The Hastings first flew in May 1946 and replaced the Avro York as the Royal Air Force’s standard long-range transport from 1948. Designed at the outset to accommodate a variety of roles, the Hastings was a glider tug, military freighter, passenger transport, paratroop carrier and ambulance aircraft.

145 aircraft were delivered to the RAF and flew on Transport Command’s long-range routes, to the Far and Middle East, until the arrival of the Bristol Britannia in 1959. Four special Hastings flew worldwide with the VIP flight of No.24 (Commonwealth) Squadron.

From 1950, nineteen aircraft were converted for weather reconnaissance and flew in this role until the mid-1960s. Of these, eight became Hastings T5s, providing radar training for V-bomber crews at the Bomber Command Bombing School from 1959. By 1967 the Hastings had left front line service, with the adoption by the RAF of the Lockheed Hercules and Armstrong Whitworth Argosy transports. The last four Hastings served with the Radar Flight of No.230 Operational Conversion Unit (unofficially known as “1066 Squadron”) until 30 June 1977.
Handley Page Hastings