Handley Page H.P.52 Hampden
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Handley Page H.P.52 Hampden

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 By mid-September 1942 they were withdrawn from Bomber Command operations as new and more effective aircraft became available, but continued for some time to support Coastal Command's anti-shipping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.

Handley Page H.P.52 Hampden

 ENGINE2 x Bristol Pegasus XVII, 746kW
    Take-off weight8510 kg18761 lb
    Empty weight5340 kg11773 lb
    Wingspan21.1 m69 ft 3 in
    Length17.0 m56 ft 9 in
    Height4.6 m15 ft 1 in
    Wing area62.0 m2667.36 sq ft
    Max. speed408 km/h254 mph
    Cruise speed350 km/h217 mph
    Ceiling6900 m22650 ft
    Range w/max.fuel3200 km1988 miles
    Range w/max.payload1400 km870 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 7.7mm machine-guns, 1800kg of bombs

Handley Page H.P.52 HampdenA three-view drawing (696 x 634)

Bryan McLeod, 01.08.2016

My maternal grandfather lost his life flying as a navigator in a Hampden TB-1 in Sept./43 flying out of Thorney Island. I'm having a great deal of trouble fleshing out his service and that plane and area in particular which I feel pressured to do as his only surviving child is getting on and my mom has already past. I'd love any data, photos, video's etc that any might have to share to help me work out his last days and add some flesh to him as it were. His son has only the vaguest of memories of a daddy who never came home. He flew in the 415 for the month of August and his crew were RS Arnold, Pilot, WO/
AG's DK Stroud and RA Swinston the last the only only one not on the plain when it crashed. My grandfather's name was CE Coons navigator and I'd love any assistance I could get from anyone with any information to share. In turn I've collected some images of the plane and can do photo restoration should any need it.

Rick Partridge, 13.07.2016

Salut a Le Mer Georges!Regarding L4194: Not much info! a/c s'ecrase a Puneret. That's in Brittany, I see. It was on 'gardening' operation ie dropping mines against shipping. Took off 21/11/40 from Finningley. Book "HP52 Crash Log"by Nicholas Roberts says only failed to return.(FTR) 4 missing. "Aircraft for the Few" by Michael J F Bowyer has little info, too. 106 squadron was training unit until Sept 1940, then began mining operations. L4194 operational from 18/1/40 until lost 22/11/40. Tout ce que j'y ai trouve. Avez vous des cliches? I am researching P1325 which was shot down near Le Paradis, north of Bethune, Pas de Calais, on 12/06/40. Sumpster, Jeffrey, Sandall, Simpson KIA (killed in action)/FTR. From Waddington.

Klaatu83, 13.10.2015

One big disadvantage in the Hampton was that it had a very narrow fuselage, which meant that if any of the crew needed help, particularly the pilot, the others had no way to reach him. However, most if it's faults could be traced directly to the fact that it was designed long before WW-II, and without the benefit of current combat experience. Like a lot of pre-war aircraft, the Hampton was forced to cope with a new conflict for which it had not really been designed.

le mer georges, 01.05.2015

bonjour . neparle pas anglais! le 22 nov 1940 le hp 52 l4194
se crasche a PLUNERET 56400 FRANCE. ward,glen,hull,newton
decédés ,reposent au cimetiere de VANNES 5600 . possede des éléments de l'avion. intention d'honorer leur sacrifice,recherche bonne volonté française et anglaise.le
l 4194 sqd 106 code ZM-B

Paul Scott, 20.01.2015

Not a bad aircraft at all at least it had a ventral gun(s) unlike omitted on the 'big three' heavy, RAF bombers which took their toll on them.

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.

VinceReeves, 05.03.2013

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

bombardier, 17.05.2011

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

Rob, 12.03.2011

I have a blue print of said plane

Rob, 12.03.2011

I have a blue print of said plane

Barry, 21.02.2011

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.
Kind regards

Mark Wright

Cheri, 23.09.2009

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 ?

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