The Valentia Transport first came into service with the RAF in 1932. It carried a crew of 2 pilots in the open cockpit with a capacity for 22 passengers or 2,200 lbs of payload. Powered by Bristol Pegasus Radial Engines of 600 Horsepower, it had a maximum airspeed of 120 Mph and a range of 750 Miles with an ultimate ceiling of 16,000 feet.
Mr. Alan Summerbell (Corporal Fitter 2A RAF Ret'd) who was attached to the Communications Flight in late 1941, states the Valentia's of the Communications Flight had Forward Lewis Guns which were located in the fuselage nose and controlled by the pilots. The side door gun position was fitted with a frame to limit the swing of the Lewis Gun to prevent damage to the wings and tail plane when firing and the dorsal guns were mounted on Scarfe Rings. The crew for combat missions consisted of Pilot and Co Pilot, Wireless operator, upper gunner and side gunner.
The Valentia was much used as a Night Bomber in the early stages of the War in North Africa and Eastern Mediterranean by No's 70 and 216 Sqns, and was renowned for its slow wallowing flight, which was an advantage in some respects when being attacked by the much faster opposing modern Aircraft, as its adversary would often misjudge and overshoot!
Many Valentia's, of which only 82 were built were modified Vickers Victoria Bomber/Transport's which were earlier powered by Napier 'Lion' in line engines before the advent of the Bristol 'Pegasus' engine and were fitted with a tail skid instead of a tail wheel. The Airframes were almost identical as can be seen in the photographs below.