View Full Version : Second World War veteran reunited with crash landing plane

2nd Jan 2009, 14:43
A good news story from the Telegraph.

here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/4076025/Second-World-War-veteran-reunited-with-crash-landing-plane.html)

My uncle used to fly Hampdens and always spoke well of them,

2nd Jan 2009, 17:13
"Hampdens " Was that not the plane they called the " flying coffin" !!!!!!!!!!!
Read a few books on it and it was mentioned a few times as that , underpowered and underarmed !

2nd Jan 2009, 18:01
Not "Flying Coffin", but "Flying Suitcase", because of the narrow, deep, slab sided fuselage. The whole fuselage was no wider than the single seat cockpit. Apparently it was quite fast and manoueverable. However, the narrow fuselage made it impossible to add to its armament, limited its bomb load, and made it unsuited to use in other roles (as happened to its contemporaries, the Wellington and Whitley).
The narrow fuselage also meant that if the pilot was hit, the only way another crew member could reach the controls was to fold his seat back to the rear, pull him out backwards and climb over him. Difficult but just about possible at altitude, impossible at low level. The only role it was used in apart from bombing was torpedo bombing, (the bomb bay would just take a 21" torpedo, with the bomb doors modified) and losses were then very high, probably for just that reason. Not so much coffin as watery grave.

2nd Jan 2009, 22:01
Hambones ... I was told

2nd Jan 2009, 23:52
A Hampden cockpit section is on display at East Kirkby I believe. This is the Aircraft recovered from a Swedish mountainside by an RAF expedition.
The cockpit section was rebuilt by a colleague of mine from the ejection seat bay at Coningsby circa '85-'86. His research and support from the RAF Museum was extensive and included new old stock of aluminium stringer sections and electrical switchgear, together with engineering drawings.
Unfortunately I heard a BBC radio 4 programme regarding the restoration a few years ago, my ears picked up having been involved, the news that Brian Nicholls had died of cancer was a shock. The build of the cockpit section continues by a dedicated crew.

3rd Jan 2009, 02:10
Thought I saw a Hampden (or part?) being restored at Elvington when I was last there some months ago. Is that the one at Cosford now?

3rd Jan 2009, 04:15
The only "intact" Hampden in the world is in Canada... Handley Page Hampden | The Canadian Museum of Flight (http://www.canadianflight.org/content/handley-page-hampden)

Here is info & pics on its "restoration":
A Warbirds Resource Group Site :: View topic - CMF Hampden Restoration pics (http://www.warbirdinformationexchange.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=187171)

A couple of pics of its pre-restoration state here:
Key Publishing Ltd Aviation Forums - View Single Post - Canadian Museum's Hampden Damaged by Snow Fall (http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showpost.php?p=1342240&postcount=19)

There is another being reconstructed from two wrecks in Britain, which is the one mentioned in the thread-starting link.

3rd Jan 2009, 08:22
Here is a pic of the best-condition Hampden after being brought from Russia... George Shephard was first re-united with his Hampden on 29 Feb 1992, within a few weeks of it arriving in the UK and being 'assembled' at Hatch, Bedfordshire.

A gathering and lunch was organised for him, the son and daughter of the pilot who survived, and the son of the Wop/AG who was killed in the crash. An historic and quite moving meeting.



Fargo Boyle
3rd Jan 2009, 11:17
Sad news about the Canadian example...

Snow breaks historic aircraft
Langley Advance
Published: Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dear Editor,

Despite the best efforts of volunteers, the recent extreme weather has caused considerable damage to some exhibits at the Canadian Museum of Flight at Langley Regional Airport.

Hardest hit is the museums' Handley Page Hampden, a Second World War bomber that was raised from the ocean depths off Vancouver Island in 1985.

Ongoing efforts to clear the rapidly accumulating snow from the wings of the aircraft were overwhelmed during the night of Dec. 26, when snow caused a failure of the left wing's internal structure. The wing separated from the fuselage and collapsed onto an adjacent display case containing one of the aircraft's original engines.

The wing itself suffered considerable damage at both the root and tip. Further damage is visible on the tail of the aircraft, although a full investigation of this area has yet to be completed.

The museum's Hampden is the sole survivor of its type on display anywhere in the world, although another example was recovered recently from a crash site in Russia, and is under restoration in Britain.

The twin-engined Hampden was part of the Royal Air Force's front line equipment at the start of the Second World War, but was soon rendered obsolete and retired from active operations against Nazi Germany in the summer of 1943.

One hundred sixty Hampdens were built in Canada during the Second World War, and many were used on the West Coast to train crews in the difficult mission of attacking enemy shipping with torpedoes. The museum's aircraft was lost on just such an exercise on Nov. 15, 1942, when it crashed into the ocean moments after dropping a practice torpedo.

Following its recovery, the aircraft was the subject of a long and challenging restoration to static display condition, completed in 1998.

It is anticipated that a lengthy program of repair will be required to put the airplane back into display condition, and the museum is putting out a plea for the public's assistance in providing both financial and practical support to help rebuild this important piece of Canadian history.

Contact the museum at 604-532-0035, or at [email protected]

Gord Wintrup and Rob Currington,

Canadian Museum of Flight

4th Jul 2009, 20:18
Dear Green Knight, you seem very well informed about the visits to P1344 after recovery to the UK, and I see that you have used my photographs without asking permission and are distributing them across the internet, unacknowledged. I made 4 copies of these photos for the families of the crew and one set for the individual involved in the recovery to the UK so it would be interesting to know who is distributing these.
My father was Sgnt James Morton Robertson WOP/AG who was killed in the air battle between P1344 and BF109 fighters near Petsamo.
I am available for questions about the operation as I have over 2 years of research into the fate of the crew and the operation. I hope that my rights in all the material I hold will be respected by genuine readers.

3rd Jan 2010, 03:10
Interesting to read your post. I did a book over 10 years ago on "The RAAF in Russia" dealing with the expedition to Russia to protect Convoy PQ18 and "Sink the Tirpitz"
My father was in a Hampden that attempted to land at Petsamo a half hour of so before your Uncle was shot down. The Germans were probably pretty stirred up, the Hampden had a "Grren" to land and it was only the Navigator up front that observed "Them planes have got crosses on em"
I am re-editing my book to cover more of the 144 Squadron story and the relics that have come to light in the last 10-15 years


6th Jan 2010, 09:39

As I gaze through the original colour negatives with my glass, just to clear a point. Both of the images in post 8 on this thread were taken by myself.

PeterA :)