Hi, could anyone tell me how the airoplane the 'Whitley" got it's name? Thank you.
VinceReeves, 05.03.2013 23:07
A plane that did all that it was required to do perfectly well, except perhaps in the maritime role, where it was overloaded with various radars.
It shows the virtue of having competent, useful aircraft available in quantity here and now, rather than aeronautically sublime wonder-weapons arriving in the distant future.
j.l.Muir, e-mail, 21.02.2013 00:20
While I have no questions about this aircraft, my step children, whose surname is Whitley, were quite tickled to have a famous aircraft that shared their name. It was a great pleasure to me to me able to find a picture and history to go with it as well.....thanks
Steve Parshall, e-mail, 24.05.2012 09:43
According to the "Database" feature in the May Issue of Aeroplane, John Lloyd, the Whitley's designer broke with the old Armstrong Whitworth tradition of tubular construction and devised a method that employed rolled sections, pressings, and corrugated sheets. Furthermore, the fuselage was monocoque in structure--a first in British heavy bomber construction. Lloyd was determined to make the Whitley as easy and quick to manufacture, so he decided to use as few component parts as possible--and those that were used were of "standard section." To circumvent the use of complex double curvature skin panels, Lloyd gave the Whitley's fuselage long, straight, and nearly-parallel side, which payed big dividends in reduced construction time. In flight, the Whitley could fairly be described as idiosyncratic: individual aircraft often behaved in slightly different ways. However, it was a docile airplane--never malicious or unforgiving in the way it handled. Pilots often had the feeling they were never completely in control. They seem to agree that the Whitley "very rarely did exactly what it was told, but what it did do was carried out reasonably well and in comfort."
cathy, e-mail, 04.02.2012 16:28
was the Whitley bomber built in Whitley? I know i may sound silly but... thank you.
Phil Hawker, e-mail, 02.02.2012 22:08
My mother's cousin, Robert Edward Salisbury, served as a tail gunner on a Whitley of 58th Squadron (Linton on Ouse, Yorks.), which was shot down in 1940 over Holland by German fighter ace Paul Gildner. All of the crew were killed. He was aged only 18yrs. Does anyone have any info on this incident? I know that the wreckage and bodies, surrounded by German soldiers, were seen the next morning by a young Dutch boy who had crawled along a narrow ditch to view it, but that's all I know.
Cliff Didsbury, e-mail, 18.01.2012 19:11
Hello, this is a shot in the dark. My Uncle, Cyril Didsbury, was a Flight Sergeant Air Gunner in 296 Squadron. He was killed on 3rd April 1943 after he was thrown out of Whitley Bomber No. BD533 when it crash-landed on farmland in Wiltshire. He was killed instantly. The other 3 crew members survived. If anyone has any info about this incident I would be very grateful for a response.
Barry, 07.11.2011 13:36
The length of the Whitley was 69ft 3in up until the MkV which was 70ft 6in. The Whitley was very much a case of you have to play the hand of cards you are dealt. Along with the comments elsewhere on this page it must be remebered that 146 longer range GR VIII's were delivered to Coastal Command and the first U-Boat to be sunk by Coastal Command (U 206)was by a Whitley in Novenber 1941.
beifan, 18.06.2011 11:47
Also leaflets he slept and forgot to drop. Though he got his pilot's license in the CAG, he ended up as a wireles op / gunner, poor sod.
, 16.06.2011 13:48
bombardier, e-mail, 25.05.2011 11:52
Slow but effective in it's designed role as a night bomber
Nonie Crete, e-mail, 11.03.2011 01:09
My father flew this aircraft and went down because of engine problems on the first day of the war dropping propaganda. He ended up meeting Hermann Goering because he was Canada - he went on to be in the Great Escape, Nonie
amanda wright, e-mail, 15.12.2010 22:59
My great uncle Eric was shot down on September 7th 1941 over Germany. He was a rear gunner in a Whitley with 58 Squadron. Would love to hear from someone who may have known him??
John Sykes, e-mail, 04.12.2010 21:12
My father, Eric Sykes, was a WOP/AG 1939-1941. We were living in Leeds, Yorkshire at that time. I'm trying to find out what squadron Dad flew with. He was medically discharged in 1941 after 3 crash landings. Would Disforth, Driffield or Topcliffe be possibilities? Any help or suggestions would be terrific.
John Drew, e-mail, 07.11.2010 12:17
My cousin P/sgt John Evans was killed piloting a Whitley V EB339 whilst serving with 81 OTU at RAF Whitchurch Heath during November 1942. The aircraft was a total right off but can anyone tell me the identification code (aircraft markings) that 81 OTU were using during November 1942. Better still does anyone know or advise how I can get the specific identification markings for this particular Whitley EB339. Regards .. John
Jim Garrod, e-mail, 06.11.2010 19:53
My brother Bob was killed in a Whitley in September 1941. Crashed over Holland, and I know who shot him down. I have his letters home from Jan 1940, covering training, operations etc., almost to the last one. Also leaflets he slept and forgot to drop. Though he got his pilot's license in the CAG, he ended up as a wireles op / gunner, poor sod.
All this and more, with many reproductions and much graphic detail is in a book I wrote and published called Suffolkers een't silly. ISBN 1-873373-02-3
I'd be pleased to hear from anyone interested. Always wanted to stand in a tail gunner's turret as he had to, but without any shrapnel coming through the floor. Any ideas?
Jack Enright, e-mail, 09.09.2010 06:27
To Leo Rudnicki The Whitley flew nose down because the wing was set at a high angle of incidence to give good lift at slow speeds. Most other aircraft by then were fitted with flaps for this purpose, but the Whitley's designer had no experience of flaps. Later versions were fitted with flaps, but the wing incidence was not changed. As you suggested, adjusting the design to fly level would have reduced drag, and thus increased speed and range. Maybe this was never done because the gain was not considered worth the work involved. One big advantage of the wing was the very low stalling speed. I believe the Whitley could trundle into a landing at a measly 65 mph! Like the wartime Bedford 3 tonner, the Whitley was slow, and no beauty - but, like the Bedford, was reliable, a good load-hauler, and tough as old boots.
Leo Rudnicki, 11.11.2009 19:38
Parachutists didn't jump out of the wings. A drooping fuselage is not aerodynamically optimum. No one copied A-W's solution to the problem, nor did anyone copy the Stirling.
Al Mellor, e-mail, 11.11.2009 14:53
The Whitley flew nose down because the angle of incidence of the wing aws incresed so that the wing was at/near the point of the stall in the three point attitude. The other solution to this problem was adopted by Shorts for the Stirling - lengthen the undercarriage legs. The nose down attitude would have increased with speed and wouldn't have been all that pronounced at the parachuting drop speed of 90 knots. Anyway there wouldn't have been a vacume affecting the bombs or parachutists as the pressure under the wing has to be higher than above it to produce lift.
Ed Cooke, e-mail, 16.10.2009 00:20
A great old lady,did 20 trips with 102 Squadron before converting to Halifax 11,Can't understand a cruising speed of 185mph as quoted.Lucky to get 120 mph cruising speed,maybe they meant straight down at full throttle.
Graham duHeaume, e-mail, 29.07.2009 18:26
How can I find the fate of a particular Whitley Mark 11 I work at the Shoreham airport archive centre. We have a lady who flew in one in 1941. She would like to know what happend to it. Reference K7227 . Belly landed at Pershore on 9/5/1940, it came to Gatwick for repair, which is where this lady worked. She flew in it to Shoreham, but from then on we have no more information. Can I find any more info. Thanks Graham
leo rudnicki, e-mail, 24.04.2009 02:54
I know why the Whitley flew nose down, but why was it designed to do so? I'm sure it benefitted parachutist dropping down the chute into a vacuum rather than slipstream but was it to suck the bombs out/of the bombbay? I have a hound that runs like a whitley, nose down,but I think that's a scent thing.
EMBER, e-mail, 23.12.2007 00:14
YOUR RIGHT. IT WAS VERY EASY TO FLY, AND WAS VERY COMFORTABLE. THERE WAS ONLY TWO OR THREE FLAWS THAT PILOTS COMPLAINED ABOUT.
John L. Hyde-Smith, e-mail, 16.10.2007 12:00
"Mediocre performance", "the plodding Whitley"; such comments abound regarding this bomber, yet was it really that bad? The fact is, the British aircraft industry could come up with nothing better in the years which led up to the Second World War, and the R.A.F. was well served by the Whitley until mid 1942 as a bomber, and until the end of the war as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft, a troop carrier and a trainer. It was reported as being easy and pleasant to fly, very important characteristics in an aircraft to be flown at night for long distances, and by the standards of its time it carried a heavy load. It was sturdy and could withstand much punishment. It is a horrible thought that R.A.F. bomber crews came uncomfortably close to having to go to war with some real plodders such as the Fairey Hendon and the Handley Page Heyford, and the results if that had happened just do not bear thinking about. I am sure that all concerned were very thankful for the Whitley and it is time that people stopped damning it with faint praise.
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