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Handley Page Hereford

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The Hereford was almost identical to the Hampden but fitted with Napier Dagger engines which would prove unreliable, and as a result the aircraft would never enter front line service in major numbers. This saw the Handley Page Hereford moved to a training role where it was used by a number of Operational Training Units.

Quick Facts
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First flight
June 1937
Entered service
Total built

Front view
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Side view
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Rear view
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The Handley Page H.P. 53, which would become the Hereford, was essentially a Handley Page Hampden but built to Specification B.44/36 and powered by a pair of Napier Dagger VIII engines and production of the aircraft was to be undertaken by Short Brothers and Harland. The 15th August 1936 saw 100 ordered, the same day as 180 Hampdens were ordered, with an order for a further 52 being placed later on.

The prototype Hereford flew during June 1937, a year after the Hampden prototype, and just under two years later on the 17th May 1939 the first production Hereford flew. As with other new aircraft a Hereford was sent to Martlesham Heath so the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment could test the new type. Testing showed that performance wise the Hampden and Hereford were evenly matched. However the crucial difference was the Napier Dagger engines used in the Hereford, as these proved unreliable, and as a result the Hereford saw limited service.

The Hereford Mk I was powered by two 1,000-hp Napier Dagger VIII engines which gave the aircraft a top speed of 265 mph, range of 1,000 miles with a service ceiling of 19,000 ft. Armament was six 0.303-in machine-guns, a pair each in the nose, ventral and dorsal positions with a bombload of 4,000lb. A couple of Herefords became operational serving alongside the Hampden before being transferred to serve with training units with No. 16 Operational Training Unit, RAF Upper Heyford receiving the majority of the Hereford Mk Is with the 7th May 1940 seeing the first of the type arrive.

In total only the original order of 152 were produced and a handful were re-engined and converted to Hampdens.

Technical Details

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Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Hereford Mk I 265 mph 1,200 miles 19,000 ft six 0.303-in machine-guns
upto 4,000lb bombs


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No known examples currently on public display in the UK.

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