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