Towards the end of World War 1 (1914-1918), the strategic bomber was entrenched as a part of warfare. These massive, lumbering attack platforms were built with range in mind and, for the British, this meant taking off from Allied-controlled airfields and dropping ordnance on targets as far away as the German capital of Berlin. A late-war product of the period that just missed out on action in the conflict became the large "V/1500" from Handley Page which appeared in 1918 to satisfy a 1917 British Air Board requirement for such a type - particularly to operate in the night time hours against far-off German target areas. The requirement specified a warload up to 3,000lb with acceptable range to meet the demand.
Handley Page already held extensive experience in building long-range bombers through its commitment to the Handley Page O/100 and O/400 series systems detailed elsewhere on this site. The V/1500 was in many ways an extension of these two projects, projecting further in terms of range and enhanced warloads.
In the V/1500, the aircraft was given a centralized wood-and-fabric fuselage set within an over-under biplane wing configuration. The fuselage sides were slabs and the upper and lower wing members were joined by parallel struts and applicable bracing wire. Four bays were created in the wide-spanning arrangement. For power, this fell to a unique configuration involving 4 x Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines rated at 375 horsepower each and seated inline across two nacelles - a "push-pull" configuration of concentrated power. The tail unit incorporated four individual vertical fins with biplane tailplane arrangement to boot. Ground-running was handled in the typical tail-dragger arrangement with a collection of wheels seated under the forward mass of the large aircraft.
As finalized, the aircraft held an overall length of 64 feet, a wingspan of 126 feet, and a height of 12 feet. Empty weight was 15,000lb against an MTOW of 30,000lb. Performance included a maximum speed of just over 100 miles-per-hour with a mission endurance of 14 hours. Beyond the typical Rolls-Royce Eagle fit, the aircraft could also be equipped with Galloway Atlantic, Napier Lion, or Liberty V-12 engines of 500hp, 450hp, and 400hp, respectively - changing performance figures some. In all cases, the engines drove four-bladed wooden propellers (fixed-pitch).
The crew numbered between eight and nine and point defense was from three positions - the nose, dorsal section, and tail unit - mounting a single, trainable 0.303" Lewis Machine Gun. The tail emplacement was notable at it sat between the four vertical fins at rear. The bomber's warload totaled up to 7,500lb of conventional drop bombs to be held in an internal bomb bay - typically 30 x 250lb drop bombs.
Up to forty V/1500 aircraft were produced, along with twenty-two airframes reserved for spare parts, for the bomber's short time in the air. A first-flight was hand on May 22nd, 1918 and serial production continued on after the war into 1921. The series arrived too late for service in The Great War with deliveries had in November - just before the Armistice of November 11th, 1918. The series was eventually superseded by the competing Vickers Vimy (detailed elsewhere on this site).
In the post-war world, one V/1500 example recorded the first-ever flight from England to India in December 1918 and arriving the following month in 1919. The type served briefly in the 3rd Anglo-Afghan War (May 1919 - August 1919) but became more a psychological weapon than a strategic bombing one. One example was flown to Canada in an attempt to cross the Atlantic but this crash-landed in Pennsylvania field during 1919. Another attempt from Nova Scotia in the July 1919 ended with a forced landing at Parrsboro. This model ended up delivering the first mail between Canada and the United States that October.