Hampden

Discussion in 'Warbird Displays' started by woljags, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. woljags

    woljags Active Member

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    I came across this link on the internet,hopefully it comes out ok,this is a story about a Hp Hampden recovered and restored,wonderful to know one still exists

    JUNE 2004




    A Hampden of 32 OTU makes a dummy torpedo drop near Pat Bay, BC
    in this photo used to assess the drop.

    Recovery and Restoration of Handley Page Hampden bomber P5436

    RAF P5436, Manufactured 1942
    2 1000 hp Bristol Pegasus XVIII Engines
    Maximum Speed 254 mph
    Empty Weight 11780 lb., Loaded Weight 18756 lb.
    Some of the following material was taken from an article written by Paul Seguna published in the AVIATION HISTORY November 2002 magazine, and material supplied by Canadian Museum of Flight, Langley, BC.

    On November 15, 1942, a Hampden bomber with serial number P5436, attached to No. 32 O.T.U. Patricia Bay, BC, took off on a practice torpedo-drop sortie. All went well and the crew managed a successfully torpedo drop, but when the pilot banked at low altitude to observe the torpedo run, he lost control and the twin engine bomber with crew of four side slipped into the water. All crewmembers survived the crash with minor injuries. They were picked up within minutes by a passing RCAF Stranraer flying boat whose crew had seen them go into the drink.

    In 1985 the underwater recovery team of the Canadian Museum of Flight (CMF) in Langley BC, pin pointed the sunken Hampden with sonar. The well defined sonar images showed it was intact, a rare find.

    CMF volunteers next mobilized to gather necessary resources for a salvage effort. A Recovery Crew from the Canadian Lake and Ocean Salvage Team led by Jerry Olsen and the Thompson family of Tillicum Towing in Pender Harbour added their considerable reclamation experience to the worthy cause.

    The fragility of the wreckage made for a demanding salvage operation using remote-controlled submersible, guided by operators using on-board video camera and robotic manipulators. The aircraft, although being reasonable intact when it was gingerly lifted out of the water, was badly corroded and suffered crash damage. Certain parts of the bomber remained in good shape. Its compass still functioned as did greased drive chains and bearings. There was even air left in the tires.

    At this stage CMF volunteer Fred Gardham became involved in the Hampden’s rebirth. Along with other helpers he would spend hundreds of hours reclaiming the aircraft.. Gardham was uniquely qualified for the tasks he had worked on Hampdens during his civilian aircraft maintenance career. He had even logged post maintenance time in this aircraft. (Fred Gardham served in the Merchant Navy shipping out between Halifax and the UK.)

    Using creativity, imagination, and sometimes Gardham’s own money, the volunteers managed to put the bomber back together. They applied metal skin, reattached wings that had been ripped during the crash. Other parts came from two other Hampden crash sites. AN136 which had crashed into Mount Tuan on Salt Spring Island, and ANH132 that crashed near Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. They also attached a glass nose brought over from England (courtesy of the RAF. This item had been used as a greenhouse in the wars aftermath.

    What of the 4-man crew of the P5436? We have traced down members of the RCAF and RAAF, who died in Canada and Australia in recent years. The other two were RAF, and one is thought to have visited Pat Bay in the mid-1980’s. We are still searching for them.

    The familiar lines of the bomber slowly returned – the bulbous nose with its cockpit perched on top, the twin radial engine nacelles, the ranked wings and pencil like rear fuselage ending in a twin tail, responsible for the aircraft’s nickname “frying pan”.
    By 1998 the outdoor display lot of CMF became the new home of Handley Page Hampden Bomber P5436. The late W/C T.C. “Cam” Weir, who had flown Hampden aircraft at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, and who became part of the restoration team, found in the Hampden a visible reminder of friendships forged in good times and bad, achievements and tragic loss in the crucible of war.

    In June 2000 a ceremony at the Museum officially welcomed back Hampden bomber P5436 as a tribute to Canadian Aviation History. Today the rebuilt bomber serves as a connecting link with the past for those who have worked to restore it as well as those whose wartime service brought them into contact with Hampden bombers. Many dedicated people had come together in a lengthy endeavour to restore this bit of aviation history so that it could tell its story to a new generation.



    This aircraft is dedicated to Mr. Fred Gardham of Vancouver, BC.
    Mr. Gardham landed his first job in the airplane industry in 1937, building Blackburn Shark’s at the Boeing Canada plant near Stanley Park in Vancouver. When WWII started, Mr. Gardham moved to Ontario where he worked for Canada Car and Foundry, which was building Hawker Hurricanes. Upon his move back to Vancouver, he worked at the Boeing plant on Sea Island and then joined the Merchant Navy. After a year in the Navy, he went to work at Boeing’s Seattle plant, building B52 bombers and then for Canadian Pacific working on commercial aircraft.

    When the Canadian Museum of Flight lifted the Handley Page Hampden out of the Pacific Ocean in 1985 Mr. Gardham was chosen as head restorer as he had worked on this exact aircraft before its crash in 1942 off of Pat Bay. With no diagrams of the aircraft, only his memory, photos, and sketches for reference, Fred started the amazing task of taking pieces of bent corroded metal and once again bringing her to life.

    What you see before you today is the culmination of many volunteer hours by many individuals, but had it not been for Mr. Fred Gardham who spent over 15 years dedicated to the restoration of this aircraft, this project may never have been completed.

    (Ed. I have been in touch with Fred Gardham, who is now 90, and asked him for some input on this project plus a picture of himself. Stay tuned)






    [​IMG]
     
  2. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Great post Bob!

    The Hampden is one of my two favourite bombers, the other being the Lanc. (was considering doing a kiwi Hampden for the 'favourites' GB...)
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Good stuff Bob. there's another Hampden under restoration at Cosford. Hoping to possibly get a peek at it next week, if access to the restoration facility is granted.
     
  4. woljags

    woljags Active Member

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    nice one Terry
     
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