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The Handley Page Halifax was a 4-engined British heavy bomber used during World War II. It first flew in September 1939 and entered service on November 13th, 1940. The Halifax was used throughout the rest of the war by both Britain and her commonwealths, as well as Poland.



A Halifax in flight.

The Halifax's origins can be found in B.1/35, an unsuccessful specification for a twin engined bomber, to which Handley Page responded with the HP.55. The following year the Air Ministry issued B.13/36 for a twin engined medium bomber powered by Rolls Royce Vulture engines. Handley Page submitted their HP.56 aircraft, which was selected for prototype construction, but doubts regarding the Vulture's reliability prompted the company to redesign the HP.56 to take four Rolls Royce Merlins. On 3rd September 1937 Handley Page received a contract to build two Merlin powered prototypes as the HP.57. Construction began in early 1938, with final assembly taking place at the Royal Air Force airfield at Bicester in Oxfordshire, from where the type made its first flight on 25th October 1938.[N 1]



  1. The change in location was necessary as the company airfield at Radlett in Hertfordshire was too restricted for the Halifax[1]


  1. World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 896 Sheet 6 (A-Z of Aircraft:Handley Page HP.52 Hampden (continued) to Handley Page HP.57, HP.59, HP.61, HP.63, HP.70 and HP.71 Halifax and Halton)

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