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Including a Brief History of the Hermes

Handley Page's Post-War Transport Aircraft

by Tim Senior

Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing


S u m m a r y

Title and Author

Including a Brief History of the Hermes
Handley Page's Post-War Transport Aircraft

by Tim Senior

Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing

ISBN: 1-905414-07-9
Media: Soft, glossy, laminated colour covers; 21.5cm x 28cm portrait format, 112 good quality satin-finish pages.
Price: GBP19.95 plus post and packing
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Good collection of both colour and black and white reference photographs; colour profiles by Rolando Ugalini.
Disadvantages: Possibly the price, though this may reflect the troubled financial times we are in, as well as the higher than usual number of pages.
Conclusion: A useful resource, which will appeal to both the modeller and the historian.  If transport aircraft are your 'thing', you will not be disappointed.


Reviewed by Steve Naylor

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Almost twelve months has elapsed since Dalrymple & Verdun's last title covering a specific aircraft (the BAe Nimrod). This new title follows the trend by featuring another RAF 'heavy', the Handley Page Hastings. 

Developed from the wartime Halifax bomber, the Hastings was almost forced into existence by Handley Page's dogged determination to provide an aircraft it knew the 'Ministry' and country needed, despite the former's preference for Avro's York and the later Tudor, transport aircraft.

Running to 112 pages, Dalrymple & Verdun's new book is just under A4 in size and as usual, has soft glossy covers, harking back very slightly to the distinctive 'Pop Art' style cover artwork of the earlier titles.  Once again, the text is printed on semi-gloss/satin pages, in two-columns-per-page style, interspersed with numerous photographs and colour artwork profiles.

The story of the Hastings and its civil airliner development, the Hermes, is told in seven chapters and no less than five appendices, as follows:

Chapter 1 (Looking Towards the Future) examines the need of the RAF for a suitable transport aircraft following the end of the Second World War, the Handley Page response to that need and the early prototype service trials.  This is followed up in chapter 2 (Cold War and Weather) with the Hastings' early RAF service, including its role in the Berlin Airlift, further modifications, trials and exports.  Handley Page's perseverance with their civil airliner development of the Hastings is examined in the short chapter 3 (Hermes Development Continues).

Continuing the story of the Hastings into the fifties and sixties, chapter 4 ('War and Peace' (and Reorganisation)) looks at the Cyprus and Suez actions, Malaya and 'Operation Firedog', reorganisation of air transport within the RAF and also Hastings service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force.  The 1960's was the Hastings' last decade of service with the RAF and is covered in Chapter 5 (Towards Retirement), including the end of Transport Command, the third 'Cod War' and also looks at those aircraft which have made it into preservation.

The last two chapters provide much useful information for the modeller.  Chapter 6 (Hastings in Detail) provides four pages of colour reference photographs, taken of surviving Hastings T.5 'TG517' at the Newark Air Museum, Nottinghamshire (UK) and chapter 7 (Hastings Colours) details the various colour schemes used on the Hastings and includes sixteen pages of colour artwork profiles (32 in total) by Rolando Ugalini.

As mentioned earlier, there are five appendices, namely; 'Technical Data' (on each Hastings variant, e.g. C.1, C.1A, C.2, C.3, C.4, MET.1 and T.5), 'Hastings Squadrons and Units' (detailing RAF, RNZF squadrons and other units or establishments operating the type), 'Hastings and Hermes Production' (listing by variant and then by serial number, giving brief details of its allocation and disposal), 'Hastings Written-off in Service' (outlining the circumstances of each serial numbers loss whilst in service) and 'A Lingering Fate Awaits' (four pages of colour photographs, showing retired Hastings in various states of disposal).

The book finishes with a page on the abbreviations used in the text.





Maybe its a cliché, but transport aircraft are often considered to be the 'Cinderellas' of the aviation world. They are not as 'sexy' as the fighters, or even the bombers, but they have a essential role to play nevertheless. 

In the days before the ubiquitous C-130 Hercules, Handley Page's Hastings provided stalwart service to the RAF and is fondly remembered, along with the Beverley and Argosy. 

This new book is a useful resource, copiously illustrated with 189 colour and black and white photographs, whilst also providing technical and historical detail in keeping with the high standard set by this series.  The excellent colour profiles will give the modeller much inspiration, so if transport aircraft are your 'thing', you will not be disappointed.

Thanks to Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing for the review sample

Copies should be available to order from most good book retailers, but can also be ordered direct from:

Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing
33 Adelaide Street




Review Copyright 2008 by Steve Naylor
This Page Created on 8 October, 2008
Last updated 8 October, 2008

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