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Halifax file photo [3594]

Halifax

CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerHandley Page, Limited
Primary RoleHeavy Bomber
Maiden Flight24 September 1939

Contributor:

ww2dbaseDue to the build-up of political tension in Europe, the British Royal Air Force ordered 100 Halifax bombers even before a prototype unit took flight. Production began at English Electric's plant at Samlesbury, Lancashire after the European War began. The Halifax bombers were built to be heavy bombers, featuring a large internal bomb bay with the possibility of carrying additional bombs in the wings. They first entered service with No. 35 Squadron RAF in Nov 1940, and conducted their first combat mission against Le Havre on the night of 11-12 Mar 1941. Veterans of Halifax bomber crews recalled their relative relief knowing that, flying at the high altitude that Halifax bombers were capable of, they were safe from flak; however, they had the vulnerability of having a large blind spot beneath the back of the aircraft, which soon became a favorite angle of attack by German Luftwaffe fighters. In 1943, the most numerous variant of the Halifax design, B Mk III, was introduced; 2,091 of this variant were eventually built. In service with RAF Bomber Command, Halifax bombers flew 82,773 missions, dropped 224,207 tons of bombs, and lost 1,833 aircraft. They also serviced in other roles such as glider tugs, reconnaissance aircraft, and paratrooper transports. When production ended in Nov 1946, 6,176 were built.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, they remained in service with the RAF Coastal Command, the RAF Transport Command, the French Air Force, and the Pakistan Air Force. The last active Halifax bomber was retired from Pakistani service in 1961.

ww2dbaseSources: Inferno, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: May 2008

Halifax Timeline

11 Mar 1941 During the night of 11 to 12 Mar, six British Handley Page Halifax bombers of No. 35 Squadron of No. 4 Group from RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom attacked Le Havre, France. It was the operational debut of the four-engine heavy bomber. It was marred by the accidental shoot-down of one of them by an RAF nightfighter.
11 May 1941 The first combat mission by the RAF's new four-engine Halifax bombers failed to succeed when the bombers failed to find their French targets.
30 Jun 1941 The Handley Page Halifax bomber made its first daylight operation during a raid on Kiel, Germany but it did not take long to discover that its defensive armament was inadequate for daylight use and by the end of the year Halifax bombers were only used on night raids.

SPECIFICATIONS

B Mk III
MachineryFour Bristol Hercules XVI radial engines rated at 1,615hp each
Armament4x7.7mm dorsal Browning machine guns, 4x7.7mm tail Browning machine guns, 1x7.7mm nose Vickers K machine gun, 5,897kg of bombs
Crew7
Span31.75 m
Length21.82 m
Height6.32 m
Wing Area110.60 m²
Weight, Loaded24,675 kg
Speed, Maximum454 km/h
Rate of Climb3.80 m/s
Service Ceiling7,315 m
Range, Normal1,860 km

Photographs

Halifax B Mk III bomber in flight, date unknownHalifax B.II Series I bomber of No. 10 Squadron RAF in flight, circa Apr-May 1942
See all 5 photographs of Halifax Heavy Bomber



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Hobilar says:
19 Sep 2007 02:14:40 AM

No.35 Squadron was reformed with Halifax bombers at Boscombe Down on 5th November 1940 (Not 1946)
2. Anonymous says:
14 Oct 2009 09:04:35 PM

Does anyone know how I might find out the fate of a Halifax serial number LW139, which was based in Yorkshire in early 1945 -- Probably at Eastmoor Air Field. Thanks.
3. Michael Allman says:
3 May 2010 05:57:11 AM

Looking for PO Ken Parsons flying a Halifax who parachute landed in Holland in 1944 & evaded capture by being hidden away by the Dutch Resistance in Apeldoorn & later made his way back to England with PO Eric J Blakemore DFM of Lancaster LL840 both escaping from Apeldoorn in a fire engine. Any information please contact Michael Allman on Tel:- 01442 214560 or e-mail [email protected]
4. Anonymous says:
8 Sep 2010 11:41:43 AM

LW139 served with 429 Squadron RCAF. Had engine failure on takeoff and crashed and burnt on Feb. 2, 1945. Cheers, Karl Kj.
5. PAUL J. MANSELL. says:
10 May 2011 08:31:35 AM

Your description "horizontal bomber" is wrong as they were and are 'level' bomber as opposed to 'dive bombers'. I i is these historical distortions like this that mislead future historians and present-day students of aeroplanes and aeronautic history
6. Anonymous says:
10 Jul 2012 10:51:29 PM

My dad of the same name had over 400 hours in a Halifax VII I believe it had R.R. Griffin engines the same Bomb load as a late model Lancaster but 2 bombay doors so after the War they were not as handy for freight. So most of them were scrapped and very little is ever heard about the Halifax in general. RCAf Pilot officer My Dad
7. Anonymous says:
26 Sep 2013 03:05:52 PM

Had the pleasure to sit next to a veteran from Halifax bombers on train to Scotland on Weds. He served 1940 to 1946 and became a University lecturer at Cambridge. Has a cottage in Scotland which is reached by his 34ft double hulled boat which has just been fitted with a new engine taking 4 months to fit out. Was travelling from Kings Cross 1st class. Would love to contact him as we had only a short period to acquaint ourselves, my wife and I. Any help most appreciated.
8. John Hughes says:
5 Nov 2013 02:02:31 AM

How can I find out the squadron ( poss 35 ) and number of a Halifax shot down over France 12/11/1943 . The pilot survived but the rest of the crew including my bother in laws grand uncle died and are buried in St Desir War Cemetery . Any help would be appreciated thank you .
9. Lily says:
10 Nov 2013 08:34:47 AM

My grandad was shot down over France but i am not sure its the same plane..he was an airless wiregunner.he was no 35 too..i think there was a man named george on there too!!
10. Steve Adamson says:
20 Jan 2014 01:56:10 AM

Looking for any information on Desmond Vincent Simmonds of 158 squadron, Lissett please.
11. Will McClure says:
28 Nov 2014 09:32:17 PM

Hi I have a metal plate with 4 rivets at the corners from a Halifax - Serial Number HI/4686 & under that a number 175 can you tell me about this please? Regards Wm
12. Andy Powell J/T retd. G1961029Anonymous says:
17 Feb 2015 01:51:38 PM

Does anybody have any information about the recruitment poster headed with Churchills Never in the field of human conflict speech featuring five aircrew looking skywards.My greatuncle,Pilot Officer Harold Stone,35 Sqadron,Tail gunner in a Halifax is second from the right.I have the original framed poster and Aircew photograph hanging on my wall and hope to show it at the proposed Bomber memorial in Lincoln later this year. Regards Andy Powell.
13. colin percival says:
17 Apr 2015 06:42:06 AM

I am trying to find out anything about my dad who flew in Halifax s his name was Roland David Thomas Percival and was in the bison squadron at lemming I believe thanks colin
14. Gordon Boyd says:
11 May 2015 05:48:25 AM

Looking for any information Halifax 640 squadron RAF Leconfield. The plane was "ZOLA " and was knocked down over France on March 1945.
15. Gordon Boyd says:
18 May 2015 04:17:19 AM

Halifax 640 Squadron Additional information. The crew were - Jack Brett Jack Boyd M.A.Shaw A Nicol R Lees J driver
16. Russ Jones says:
7 Sep 2015 02:59:57 PM

My wifes great uncle - Sgt Alfred Rostron, pilot of Halifax ZA-F (BB220), was shot down near Wippingen Germany 27/09/1943. All crew sadly lost their lives. We have been desperately trying to find a photo of the aircraft / crew, but have been unsuccessful. I realise that posting this is a bit of a long shot, but hey, you never know if there is that 1 person that could help.
17. Anonymous says:
23 Sep 2015 05:09:42 AM

Does anyone have any photos or links to same of 429 Bison sqn RCAF when they formed up at RAF Leeming? Crew photos would be a great asset. MY father flew with 429 Sqn P.O. MN McLean
18. Matt says:
7 Nov 2015 10:20:21 AM

I'm searching for records of a downed Halifax bomber. My great uncle piloted the plane. Although hit he kept it aloft long enough for the crew to bail out. He went down with the aircraft somewhere off the coast of Northern England or Scotland. My 99 year old grandmother, his sister inlaw desperately wants to know, as I do the details. His name was Harry Hobbs, from the Rainham, Milton/Sittingbourne Kent area. He died at just 21. If anyone can point me in the direction I'd be grateful.
19. Bill Norman says:
16 Jun 2016 04:56:20 AM

Message for Gordon Boyd. You will find information regarding the loss of 'your' 640 Sqdn Halifax in the book HALIFAX SQUADRON(Tthe wartime bombing operations of No. 640 Squadron, Leconfield.) See |Bill Norman's Book Page at www.billnorman.co.uk
20. Archivist says:
24 Jul 2016 08:36:45 AM

Does anyone have any detail of the loss of 304 Squadron Halifax PP232 which crashed on a training exercise at Green Farm, Lawshall, Suffolk on about 22 Aug 1946. All 3 crew on board killed
21. Anonymous says:
11 Nov 2016 05:01:00 AM

Have you any records of my relative who was a halifax crewman in ww2 his name was fred dilling
22. Steve Beare says:
27 Nov 2016 06:51:48 AM

My father was a navigator stationed at Breighton and was with 78 Squadron, his pilot was a man named Shelby. My father flew 35 sorties and was awarded the DFC. does anyone have any info regarding him or his crew?
23. Anonymous says:
14 Jan 2017 04:03:13 AM

My mothers cousin was a navigator On a Halifax during the war apparently the plane ditched with no survivors whilst returning from a raid, his name was Alan E.F. Baker. Any further info would be appreciated
24. Anonymous says:
19 Jan 2017 12:26:32 PM

Since my last post I have found out the Halifax was MZ789 which crashed landed at Guines on 29/11/44. The pilot was F/Sgt. O.J. Natrass
25. Julie says:
22 Jan 2017 06:59:58 AM

My father, Arthur Day, was a Halifax crew member. How do I find out more information please?
26. Great niece says:
3 Mar 2017 11:10:03 AM

Hi Halifax MZ789 crash - all crew survived to my knowledge (including my g.uncle). They were helped back by the resistance or freed French depending on who tells the tale.
27. Michael LongAnonymous says:
19 Jun 2017 08:24:05 AM

around 1940 my dad,Leslie Long, was attached to 228 sqn. on Halifaxes. Trying to find out more info.
28. Anonymous says:
25 Aug 2017 11:19:25 AM

Halifax crash site LK Queenie. Carpenters wood maidenhead. Crash report says air craft exploded in mid air before impact my father's report on this is different. First my father being a young mischievous lad living in area recalls the plane circling round then suddenly dropping out of sky with massive explosion on impact. My father being one of the first on site described the site as total destruction, the dense populated wood non existent a around large crater, further out trees with tops missing. The payload being carried by this plane were thrown outwards with the blast, some bombs exploding around main crater others laying unexploded. My father left the site as the military police arrived to make site safe. He returned several days later to look for plane parts only to find fragments no real wreckage. He did pick up part of a parachute harness blown from one of crew members then he noticed on the tree trunks left standing black burnt human flesh. Not a nice site, I asked him how did he know he said you could tell by the flies. Another item he found was the planes identity plate. Like my father I have spent hours in this wood ferreting rabbits. All the small bomb craters around the main crater suggest the plane exploded on impact. The main creator lies on a slope, looking from maidenhead direction you would not of seen impact. From Henley direction you would of seen impact, but being high on a slope plane would of looked like it exploded in air. Does anyone have any info to add. Martin..
29. Jeremy Marten says:
14 Nov 2017 01:04:29 PM

My wife's grandfather was a Halifax navigator in WWII. They were shot down in the Atlantic. After three days in a raft, one friend had died. That day they heard an aircraft engine and saw a plane coming towards them. They shed tears of joy. As it came closer, they realized from the engine sound that it was a german fighter, were terrified, and thought they would soon be dead. As the german plane went overhead, he dipped his wings repeatedly, the international symbol for "I see you". They were picked up later that day by an allied vessel. The German pilot had radio'd the vatican their co-ordinates, who then passed the co-ordinates on to the allied side. 30 years later, through sheer luck he met the German pilot in Ottawa Canada. He was the crotchetiest man you ever met and when he told me that story he was sobbing like a baby. Amazing.
30. James. says:
15 Dec 2017 04:23:22 AM

Than you for that story Jeremy. There is a lot of hatred still directed at Germans and the movies are making it worse and eternal. I also remember hearing that German machine gunners paused their shooting at the Somme when they saw the carnage they were causing and asked the allied troops they were shooting at to take cover.
31. Bob says:
7 Mar 2018 06:59:01 PM

These stories are very interesting to read. I can add one I gleaned from a friend in England.
My grand uncle went down in a Halifax on a training flight in Wales. An unfortunate incident of weather and navigation.
When the aircraft hit the mountain, it was destroyed as were all on board.
What was not in the inquest was the aftermath of the crash immediately.
My friend had met a fellow who happened to be among the first on the site afterwards and he explained there had been a substantial fire.
That means that if any of the crew had survived the crash, the fire will have taken its toll quickly after.
That aircraft wouldn't necessarily have been loaded at the time as it was training. However, they ran on gasoline and apparently had plenty on board so the fuel and fast ignition and spread.
RIP the crew, they were deeply missed.
32. Anonymous says:
17 May 2018 02:51:22 PM

Comment 17 dated 23rd Sept 2015.
You could do worse than trying to contact the officer in charge of the Squadron History Records for 429 Sqn. The squadron is currently active, based at CFB Trenton, Ontario (operating Globemaster transport aircraft). I posed a similar query to another RCAF squadron and you wouldn't believe the old crew photos that they could provide.
Best of luck !
33. ajcarr says:
10 Mar 2019 06:46:11 PM

My uncle served in Halifaxes of RCAF 420 Sqn, and he said that they mounted a dorsal machine gun at the place where the H2S radome would have gone, and that protected them against Schräge Musik attacks.

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Halifax Heavy Bomber Photo Gallery
Halifax B Mk III bomber in flight, date unknownHalifax B.II Series I bomber of No. 10 Squadron RAF in flight, circa Apr-May 1942
See all 5 photographs of Halifax Heavy Bomber


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