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In February 2009 the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection fielded its first 1/144 scale asset – the Corgi die cast interpretation of Handley-Page Victor XL 231. This was acquired as part of a boxed set with Avro Vulcan XL 443, both of which were painted in the anti nuclear flash white of the late 1950s with pale blue RAF markings. Both models, too, represented the upgraded Mark 2 versions of their respective types and were supplied with attachable models of the Blue Steel stand-off missiles that they were designed to carry.

However, while the Avro Vulcan is arguably the most famous of Britain’s V-bombers, the Handley-Page Victor was more appropriate for a cartography themed window display at Gloucester Tourist Information Centre because as well as being posed next to a map of the World based on the North Pole – as used by Cold War stategic planners – the Rolls Royce powered B (SR) Mark 2 Victor could radar map the whole Mediterranean in seven hours and in 1982 Victor XH 675 radar mapped the South Atlantic in a 7 000 mile 14 hour 45 minute mission.

Other local Victor connections were that the Mark 1 – first flown on Christmas Eve 1952 – was powered by Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engines of the type once built at Brockworth and that it was the last four-engine design of the company founded one hundred years ago by Cheltenham born Sir Frederick Handley-Page ( 1885-1962 ).

GOODIES FROM CRICKLEWOOD

Frederick (later Sir Frederick) Handley-Page first built several experimental biplanes and monoplanes at premises in Woolwich, Fambridge and Barking Creek, before settling on works at Cricklewood in North London and Radlett Aerodrome, Hertfordshire. His company, Handley-Page Ltd, became the first public company to build aircraft when it was founded on 17th June 1909.