Gloster Gladiator in Commonwealth squadron service

Gladiator production for the RAF and FAA

Gloster G.37 Gladiator prototype
Serial:
K5200

Gladiator I
Serials:
K6129-K6151 - First production batch, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1936-37.
K7892-K8055 - Second production batch, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1937.
L7608-L7623 - Second production batch, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1937.
L8005-L8032 - Production follow-on order (intended originally as replacement machines), built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1937.
Notes:
L8005, L8012-L8028 were sold to Egypt and delivered in April 1939 were they are believed to have been re-numbered with Egyptian serials K1331-K1348. Some of these were subsequently taken back on RAF M.E. charge.

Gladiator II
Serials:
N2265-N2314 - Built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938.
N5500-N5549 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39.
N5565-N5594 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39.
N5620-N5649 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39.
N5680-N5729 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39.
N5750-N5789 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39.
N5810-N5859 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39.
N5875-N5924 - Principal production order, built by Gloster Aircraft Co., Ltd., during 1938-39.
Notes:
N2265; modified as Sea Gladiator (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 24/05/39.
N2267-N2277; modified as Sea Gladiators (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 24/05/39.
N2281-N2282; modified as Sea Gladiators (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 24/05/39.
N2296-N2299; modified as Sea Gladiators (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 24/05/39.
N2300; modified as Sea Gladiator (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 13/05/40. Loaned to 18 Sq. in June 1940.
N2301; modified as Sea Gladiator (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 09/04/40.
N2302; modified as Sea Gladiator (Interim) to naval requirements and transferred to Admiralty charge on 22/08/40.
N5500-N5549, N5565-N5574; 60 aircraft transferred to Admiralty during manufacture and completed to full Sea Gladiator standard.

Photo from Gloster Works in 1937.
Image kindly provided by Rennie Cafley.

Squadrons in the RAF, FAA, SAAF and RAAF using Gladiators

1 RAF Squadron

3 RAF Squadron

6 RAF Squadron

16 RAF Squadron

18 RAF Squadron

24 RAF Squadron

25 RAF Squadron

33 RAF Squadron

53 RAF Squadron

54 RAF Squadron

56 RAF Squadron

65 RAF Squadron

72 RAF Squadron

73 RAF Squadron

74 RAF Squadron

80 RAF Squadron

85 RAF Squadron

87 RAF Squadron

94 RAF Squadron

112 RAF Squadron

117 RAF Squadron

123 RAF Squadron

127 RAF Squadron

141 RAF Squadron

152 RAF Squadron

237 RAF Squadron

239 RAF Squadron

247 RAF Squadron

261 RAF Squadron

263 RAF Squadron

267 RAF Squadron

274 RAF Squadron

520 RAF Squadron

521 RAF Squadron

603 RAF Squadron

605 RAF Squadron

607 RAF Squadron

615 RAF Squadron

759 FAA Squadron

769 FAA Squadron

771 FAA Squadron

775 FAA Squadron

800 FAA Squadron

801 FAA Squadron

802 FAA Squadron

804 FAA Squadron

805 FAA Squadron

806 FAA Squadron

855 FAA Squadron

1 SAAF Squadron

2 SAAF Squadron

3 SAAF Squadron

5 SAAF Squadron

3 RAAF Squadron

Fighter Flights

Station Flights

Meteorological Flights

Operational Training Units

Flying Training Schools

Other miscellaneous units using Gladiators

Gloster Gladiators in RAF and FAA service in September 1939

605 Sq. at Tangmere, 11 Fighter Group, 10 Gladiators (4 in reserve).
615 Sq. at Kenley, 11 Fighter Group, 16 Gladiators (4 in reserve).
603 Sq. at Turnhouse, 13 Fighter Group, 16 Gladiators (2 in reserve).
607 Sq. at Usworth, 13 Fighter Group, 16 Gladiators (8 in reserve).

33 Sq. at Qasaba, Egypt Group, 14 Gladiators (5 in reserve).
80 Sq. at Amriya, 252 Wing, Egypt Group, 14 Gladiators (3 in reserve).
112 Sq. at Helwan, 252 Wing, Egypt Group, 16 Gladiators (8 in reserve).

94 Sq. at Sheik Othman, British Forces in Aden (Gloster Sea Gladiator and Vickers Vincent) , 12 Gladiators (4 in reserve).

801 FAA Sq. on HMS Courageous

It’s also interesting to note that during same time some other squadrons had other, older, biplane fighters!
616 Sq. at Finningley, 12 Fighter Group (14 Gloster Gauntlets (6 in reserve)!)
609 Sq. at Yeadon, 13 Fighter Group (Spitfire Mk.I and Hawker Hind light bombers!)
6 Sq. at Ramleh/Haifa, RAF in Palestine and Transjordan (Hawker Hardy, 6 Gloster Gauntlets (4 in reserve) and Westland Lysander!)

Sources:
112 Sqn "Shark Squadron" 1939 - 1941 - Andre R. Zbiegniewski, 2003 Miniatury lotnicze 15, Kagero, Lublin, ISBN 83-89088-55-X
Aces High - Christopher Shores and Clive Williams, 1994 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-898697-00-0
Aeroplane Monthly, May 1992
Aeroplane Monthly, December 1998
Airborne for the duration - Eric A. C. Barfoot, 2004 The Book Guild Ltd, ISBN 1-85776-856-6
Air war for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete - Christopher Shores, Brian Cull and Nicola Malizia, 1987 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-07-0
Another tragedy for 237 Squadron – Andrew Thomas, FlyPast April 2004
Battle of Britain; The Forgotten Months - John Foreman, 1988
Borders Historical Aviation Archaeology
Combat Aircraft of World War Two - Elke C. Weale, 1985
Desert Prelude: Early clashes June-November 1940 - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2010 MMP books, ISBN 978-83-89450-52-4
Desert Prelude: Operation Compass - Håkan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo, 2011 MMP books, ISBN 978-83-61421-18-4
Dust Clouds in the Middle East - Christopher Shores, 1996 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-898697-37-X
Fighters over the Desert - Christopher Shores and Hans Ring, 1969 Neville Spearman Limited, London
Fleet Air Arm Aircraft, 1939-1945 - Ray Sturtivant kindly provided by Mark E. Horan
Fleet Air Arm Archive
Fledgling Eagles - Christopher Shores with John Foreman, Christian-Jaques Ehrengardt, Heinrich Weiss and Bjørn Olsen, 1991 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-42-9
Flying Sailors at War: Volume 1 – Brian Cull with Bruce Lander and Mark Horan, 2011 Dalrymple & Verdun Publishing, Stamford, ISBN 978-1-905414-14-7
Flying Units of the RAF - Alan Lake, 1999 Airlife Publishing Ltd, Shrewsbury, ISBN 1-84037-086-6
Gladiator - Andrew Thomas, 2003 Battle of Britain, Key Publishing Ltd, Stamford
Gladiators – Glory Days, 2004 Flypast June 2004.
Gladiators over Malta: The Story of Faith, Hope and Charity – Brian Cull and Frederick Galea, 2008 Wise Owl Publications, ISBN 978-99932-92-78-4
Gloster Gladiator - Richard Ward, 1989 Wingspan March/April 1989
Gloster Gladiator Aces - Andrew Thomas, 2002 Osprey Publishing, London, ISBN 1-84176-289-X
Gloster Gladiator Home Page - Alexander Crawford.
Gloster Gladiator in focus, 2004 Flypast June 2004.
Gloster Gladiator vol. 1 Development and Operational History - Alex Crawford, 2009 MMP, ISBN 978-83-89450-59-3
Gloster Gladiator, Warpaint series no. 37 – Tom Spencer, Warpaint Books Ltd, Luton, ISSN 1361-0369
Hurricanes over the sands: Part One - Michel Lavigne and James F. Edwards, 2003 Lavigne Aviation Publications, Victoriaville, ISBN 2-9806879-2-8
National Archives of Australia
Opening the batting - Andrew Thomas, 2006 Flypast March 2006.
RAF 112 Sqn Tribute
RAF Fighter Command losses: Volume 1 - Norman L. R. Franks, 1997
Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-N9999 - James J. Halley, 1993 Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, Kent, ISBN 0-85130-208-4
Royal Navy Aces of World War 2 - Andrew Thomas, 2007 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-178-6
Shark Squadron - The history of 112 Squadron 1917-1975 - Robin Brown, 1994 Crécy Books, ISBN 0-947554-33-5
Springbok Fighter Victory: East Africa Volume 1 1940 – 1941 – Michael Shoeman, 2002 African Aviation Series No. 11, Freeworld Publications CC, ISBN 0-958-4388-5-4
The Battle of France Then and Now – Peter D. Cornwell, 2008 After the Battle, ISBN 9-781870-067652
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Gloster Gladiator - Francis K. Mason, 1964
The K File - The Royal Air Force of the 1930s - James J. Halley MBE, 1995 Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, Kent, ISBN 0-85130-224-6
Those Other Eagles – Christopher Shores, 2004 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-904010-88-1
Twelve Days In May - Brian Cull and Bruce Lander with Heinrich Weiss, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-12-8
Additional information kindly provided by Rob Brown, Col Bruggy, Dave Charles, Don Clark, Alex Crawford, Brian Cull, Russell Guest, Börje Henningsson, Dave Homewood, Rick Kent, Birger Larsen, Ken MacLean, Errol Martyn, Paul McMillan, Ross McNeill, Dave Molyneux, Tinus le Roux, Andy Saunders, Yuriy Svoyskiy, Many Souffan, Andrew Thomas, Neil Wakefield and David Williams.






Last modified 12 January 2007