Hampden file photo [3640]


CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerHandley Page, Limited
Primary RoleMedium Bomber
Maiden Flight21 June 1936


ww2dbaseThe Hampden bombers were designed fast medium bombers with enough weaponry to defend against hostile interceptors if necessary. They were manned with a crew of four. Royal Air Force No. 49 Squadron received the first Hampden bombers in Sep 1938, and by the time the European War began, 226 were in service with eight squadrons. Although they were designed with speed and agility in mind, they were quickly outclassed by German fighters as experienced during early bombing campaigns on German soil. As a result, their role turned into night bombing and mine laying, but even as so, casualty rate for Hampden bombers was still high. They were withdrawn from RAF Bomber Command in late 1942, but they remained in use with RAF Coastal Command, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the Russian Air Force. Between 1936 and 1941, 1,430 were built; 500 of them were built by Handley Page, the designing firm, while the others were by English Electric and Canadian Associated Aircraft Consortium. After the war, 200 British Hampden bombers were flown to Canada for use as trainers.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: May 2007

Hampden Timeline

21 Jun 1936 Handley Page Hampden medium bomber took flight for the first time.
29 Jan 1937 The British Air Ministry placed an order with Handley Page for 180 H.P.52 (later named Hampden) bombers under the specification B.30/36.


MachineryTwo Bristol Pegasus XVIII 9-cylinder radial engines rated at 980hp each
Armament4x or 6x7.7mm Vickers K machine guns (1 flexible, 1 nose, 1 or 2 dorsal, 1 or 2 ventral), 1,814kg of bombs/mines or 1x18in torpedo
Span21.09 m
Length16.32 m
Height4.37 m
Wing Area63.90 m²
Weight, Empty5,344 kg
Weight, Loaded8,508 kg
Speed, Maximum410 km/h
Rate of Climb5.00 m/s
Range, Normal1,095 km

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
13 Sep 2007 06:19:35 AM

RAF crews nicknamed the Hampden as The Flying Suitcase on account of the cramped conditions once they climbed on board with all their flying equipment.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
7 Mar 2011 08:14:11 PM

The Handley Page Hampden was a British twin-engine medium bomber, that served along with the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and Vickers Wellington were the RAFs bomber force early in WWII. Found to be unsuited for modern air combat, was no match for Luftwaffe day fighters it was forced to operate at night the Hampden was one of the first British bomber to bomb Berlin. Retired from Bomber Command and transfered to Coastal Command for patrol and mine-laying duties. Between 1936 to 1941 1,430 were built and retired from service in 1945 During the war 714 were lost, along with 1,077 crew killed and 739 missing. Used by British and Commonwealth Air Forces during WWII. After the war 200 Hampdens were flown to Canada to be used as targets for gunnery and bombing pratice. Sweden operated one Hampden for test and evaluation, it was later sold to SAAB and used for engine and avionics tests. Used by Soviet Naval Aviation. Powered by 2xBristol Pegasus Radial Engines of 980hp each, Maximum speed 265mph, Range 1,095 miles/1,762km, bomb load 4,000lb crew four and armed with 4 or 6x.303 MG's POST-WAR One aircraft is on disply at the Canadian Museum of Flight. Handley Page was founded by Frederick Handley Page, June 1909 the company produced both Heavy Bombers and Airliners, went out of business, Voluntary Liquidation March 1970 successor, Scottish Aviation. BRITAINS "V" BOMBERS: The Handly Page Victor was the last bomber built by Handley Page, served along with the Vickers Valiant and the Avro Vulcan, as the "V" Bombers of Britains Nuclear Strike Force all aircraft have since been retired.
3. Anonymous says:
15 Dec 2015 07:37:50 AM

Could anyone explain to me please the rank of air gunner/radio operator. How could a crew member do two jobs at the same time?
4. le mer georges says:
26 Jun 2016 06:55:56 AM

bonjour .crash of hp hampden l 4194 the 22- 11 - 1940 to pluneret france inauguration stele en hommage to équipage nov 2016 ? salutation.
5. Marc S says:
5 Sep 2017 12:58:04 PM

For the question of 15 Dec 2015: The more senior of the two Air Gunners was usually the WOP/AG. He manned the rear upper turret, which also gave him access to the radio stowed just beneath his gun, in the forward part of the tail boom. The junior or newer AG was not normally a qualified WOP, and he manned the lower gun in "the Tin".

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