were withdrawn from Bomber Command operations as new and more effective aircraft became available, but continued for some time to support Coastal Command's anti-shipping operations in the capacity of a torpedo bomber. One squadron operated the type until relieved by Bristol Beaufighters in late 1943.
| ENGINE||2 x Bristol Pegasus XVII, 746kW|
| Take-off weight||8510 kg||18761 lb|
| Empty weight||5340 kg||11773 lb|
| Wingspan||21.1 m||69 ft 3 in|
| Length||17.0 m||56 ft 9 in|
| Height||4.6 m||15 ft 1 in|
| Wing area||62.0 m2||667.36 sq ft|
| Max. speed||408 km/h||254 mph|
| Cruise speed||350 km/h||217 mph|
| Ceiling||6900 m||22650 ft|
| Range w/max.fuel||3200 km||1988 miles|
| Range w/max.payload||1400 km||870 miles|
| ARMAMENT||4 x 7.7mm machine-guns, 1800kg of bombs|
|A three-view drawing (696 x 634)|
|Wells Sullivan, 09.10.2014|
Tony, the airplane in question was P5321. It was built in Canada and shipped by sea to the UK, where it served in 44/408/14 OTU ( operational training unit ). It collided with Halifax W1013 of 78 squadron. It was not the only Hampden lost on that raid. P2116/14 OTU was shot down over the Netherlands, L4173/14 OTU crashed on return, AE399/420 swung on landing and hit a lancaster. Apparently, the Halifax descended into the Hampden from above in a rain cloud. The cockpit section of P5321 was severed, the pilot (Falconer) released his harness and pulled the cord.
|Lester Stenner, 28.11.2013|
My father Wing Commander Charles Darwen Stennr, DSO, DFC, flew 57 missions on Hampdens with 50 and 106 Squadrons, maily in L4149 and AE136. It was one of the first aircraft to be fitted with slats on the leading edge which gave it a landing speed of 60 knots. His only complaint about the aircraft was that it was bloody cold at altitude.
Hampdens were very successful in the torpedo role for Coastal Command. 45,000 tons of Axis shipping was sunk by the three squadrons that operated it between Sept '42 and July '43. 489 Squadron alone obtained two-thirds of this total.
|Tony Knowling, 12.10.2011|
I hope someone can help me.
My uncle was a Wireless Op/Air Gunner on a Hampden and was killed the night of the first 1000 bomber raid to Cologne. 30/31 May, 1942.
His was the only Hampden lost that night, and was above England on decent when it was cut in half by another returning bomber.
I am wanting to know more about the pilot, Falconer who was the only survivor from that incident only to be killed in 1944. The service record of my uncle John Henry Knowling and their operations together, I understand they had been on many missions togther, although I think they were a training unit. And the history of the aircraft.
Any help as to where to look would be very much appreciated.
|David Burrowes, 15.08.2011|
During 1943, at least 3 Coastal Command Squadrons operated Hampdens as torpedo bombers - they were 144, 455 and 489 - 455 and 144 also flew some of their Hampdens to Russia for use by the Soviet Air Force
If this aircraft had been fitted with Bristol Hercules engines
or even American Wright R2600 and better defensive armament it would have been an impressive bomber.Also if the torpedo bomber variant had been fitted with 2 fixed 20mm cannons and 4 machine-guns it would have rocked in the Pacific
I have a blue print of said plane
I have a blue print of said plane
Handley Page built 500, English Electric 770 and Canadian Associated Aircraft 160. An agile and for it's time a fast bomber but very cramped and before too long outclassed.
|mark wright, 05.05.2010|
Hi, I was hoping you could help me.I am working on a short documentary based on a hampden that crashed nr my home in 1941. Could I use any of the photos or drawing you have on your site? The RAFA are helping me out, but weve had problems finding hamden pics.
Does anyone know of the English group that came over and work on this bomber plus the Lancaster. I believe my great grandfather was involved Albert Warriner
|paul scott, 23.08.2009|
Outstanding, strange, little aircraft, that, despite its size and narrow fuselage, carried the same load as a Wellington bomber.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?