The Bomber Maker
Handley Page Limited was founded by Frederick Handley Page or Sir Frederick in 1909. Not just an average company. In fact its was no less than the first publicly traded aircraft manufacturing company in Great Britain. It had a long and profitable exploitation before ceasing any activity in 1970. Based at Radlett Aerodrome (Hertfordshire) it was a noted aviation pioneer, especially in the field of heavy duty planes, either bombers and airliners.
Handley-Page O/100 bomber - notice the camouflaged underwings and struts
Frederick Handley Page created several biplanes and monoplanes tested in Woolwich, Fambridge, but also Barking Creek and in 1912 he established a factory at Cricklewood, tested and flown from nearby Cricklewood Aerodrome, also later the Handley Page airline base i peacetime. When the plant was sold to Oswald Stoll it became a massive film industry location, known as Cricklewood Studios. With the Great War, Handley Page started producing heavy bombers, handled by the Royal Navy to bomb the German Zeppelin yards and the long-term objective to raid Berlin and avenge the London blitz. The company also was asked by the Admiralty to produce even more massive bombers, the O/100 (1915), O/400 (1918) and V/1500 all capable of reaching Berlin from the United Kingdom. The latter however arrived to late to take part in operations.
In the interwar, a V/1500 was converted into a civilian airplane, dubbed "Atlantic", trying to make the world's first non-stop transatlantic flight, but beaten by a Vickers Vimy piloted by Alcock and Brown. Many O/400's were also converted by the company to passenger use as the W.8. For the Imperial Airlines, they created the Handley Page H.P.42. Some of these planes had a specific type of slat. At the same time a new, larger plant was created at Radlett from 1929. After producing the HP.52 Hampden, the company focused on the HP.57 Halifax, most famous British bomber (and most prolific) after the Lancaster. The story went on in the cold war with the HP.80 Victor nuclear bomber.
Here are the military and early models of the company, with the production models in bold and production figures in brackets. The only two models that really counted were the O type bombers, twin-engine heavy bombers that executed hundreds of raids over Germany.
- Type A or HP.1 monoplane (1910) (1)
- Type B or HP.2 biplane (1910) (1)
- Type D or HP.4 monoplane (1911) (1)
- Type E or HP.5 monoplane (1912) (1)
- Type F or HP.6 monoplane (1912) (1)
- Type G or HP.7 biplane (1913) (1)
- Type L or HP.8 biplane (paper project)
- HP.14 prototype naval reconnaissance (1917) (3)
- Type O twin-engined bomber (1916) (600)
- V/1500 or HP.15 four-engined bomber (1918) (63)
HP on wikipedia
HP Type O