Halifax bombers are the subject of this week’s newsreel footage from British Pathé, which shows the aircraft being built at the Handley Page works at Radlett.
Developed in the late 1930s, the Halifax was a capable and robust four-engined bomber. More than 6,000 were built and completed in excess of 80,000 sorties. Around a third of the aircraft produced were lost on operations.
More than 30 military and civilian variants of the type were produced, filling a variety of roles from transport and glider tug, to long-range maritime patrol and primarily, as heavy bomber. As such the Halifax flew with Coastal Command, pathfinder squadrons, in support of the SOE, and in transport wings as well as front-line bomber squadrons.
Although at one point more than 75 RAF squadrons used the Halifax (including extensive use by Commonwealth squadrons) the type was partially superseded by the Lancaster, which could carry larger bombs. However, the Halifax was produced until April 1945 and remained a key type on RAF heavy bomber strength for the duration of the Second World War.