Fairey Hendon: the RAF's first monoplane bomber in depth

Matthew Willis, an enthusiast of all things Fairey, delves into the history of the RAF’s first monoplane bomber

With dual controls fitted, this Hendon is probably K5092, taking off from Marham in May 1938.
With dual controls fitted, this Hendon is probably K5092, taking off from Marham in May 1938. AEROPLANE


Fairey’s new design followed the re-emergence of the night bomber

The Fairey Hendon was conceived when only incremental improvements over World War One bombers were expected, and entered service during a period of runaway technological advancement. It was born at a time when the RAF’s night-bombing force was a niche speciality with just a handful of squadrons, and emerged when the huge RAF strategic bombing fleet was taking shape. It was first sketched out during the ‘Ten-Year Rule’ with no likelihood of conflict with a peer nation on the horizon, and entered production with imminent global war a virtual inevitability. At the outset, it was generations in advance of its competitors, and when it went into front-line service, was already obsolescent.


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