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THE JET AGE RESERVE MODEL COLLECTION

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A MODEL HISTORY OF GLOSTER AIRCRAFT

 
 

   
  As described in the article on the design and building of the Square Airfield, prior to delivery of the diorama to Gloucester Folk Museum the opportunity was taken to lay out the aircraft models involved to see how much space would be left for the addition of airfield vehicles and figures. This simulation - in a well lit garage - also allowed individual aircraft to be recorded in what turned out to be largely the same positions as the Folk Museum were to finally chose for them.  
 

   
  As described in the article on the design and building of the Square Airfield, prior to delivery of the diorama to Gloucester Folk Museum the opportunity was taken to lay out the aircraft models involved to see how much space would be left for the addition of airfield vehicles and figures. This simulation - in a well lit garage - also allowed individual aircraft to be recorded in what turned out to be largely the same positions as the Folk Museum were to finally chose for them.

Here, then, are those photographs of individual models along with some historical background on each exhibit.

 
 

   
 

THE BIPLANE ERA

 
 

   
  Founded in 1917 with the amalgamation of George Holt Thomas's Aircraft Manufacturing Company and renowned woodworkers H.H. Martyn, the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company had initially built and adapted other firm's designs. Under the direction of designer Harry P. Folland however, the Nighthawk biplane fighter evolved into the Sparrowhawk ( with 50 examples being sold to the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service, marking the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company's first export success ) and then the Gloster Grebe, built for six RAF squadrons between 1923 and 1927. On 11 November 1926, the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company also improved its export appeal with a name change to The Gloster Aircraft Company.  
 

   
  Founded in 1917 with the amalgamation of George Holt Thomas's Aircraft Manufacturing Company and renowned woodworkers H.H. Martyn, the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company had initially built and adapted other firm's designs. Under the direction of designer Harry P. Folland however, the Nighthawk biplane fighter evolved into the Sparrowhawk ( with 50 examples being sold to the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service, marking the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company's first export success ) and then the Gloster Grebe, built for six RAF squadrons between 1923 and 1927. On 11 November 1926, the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company also improved its export appeal with a name change to The Gloster Aircraft Company.  
 

   
  First flown in February 1925, the Gloster Gamecock was a development of the 1923 vintage Gloster Grebe biplane fighter, powered by the Armstrong-Siddeley Jaguar engine. The Gamecock’s Bristol Jupiter radial prime mover proved more reliable although aerodynamic faults inherited from the Grebe were to cause 8 fatal crashes in the Gamecock’s first 19 months of RAF service. Despite this the Gamecock was a fine aerobatic aircraft and only retired from RAF service in July 1931. One of the five RAF squadrons to fly the Gloster Gamecock was Number 43, ever since known as "The Fighting Cocks."  
 

   
  GLOSTER GAMECOCK

Kit by Aeroclub, assembled by Tony Neuls

First flown in February 1925, the Gloster Gamecock was a development of the 1923 vintage Gloster Grebe biplane fighter, powered by the Armstrong-Siddeley Jaguar engine. The Gamecock’s Bristol Jupiter radial prime mover proved more reliable although aerodynamic faults inherited from the Grebe were to cause 8 fatal crashes in the Gamecock’s first 19 months of RAF service. Despite this the Gamecock was a fine aerobatic aircraft and only retired from RAF service in July 1931. One of the five RAF squadrons to fly the Gloster Gamecock was Number 43, ever since known as "The Fighting Cocks."

Gloster Gamecocks were also licence built in Finland as the Kukko and were followed from the Gloster factory at Hucclecote by such biplane fighters as the Gauntlet and Gladiator

 
 

   
  The Gloster Gladiator was both the last biplane fighter used by the RAF and also the first with a fully enclosed cockpit. First flown as the Gloster SS37 in September 1934, 72 Squadron RAF was the first to equip with the type at Tangmere in February 1937. By September 1939, Gloster Gladiators were widely spread across the Mediterranean and Middle East and this example – Sea Gladiator N5531 – has a special story to tell.  
 

   
  GLOSTER SEA GLADIATOR

Corgi limited edition die cast model, the first in the World with full rigging.

Developed from the earlier Gloster Gauntlet, the Gloster Gladiator was both the last biplane fighter used by the RAF and also the first with a fully enclosed cockpit. First flown as the Gloster SS37 in September 1934, the Gladiator also featured cantilever landing gear and a two bladed fixed pitch propeller while the navalized Sea Gladiator also had catapult points, arrester hook and was fitted with a collapsible dinghy.

Export customers included Belgium, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, China, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Egypt, Iraq and South Africa.

72 Squadron RAF was the first to equip with the type at Tangmere in February 1937. By September 1939, Gloster Gladiators were widely spread across the Mediterranean and Middle East and this example – Sea Gladiator N5531 – has a special story to tell.

At the start of World War II total air power on the strategic British-held island of Malta consisted of four Gloster Gladiators. These were packed in crates and left at Kalafrana flying boat base on the island by the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious that left to join the Norwegian campaign. In fact there were enough parts to make up eight biplanes but the Royal Navy wanted four back to join the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. The remaining four were assembled. Three were to be used operationally with one kept in reserve. Flying Officer John Waters named the operational Gladiators "Faith", "Hope" and "Charity".

Their first scramble came at 0649 on 11 June 1940 when 10 Italian Savoia Marchetti 79 bombers attacked Malta’s Grand Harbour, although on the seventh Fascist raid of that day a Gladiator was able to shoot down a Macchi 200 fighter – the slower biplanes being more manoeuvrable than their foes. Three bladed propellers rather than the standard two bladed components were fitted to improve the rate of climb although excessive use of superchargers to rapidly gain altitude led to blown pistons on the Bristol Mercury radial engines. As a result, the three Gladiators were fitted with similar powerplants from Bristol Blenheim bombers and fought on for 17 days without relief, fooling Italian intelligence into thinking that Malta had a substantial air defence force. Sea Gladiator N5531 had been assigned to 802 Naval Air Squadron from June 1939 to January 1940 and was named "Hope" as part of the Hal Far Flight on 19 April 1940. She was destroyed in an air raid on 4 February 1941.

 
 

   

On 23 October 1939, 263 Squadron - which had first been established on 27 September 1918 in Otrano, Southern Italy and disbanded the following May - reformed at Filton, near Bristol,  with Gloster Gladiators.  In April 1940 it was sent to Norway in an attempt to give air cover for British and Norwegian forces but within three days of operating from a frozen lake all of 263 Squadron's Gladiators were unfit for service and were returned to Britain to re-equip.  263 Squadron returned to Norway in May 1940 further north from its previous location and flew patrols until Allied forces were withdrawn from Narvik.  Unfortunately all the Gladiators were lost when HMS Glorious - the aircraft carrier taking them home - was sunk by German surface ships.

 

THE MONOPLANE ERA

 
 

   
  Gloster Aircraft Company had been taken over by Hawker Aircraft Limited in 1934 and during the latter part of the decade outshopped such Hawker designs as Hardy, Hart, Audax, Hartbee, Henley,Hurricane and Typhoon.  
 

   
  Gloster Aircraft Company had been taken over by Hawker Aircraft Limited in 1934 and during the latter part of the decade outshopped such Hawker designs as Hardy, Hart, Audax, Hartbee, Henley, Hurricane and Typhoon.  
 

   
  The first Gloster-built Hawker Hurricane appeared on 27 October 1939 and the 1 000 th example exactly a year later. A total of 2 750 Hurricanes were built by Glosters up to March 1942: with as many as five aircraft being completed each day. These Rolls Royce Merlin powered monoplanes fought in both the Battle of Britain and the earlier Battle of France. The example here combines brown and green camouflage – ideally suited for combat over land – with the half-black half-white underside paint scheme used by the RAF early in World War Two. This underside livery can also be seen on Gloster Sea Gladiator "Hope".  
 

   
  HAWKER HURRICANE

Injection moulded kit from Jet Age Reserve Model Collection

The first Gloster-built Hawker Hurricane appeared on 27 October 1939 and the 1 000 th example exactly a year later. A total of 2 750 Hurricanes were built by Glosters up to March 1942: with as many as five aircraft being completed each day. These Rolls Royce Merlin powered monoplanes fought in both the Battle of Britain and the earlier Battle of France. The example here combines brown and green camouflage – ideally suited for combat over land – with the half-black half-white underside paint scheme used by the RAF early in World War Two. This underside livery can also be seen on Gloster Sea Gladiators "Hope" and N5641.

Designed by Sydney Camm, the Hawker Hurricane was the World’s first eight-gun monoplane fighter capable of surpassing 300 mph in level flight with a full war load. The first prototype flew on 6 November 1935 and production examples began to equip 111 Squadron in January 1938. More Hawker Hurricanes were used in the Battle of Britain than any other RAF fighter type and their pilots claimed 75 % of all victories. The Hawker Hurricane continued in use until the end of World War II and its rugged design lent itself to the ground attack role with rockets, bombs and even 40mm tank-busting canon.

 
 

   
  Toward the end of May 1943, 219 Group Royal Air Force sent three Hawker Typhoons for operational flight trials in the Middle East, lodging them with 451 Squadon Royal Australian Air Force based at Landing Ground 106 of RAF Station Idku, Egypt.  Commanded by Squadron Leader J. Paine, 451 had recently been withdrawn from front line operations and their experience with Hawker Hurricane Mk IIcs in the Western Desert made its pilots ideal to evaluate its proposed successor.  In addition, 451 Squadron also contained a flight of three Mark V Supermarine Spitfires  - on loan from 103 Maintenance Unit - used on "Marker" duties to intercept high flying German reconnaissance aircraft over nearby Alexandria.
 
 

   
HAWKER TYPHOON

Corgi limited edition die cast model

The Napier Sabre-engined Hawker Typhoon first flew in February 1940 although delivery to the RAF did not begin until September 1941 and engine and structural problems dogged the Typhoons early career as a low-level interceptor. However, from 1942, the Hawker Typhoon excelled in its role as a ground attack strike aircraft, fitted with four 20mm Hispano canon and either 1 000lb of bombs or eight rocket projectiles. 

Toward the end of May 1943, 219 Group Royal Air Force sent three Hawker Typhoons for operational flight trials in the Middle East, lodging them with 451 Squadon Royal Australian Air Force based at Landing Ground 106 of RAF Station Idku, Egypt.  Commanded by Squadron Leader J. Paine, 451 had recently been withdrawn from front line operations and their experience with Hawker Hurricane Mk IIcs in the Western Desert made its pilots ideal to evaluate its proposed successor.  In addition, 451 Squadron also contained a flight of three Mark V Supermarine Spitfires  - on loan from 103 Maintenance Unit - used on "Marker" duties to intercept high flying German reconnaissance aircraft over nearby Alexandria.

On 14 June 1943 Hawker Typhoon R8891 arrived at Idku but by 17 June its engine had attained 30 hours and was unserviceable as the representative of Napier Engines - needed to perform a sleeve valve wear check - had not yet arrived.  It was then replaced by DN323, as depicted in the Corgi model, and the trials continued, culminating in armament tests in September 1943.  The three Hawker Typhoons were then ferried to 161 Maintenance Unit on 23 October 1943.


The Napier Sabre-engined Hawker Typhoon first flew in February 1940 although delivery to the RAF did not begin until September 1941 and engine and structural problems dogged the Typhoons early career as a low-level interceptor. However, from 1942, the Hawker Typhoon excelled in its role as a ground attack strike aircraft, fitted with four 20mm canon and either bombs or rocket projectiles. The example here is painted in late War markings with black and white D-Day invasion stripes under its rear fuselage and a three bladed propeller in contrast to the two bladed propeller seen on the Hurricane.


 

The example above, modelled by Tony Neuls from the Airfix kit,  is painted in late War markings with black and white D-Day invasion stripes under its rear fuselage and a three bladed propeller in contrast to the two bladed propeller seen on the Hurricane.

In particular, Typhoons helped end the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 when they were able to halt the advance of German armour through the Ardennes. The Hawker Typhoon also provided the basis for the later Hawker Tempest and Sea Fury piston-engined fighters and most of the 3 330 examples were built in Gloucester.

Tony Neuls was also kind enough to lend to the exhibition his Airfix model of the classic RAF David Brown tractor. As many 1/72 scale enthusiasts will know, this tractor was only ever available on the same sprue as the Airfix Short Stirling bomber and was included to pull the bomb trolleys also included in the kit. However, not only was the RAF David Brown tractor a common sight on most British airfields in the Second World War but Stirlings - the first RAF four engined heavy bombers - were also produced on the Gloster site at Hucclecote after Shorts own factory at Rochester had been bombed in 1940.

 
 

   
 

THE EARLY JET ERA

 
 

   
  The idea of jet propulsion came to Flight Cadet Frank Whittle during his studies at RAF Cranwell in 1928. In 1936 he set up a design company, Power Jets Ltd, to investigate the problems involved and Power Jets first experimental turbine – built by British Thomson Houston – first ran on 12 April 1937.  
 

   
  The idea of jet propulsion came to Flight Cadet Frank Whittle during his studies at RAF Cranwell in 1928. In 1936 he set up a design company, Power Jets Ltd, to investigate the problems involved and Power Jets first experimental turbine – built by British Thomson Houston – first ran on 12 April 1937.

In fact the first ever jet-propelled aeroplane to fly was the Heinkel 178 at Marienehe, Germany, on 27 August 1939. This was powered by a 1 100 lb thrust Heinkel HeS3B gas turbine designed by Dr Hans Pabst von Ohain and based on Whittle’s initial work. However, as the German government at the time felt that its conventional piston aircraft were sufficient for its current needs, Heinkel’s jet programme was not greatly encouraged.

 
 

   
  Kit by Frog / Novo from the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection. Although for many years the only plastic kit of the E28/39 available - and still capturing the essential layout of the aircraft – this original Frog moulding is not dimensionally accurate.  
 

   
  GLOSTER E 28/39

Kit by Frog / Novo from the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection. Although for many years the only plastic kit of the E28/39 available - and still capturing the essential layout of the aircraft – this original Frog moulding is not dimensionally accurate.

Supported by the British Government, Power Jet's experimental BTH turbine evolved into the 860 lb thrust W1 power plant which drove the Gloster –Whittle E28/39 into the air during its initial flights at Hucclecote on 8 April 1941 and then during its official first flight at Cranwell on 15 May 1941. A second E28/39 flew in March 1943 but crashed during the following July. The first example however continued to test ever more powerful jet engines until being retired from flight in 1943.

 
 

   
  The Gloster E 1/44 was designed around a single gas turbine as an insurance against the possible failure of the twin Derwent-engined Gloster Meteor project. However, despite the success of the Meteor, Gloster continued with their single engined jet fighter concept and began building an airframe round the 5 000 lb horsepower Rolls Royce Nene gas turbine in 1944.  
 

   
  GLOSTER E 1/44

Vacuumed-formed Maintrack kit assembled by Tony Neuls.

The Gloster E 1/44 was designed around a single gas turbine as an insurance against the possible failure of the twin Derwent-engined Gloster Meteor project. However, despite the success of the Meteor, Gloster continued with their single engined jet fighter concept and began building an airframe round the 5 000 lb horsepower Rolls Royce Nene gas turbine in 1944.

Construction of the first prototype – SM809 – was complete in July 1947 only for the aircraft to be irreparably damaged in a road accident as it was being taken by lorry for its first flight at Boscombe Down. SM809 was replaced by second prototype TX145 which first flew at Boscombe Down’s Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment on 9 March 1948.

Although this reached a speed of 620 mph and climbed well, overall handling problems led to the third machine – TX148, seen here – being fitted with a tailplane halfway up the fin rather than at the fin base. This arrangement was similar to the tail structure of Meteors from the F8 variant onward but as the E 1/44 was seen as having limited development potential compared to the established De Havilland Vampire the project was abandoned.

However, both TX145 and TX148 earned their keep at RAE Farnborough developing runway braking parachutes and flying control systems into the 1950s.

 
 

   
 

THE TWIN JET ERA

 
 

   
  The prototype twin-jet Gloster F9/40 first flew on 5 March 1943 with the first Meteor F1 taking to the air on 12 January 1944. The first RAF Meteor Squadron – 616 – started conversion from Spitfire VIIs on 12 July 1944 and Flying Officer Dean made the first jet-to-jet kill on 4 August 1944 when he flipped over a V1 flying bomb with the wingtip of EE216.  
 

   
  GLOSTER METEOR F3

Airfix kit assembled by Tony Neuls

The Gloster Meteor was not only the first jet aircraft to go into RAF squadron service but alsothe only Allied jet aircraft to se active service during World War II.

Design work began in 1940 and the prototype twin-jet Gloster F9/40 first flew on 5 March 1943 with the first Meteor F1 taking to the air on 12 January 1944. The first RAF Meteor Squadron – 616 – started conversion from Spitfire VIIs on 12 July 1944 and Flying Officer Dean made the first jet-to-jet kill on 4 August 1944 when he flipped over a V1 flying bomb with the wingtip of EE216.

On 18 December 1944 616 Squadron began to re-equip with Meteor F3s, powered by 2 000 lb thrust Derwent I engines and also featuring sliding rather than hinged canopies, increased internal fuel capacity, slotted air brakes and a strengthened airframe. Meteor F3s went on to equip RAF Fighter Command’s first all-jet Wing and also the first Auxilliary Air Force jet squadron. Gloster Meteors were also used in early flight refuelling trials and deck landing trials aboard HMS Implacable.

The figures and accumulator trolleys seen with the turbojet powered Meteors are from the Airfix RAF Ground Crew set and have been loaned by the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection.

 
 

   
  EE227, the 18th production Meteor F1, went to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough after completing 80 hours of operational flying and was used for directional stability trials, during which it flew with the top fin and rudder removed.  
 

   
  GLOSTER METEOR F3 TRENT TURBOPROP

Adapted from Airfix Meteor F3 kit by Tony Neuls.

EE227, the 18th production Meteor F1, went to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough after completing 80 hours of operational flying and was used for directional stability trials, during which it flew with the top fin and rudder removed.

In February 1945 it reverted to Meteor F1 standard and went to Rolls Royce at Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, for the installation of the RB 50 Trent propeller turbines fitted with 7’ 11" diameter Rotol propellers. Vertical fences on the tailplane were reminiscent of those seen on some configuarations of the E28/39.

EE227's first Trent powered flight, with Eric Greenwood at the controls, took place at Church Broughton on 20 September 1945. This was the World’s first flight by a propeller-turbine aircraft and EE227 is thus the ancestor of all the turboprop military and civil aircraft flying today. Click on the picture above for more on turboprop aircraft fitted with Gloucestershire made propellers

 
 

   
 

 
 

   
The Gloster Meteor F4s - seen in this film of an Argentine Air Force exercise from the 1950s - were a direct development of the Meteor F3. I am indebted to Luis de la Fuente for bringing this video to my attention.


The Gloster Meteor F3 had been first operational jet fighter used by the Royal Air Force, and the Gloster Meteor F4 was distinguished from it by a shorter wingspan and longer engine nacelles. The shorter wingspan – 37’ 2" against the original 43’ – was stiffer, and being 6% smaller offered a rate of roll of more than 80 degrees per second. However, the Meteor F4 required higher take off and landing speeds as a result. The more aerodynamic long chord nacelles meanwhile could accept the 3 000 lb thrust Derwent 5 engine, adapted by Rolls Royce from the even larger and more powerful Nene turbojet. Meteor F4s also featured a strengthened airframe and a pressurised cockpit and could reach over 600 mph at sea level and Mach 0.85 at 30,000 ft, an altitude that could be reached in just 6 minutes.

The Gloster Meteor F4's attributes of speed and rapid ascent are particularly well displayed in this mock interception of two and four piston engined aircraft. During the closing days of World War II in Europe, Gloster Meteors exercised with American bomber aircraft to give their crews experience of repelling jet fighters - swept wing Messerschmidt 262s in the case of actual bombing raids. Meteors were more than capable of dealing with the first generation of Soviet strategic bombers - the Tupolev Tu-4 "Bull" for example being a back-engineered copy of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. However, two-seat Meteor night fighters and then Gloster Javelins - along with Hawker Hunters and English Electric Lightnings - were required later in the 1950s as a deterrent to later Soviet designs such as the Tu-95 "Bear" and M-4 "Bison".

The F4 was also the last fighter version of the Gloster Meteor to be fitted with the original curved tailplane. Single seat Gloster Meteors from the F8 onward had a more rectangular and more streamlined tail.


 


Meteor F4s equipped 31 RAF and Royal Auxilliary Air Force squadrons (often with flamboyant colours added to the standard roundels and other markings) and remained in service with training units long after they had been replaced by the Meteor F8 in front line service between 1950 and 1955. Meteor F4s were also exported to Belgium, Denmark, Egypt and the Netherlands with 46 examples being produced by Armstrong Whitworth - a sister company to Gloster Aircraft within the Hawker Siddeley group.


 

Meteor F4s equipped 31 RAF and Royal Auxilliary Air Force squadrons (often with flamboyant colours added to the standard roundels and other markings, as seen above) and remained in service with training units long after they had been replaced by the Meteor F8 in front line service between 1950 and 1955. Meteor F4s were also exported to Belgium, Denmark, Egypt and the Netherlands with 46 examples being produced by Armstrong Whitworth - a sister company to Gloster Aircraft within the Hawker Siddeley group.  


  The F8 was the ultimate day fighter version of the Gloster Meteor and was only replaced in front line RAF Fighter Command squadrons by the Hawker Hunter in 1955.  
 

   
  GLOSTER METEOR F8

Corgi limited edition die cast model

First flown on 12 October 1948, the long nacelled F8 was the ultimate day fighter version of the Gloster Meteor and was only replaced in 19 front line RAF Fighter Command squadrons by the Hawker Hunter in 1955.

Between 1951 and 1953 however, the Meteor F8 also became the only British built jet aircraft to serve with the United Nations forces in Korea: equipping 77 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force based at Kimpo, South Korea.

On 27 March 1953 Flight Sergeant George Hale and Flight Sergeant David Irlam were part of a flight of four Meteor F8s - led by Squadron Leader John Hubble - attacking ground traffic between Pyongyang, capital of Communist North Korea, and Sinmak. Their aircraft were equipped with under-wing rocket projectiles, just as the Hawker Typhoon had been during World War II. Indeed, the Meteor – although now outclassed as a high altitude interceptor – was still a deadly weapon platform in the ground attack role, as the Israeli Air Force was to prove during the Suez Crisis three years later.

Back in Korea though, upon reaching Pyongyang the formation split with Hale and Irlam heading south in line astern at low level. Hale sighted three transonic swept-wing MiG 15 fighters preparing to attack two USAF RF-80 Shooting Stars. As he jettisoned his ventral tank and turned to intercept the MiGs, Hale fired off the last two of his underwing rockets in an attempt to distract the enemy pilots. This forced the two MiGs to turn away from each other.

As he turned to follow the enemy, Irlam reported that he was under fire and Hale turned into the new threat, which turned out to be two MiGs on Irlam's tail. While Irlam headed for cloud cover in his damaged Meteor, Hale's opponent extended his air brakes and turned in behind Irlam, but overshot. Hale extended his air brakes and slotted in behind the MiG. He opened fire and hit the enemy fighter squarely behind the cockpit. The MiG rolled on its back and fell away, spewing smoke. Just as Hale was about to follow his victim, two more MiGs dived on him. However, he managed to pulled into them and fired but their speed carried them away. A third pair of Communist jets turned in on his tail but Hale turned back on them and opened fire on the second MiG, which left a trail of white smoke. Out of ammunition, Hale had to let the MiGs get away.

Back at Kimpo, Hale and his wingman counted no fewer than 112 shrapnel holes in Irlam's Meteor.

 
 

   
  However, the two MiG silhouettes on his cockpit by his crew chief lasted only a few days before Squadron Leader John Hubble ordered them to be painted out as they broke RAAF regulations. By the end of hostilities though, 77 squadron had lost 32 Meteor pilots in 18 872 sorties but had deprived the Communists of 3 700 buildings. 1 500 vehicles and six MiG 15s.  
 

   
  However, the two MiG silhouettes painted on Hale's cockpit by his crew chief lasted only a few days before Squadron Leader John Hubble ordered them to be painted out as they broke RAAF regulations. By the end of hostilities four months later though, 77 squadron had lost 32 Meteor pilots in 18 872 sorties but had deprived the Communists of 3 700 buildings. 1 500 vehicles and six MiG 15s.  
 

   
Developed from the earlier Mark IV, the Gloster Meteor F Mk 8 featured updated 3 600 lb Rolls Royce Derwent engines, a modified canopy,ejector seat and four 20mm canon in the nose.  Gloster Meteor F Mk 8s also equipped ten Royal Auxilliary Air Force squadrons and - like the Mark IV seen above - acquired some interesting liveries.  WF714, seen above in another Corgi die cast model, was allocated to 500 Squadron RAuxAF based at West Malling, Kent, in 1953 shortly before being damaged on landing during a deployment to Malta.  500 Squadron - having previously flown Meteor IV and IIIs - only converted to F Mk 8s along with the rest of the Royal Auxilliary Air Force in 1952 but disbanded on 10 March 1953.  Indeed, the whole Royal Auxilliary Air Force - comprising part time flyers and their ground crews - were disbanded in 1957 due to defence cuts in the era of the Duncan Sandys axe.

Developed from the earlier Mark IV, the Gloster Meteor F Mk 8 featured updated 3 600 lb Rolls Royce Derwent engines, a modified canopy,ejector seat and four 20mm canon in the nose.  Gloster Meteor F Mk 8s also equipped ten Royal Auxilliary Air Force squadrons and - like the Mark IV seen above - acquired some interesting liveries.  WF714, seen above in another Corgi die cast model, was allocated to 500 Squadron RAuxAF based at West Malling, Kent, in 1953 shortly before being damaged on landing during a deployment to Malta.  500 Squadron - having previously flown Meteor IV and IIIs - only converted to F Mk 8s along with the rest of the Royal Auxilliary Air Force in 1952 but disbanded on 10 March 1953.  Indeed, the whole Royal Auxilliary Air Force - comprising part time flyers and their ground crews - were disbanded in 1957 due to defence cuts in the era of the Duncan Sandys axe.

  To replace the Meteor Night Fighters in RAF service, Gloster managed to overcome competition from the de Havilland DH110 ( later to evolve into the Sea Vixen naval fighter ) and build the delta winged Javelin.  
 

   
  GLOSTER JAVELIN FAW 9R

Frog/Novo kit from the Jet Age Reserve Model Collection

To replace the Meteor Night Fighters in RAF service, Gloster managed to overcome competition from the de Havilland DH110 ( later to evolve into the Sea Vixen naval fighter ) and build the delta winged Javelin.

The Gloster Javelin was designed to Air Ministry Specification F4/48 and was selected to equip the RAF's all-weather squadrons in 1952. It was the world's first delta winged fighter and could intercept high flying bombers day or night and in all weathers because of its electronic and radar instrumentation. The first prototype flew in 1951 from Moreton Valence, just south of Gloucester, and it entered service with the RAF in 1956 with No 46 squadron at Odiham in Hampshire.

Nine variants of the Javelin were produced, steadily increasing its performance and allowing it take on different roles. The Fighter All Weather 7 version introduced Firestreak homing air-to-air missile armament in addition to 30 mm Aden cannon. Also noticeable was an extended rear fuselage – bringing the twin Sapphire jet pipes beyond the fin – and wing mounted vortex generators. The FAW 8 held the unhappy distinction of being the last aircraft to be manufactured by the Gloster Aircraft Company although it continued with aircraft modification and repair for a number of years.

The FAW 9 was in fact a major update of the FAW 7, 116 of which were modified at Gloucester in the early 1960's. Over 400 Javellns were built for the RAF and at peak strength the type equipped 18 different squadrons, namely numbers 3, 5, 11, 23, 25, 29, 33, 41, 46, 60, 64, 72, 85, 87, 89, 96, 141 and 151.

The disbandment of No 60 squadron RAF in 1968 saw the end of the Javelin's service in the front line.

XH 766 is seen here as a 9R variant, further distinguished by its refuelling boom, and wears the scarab and trellis markings of 64 Squadron. This unit had previously flown Meteors F8, NF12 and NF 14, converting to Javelins in 1958 and moving to Binbrook in 1961. It later served as all-weather air defence for Indonesia – based at Tengah – until disbandment on 16 June 1967.

For a further exploration of the rise and fall of both Gloster Aircraft and the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in the 1950s click on the Javelin picture above.