The 138 and 161 Squadron Aircraft.

The Handley-Page Halifax

The Mk. I Halifax heavy bomber carried a crew of seven, these being pilot, engineer, bomb aimer/observer, navigator, wireless operator, mid-upper gunner and tail-gunner. It was powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlin X engines each generating 1,280 hp using three-bladed, variable pitch, metal propellers. It had a maximum speed of 265 mph (426 km/h) at 17,500 ft (5,300 m), with a ceiling of 22,800 ft (6,950 m) and a range of 1,860 miles (3,000 km). It carried six 0.303 in. machine guns, two in the mid-upper position and four in the tail turret. It was capable of hauling 13,000 lbs (5,890 kg) of bombs, mines, or in Tempsford's case, supplies and agents.

The Mk. II had more powerful Merlin engines, a single Vickers K machine gun for the bomb aimer and a redesigned tail structure that improved handling characteristics considerably.

The Mk. III was the second major production varient. It had a radical change in engine, with the Merlin being replaced by the Bristol Hercules XVI air-cooled engines each developing 1,615 hp. At the time Merlin engines were in great demand and the AVRO Lancaster with Bristol engines proved to be underpowered, so it got the Merlins and the Halifaxes got the Bristols.


These pages are completely non-commercial and exist to provide information for those with an interest in RAF Tempsford, especially friends and family of those who flew from this airfield between 1942 and 1945. If we have unintentionally breached any copyright or made any errors, please contact us and we will amend the item accordingly.