Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Canadian Warplanes 1: Handley Page 0/100, 0/400, and V-1500 biplane bombers

Handley Page 0/100, 0/400, and 

V/1500 biplane bombers

Data current to 28 Dec 2020.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA-125413)

A Handley Page O/100 (Serial No. 1459), "Le Tigre" of No. 3 Wing, Royal Nava Air Service (RNAS), 1917 at Ochey, France.  Wings and interplane struts are finished with an experimental mottled camouflage scheme.  The men in front of the plane are (from left to right): Waller, Jones, Stedman, Chazard, and Wright.

The Handley Page Type O biplane bomber was flown by Britain during the First World War.  At the time of their construction, the Type O was the largest aircraft that had been built in the UK and one of the largest in the world.  There were two main variants, the Handley Page O/100 (H.P.11) and the Handley Page O/400 (H.P.12).

The aircraft were used in France for tactical night attacks on targets in German-occupied France and Belgium and for strategic bombing of industrial and transport targets in the Rhineland.  Some aircraft were temporarily diverted to anti-submarine reconnaissance and bombing duties in the Tees estuary in 1917 and two aircraft were flown in the eastern Mediterranean.  No complete example of any Type O aircraft remains.  

One of the early O/100s, (Serial No. 1463), left from Manston Airfield and landed behind German lines on 1 January 1917. The five crew, including Flight-Lieutenant Henry Connell Vereker, became prisoners of war and the aircraft was painted and flown in German markings until it later crashed.

 (RAF Photo)

Handley Page 0/100 (Serial No. 1459), "Le Tigre", of No. 3 Wing, RNAS.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194166)

Handley Page 0/100 (Serial No. 1459), Le Tigre, of No. 3 Wing, RNAS.  This type of bomber was flown by Canadians serving in the RFC during the First World War.  None have been preserved in Canada.  A total of 46 O/100s were built before this version was superseded by the Type O/400.

  (Library & Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 33390617)

Handley Page 0/400 (Serial No. 1459), similar to those flown by Canadians serving in the RFC during the First World War.  None have been preserved.  The most significant difference between the two types was the use of 360 horsepower (270 kW) Eagle VIII engines.  Unlike the earlier version, this engine was not built in right-handed and left-handed versions, because production of engines of both types for engine type approval had been difficult; wind tunnel tests at the NPL established that the counter-rotating propellers were a cause of the directional instability of the O/100.  It was realised that only one version was necessary, simplifying production and maintenance; the torque effect was overcome by offsetting the fin slightly.  The O/400 had a strengthened fuselage, an increased bomb load, the nacelle tanks were removed and the fuel was carried in two 130 imp gal (590 L) fuselage tanks, supplying a pair of 15 imp gal (68 L) gravity tanks.  The new nacelles were smaller and had simplified supporting struts; the reduction of drag producing an improvement in maximum speed and altitude.  More than 400 were supplied before the Armistice ended the war.   Another 107 were licence-built in the USA by the Standard Aircraft Corporation.  After the war, O/400s remained in squadron service until replaced by the Vickers Vimy toward the end of 1919.

 (IWM Photo, Q27672)

Handley Page 0/400 at RAF Hendon, UK, Oct 1918.

 (IWM Photo, Q27673)

Handley Page 0/400 at RAF Hendon, UK, Oct 1918.

 (NARA Photo, 55197466)

Handley Page 0/400 at RAF Andover, UK.

 (Library & Archives Canada Photo,  MIKAN No. 3390611)

Handley Page 0/400), ca 1918.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390612)

Handley Page V/1500, ca 1918.  The V/1500 was a British night-flying heavy bomber built by Handley Page towards the end of the First World War.  It was a large four-engined biplane, which resembled a larger version of Handley Page's earlier O/100 and O/400 bombers, intended to bomb Berlin from East Anglian airfields.  The end of the war stopped the V/1500 being used against Germany, but a single aircraft was used to carry out the first flight from England to India, and later carried out a bombing raid on Kabul during the Third Anglo-Afghan War.  It was colloquially known within the fledgling RAF as the "Super Handley".  The V/1500 that was shipped to Canada to attempt a transatlantic flight was flown in the USA beyond its flight to New York.  In 1919 it crash-landed in a field at Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574032)

Handley Page V-1500, preparing for an Atlantic crossing, June 1919, Harbour Grace, Newfoundland.