Manufactured by Handley Page Ltd, Cricklewood, London the first prototype flew from RAF Bicester in October 1939. Modifications were required and the second prototype flew in August 1940.
The first Halifax B Mk I entered in to service in November 1940 and saw it's initial operational sortie in March 1941 when it took part in a bombing raid on Hamburg.
The Halifax was 'christened' at Radlett on 12th September 1941 by Viscount and Lady Halifax.
Further adjustments and modifications followed over the years that the Halifax was in service.
The Halifax was not solely used as a heavy bomber. Unlike some of the other heavy bombers, the design and specification of the Halifax made it a suitable candidate for other tasks such as maritime patrol, troop transportation and as a tow plane for gliders.
The Halifaxes that Archie was flying during his time with 35 Squadron were MK1 series 2, B MK2 series 1, MK2 Series 1 and MK2 series 2 - designated HP57.
These heavy bombers were powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlin X engines and had a maximum speed of 255 mph at 7,000 feet. They had a cruising speed of 195 mph at 15,000 feet, a service ceiling of 18,000 feet and a range of 1,860 miles.
They were armed with six .303 inch Browning machine guns in the nose and tail turrets, and four Vickers K gas-operated guns in the beam positions and could carry a bomb load of 13,000 lb.
Archie also flew B MK series 1 Halifax, designated HP59 while he was with 35 Squadron.
The B MK series 1 was powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engines and had a maximum speed of 254 mph at 12,750 feet and a cruising speed of 190 mph at 15,000 feet. It had a service ceiling of 22,000 feet and a range of 1,900 miles.
This type of Halifax was armed with eight .303 inch Browning machine guns in the nose, mid upper and tail turrets and it had a bomb load of 13,000 lb.
The Halifax was an impressively large aircraft. It was 70 feet 1 inch long, 20 feet 9 inches in height and had a wingspan of 98 feet 8 inches.
The Halifax generally carried a crew of seven: Pilot, 2nd Pilot, Navigator, 1st Wireless Op/Air Gunner, 2nd Wireless Op/Air Gunner, Tail Gunner and a Flight Engineer. However, it was on occasion flown by a crew of six with the Flight Engineer taking the 2nd Pilots seat for take off and landings. One such occasion that this happened was during the April 1942 raids on the Battleship Tirpitz.
There are some excellent web sites dedicated to the Halifax. Look on the Links page for their addresses.
Manufactured by Armstrong Whitworth, the first prototype flew in March 1936.
The first Whitley came in to service in March 1937 with No.10 Squadron at Dishforth.
The Whitley's that Archie was flying during his time with 102 Squadron were Mk V's.
They were powered by two 1,010hp Rolls Royce Merlin X engines and had a maximum speed of 222mph at 17,000 feet. They had a cruising speed of 185mph, a service ceiling of 17,600 feet and a range of 1,650 miles.
They were armed with four 0.303 machine guns in the powered tail turret, and one 0.303 machine gun in the nose turret and could carry a maximum bomb load of 7,000lbs.
The Whitley V was 72 feet 6 inches in length, 15 feet in height and had a wingspan of 84 feet.
A crew of five was generally carried, being made up of Pilot, 2nd Pilot, Observer, Wireless Operator and Tail Gunner.