Gloster Gladiator in 72 RAF Squadron service

72 Squadron
Tangmere, March 1937 to May 1937. Church Fenton, June 1937 to April 1939. The unit also operated Gladiators for two weeks in March 1940 from Acklington on the Northumberland coast due to the bad state of the airfield at this time.
Code letters: "RN".
Serials Code Arrival Note Departure
K6130   22/02/37 From Manufacturer   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K6131   22/02/37 From Manufacturer 26/03/38 Ran out of fuel on approach to forced landing while lost and overturned and wrecked. To 9 FTS.
K6132   22/02/37 From Manufacturer   To 603 Sq.
K6133   22/02/37 From Manufacturer 23/07/37 Flew into ground out of cloud on ferry flight, Sealand – Church Fenton, Barmby, Yorks., and destroyed by fire; P/O Philip Hughes Crompton KIFA. (63,10 hours)
K6134   22/02/37 From Manufacturer   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K6135   22/02/37 From Manufacturer   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K6136   22/02/37 From Manufacturer   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K6137   22/02/37 From Manufacturer   21/07/39 To 607 Sq.
K6138   04/03/37 From Manufacturer 29/06/38 Collided with K6139 2m S of Selby but returned to base. 11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K6139   04/03/37 From Manufacturer 11/03/37 Engine cut and a/c force landed and overturned at Odiham.
Returned to Squadron after repair.
29/06/38 Collided with K6138 and crashed 2m S of Selby, Yorks.; F/L William Forster Pharazyn KIFA.
(105,27 hrs)
K6140   04/03/37 From Manufacturer   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K6141   12/03/37 From Manufacturer   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K6142   12/03/37 From Manufacturer   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K6143   12/02/37 From Manufacturer Used until 04/39. 11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K6144   31/03/37 From Manufacturer 01/12/38 Abandoned in spin, Monk Freyston, Yorks. (122,45 hours)
K7893   07/05/39 From 3 Sq.   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K7897   18/05/38 From 3 Sq.   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K7898   18/06/38 From 3 Sq.   21/07/39 To 607 Sq.
K7922   14/05/37 Allocated to DTD at Glosters.
02/06/37 To DTD at Faireys for propeller trials.
18/08/37 To 72 Sq.
  11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K7934   26/05/37 From Manufacturer. 07/02/38 Hit high-tension cables on hill in mist and crashed 4m north of Brough. Aircraft destroyed by fire and P/O Alfred Alexander Devany KIFA. 01/04/38 SOC (107,20 hours).
K7954   07/05/39 From 3 Sq.   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K7963   07/05/39 From 3 Sq.   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K7969   05/10/38 From 85 Sq. 10/03/39 Engine cut and hit hedge in forced landing, Ledsham, Yorks. 11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K7974   23/08/38 From 87 Sq.   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K7977   05/10/38 From 87 Sq.   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K7978   23/08/38 From 87 Sq.   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K7981 RN-D 23/08/38 From 87 Sq. 22/02/39 Overshoot landing into ditch, Church Fenton. 06/07/39 To 1597M at 6 School of Target towing.
K7986   07/05/39 From 3 Sq.   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K8004   06/08/37 From Manufacturer   10/07/39 To 615 Sq.
K8018   25/08/37 From Manufacturer   05/04/38 To Packing Depot.
05/05/38 To Aircraft Depot Aboukir for 33 Sq.
K8019   25/08/37 From Manufacturer   05/04/38 To Packing Depot.
05/05/38 To Aircraft Depot Aboukir for 33 Sq.
K8024   07/05/39 From 3 Sq.   11/05/39 To HMS Argus to form 112 Sq.
K8040   15/06/39 From 65 Sq. Used for trials. 18/12/39 To Rotols.
26/09/41 To Aircraft Gun Mounting Establishment.
12/10/41 To Telecommunications Flying Unit.


Gloster Gladiator Mk.I (K6130) of 72 Squadron operating from Church Fenton, Yorkshire, in June 1937.
© 1999 Rick Kent


Gloster Gladiator Mk.I of 72 Squadron flown by Flying Officer James Brindley Nicolson while operating from Acklington in March 1940. Nicolson was decorated with the Victoria Cross on 15 July 1940 while flying Hurricanes with 249 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, and was thus the only RAF fighter pilot decorated with this award during the Second World War.
© 1999 Rick Kent


Gladiator K6143 at Gloster Aircraft Company, prior delivery to 72 Squadron.
Photo kindly provided by Vincent Jones.


A gaggle of Gladiators from 72 Sq.
Identified in the picture are K6130, K6142, K6144, K6131, and K6134.
Every single of them had been lost in crashes by the end of 1940.
For example K6130 was later transferred to 112 Sq. and hit a hill obscured by a cloud at Qaret el Naga on 18 July 1940.

Gloster Gladiator in Commonwealth squadron service






Last modified 14 October 2010