The Handley Page Hampden was not a great aircraft. However, it served Bomber Command with distinction during the dark early days of WW2, after which it was relegated to Coastal Command duties. There were 1430 Hampdens manufactured of which 160 were built in Canada.
The four seat Hampden was the last of the twin-engined medium bombers to go into service during the expansion of Bomber Command in the late 1930‘s. Of all metal construction, the fuselage had a distinctive deep fore-body housing the crew, and a relatively slender tail boom carrying the tailplane and the twin fins. It was nicknamed the flying suitcase. The prototype was powered by 2 Bristol Pegasus PE.55a engines, but production Hampdens had two 1,000 hp Pegasus XVIIIs. It entered service with the RAF in 1938.
During operations the Hampden proved to have serious deficiencies, particularly in defensive armourment, which consisted of only five .303 inch machine guns. The fixed forward firing gun proved to be almost useless and the guns in the nose, dorsal and ventral positions had limited traverse, leaving blind spots. The cramped crew conditions led to fatigue on long flights. Withdrawn from service in 1942, it had a crew of 4; Speed of 410km/h; Ceiling 7300m with a range of 3000km.
A 144 Sqn Hampden , which didn’t quite make it home!
One of a production batch of 425 built by the English Electric Company Limited in Preston, Lancashire AD872 was delivered to the RAF between October 1940 and October 1941.