Military Wiki
A Fairey Hendon flies over.
Role Heavy night bomber
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Fairey Aviation
First flight 25 November 1930
Introduction 1936
Retired January 1939
Primary user Royal Air Force
Produced 1936-1937
Number built 15

The Fairey Hendon was a British monoplane heavy bomber of the Royal Air Force designed by Fairey Aviation in the late 1920s, which served in small numbers with one Squadron of the RAF between 1936 and 1939. It was the first all-metal low-wing monoplane to enter service in the RAF.[1]


The Hendon was built to meet the Air Ministry Specification B.19/27 for a twin-engine night bomber to replace the Vickers Virginia, competing against the Handley Page Heyford and Vickers Type 150. The specification required a range of 920 mi (1,480 km) at a speed of 115 mph (185 km/h), with a bombload of 1,500 lb (680 kg).[2] To meet this requirement, Fairey designed a low-winged cantilever monoplane with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage. The fuselage had a steel tube structure with fabric covering and housed the crew of five, consisting of a pilot, a radio operator/navigator, and three gunners, manning open nose, dorsal and tail positions. Bombs were carried in a bomb-bay in the centre-fuselage. Variants powered by either radial engines or liquid cooled V12 engines were proposed.[3][4]

The prototype K1695 with two Rolls-Royce Kestrel 600 HP engines.

The prototype K1695 (which was known as the Fairey Night Bomber until 1934[1]) first flew on 25 November 1930,[5] from Fairey's Great West Aerodrome in Heathrow,[6] and was powered by two 460 hp (340 kW) Bristol Jupiter VIII radial engines. The prototype crashed and was heavily damaged in March 1931, and so was re-built with two Rolls-Royce Kestrel engines replacing the Jupiters. After trials, 14 production examples, now named the Hendon Mk.II were ordered. These were built by Fairey's Stockport factory in late 1936 and early 1937 and flown from Manchester's Barton Aerodrome. Orders for a further 60 Hendons were canceled in 1936, as the prototype of the first of the next generation of British heavy bombers - the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley - had flown, and it showed much higher performance.[7] The Hendon Mk.II was powered by two Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI engines. It had a fixed undercarriage and a crew of five while the production Hendon Mk.II included an enclosed cockpit for the pilot and navigator.

Operational history[]

A Fairey Hendon of no. 38 Squadron

In practice, the type was delayed by the crash and rebuild of the prototype, so the Heyford received the majority of the orders needed to replace the RAF's heavy bombers, the Hendon coming into service three years later. The single Hendon-equipped unit, No. 38 Squadron RAF, began operational service based at RAF Mildenhall in November 1936, replacing Heyfords,[7] later moving to RAF Marham, Norfolk. Later, they went to No. 115 Squadron RAF, which was formed from No. 38 Squadron. The type was soon obsolete and replaced from late 1938 by the Vickers Wellington. By January 1939, the Hendons had all been retired and were then used for ground instruction work, including the radio school at RAF Cranwell.[8]


Hendon Mk.I
Prototype, one built.
Hendon Mk.II
Production variant with two Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI engines, 14 built


 United Kingdom

Accidents and incidents[]

Of the 14 Hendon IIs only two were lost in accidents:

  • 26 May 1937 - K5091 crashed on landing at RAF Marham
  • 25 February 1938 - K5095 crashed on landing at RAF Marham

Specifications (Hendon II)[]

Data from The British Bomber since 1914;[7] Fairey Aircraft since 1915[8]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5
  • Length: 60 ft 9 in (18.52 m)
  • Wingspan: 101 ft 9 in (31.02 m)
  • Height: 18 ft 8 in (5.69 m)
  • Wing area: 1,146 ft² (106.5 m²)
  • Empty weight: 12,773 lb [9] (5,806 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 20,000 lb [9] (9,091 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI inline piston V12 engine, 600 hp (447 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 132 kn (152 mph, 245 km/h) at 15,000 ft
  • Cruise speed: 116 kn (133 mph, 214 km/h) at 15,000 ft[9]
  • Range: 1,183 nmi (1,360 mi, 2,190 km)
  • Service ceiling: 21,400 ft (6,524 m)
  • Rate of climb: 940 ft/min (4.8 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 17.5 lb/ft² (85.4 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.06 hp/lb (0.099 kW/kg)
  • Climb to 6,500 ft: 9 minutes 12 seconds


  • Guns: 3× .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis guns in nose, dorsal and tail positions
  • Bombs: 1,660 lb (753 kg) bombs

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Taylor 1974, p. 208.
  2. Taylor 1974, p. 209.
  3. Taylor 1974, pp. 209–210.
  4. Mason 1994, pp. 215–216.
  5. Mason 1994, p.216.
  6. Gallop 2005, p.19
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Mason 1994, p. 217.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Taylor 1974, p. 216.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Thetford 1957, p. 213.
  • Crosby, Francis. The World Encyclopedia of Fighters and Bombers. London: Lorenz Books ISBN 0-7548-1616-8
  • Gallop, Alan. Time Flies: Heathrow At 60. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0-7509-3840-4
  • Mason, Francis K. The British Bomber since 1914. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1994. ISBN 0-85177-861-5
  • Taylor, H.A. Fairey Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-370-00065-X
  • Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Airforce, 1918-1957. London: Putnam, 1957.

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