Hampden fuselage for Hendon

News September 2019

Twenty-eight years after it was recovered from a crash site in northern Russia, restoration of the fuselage of Handley Page Hampden TBI P1344 is moving into the home stretch at the RAF Museum’s Michael Beetham Conservation Centre (MBCC) at Cosford, and is expected to go on show at Hendon next year. The wings are now scheduled to be put in store for the time being.

Seen recently at Cosford, the fuselage of Hampden TBI P1344 — a sight that, 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have thought possible.

The No 144 Squadron, Coastal Command torpedo bomber was lost during September 1942 while on a ferry flight to the Kola Peninsula in northern Russia where it was to be used on Arctic convoy protection work. In transit over Finland, P1344 was flown too close to a Luftwaffe fighter airfield and was shot down by two Messerschmitt Bf 109s. It crashed in a wooded area of the peninsula, three crew members being killed and two taken prisoner.

RAFM head of collections Ian Thirsk says, “The fuselage is now virtually complete and we plan to place it on public display at Hendon during 2020. The restoration of P1344’s wings presents a more complex engineering challenge and is a longer-term MBCC project, as space is now urgently required to complete the re-fabric/ reassembly of our Vickers Wellington TX, MF628, plus ongoing conservation work on Westland Lysander III R9125, our LVG C.VI and Dornier Do 17Z.”