Producing the Hermes propliner was a bold move by Handley Page in war-torn 1940s Britain, but this important aircraft has largely been overlooked by the history books. Stephen Skinner gives an overview of a type that was ahead of its time.

An atmospheric photo of Hermes IV G-ALDI at Nairobi’s Eastleigh airport in September 1954. This aircraft was passed onto Britavia in the mid-1950s.

As early as 1942 Sir Frederick Handley Page, founder of Handley Page at Radlett in Hertfordshire, was considering a transport version of the company’s Halifax bomber. Despite lacking official support, the design evolved by April 1944 to become the HP.67 Hastings with the new circular fuselage, a lengthened version of the Halifax’s wing and a single fin. At the same time the Air Ministry issued a specification for a new transport which very closely matched the HP.67 and Handley Page received a contract to build it for the RAF.

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