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Frederick Handley Page

Frederick Handley Page
(1885-1962)

Sir Frederick Handley Page, was an English industrialist who was a pioneer in the aircraft industry and became known as the father of the heavy bomber.

His company Handley Page Limited, founded at 1909, was best known for its large aircraft such as the Handley Page 0/400 and Halifax bombers and the H.P. 42 airliner. The latter was the flagship of the Imperial Airways fleet between the wars and remarkable at the time (1931-1939) for having been involved in no passenger deaths.

With the Second World War looming, Handley Page turned back to bomber design and produced the H.P.52 Hampden, which took part in the first British raid on Berlin.

In response to a 1936 government request for heavier, longer ranged aircraft, Handley Page tendered the H.P.56 design powered by twin Rolls-Royce Vultures and this was ordered, along with what became the Avro Manchester. However the Vulture proved so troublesome that - years before the engine was abandoned by Rolls Royce in 1940 - the Air Staff decided that the H.P. 56 should be fitted with four engines instead. Therefore, before reaching prototype stage, the H.P.56 design was reworked into the four-engined H.P.57 Halifax.

The Halifax became the second most prolific British heavy bomber of the war after the Avro Lancaster (itself essentially a four-engine development of the Manchester). Although in some respects (such as crew survivability) better than the Lancaster, the Halifax suffered in terms of altitude performance and was redeployed toward the end of the war as a heavy transport and glider tug, with several variants being specifically built as such, including the H.P.70 Halton.

Frederick Handley Page was the uncle of World War II flying ace Geoffrey Page.

October 27 2016.

H.P.42/45 G-AAUD Hanno. October 1931. H.P.42/45 G-AAUD Hanno before flight.


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