My Great Uncle, and the Handley Page Bomber

Handley Page WWIDuring WWI, my great uncle served in the Royal Flying Corps as crew on a Handley Page bomber. He survived the war. Among the family records are two photos, one showing my great uncle as a cadet, and the other has him standing in front of a Handley Page bomber. The image here is only a cell phone photo, of a copy of the original photograph. I do not know if the photo survives, or where it might be. What is unmistakable in this image, the aircraft has clearly had an unsuccessful encounter with a small wooden structure. If this was the worst of my great uncle's experiences, he was a very lucky fellow.

Shortly before the end of the war, Handley Page produced an enlarged four engine bomber, the V/1500. Although roughly 60 aircraft were eventually built, they missed serving during the war. An attempt at the first trans-Atlantic crossing was also too late, being beaten to the punch by Alcock and Brown in their Vickers Vimy. The model's one eventual claim to fame was a successful bombing raid on Kabul, Afghanistan, during the Third Anglo-Afgan War of 1919. The V/1500 was considered too big and impractical to serve in a civilian airline capacity.

Some time after the cessation of hostilities in Europe, somebody with a stereo camera received a ride in a Handley Page factory marked V/1500. Was this aircraft the "Atlantic," the one slatted for a trans-Atlantic attempt? Perhaps someone with eagle eyes and a deep knowledge of aviation history can fill me in. The British bulldog nose art is tremendous, and it must have taken bulldog tenacity to stand out in the open air while riding in the plane. Keep a stiff upper lip, indeed.

RFC Cadet

I only met my great uncle Robert once or twice, and at an age long before I had any sense of history. As such, I was never able to ask him about his wartime experience. If ever there was a justification for time travel, it would be to travel back and ask all the questions you were too young to consider. My great uncle as a cadet, circa 1915.

Stereo Photos of the Handley Page V/1500 Bomber

Handley Page Bomber

Passengers climbing a ladder to enter the aircraft. These photos must have been taken shortly after the war. There appears to be an American soldier standing in the foreground.

Handley Page V/1500
Handley Page Aircraft

Rolls Royce Eagle engine
When viewed in stereo, it becomes clear this shot was a double exposure. The engine shot is obvious, but there is also a view looking back into the cockpit. The darker circle on the lower left is the back edge of a gunner/observer position. The diagonal line is the base of the cockpit windscreen. In stereo, one can also clearly see the control wheel toward the top of the photo.

On the ground.

In the air. The ground is obscured in this photo, but another shot shows what looks like a river with docks along the banks. I'm assuming it would be the Thames.

Handley Page Bomber airborne
Whether this is around Hounslow Heath, or Cricklewood I do not know. Both locations were within the modern M25 ring road.
Handley Page nose art
King Dick.

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