Introduced in 1933, the Boulton Paul Overstrand was the last of the RAF’s twin engine biplane bombers. It was a development of the earlier Sidestrand bomber and was the first RAF bomber to have an enclosed cockpit and power operated nose turret. It was to have a very short service life as better aircraft swiftly replaced it and just 28 were built. This week’s postcard shows five of these aircraft in formation:
The aircraft used two 460hp Bristol Jupiter engines that gave it a top speed of 153 mph and each aircraft had a capacity for 1,500lbs of bombs. This was a major step forward at the time, as was the enclosed cockpit, however the aircraft retained non-retractable landing gear and open dorsal and ventral gun positions and was of course still a biplane. Defensively the aircraft was armed with three Lewis guns and had a crew of five. Each aircraft had a range of 545 miles and a ceiling of 21,300 feet:
Within the six years between their introduction and World War II far better monoplane designs such as the Blenheim and Wellington bomber had been introduced and by 1940 of the remaining eleven Overstrands, six were used for gunnery training however in May 1941 they had all been withdrawn from service after one aircraft had broken up in mid-air on 22nd April 1940.