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The Hermes was built to meet the 1944 Air Ministry specification for a pressurised civil transport capable of carrying 34 first-class or 50 tourist-class passengers, at the same time as the RAF required a new transport to replace its Handley Page: Halifax, for which Handley Page designed the very similar Handley Page Hastings.
Unlike the tail-wheel Hastings, the Hermes was planned to have a nose wheel undercarriage, although the first two prototypes, of which the first was an unpressurised "bare shell" and the second to be pressurised and fully equipped.
It was intended to introduce the Hermes before the Hastings, but production was delayed after the first prototype (HP 68 Hermes 1), registered G-AGSS crashed on its maiden flight shortly after takeoff on 2 December 1945.
H.P.68 Hermes 1