Handley Page Halifax serial numbers

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33k in the air

Staff Sergeant
1,176
1,586
Jan 31, 2021
Yes, a new serial number thread. As before, if anyone has additional information to add to what's presented here, please post it. :)

Four sources were used: Halifax Special by Bruce Robertson (Ian Allan Ltd, 1990), Halifax Second to None by Victor Bingham (Airlife Publishing, 1986), Halifax: From Front-Line Bomber to Post-War Transport by Aeroplane Monthly (Kelsey Publishing, 2013), and The Handley Page Halifax — B.III, VI, VII by Philip J.R. Moyes (Profile Publications, 1965). These source will be referred to as BR, VB, AM, and PM, respectively. Note that VB and PB are missing some serial number batches as compared to BR.

The serials were entered into a spreadsheet along with the aircraft Mark according to each source. Any conflicts between sources were highlighted, and the Form 78 Aircraft Movement Cards found at the Bomber Command History website were used as the conflict resolution.

Most serials were in agreement, with far fewer conflicts that was the case with the Wellington. Below are the Halifax serial number/aircraft mark discrepancies which were found.

LV776 (1 aircraft)
BR has this as Mk 6
VB, AM, and PM has this as Mk 3
Form 78 has this as Mk 6

NA310
(1 aircraft)
BR, VB, and AM has this as Mk 7
Form 78 has this as Mk 3

NA428
(1 aircraft)
NA452 (1 aircraft)
BR has these as Mk 3
VB and AM has these as Mk 7
Form 78 has these as Mk 7

NP681–NP714
(34 aircraft)
BR, VB, and PM has these as Mk 7
AM has these as Mk 6
Form 78 has these as Mk 7

NP715
(1 aircraft)
BR, AM, and PM has this as Mk 6
VB has this as Mk 7
Form 78 has this as Mk 6

NP716–NP723
(8 aircraft)
NP736–NP747 (12 aircraft)
BR, VB, and PM has these as Mk 7
AM has these as Mk 6
Form 78 has these as Mk 7

NP748
(1 aircraft)
BR and VB has this as Mk 7
AM and PM has this as Mk 6
Form 78 has this as Mk 6

NP749–NP751
(3 aircraft)
BR, VB, and PM has these as Mk 7
AM has these as Mk 6
Form 78 has these as Mk 7

NP752–NP753
(2 aircraft)
BR, AM, and PM has these as Mk 6
VB has these as Mk 7
Form 78 has these as Mk 6

NP754–NP757
(4 aircraft)
BR, VB, and PM has these as Mk 7
AM has these as Mk 6
Form 78 has these as Mk 7

NP758
(1 aircraft)
BR and VB has this as Mk 7
AM and PM has this as Mk 6
Form 78 has this as Mk 6

NP759
(1 aircraft)
BR, VB, and PM has this as Mk 7
AM has this as Mk 6
Form 78 has this as Mk 7

NP760
(1 aircraft)
BR and VB has this as Mk 7
AM and PM has this as Mk 6
Form 78 has this as Mk 6

NP761
(1 aircraft)
BR, VB, and PM has these as Mk 7
AM has these as Mk 6
Form 78 has these as Mk 7

NP762–NP767
(6 aircraft)
BR and VB has these as Mk 7
AM and PM has these as Mk 6
Form 78 has these as Mk 6

NP768–NP781
(14 aircraft)
NP793–NP820 (28 aircraft)
BR, VB, and PM has these as Mk 7
AM has these as Mk 6
Form 78 has these as Mk 7

NP821
(1 aircraft)
BR, AM, and PM has this as Mk 6
VB has this as Mk 7
Form 78 has this as Mk 6

PN208
(1 aircraft)
BR and AM has this as Mk 7
VB and PM has this as Mk 3
Form 78 has this as Mk 7

PN344
(1 aircraft)
VB has this as Mk 7
BR, AM, PM, and Form 78 do not have this serial number

PP225
(1 aircraft)
BR has this as Mk 6
VB and AM has this as Mk 8
Form 78 has this as Mk 8

PP244–PP247
(4 aircraft)
BR and AM has these as Mk 8
VB has these as Mk 7
Form 78 has these as Mk 8

PP277
(1 aircraft)
BR has this as Mk 7
VB and AM has this as Mk 8
Form 78 has this as Mk 8

TW774–TW796
(23 aircraft)
BR, VB, and AM has these as Mk 6
PM has these as Mk 7
Form 78 has these as Mk 6

BR has the total production numbers for each variant. Below is what that source gives along with the revised count factoring in the discrepancy corrections listed above.
Code:
   BR    Rev
    2      2   Prototypes
   84     84   Mk 1
1,977  1,977   Mk 2
2,091  2,090   Mk 3
  904    904   Mk 5
  473    481   Mk 6
  404    395   Mk 7
   98    100   Mk 8
  145    145   Mk 9
6,178  6,178   Total

If anyone has any additional information or references they'd like to share, please do share them.
 
Agree on serials, including that PN344 did not exist, except for the following.

The RAF census says there were 85 Halifax I, something the contract cards agree with, meaning L9609 was the last mark I, with Merlin X engines, the mark II had Merlin XX, looking at the form 78 aircraft cards, L9609 had Merlin X, L9610 had four Merlins, L9611 had Merlin X, L9612 Merlin XX, with L9610 onwards listed as mark II. So 85 to 87 mark I. The Ministry of Aircraft Production figures originally had 87 then revised to 85.

85 mark I means the mark II total is 1,976, however 6 Handley Page airframes R9535 to R9540 were supplied as pattern aircraft to the other production lines, they were never completed. So 1,970 actually built. R9534 delivered as mark II became the mark III prototype.

Mark III, total depends on what LV776 (mark VI prototype) and LV838 are considered built as. The RAF contract cards listing and the RAF census says built as VI, but the contract summary card says both were III, the Ministry of Aircraft Production says LV776 was a prototype, not included in the production figures, and LV838 was a conversion. The RAF Serial Registers have mark VI for LV776 and III replaced by VI for LV838. 2,091 serials allocated to give between 2,091 III and 0 VI to 2,089 III and 2 VI, however LK870, LK872, LK881, LK882 and NA507, meant to be mark III from Fairey, at least 3 and probably all 5 delivered as sets of components to Handley Page, they were not assembled into aircraft, making maximum mark III production 2,086.

NA281 to NA310 were A.III, not bombers.

LAP London Aircraft Production, L9609 counted as I, L9610 on as II, LV776 and LV838 as VI. R9535 to R9540 and LK870, LK872, LK881, LK882 and NA507 omitted.

MarkEnglish ElectricFaireyHandley PageLAPRootesTotal
P/type
2​
2​
I
85​
85​
II
900​
608​
450​
12​
1970​
A III
30​
30​
III
900​
320​
324​
260​
250​
2054​
V
246​
658​
904​
VI
325​
157​
482​
A VII
69​
45​
120​
234​
VII
20​
21​
120​
161​
VIII
100​
100​
IX
145​
145​
Total
2145​
656​
1586​
710​
1070​
6167​
 
The RAF census says there were 85 Halifax I, something the contract cards agree with, meaning L9609 was the last mark I, with Merlin X engines, the mark II had Merlin XX, looking at the form 78 aircraft cards, L9609 had Merlin X, L9610 had four Merlins, L9611 had Merlin X, L9612 Merlin XX, with L9610 onwards listed as mark II. So 85 to 87 mark I. The Ministry of Aircraft Production figures originally had 87 then revised to 85.

All the references books mentioned 84 Mk I, so I would have missed this one. Thanks for mentioning it.


Mark III, total depends on what LV776 (mark VI prototype) and LV838 are considered built as. The RAF contract cards listing and the RAF census says built as VI, but the contract summary card says both were III, the Ministry of Aircraft Production says LV776 was a prototype, not included in the production figures, and LV838 was a conversion. The RAF Serial Registers have mark VI for LV776 and III replaced by VI for LV838.

The Form 78 cards have both as Mk VI as well. A judgement call here, but given the preponderance of the sources suggesting both were Mk VI, I'll list them as such but add a note that they may be Mk 3 originally.


MarkEnglish ElectricFaireyHandley PageLAPRootesTotal
P/type
2​
2​
I
85​
85​
II
900​
608​
450​
12​
1970​
A III
30​
30​
III
900​
320​
324​
260​
250​
2054​
V
246​
658​
904​
VI
325​
157​
482​
A VII
69​
45​
120​
234​
VII
20​
21​
120​
161​
VIII
100​
100​
IX
145​
145​
Total
2145​
656​
1586​
710​
1070​
6167​

Regarding the A.Mk VII / Mk VII split, after going through the Form 78 cards, I get a total of 233 A.Mk VII and 162 Mk VII, instead of 234 and 161, respectively.

These are the 162 serial numbers I have for the regular Mk VII:

LW196–LW210 (15 aircraft)
NA350 (1 aircraft)
NP681–NP714 (34 aircraft)
NP716–NP723 (8 aircraft)
NP736–NP747 (12 aircraft)
NP749–NP751 (3 aircraft)
NP754–NP757 (4 aircraft)
NP759 (1 aircraft)
NP761 (1 aircraft)
NP768–NP781 (14 aircraft)
NP793–NP820 (28 aircraft)
PN208 (1 aircraft)
PN223–PN232 (10 aircraft)
PN234–PN242 (9 aircraft)
PN343 (1 aircraft)
RG447–RG458 (12 aircraft)
RG472–RG479 (8 aircraft)

Which one of these doesn't belong, assuming there is an extra one?
 
NA350 was an A.VII, in both the Contract Cards and Serial Registers, it went to 298 squadron, 38 Group Transport Command

PN233 was a B.VII, in both the Contract Cards and Serial Registers, it went to 432 squadron, 6 Group, Bomber Command

PN343, no Contract Card entry, summary card says Fairey built 21 B.VII and 69 A.VII. Serial Register says VII, but then so are the entries for PN321 to 324 which were A.VII. Meant to be the first aircraft of the PN343 to 362 block but became the last Fairey built Halifax in October 1945, Fairey B.VIII production January to March 1945, then A.VII March to October 1945. So it was an A.VII.
 
NA350 was an A.VII, in both the Contract Cards and Serial Registers, it went to 298 squadron, 38 Group Transport Command

PN233 was a B.VII, in both the Contract Cards and Serial Registers, it went to 432 squadron, 6 Group, Bomber Command

PN343, no Contract Card entry, summary card says Fairey built 21 B.VII and 69 A.VII. Serial Register says VII, but then so are the entries for PN321 to 324 which were A.VII. Meant to be the first aircraft of the PN343 to 362 block but became the last Fairey built Halifax in October 1945, Fairey B.VIII production January to March 1945, then A.VII March to October 1945. So it was an A.VII.

I double checked the Form 78 cards for these to make sure I hadn't misread any, and NA530 and PN343 are indeed listed as Mk VII while PN233 is listed as an A.Mk VII. Following the preponderance of sources rule, I'll use the mark assignments you laid out.

Thanks for checking these.
 
From "The Halifax File", which also contains individual aircraft histories
 

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