A Bomber So Cramped It Was Called The "Flying Suitcase" | Handley Page Hampden
foreign in the first half of the second world war RAF bomber command relied on three twin-engine medium bombers to carry out its early offensives there was that Vickers Wellington the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and there was this the Handley page Hampton though on paper it's listed as a medium bomber the Hampden was significantly lighter than the Wellington and the Whitley it also carried a smaller bomb load and it had a considerably reduced defensive Armament on the other side of things it still carried more than twice the bomb load of the Bristol Blenheim the raf's primary light bomber and because of this the Hampton sort of sits in a category of its own not quite a medium bomber but too heavy for a light bomber this was because the Hampton was designed with a high priority placed on performance specifically speed and climb rate and while it did perform well in both categories the sacrifices made to achieve said performance would ultimately shorten its service life the origins of the Hampton and the decisions made that would influence its future can be traced back to 1932. the British Air Ministry was faced with an important question did they want a bomber that took a heavy load over a longer distance or did they want a bomber that could take a smaller load over a shorter range but at a much greater speed this question was further Complicated by two things in 1932 they still weren't exactly sure where the next potential War would arise and thus who the enemy would be though suspicions were mounting and in 1932 the League of Nations held its disarmament conference one that laid down various proposed restrictions on the construction of bomber aircraft with a focus on tier weight think of it like the Washington Naval Treaty of Skies most members of the air Ministry had doubts as to what this conference would actually achieve and because of this they pushed through with issuing new specifications that being said the disarmament conference was serious enough that they would Place stringent restrictions on the aircraft to tear weight just to be safe as it turned out the conference would achieve basically nothing but it had gone on long enough to negatively influence a Ministry specification B9 32 which would lay the groundwork for the next generation of RAF bombers four companies would eventually tender proposals Bristol Gloucester Handley page and Vickers as mentioned in our video covering the Vickers Wellington this specification was both equally vague and restrictive to the point of being detrimental and it was a good indicator that the air Ministry still hadn't made up their mind on what sort of bomber they really wanted initially the specification called for a tear weight of no more than six thousand three hundred pounds which immediately limited to the choice of engines it also limited other important things like potential bomb load and range Hanley page like Vickers had serious doubts about what it could actually do with such requirements but the design team led by George Volkert got to work anyway doubtful that sanity would Prevail in the air Ministry and expecting the required to tear weight to remain quite low the Hadley page team proposed a radical design that puts an emphasis on performance rather than payload the HP 52 for 1932 The Proposal was a special Cutting Edge it featured an all-metal semi-monokot construction the aircraft would be covered in a flush riveted stressed metal skin with the exception of the control surfaces it Incorporated the latest Hanley page slot systems including wingtip slots and hydraulically operated flaps it would have three blade variable pitch propellers and it would have a retractable undercarriage the crew would consist of four a pilot Navigator Wireless operator and a gunner both the navigator in the nose who also acted as a bomb aimer and the wireless operator would also be required to man additional gun positions should the need arise to save weight the aircraft would be built as conservatively as a medium bomber could be this would result in the distinct shape of the Hamptons airframe it would feature a deep and narrow fuselage in fact it was only three feet wide and only the frontal section was large enough to accommodate the crew after the wing trailing Edge a boom-like extension would form the rear section of the fuselage and connect to the twin fin tail services this design would earn its various nicknames such as the flying tadpole the flying suitcase or the flying Panhandle personally I've always thought of it as being one of the few aircraft to be at risk of suffering the effects of leeway though this slab-sided design had its advantages it would later present a major problem with compartmentalizing the crew the Navigator was pretty much confined to the nose and the cockpit was so cramped that if the pilot was killed or injured it would be almost impossible to have somebody take their place additionally from the point of crew Comfort the fuselage was too small to allow the allocation of facilities which would make long-distance missions particularly uncomfortable for those with small bladders still at the time and with the air Ministries weight restrictions firmly in mind a Handley page felt it was a necessary compromise by Easter of 1933 the team had built a mock-up of the aircraft and proposed that it should be powered by either Bristol Aquila or Bristol Mercury radial engines depending on the type of engine used it was predicted to have a top speed of between 208 and 230 miles an hour the air Ministry approved of the design but they tacitly encouraged the company to make use of the new Rolls-Royce goshawk engine Instead This engine which was basically a modified Rolls-Royce Kestrel was popular with the air ministry as it made use of evaporative cooling or steam cooling this saved weight the air Ministry liked anything that saved weight and thus they liked the goshawk unfortunately the goshawk proved to be about as effective as the interventive policies of the League of Nations in the mid-1930s I.E completely useless in 1934 the air Ministry faced with the fact that no alternative engine of a similar power to weight ratio was available was forced to relax their restrictions on Tailwinds to allow the installation of more powerful and heavier engines instead Hanley page along with his contemporaries over at Vickers had somewhat anticipated this turn of events and not wishing to place all of his hopes on one untested engine he had agreed to the design team's proposal to modify the design to allow the installation of the Bristol Pegasus 4.
accommodating the larger engines also meant slightly increasing the bomber's dimensions the wing area went up from 560 to 600 square feet and the fuselage was lengthened by 27 inches as well as being made one inch taller and about 2 inches wider in 1935 a second mock-up was completed to reflect the changes and during a conference between members of the ministry and the design team it was decided to upgrade the bomber with the brand new Bristol Pegasus pe5s this was the precursor to the Pegasus 18 radial boasting a two-stage supercharger and its installation raised the prototype's estimated range by an additional 250 miles following approval of this revised design a construction on the Prototype began and it was completed by the summer of 1936. given the serial k4240 it flew for the first time on the 21st of June taking off from the company's test field at radlett with Hanley page Chief test pilot major J chords at the controls a week later it was displayed at the new types section of the annual RAF display at hinden albeit with the glazed part of the nose to covered up as the internal layout of the design was still listed as secret following its outing at Hendon and a brief spell at martushum where it was displayed before the king alongside other new aircraft types the Prototype continued with its flight trials though gym cords did praise the aircraft for both its handling and its performance as it out climbed and outran everything else in its weight class these flight trials were not without mishap in November 1936 the starboard undercarriage collapsed during Landing leading to comments from the aerial Observer that there was a strong smell of grass in the cabin as it merrily plowed along the airstrip then on the 13th of January 1937 Jim cords was flying over Hertfordshire when the starboard propeller units decided to part company with the engine taking the reduction gear units with it gash a great big hole in the side of the fuselage just behind where Jim cords was sitting and spin off violently towards the village of elstree chords managed to land the Prototype back at radlets on one engine and concerned that the errant propeller may have caused harm he telephone the local police as it turned out the propeller had missed the village and landed in a plowed field apparently with enough force that only one half of one of the blades could be seen sticking out of the mud attempts at imitating Beyblades and spinning tops aside the air Ministry was so impressed with the Prototype that they placed an initial production order for 180 Aircraft in August just six weeks after the prototype's first flight they also placed a second order for 100 aircraft to be powered by the Napier dagger engines as the HP 53 this was a 24 cylinder h-block engine with a Twist it was air cooled the HP 53 would eventually be known as the Hereford but this designation was actually being recycled as it was originally given to a version of the hb52 that had been ordered by Sweden when work on the first prototype first began construction of a second prototype had started almost immediately the the second prototype was being built for the Swedish Air Force who was looking for a new Coastal Patrol bomber and who had been suitably impressed by Hadley Page's design the initial request which was made way back in 1934 called for the undercarriage to be interchangeable between Wheels floats and skis the engines were to be no habit built to Pegasus twos camera equipment was to be installed and it was to have a 20 millimeter defensive gun designated as the HP 53 the development of this Swedish aircraft was plagued by delays there were numerous problems in adapting both the engines and the airframes to the needs of the Swedish Air Force and to make matters worse said Air Force kept changing their minds about the requirements for the design this dragged on for so long that by the end of 1936 the Prototype was still unfinished then in 1937 Hadley page suggested that they Supply to naked production airframes without weapons or equipment and the Swedish Air Force could then modify them to their liking if everything went well and their aircraft proved useful they would then be allowed to produce the aircraft themselves under license the Swedish Air Force agreed to the suggestion and the incomplete hb53 prototype was then repurposed to test out the installation of the Napier dagger engines in the event Sweden never went on to produce the bomber under license and the whole thing was a bit of a wasteful Saga the fifth Hampton produced was sent over to Sweden but it remained to the only one they would operate it would eventually be used as a test bed for various electronic equipment and it was given over to Saab for further testing in 1947 before being stricken off a few years later as experimentation began on the napier-powered HP 53 which would soon produce all manners of headaches for Hanley page the air Ministry and the air Crews of the RAF things were gearing up for the production of the pegasus-powered HP 52 but before production got underway it was felt that more could be done to improve the aircraft's design and to trial many of the proposed upgrades a production prototype was completed in the spring of 1938. the production prototype serialed l4032 flew in May and it was this aircraft which was first given the official name Hampton by the vi counters of Hampden on the 24th of June the production prototype if it from the previous aircraft in a number of ways and unsurprisingly it set the basic template for the Hampton types moving forward the nose was now a curved perspex molding incorporating a flat bomb aiming panel the dorsal and ventral gun positions were revised the former having a roomier semicircular Coppola that was hinged to allow it to be pushed back over the Gunner's head both of these positions came with a single 303 caliber Vickers k-gun and there was provision for a fixed forward-firing 303 Browning in the nose that would be operated by the pilot now even by 1937 standards this was considered a very light defensive armament unfortunately this was a consequence of the design of the airframe attempts had been made to install various turrets particularly in the nose but the fuselage was so narrow that they either didn't fit or if they did there was no room for the Gunner to properly operate the turret anyway eventually the commencement of production could not be delayed any further especially with the situation in Europe worsening as quickly as it was and it was agreed that the Hamptons main line of defense would have to be its speed rather than its guns still despite going into service with this unfortunate handicap the Hampton still managed to distinguish itself not just as a medium bomber but fulfilling a number of other important roles as well but before we talk about the Hamptons varied and often underappreciated service history I'd like to talk about the sponsor of today's video War Thunder War Thunder is a military vehicle combat game it's available for free on PC Xbox series XS PlayStation 5 and the previous console generation covering over A Century of technological development War Thunder provides an extensive array of vehicles to choose from the Hampton being among them and these range from tanks to planes to helicopters and Naval vessels with these vehicles you can take part in a variety of intense PVP battles across various game modes each one is geared towards different play Styles and skill levels making the game incredibly accessible regular viewers of the channel know of course that my favorite motorplay is the simulator mode which puts players right in the cockpit coupled with the VR headset it makes for an amazing experience especially if you can fly out with a couple of squad mates but you don't need a VR headset or any fancy controls to play War Thunder you just need a mouse and a keyboard indeed they are the controls of choice for most of the game modes this coupled with the fact that War Thunder can pretty much run on any computer so long as it has a GPU is why it has such a large and active player base so to try out War Thunder today click on the link in the description below to sign up for free and in doing so you'll get a free premium tank aircraft and ship and you'll get a seven day account boost along with some other goodies as well and of course you'll be supporting this channel once again thank you to War Thunder for sponsoring today's video and now let's get back to the Handley page Hampton six years after the air Ministry first issued their vague restrictive and mostly contradictory requirements The Hamptons finally began to roll off the production line the first two production Hamptons were allotted to the aircraft and Armament experimental establishment at martlesham Heath and the third aircraft l4034 after undergoing service handling trials was the first to actually enter RAF service joining number 49 squadron at scampton on the 20th September 1938 by the end of the year two squadrons 49 and 83 were fully equipped and another number 50 had begun to receive its first Hamptons as well in producing the Hampton Hanley page continued to perfect a construction technique they had employed with previous designs to great effect split assembly the sections of the fuselage wings and various other components were individually assembled in jigs the fuselage and tail boom were built in two halves allowing the internal equipment cables and wiring to be more easily installed beforehand and then the whole lot was stuck together like a giant airfix model with the war in Europe imminent or at least feeling uncomfortably close the air Ministry decided that dispersed and even offshore production of various aircraft types was probably a good idea and the construction methods used on the Hampton made it an excellent candidate for this a Arrangements were made for the production of Hamptons under subcontract by English electric at Preston who were given an initial contract for 75 aircraft while in Canada several prominent Financial organizations and firms had jointly formed Canadian Associated aircraft limited which received its own initial order for 80 hamdans at around the same time another company that was awarded production contracts was short Brothers but they would not be producing the Handley page Hampton instead they would be producing the napier-powered HP 53 which was now known as the Hanley page Hereford boy oh boy was this a disappointing episode on paper things looked promising and indeed they continued to do so when the first production Hereford flew in Martins from Heath in late 1939 with its 24 cylinder engines producing 955 horsepower each the aircraft's performance was almost identical to that of the regular Hampton it had a top speed of 265 miles an hour at 15 to 500 feet it had a takeoff weight of just under 18 000 pounds and it had a range of approximately 1200 miles the first haircuts were delivered to number 35 squadron at the start of 1914 and they were quickly followed by another batch that went to 185 squadron at cotsmore and yet despite 150 of these aircraft eventually being built the fact that only one single Hereford flew an operational Mission over enemy territory speaks volumes to the problems that was soon encountered it was soon found that the engines overheated when taxiing but over cooled when its altitude they were extremely noisy which made long-distance missions almost unbearable and they sat at a remarkably High revs when cruising which not only exacerbated the noise problem but also led to questions about fuel efficiency these problems were never completely solved and after a short while the entire collection of hair Foods were either converted back over to the Hampton specification or if engines were not available they were sent off to operational training units no doubt to be used in a new form of hazing ritual for the new recruits in defense of the Hereford the air Ministry was right to develop it relying on just the Bristol Pegasus alone would have been asking for trouble especially as the earlier models had all sorts of teething problems there was also the matter of Supply if Bristol couldn't build enough of those engines at least Hadley page would have had an alternative it just so happened that in the long run the Pegasus engines became more reliable and Were Far Far easier to maintain as they were considerably less complex and so it would just be the pegasus-powered Hamptons that would see Frontline service during the second World War by the 3rd of September 1939 10 squadrons of bomber command were flying Hamptons all of which were with number five group and this amounted to a total of 212 operational aircraft on strength as with other bomber command aircraft at the start of the war the early operations of these Hampton squadrons were mostly confined to Armed reconnaissance against German Naval units the running theme for these operations in late to 1939 was to fly over the heligeland bite in broad daylight taunt any upstart Creeks Marine ships that were found in the area and then merrily returned back to England swatting away the occasional pesky fighter that was sent up to intercept you this optimistic approach to Aerial Warfare was unsurprisingly not very successful and it led to the wholesale Slaughter of several Hampton and Wellington bomber air crews in one example on the 29th of September a flight of 5 Hamptons from 144 Squadron led by Wing Commander JC Cunningham was completely destroyed by German Fighters during a mission near the heligalan's coast despite the heavy losses over 21 missions were flown in this manner before bomber commands finally accepted that daytime missions represented too much risk and on the 18th of December the decision was made to switch to nighttime operations instead the first of these missions were used to give and Crews experience in nighttime operations as night bombing had originally been reserved for heavy bombers and thus they had had minimal training in these early missions they didn't actually carry any bombs for a multitude of reasons that go beyond the scope of this video but in a nutshell nobody wanted to be the first to accidentally bomb a city and face retaliation they did however carry propaganda leaflets and pretty soon the Hampton was regularly used in so-called bump rate or nickel rates these raids are carried on throughout the 1940 and by the end of the year 123 had been carried out for the loss of just one Hampton while these Hamptons were busy dropping bundles of propaganda leaflets over land others were busy dropping some slightly more aggressive payloads over the sea in the winter of 1939 to 1940 some Hamptons were modified to carry magnetic sea mines the first of these weapons which weighed some 2 000 pounds each were laid by Hamptons of numbers 44 49 50 61 and 144 squadrons in enemy waters on the night of the 13th to the 14th of April 1940. a few days after the German Naval invasion of Norway the aim of the raf's mine laying Campaign which was undertaken jointly by Coastal command and bomber command was to lay the weapons in areas unapproachable to ships of the royal Navy between April 1940 and the end of the year 1209 mine laying sorties were flown by Hamptons of number five group 703 mines were successfully laid and only 21 aircraft went missing on these operations a salty casualty rate of less than 1.9 percent other missions over Norway had less pleasing results during the campaign it was decided to once again press the Hampton into use as a day bomber and once again this proved to be a completely disastrous decision Not only was there the plain fact that the aircraft was feebly armed but the bombing missions were more akin to close air support rather than level bombing and this put the Hamptons at even more risk than usual yes they were fast for a medium bomber but German interceptors were faster and half the time the Hamptons didn't get into action with a large and necessary altitude Advantage which made them easy pickings the AOC of number five group air Commodore Arthur Harris soon to earn the nickname name bomber Harris trying to change Matters by employing a company of agricultural Engineers to quickly produce mountings for twin Vickers k-guns for both the dorsal and ventral turrets this made the ventral Gunner's position very cramped but it did at least double the Hamptons defensive capabilities additionally side panels in the fuselage could be removed and in some aircraft this was done to facilitate the mounting of additional machine guns for the equivalent of waste positions this further bolstered The Hamptons defensive capabilities but most agreed that daytime operations in areas known to have enemy air patrols would be out of the question moving forward eventually the current of the war changed and the Hampton finally found itself being used for its intended roles and in conditions that mostly favored it for a change on the night of the 19th to the 20th of March 1940 Hamptons took part in the First deliberate RAF bombings of German soil an attack on the enemy's hangers and slipways for mine laying seaplanes on the island of silt but to raid on the German Homeland would not be coming for another two months with the start of the German Blitzkrieg against Holland Belgium and northern France on the 10th of May 1940 RAF bombers made their first raids against the military Targets in Germany attacking Road and rail Junctions By Night following the heavy bombing of Rotterdam on the 14th of May Hamptons were sent further east to bomb Targets in the Rua they formed part of a formation of almost 100 bombers on the night of the 15th of May a considerable Force for such an early part of the war but barely a quarter of this Force actually located their targets and the accuracy of level bombings at this time meant that the attack was largely ineffective after the fall of France Hamptons once again found themselves preoccupied with the naval targets during the Battle of Britain many were sent alongside Wellington's and whitleys to strike enemy shipping that was amassing along the French and Belgian Coast in preparation for Operation Sea Lion though rarely talked about this was some of bomber command's most dangerous work during 1940. many of the ports that
held the invasion barges were heavily defended by anti-aircraft batteries and losses inflicted upon bomber command were not inconsiderable but raids upon Germany and German Naval vessels in particular were also carried out the docks at Kyle were a particular Target on the night of the first to the 2nd of July Hampton l4070 flown by flying officer guy Gibson later of dambuster's Fame dropped the Hampton first two thousand pound bomb during a raid at Kyle with the intention being to hit the German battleship or battle cruiser depending on your inclination scharnhorst this raid and several others like it were unsuccessful but it wouldn't be the Hamptons last run-in with German Capital ships but more on that later by this point in 1940 production of the Hamptons had increased considerably and new squadrons of the aircraft were being formed production of the aircraft by handy page had actually ceased after the 500th Hampton had been built with company Focus now being shifted on the Halifax heavy bomber but English electric had carried on building the Hampton for a considerable time they would eventually produce 717 Hanley page Hamptons and the first of the canadian-built models arriving in August 1940 would further bolstered bomber commands forces as well many of the new handy page squadrons were formed from Commonwealth air Crews number 455 was formed by the Royal Australian Air Force number 408 and 415 was the Royal Canadian Air Force and number 489 was the Royal New Zealand Air Force though the Hampton would take part in the First RAF bombing raid of Berlin with members of 44 49 50 61 and 83 Squadron taking part its use was not as widespread as that of its contemporary the Vickers Wellington this was partly due to the Wellington's Superior range partly because of its Superior defensive Armament but mostly because the Wellington's production run was 10 times greater than that of the Hampton though the Hampton was technically a newer design too much had been compromised in the pursuit of performance and while yes it was among the best maneuvering aircraft of its class bomber command had quickly realized that range bomb load and good defenses are not things they wanted to sacrifice for this Advantage thus by the middle of 1941 it was freely admitted that its usefulness as a Frontline bomber in the traditional sense was quickly running out not only were they the first of the new four engine heavy bombers starting to filter into RAF squadrons but a combination of improved German anti-aircraft defenses and the Grandeur development of better night fighter tactics meant that the Hampton was more vulnerable than ever that being said the Hampton was still technically useful and as bomber commands strength and confidence grew moving into 1942 it was loath to part with them until they were completely past their Prime because of this the handy page Hampton along with the Vickers Wellington and Armstrong Whitworth Whitley would find itself alongside much larger bombers during the first major raids of 1942. these included the 1000 bomber raids on cologne Essen and Bremen which happened in late May and June Hamptons also continued to raid various ports where German warships were being moored with a bomber from number 44 Squadron scoring a direct hit on gonizanel where they two thousand pound semi-armor piercing bomb this did not sink the guys now but this attack along with others did lead to the decision to pull the Creek's Marine ships back to safer harbors and as a result The Hamptons would also play a part in the embarrassing event that would become known as the channel Dash during this Maritime episode in which the German ships sharn horse can eyes now and Prince zygen merrily steamed up the channel towards their bases the Hampton formed part of the Air Force sensor to sink them indeed when the German ships were finally spotted when they were almost abreast of Dover itself almost the entire range of bombers used by Coastal and bomber command was sent after the ships in one way or another number 408 Hamptons were the first to attack the ships with bombs followed by 455 Squadron the other three squadrons numbers 50 420 and 144 were thrown into the fighters in things became more desperate but in many cases their Hamptons either failed to find the warships or their attacks were severely hampered by a low-lying cloud Additionally the German ships were not defenseless eight Hamptons were shot down by escorting Fighters and at least two more were downed by the anti-aircraft batteries of the ships with the Advent of the first Sterlings and then the arrival of the Halifax and later the Lancaster Hamptons were progressively declared non-operational and withdrawn from bomber command Frontline operations the last raid in which the Hamptons participated was that on wilhelm's Harbor which was carried out by aircraft from number 408 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force on the night of the 14th to the 15th of September 1942. by then the Hampton had made 19541 individual bombing sorties and had dropped 9115 tons of Ordnance but they had also suffered incredibly High losses with 413 Hamptons being shot down by enemy action and a further 194 being lost due to accidents which in total accounted for just over a third of all Hamptons that were built though it was obsolete the Hampden still had a part to play in Training the air Crews that would soon be going into the larger four-engine bombers but more importantly its life was extended by some enterprising mines in the town of gosport or more specifically the torpedo development unit at gosport quite early in the war engineers at the Royal aircraft establishment at farnborough had suggested that the Hampton would be well suited to the role of a torpedo bomber and in 1941 with its obsolescence as a level bomber rapidly approaching the torpedo units at gosport experimented with up to five donated Hamptons to develop what would eventually become the Hampton TB Mark 1. the torpedo selected was the 18 inch Mark 12. two proposals were put forward the bomber could carry two under the wings or it could carry one within the Bombay as the first suggestion required modification to both the wings and bomb racks mostly to reinforce them the decision was made to carry just one torpedo Instead The Bombay was not actually deep enough for to fully accommodate the torpedo with the bottom protruding out by about three and a half inches to overcome the problem the center Bombay doors and their Jacks were removed and the outer Bombay doors were left open though this modification led to increased drag the all-up weight of the Hampton remained well within limits coming in at around 23 500 pounds additionally it was found during trials that the aircraft's range remained at 1960 miles and it could even carry a pair of 500 pound bombs or depth charges under the wings following completion of the torpedo trials numbers 144 and 455 Squadron were transferred to Coastal command and had their aircraft modified to the TB Mark 1 type they were eventually followed by 408 415 and 489 Squadron with 144 Hamptons in total being converted not a great deal is written about the Hamptons use with Coastal command but one point of note was the aircraft's use in escorting Russian convoys out of mamansk the plan was for 144 and 455 squadrons to fly some of their Hamptons over to the Russians escort the Convoy and then train Russian air Crews to use the Hamptons and then leave them there on paper it seemed simple enough in practice it was a bit of a nightmare Not only was the weather dangerous with icy Cloud being a constant threat and resulting in the loss of near less than six Hamptons over Norway and Sweden but most unfortunately the Hamptons shared some physical similarities with the dornier do 17 particularly the long thin tail combined with trigger-happy Soviet defense Fighters This resulted in several Friendly Fire incidents due to misidentification one Hampton was shot down and two more were damaged Beyond repair the only way of communicating that they were indeed a friendly aircraft was for the Hampton Crews to lower their landing gear and even then they still sometimes encountered sporadic Small Arms fire from the ground after completing the escort of Convoy PQ 18 the 23 remaining Hamptons were handed over to the Soviet Air Force 17 would eventually be absorbed into the 24th anti-shipping wing and they were used on a number of operations between October 1942 and September 1943. though they
successfully sank a number of German ships each loss could not be replaced and spare parts quickly ran low which resulted in the Air Wing being disbanded by the end of the year a similar fate would also befall the torpedo Hamptons of coastal command it was not a question of Effectiveness but more a question of Parts Not only was a maintenance and repair becoming more of a challenge but it was felt that the needs of the Hamptons being used by training squadrons were greater the more aircraft that could be used to train air Crews for use aboard newer larger and faster bombers the better and so throughout 1943 the coastal command Hamptons were gradually replaced by torpedo carrying Bristol bowfighters those that weren't condemned outright as being too worn out by wartime service were then dispensed to the various operational training units a large number of the Canadian built Hamptons in particular found use in this role of the 160 units that were built in Canada around 76 were actually retained as bombing and Gunnery trainers from the outset the last torpedo Squadron to dispense with the Hampton was number 489 Squadron who ceased operating them on the 26th of October 1943 which brought an end to the aircraft's Frontline career though it was never a perfect fit for the medium bomber role for Hampton along with the Whitley and the Wellington bore the brunt of bomber command's use in the first half of the second world war often going against Superior opponents and taking heavy losses during the summer of 1940 undoubtedly the Hampton's busiest time two Victoria crosses would be awarded to service members serving aboard them the first was awarded to flight Lieutenant Roderick Leroy who became the first bomber command pilot to receive the VC e on the 12th of August 1940 he piloted one of 11 Hamptons that was sent to destroy an aqueduct over the river Ms Leroy took his Hampton in towards the target at an altitude of just 150 feet his cockpits being painfully illuminated by German searchlights in the lead up to the drop point his aircraft took serious damage which included a ruptured hydraulic system that rendered to both the flaps and the undercarriage completely useless despite this a leroid pushed on with the bomb run and managed to nurse the crippled Hampton back to Britain he then patiently circled around his Airfield until first light believing the risk of a nighttime Landing too great for his crew and he then landed his aircraft without injury the second VC went to Sergeant John Hannah Wireless operator Gunner on the night of the 15th of September 1940 his Hampton was over Antwerp when it received a significant damage from anti-aircraft fire a fire started and it began to quickly Sprint the rear Gunner and Navigator were both forced to bail out but Sergeant Hannah remained and fought the fire with extinguishers when they ran empty he continued to beat the fire with his bare hands suffering severe burns in the process eventually he succeeded in extinguishing the flames and he passed the rest of the mission in quiet Agony as the pilot took them home because of its modest production run its heavy wartime losses and the eclipsing of the Hampton by larger bombers later on not many of them survived today out of the three medium bombers used by bomber command at the start of the war the Hamden had the shortest service life and its last years as a training aircraft meant that it missed out on the Heyday of the bomber offensives and fell out of the public mind because of this it was never really considered for preservation and almost all of the Hamptons were eventually scrapped all left to rot at the back of various hangers a single Hampton restored from the various parts is at the Canadian Museum of Flight another is being restored at the Royal Air Force Museum at Gosford and one that was recovered from a crash site in Sweden is being worked on as well but aside from that not much else remains of Hadley Page's flying suitcase though it is beloved by aircraft modelers all over the world once again thank you to War Thunder for sponsoring today's video and don't forget to click on the link below to sign up for free to claim your free premium benefits and maybe you'll see me flying about or driving about or sailing about on the weekends as always thank you all so much for watching and a big thank you of course to the patreon supporters many of whom voted on the topic of today's video now hopefully the quality of this video is okay I had all sorts of problems with Premiere when I was editing this for whatever reasons but I think it should all be okay a big thank you of course to our wing commandered here patrons our highest team members I should have the vote ready for next month's topic of Choice by the end of this weekend so please keep an eye out for that but thank you all so much for your continued support and I'll catch you all next time goodbye