Gloster Gladiator in 521 RAF Squadron service

521 Squadron
Bircham Newton, July 1942 to March 1943. Docking, September 1943 to March 1945.
Gladiators were used as part of the mixed equipment of this meteorological unit (which included Blenheims, Hudsons, Spitfires and Mosquitoes).
Code letters: No code letters were used.
Serials Code Arrival Note Departure
K7972   From 2 AACU.
10/06/43 To Marshalls for modification to Metrological duties.
17/11/43 To 8 MU.
12/12/43 To 521 Sq.
28/03/44 On conclusion of a test flight F/Sgt R. Hughes landed at Bircham Newton. A good touch-down was made but a tyre burst and the aircraft sustained Cat A.C. damage.
16/11/44 05:25-06:25 The pilot took off at Langham with cloud base 150ft in darkness and made an ascent over Docking to 24000ft. He decided to make a descent below cloud at Docking on the beam. Having lowered to 50ft over the drome and still in cloud (dark) the aircraft bumped badly on the aerodrome and the pilot knew his undercarriage was damaged and he crash-landed. There must have been an instrument lag on the altimeter. The Pilot has made many sorties under difficult conditions and has made many successful landings in the beam at Docking; Sgt W. McKay safe.
11/12/44 SOC.
K8043 ’E’ 03/09/43 From 1401 (Met) Flight.   26/04/46 SOC.
N2307   From 1401 (Met) Flight. 11/04/43 Tipped up while running up engine at Bircham Newton and not repaired; Cpl A. H. Salmon safe.  
N2309   From 1401 (Met) Flight. 08/11/43 16:45-17:55 On returning in semi-darkness the aerodrome was obscured by bad visibility and a crash-landing made at Magdalen Road, south of King's Lynn. F/L G. Watson was only superficially injured but the aircraft was severely damaged and placed in Category B.  
N2310   From 1401 (Met) Flight. 11/12/43 Hit tree after attempting to force-land after that the engine cut over sea and overturned 1 mile east of Old Leake near Boston, Lincs; Sgt W. McKay safe.  
N5594   From 1401 (Met) Flight. 14/09/44 Hit mast in fog and crashed at Docking and was destroyed beyond repair; W/O R. Hughes safe.  
N5621   From 1401 (Met) Flight. 28/03/44 17:45-20:00 THUM Flt. During this THUM, fog closed in at base and pilot was given a course to Marham, although the name of the aerodrome was not given to him. While carrying out instructions he saw an aerodrome beneath, the fog was getting worse so he decided to land. After tough-down and while with considerable speed the Gladiator ran into a farm harrow sustaining Cat B damage. The aerodrome was Great Massingham (still under construction). Average visibility at the time 500 yards. F/L S. R. Black safe. The aircraft was destroyed beyond repair.  
N5897 'E' From 1401 (Met) Flight. 17/03/43 07:10-09:35 Ran short on fuel on met flight; hit ridge in forced landing and tipped up at High Wham, Co. Durham. Not repaired; Sgt F. Clayton safe.  
N5900   From 1402 (Met) Flight. 27/12/44 08:20- THUM Flt.
27/12/44 11:29 Met. Flt. The engine became u/s at about 6000ft. T/O was from Docking but landed at Langham.
26/04/46 SOC.
N5902   From 1402 (Met) Flight. 27/12/44 Taxied into tree stump at Langham. Not repaired and SOC.  

Gloster Gladiator in Commonwealth squadron service

Last modified 28 October 2010