Handley Page began manufacturing aeroplanes in a small factory in Barking,
Essex in 1909. Handley Page Limited was founded by Frederick Handley Page
(later Sir Frederick) as the United Kingdom's first publicly traded aircraft
manufacturing company. Sir Frederick declined to allow his company to be
merged into the two large ‘forced marriages’ of aircraft manufacturing companies
in the 1960s. It failed to survive alone, and went into voluntary liquidation and
ceased to exist in 1970.
During the First World War Handley Page produced a series of heavy bombers
for the Royal Navy to bomb the German Zeppelin yards, with the ultimate intent
of bombing Berlin in revenge for the Zeppelin attacks on London. Handley Page
had been asked by the Admiralty to produce a "bloody paralyser of an aeroplane".
These aircraft included the O/100 of 1915, the O/400 of 1918 and the fourengined
V/1500 with the range to reach Berlin. The V/1500 only just reached
operational service as the war ended in 1918.
The real success of the Company came during the Second World War with the
magnificent and robust Halifax bomber. In all, more than 6,000 of them were
produced, or more than 40 per cent of Britain’s total heavy-bomber power.
In the bombing operations alone, approximately 76,000 sorties were flown and
nearly a quarter of a million tons of bombs were dropped on to enemy targets.
Bomber Command had no less than seventy-six Halifax squadrons in action at the
time of its peak strength.
235 x 165 mm • paperback • 128 pages • 148 mono illustrations
At Um el Surab, the Handley stood
majestic on the grass,
with Bristols and 9A, like fledglings
beneath its spread of wings.
Round it admired the Arabs, saying:
“Indeed, and at last, they have sent us
of which these things were foals.”
Before night, rumours of Feisal’s
resource went over
Jebel Druse and the hollow of Hauran,
that the balance was weighed on our side.
Excerpt from Lawrence of Arabia:
Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
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