Gloster Gladiator MK II N2308 HP-B RAF 247 Squadron - Battle of Britain - August 1940
A truly innovative aeroplane, the Gloster Gladiator is often described as the pinnacle of biplane fighter design and was the pride of the Royal Air Force when the first examples were delivered to No.72 Squadron at Tangmere in February 1937. Unfortunately, aviation history dictated that the undoubted qualities possessed by the Gladiator were largely forgotten, particularly as both the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire had both made their first flights by the time of its squadron introduction and indeed the first RAF Hurricanes were delivered later in 1937. During the Battle of France, two squadrons of Gladiators were sent to support the British Expeditionary Force, but suffered badly at the hands of the Luftwaffe, as the age of the fast, monoplane fighter had already arrived. Mainly withdrawn to secondary roles, one RAF squadron did famously use the Gladiator during the Battle of Britain, as they were sent to operate from Roborough airfield, to protect the naval dockyards at Devonport. Wearing the standard Royal Air Force day camouflage scheme of the period, No.247 (China-British) Squadron flew many standing patrols over their assigned area, but did not see actual combat with the Luftwaffe during the battle. On Christmas Eve 1940, the squadron finally traded their Gladiators for new Hawker Hurricane fighters.
With the Gloster Gladiators of RAF No.247 Squadron providing fighter cover for the Devonport dockyards during the Battle of Britain, the unit enabled Fig