Vickers Wellesley

Like the later and more famous Wellington, this two-seat general-purpose bomber had wings and fuselage of geodetic construction, combining strength with lightness. To avoid having to cut too many holes in the `basketwork' structure, up to 2,000lb of bombs could be carried in unique underwing containers.

Power plant was a 925hp Bristol Pegasus radial engine giving the Wellesley a speed of 228mph. Armament comprised one forward firing machine gun and another in the rear cockpit. Only four Wellesleys remained operational with Bomber Command at the outbreak of war. 100 others had been despatched to the Middle East, where they operated successfully against the Italians. On the first day of the East African campaign, they bombed Massawa in Eritrea, following up with a raid on Addis Ababa on 18 August. They remained in use for shipping reconnaissance until 1941.