HADRIAN, G-AAUE/AS982
This aircraft was completed in 1931, and after eight years with Imperial Airways was impressed into war service and based at Odiham in 1940. In December of the same year it was destroyed in a gale while picketed out at Doncaster.


The outbreak of war in 1939 spelt the end of commercial flying in Europe for some years. Seven HP42s were in service with Imperial Airways in September 1939, comprising of three HP42Ws in the UK and four HP42Es in the Middle East. The HP42s were given coats of camouflage paint and pressed into service for military transport duties.

Three HP42Ws were used for ferrying supplies and personnel to France. However, it was the four HP42Es based in the Middle East that were earmarked for official impressment. One of these was destroyed on the return trip, presumably over the Arabian Sea. The remaining three were allocated to No. 271 Sqd for transport duties, and by December 1940 all three had been withdrawn from use after forced landings or, in the case of AS982, destruction by gale-force winds.

With no aircraft designed specifically for transport, at the outbreak of the war the RAF relied on converted bombers or requisitioned airliners, such as this Handley Page H.P.42, for aerial movement of troops and supplies.



Left: This photograph shows Helena,
G-AAXF/AS983

Right: Hadrian in service in 1940 with
No. 271 Squadron as AS982.