Air Enthusiast 2007-07
The Roundels File
Gloster Gladiator I K7985 of 73 Squadron, Debden, June/November 1937. note: Gladiators were painted Aluminium overall, with black 8in fuselage and 20in underwing serials. Fuselage roundels were 25in, upperwing 40in and underwing 30in. below: Markings on top wing.
Gloster Gladiator I K6130 of 72 Squadron, Church Fenton, June 1937/ October 1939. Flight leader's aircraft, either 'A' (red) or 'C' (blue) Flight; colours chosen opting for 'A'. below: Markings on top wing.
Gloster Gladiator I K6136 of 72 Squadron, Church Fenton, June 1937/October 1939. 'C' Flight, Squadron emblem in arrowhead.
Gloster Gladiator I K7960 'P' of 3 Squadron, Biggin Hill, in May 1939. Aircraft of OC 3 Squadron and also CO RAF Biggin Hill, Sqn Ldr H H Chapman.
Gloster Gladiator I K7920 of 54 Squadron, Hornchurch. Unusual fin marking of (possibly) a blue bar on red fin, possibly associated with the 1938 Air Exercises. Squadron emblem in spearhead on fin. The markings on K7920 were photographed during the 1938 Air Exercises and were different on each aircraft. They may have been a form of identification based on flight colours. If any reader can explain them it would be appreciated.
Gloster Gladiator I K8027 of 87 Squadron, Debden, in 1938. 'C' (blue) Flight leader's aircraft. Was lead in a 'tied-together' aerobatic routine.
The Shuttleworth Collection's Gloster Gladiator delights audiences at Old Warden.
Some of the examples shown prior to delivery, now in full 72 Squadron colours. In the foreground is K6130, the first from the production line to be issued to an operational unit, on February 22, 1937.
In February 1948, Gloster acquired Mk.I L8032, which was later flown in civilian guise as G-AMRK. It was presented to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden, Beds, on November 7, 1960, and still flies from there.
Mk.Is K7965 and K7985 of 73 Squadron showing off the unit's attractive 'arrow head' blue and yellow markings. K7965 was delivered from the factory on June 17, 1937, just five days after 73 moved to Debden, Essex. The unit had previously briefly flown Hawker Fury IIs.
Following rebuild after the 'prang' on October 1935, K5200 was further refined and given an enclosed cockpit. It survived until late 1942.
Pre-delivery line-up of Gladiator Is. All were destined for the first unit to operate the type, 72 Squadron at Tangmere, Sussex. Within the line are K6135, K6136 and K6137, which were delivered to Tangmere on February 22,1937 when 72 re-formed
Unfortunate upper view of the prototype Gladiator K5200, following a landing accident at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, on October 23, 1935. This machine was built as a private venture competitor to Specification F7/30 and was given the factory designation SS.37. It first flew on September 12, 1934, marked as 'G-37', and started trials at Martlesham in April 1935.
A Sea Gladiator (N5517) seen at Brock worth prior to delivery to No 801 Squadron for trials aboard HMS Courageous early in 1939.
The arrester hook deployed.
The under-fuselage dinghy pack. N5517 was issued to 801 Squadron at Donibristle, Scotland, on March 21,1939.