Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bomber bull

One of the most unlikely adverts I've come across for a long time.

Another 'forgotten bomber'.

The Handley Page Hereford was an inline engine version of the Handley Page Hampden, which came into existence and required a different name, almost by accident. Details from here:
Interest in the HP.52 by the Swedish for placing a potential order led to the HP.53 prototype, which was subsequently used as a testbed for a pair of 1,000 hp Napier Dagger VIII 24-cylinder H-block water-cooled inline engines.

In 1936, the RAF ordered 150 Dagger-engined Hampdens as the Hereford. Problems with engine cooling resulted in most of those built (by Short & Harland) being re-engined as Hampdens. The surviving Herefords served in training units only.
It was stated that the engines were unreliable, over-heating on the ground and cooling too rapidly when airborne, while the very high pitched exhaust note proved uncomfortable for the crews.

The Hereford isn't quite extinct, technically. Rare, ex-Russian Hampden P1344 in the hands of the RAF Museum has a
Hereford rear fuselage, a swap from its service days. Of course the rear fuselages - well everything except the engines and associated parts - would be exactly the same.

Finally I should add that the aircraft is named after the county town '
Hereford' of Herefordshire, in line with the then RAF policy of city names for bombers - not the bull (itself named after the town as well) although clearly High Duty Alloys of Slough decided to stretch a point with their 'beefy' advert.

There never was a Short Slough, just an invitation for bombs by John Betjeman.

1 comment:

  1. Slough, eh? Basking in reflected glory, if you ask me -- Hereford itself became a centre of bomber part manufacture in WW2, employing all manner of people including my grandad, thus getting him the 'star' which perhaps allowed me to have uncles as well as a father. . .

    And associating yourself with the presumed future triumph of a Napier engine has to be one of the riskier urban boosterism strategies of the C20th.

    Chris Williams