INDEX OF NAVAL AIRCRAFT
|Gloster Gladiator (Sea Gladiator)|
The Sea Gladiator was the variant adopted by the Fleet Air Arm. It was fitted with a deck arrestor, catapult points, and carried a collapsible dinghy.
Numbers built totalled a minimum of 756 (480 RAF, 60 RN; 216 export into 13 countries). Gladiators were also sold to Belgium, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, China, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Egypt, Iraq, and South Africa.
Mk I Initial production model
Mk II Modified Mk I; Mercury VIIIA or VIII AS; tropicalised (inc 38 converted to interim Sea
Sea Gladiator Carrier-borne fighter version; Arrester hook, catapult points, fairing for dinghy
Swedish Gladiator (J 8A)
Modified Mk II; Nohab mercury VIIIS.3
Gladiator II 263 sqdn Lesjaskog Norway1940 Sea GladiatorMkI 802sqdn HMS Glorious1939
Four Gloster Gladiator I transferred from RAF charge
K6129 – FAA Pool at Gosport 14.6.38 - it undertook aircraft carrier trials with 800 squadron and on 12 July 1938 joined HMS Furious (same aircraft used for the development of the Sea Gladiator 27 January 1939-February 1939).
50 Gloster Gladiator II ordered under Contract No 704393/37
from Gloster, Hucclecote
Serial Numbers: N2265-N2314. 22 supplied as Sea Gladiators (interim)
Delivered to RN 12.38 (N2265)
First sqdn 769 sqdn at Donistristle 5.5.39 (N2266)
Firstr op sqdn 804 sqdn on 11.39 (N2265)
Last in RN 771 sqdn in 7.43 (N2265), 771 sqdn Met Flt in 8.44 (N2282), and N2296 at Crail 6.44-7.44. paid off Oct 1945
60 GLOSTER SEA GLADIATOR ordered under contract No 952950/38 from Gloster, Hucclecote and numbered N5500 – N5574
First deld RN
N5500 deld 801 sdqn 2.39 –3.39 (17 delivered to 801), thence to Malta and
802 sqdn on 4.39 (18 aircraft including
'Charity' (N5518), 'Faith' (N5520), and 'Hope' (N5531)
Gladiator MkI K7965 of 73Sqdn RAF 1938
Battle Honours and Operational History
The Gladiator was used during WWII in theatres where the RAF or FAA could not afford better equipment. The Gladiator took part in the Norwegian campaign in 1940, and triumphed during the first campiagns in the Mediterranean in 1940-1941, where it claimed shooting down numerous enemy aircraft. The Gladiator became well known in the campaigns in the defence of Crete in May 1941.
Air Ace Keighly-Peach after landing on flight-deck in Sea Gladiator N5517, HMS Eagle, 1940
In the defence of Malta the Gladiator also became famous. From a stock of 18 aircraft of 802 squadron remaining at Malta after HMS Glorious was sunk in 1940, three Sea Gladiators became international legends, "Faith", "Hope" and "Charity". They were part of the Hal Far Fighter Flight, composed of mixed RAF and FAA personnel."Faith". Sea Gladiator N5520 of 802 squadron from June to November 1939, she joined the Hal Far Fighter Flight in April 1940. She was quick to defend Malta, and whilst piloted by Flt Lt JL Waters RAF shot down and destroyed an Italian S.79 on 11 June 1940, and the next day on 12 June 1940 destroyed another S.79. She was renamed "Faith" between October 1941 and January 1942. Fuselage preserved Malta.There are a number of websites dealing with the combat history of the FAA Gladiator and Sea Gladiator. See Gloster Gladitor website by A Crawford. and the Biplane Fighters from the Second World War which includes details of each unit and fate of aircraft and biographies of the aces.
"Hope". Sea Gladiator N5531 of 802 squadron from June 1939 to January 1940, joined the Hal Far Flight, and was renamed "Hope on 19 April 1940. She was destroyed in an air raid on 4 February 1941
"Charity". Sea Gladiator N5519 ‘G6A’ of 802 squadron from June-September 1939, she joined the Hal Far Fighter Flight and renamed 'Charity' on 19 April 1940. She was involved in defending Malta over the critical 1940 period but was shot down on 29 July 1940 and her pilot F/O PW Hartley RAF was badly burned.
This is FAITH, one of three legendary Gladiators said to have saved the island of Malta in June, 1940. Gloster Gladiator by ROBERT KARR
Fleet Air Arm Sea Gladiator in flight
Surviving aircraft and relics
Even though the aircraft was relegated at an early stage in the war a number of Gladiator aircraft have survived including the last two airworthy examples in the world.
Preserved examples exist at the Shuttleworth Collection (UK), Gloucestershire Aviation Collection (UK), National War Museum (Malta), and the RAF Museum (UK). A Gladiator mocked up as a Sea Gladiator was loaned by the Shuttleworth Collection to the FAA Museum between 1971 and 1994 and marked in Sea Gladiator colours. This Gladiator has since been restored and now resides with The Fighter Collection (UK).
The example at the National War Museum in Malta is the only surviving Sea Gladiator in the world, and the Fleet Air Arm Museum no longer has any examples of the Gladiator mark.
Sea Gladiator I N5520 "Charity" in June 1940 (Fauconberg graphics) Sea Gladiator I N5520 "Charity" as she looks today in Malta.
Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.I (N5519)(“Charity”) of Hal Far Fighter Flight operating from Hal Far, Malta, in June 1940, survives in the National War Museum in Malta.
RAF Museum: Gladiator MkII N5628 preserved after recovered from a Fjord in Norway