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The Gloster Gladiator was the last Bi-plane fighter to serve with the RAF and was also the first RAF fighter to fly with an enclosed cockpit. The Gladiator was designed in 1934 but only entered RAF service in 1937, by which time it was already rendered obsolete by the new generation of monoplane fighters such as Germany’s Messercschmitt Bf109.

Despite this, Gloster Gladiator’s were to perform very well with the RAF against more modern aircraft during the Norway campaign of 1940 and were to become immortalised for their role in helping to defend Malta. Gladiators flown by the Finns were very successful in the Winter War against Soviet Russia, as were Gladiators in Greek service against the Italians.

Preserved examples of this fine aircraft can be seen at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, the RAF Museum, Hendon and at the Shuttleworth Collection.

Type: Single seat bi-plane fighter
Powerplant: 840hp Bristol Mercury IX Radial
Maximum Speed: 253 mph
Maximum Altitude: c 33,000feet
Range: c 440 miles
Armament: 4 x forward firing .303/7.7 mm Browning machine guns.


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