Frederick Handley Page was born in Cheltenham, Goucestershire, in 1885. He became chief designer in an electrical company but in 1908 he set up as an aeronautical engineer and the following year established his own company in Barking, Essex.
During the First World War his company produced the Handley Page bomber for the Royal Flying Corps. These planes carried out their first large-scale bombing raids on enemy military installations and submarine bases. By 1918 Handley Page had produced a four-engine bomber that could attack the industrial zones of the Saar and the Ruhr in Germany.
After the Armistice Handley Page turned to civil aviation. Unable to make the venture profitable, Handley Page merged with Imperial Airways. In 1930 Handley Page produced the first 40-seat airliner, the Hercules.
On the outbreak of the Second World War, Handley Page returned to producing military aircraft. The most important being the Halifax bomber. The government purchased 7,000 of these planes and Handley Page was knighted for his contribution to the war effort.
After the war Handley Page designed the four-engine jet, the Victor. Frederick Handley Page died in 1962.