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Thread: Gladiators sent to France.

  1. #1
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    Default Gladiators sent to France.

    Hello,

    Gloster Gladiators sent to France.

    Has anyone details of the Gladiators that were sent to France ?

    From what I have 32 a/c were sent in November 1939 with 607 and 615 Squadrons.

    I have those 32 serial numbers.

    607 Squadron
    K6137;6147;6149;7931;7967;7982;7983;7988;7989;7995 ;7996;7998;7999;8000;8026;8030.
    Losses were:K6137;7931;7967;7996;7998;8000;8030.

    and for

    615 Squadron
    N2303;2304;2306;2308;2309;2310;2312;5577;5578;5580 ;5581;5582;5583;5585;5586;5587.
    Losses were: N2303;5577;5578;5581;5582;5586;5587.

    Question 1.
    Were more or replacements sent over later on, if so what were their serial numbers please?

    Also the 607 and 615 Squadron Pilots.

    Question 2.
    I have found the following pilots for 607 Sqdn's time in France.
    P/O Whitty
    P/O. Radcliffe
    P/O. Graeme
    S/Ldr. Smith
    F/O. Le Breuilly
    F/O. Thompson
    F/Lt. Fiddler
    F/O. Pumphrey
    F/O. Sullivan
    Sgt. Townsend
    F/O. Cuthbert
    F/O. Russell
    F/O. Wetherill
    F/Lt. Sample
    P/O. Dixon
    P/O. Jay
    F/O. Gore
    P/O. Dini
    S/Ldr. Blackadder
    Were there others during the Gladiator time in France?

    Question 3.
    Same for 615 Sqdn
    P/O. Wickham
    F/Lt. Sanders
    F/O. Hugo
    F/O. Eyre
    F/O. Fredman
    F/O. Merton-Neale
    F/O. Fowler
    P/O. Looker
    F/Lt. Thornley
    P/O. Jackson
    P/O. Young
    P/O. Ravenhill
    F/O. Pexton
    P/O. Verity
    Who were the others please ?

    Many thanks in advance
    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 24th April 2009 at 10:14.

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    Hi Alex,

    From the May 39 Confidential Air Force List

    P/O W H R Whitty 7 Mar 1938
    P/O. H P J Radcliffe 11 Jul 1938
    S/Ldr. L E Smith, 3 July 1933
    F/O. M H B Thompson 27 Aug 1937
    F/O. R E W Pumphrey 13 March 1937
    F/Lt. John Sample, 27 April 1934
    P/O. H P Dixon 20 Dec 1938
    F/O. William E Gore 18 June 1934
    S/Ldr. W F Blackadder 1 June 1938

    Regards
    Ross
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    hello,

    Wetherill is in fact Weatherill.

    3 Gladiator pilots are buried in Douai, France : Wickham (N5582), and Radcliffe (K8030) and Graeme (K8000) who were killed in a mid-air collision. Douai can be explained because they were based nearby at Vitry-en-Artois.

    Silly question maybe, but you don't say if you have checked the Squadrons' ORBs ?

    Joss

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    For 607 Sq, see Robert Dixon's recent book "607 Squadron A Shade of Blue"

    Dudley Craig,
    James Vick
    Milne Irving
    Jim Bazin
    Peter Parrott
    Tony Foster
    Plinston (pilot?)
    John Hawkes
    Bill Whitty
    Gordon Stewart
    Charles Bowen
    C.R.Roe
    George Fidler (replacement CO)
    Richard Demetriadi (seconded from 601)
    Dave Blomley (return ferry)
    Ken Newton (return ferry)
    Courtnay (return ferry)

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    Hi Alex,
    I think most of them are on the lists here. Francis Blackadder was a Flt Lt, George Fidler is often said to be a Sdn Ldr however he also was of Flt Lt rank. I can't see Joe Kayll on there, 'A' Flight Commander 607 moved over Vitry to command 615 Squadron in April. Gordon Stewart was also on 607. Maurice Milne Irving was also a long-standing 607 member who seems to get lost off everything. If any genealogist knows were Irving was born, 1911, please let me know as he has eluded me for some years.
    I'm not sure if you looking for pilots who were in France or pilots who flew Gladiators in France. John Hawkes was taken off flying early in 1940 because of an eye-test failure, he became the squadron Intelligence Officer. Jim Vick left the Squadron for 609 but never got there. John Humpherson was a member of 607 from 1939. However, as the battle of France got under way many pilots were seconded in among them Stan Turner, Robert Grassick, Willie McKnight and J, Sulivan from 242. Donald Courtney from 151 and G. Cuthbert from 601.
    I hope this is of some help...Graham, the tenner's in the post!

    Best Wishes.
    Robert.

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    Thank you Ross, Joss, Graham and Robert,

    All of you are most helpful.

    I feel that this period of Gladiator life is hardly delt with in print. and as so many photos of wrecked/captured Gladiators are published it seems strange that the story (Period November 1939 to May 1940 in France) has not fully been told.

    Perhaps a book similar to "10 Days in May" could be produced by an Author who may be interested in the Galdiator.

    Thanks again
    Alex



    .
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 25th April 2009 at 11:11.

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    Remember that 607 had converted to the Hurricane in April, and 615 were in the process of converting on May 10th. Neither unit was based near the front line for the "Phoney War", and their records were lost in the retreat. Very few combat sorties were flown on the Gladiator, and if known will have been mentioned in 10 Days in May or perhaps in Peter Cornwell's After the Battle: the Battle of France. I vaguely recall mention of a few 615 sorties, and mention (possibly apocryphal) of sortie(s?) flown by staff pilots.

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    To be quite fair, at the beginning of the Phoney War, Sample, Craig and Whitty shot down a Do 18 off the Northumberland coast. This was only one day after the first enemy aircraft had been shot down off the Firth of Forth so, they were allowed a little bit of glory.
    After re equipment with the Hurricane, a few of the more experienced pilots flew the Gladiator on close airfield defence operations, one of those pilots, according to Francis Blackadder, was Milne Irving. At other times the enemy, mainly reconnaissance aircraft, were just too high. The majority of patrols were 'Blighty Patrols' over the Channel escorting the leave ships. More than a few found themselves too close to the Belgian Border on occasion.

    Best Wishes.
    Robert.

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    hello,

    Graham, not all records were lost. I have copies / digital pictures of the ORBs of No. 607 and No. 615 Squadron for the Phoney war period, from Kew.
    But from memory, April is missing (or I missed it for 607), and May was completed / reconstructed when the Squadron(s) was (were) back in U.K., as for others which were in France.

    Joss

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    Hi Joss,
    I don't think Graham meant 'all' records were lost, although a lot were. If I remember rightly, and Graham will put me right, Graham transcribed the ORB for 607 Squadron.
    April is there, however, May is very sketchy with only a few lines for the period May 10 to 14. After that its not too bad. May was reconstructed from pilots logbooks but half the squadron was missing. Of those that did return many had left their logbooks in France. Of those surviving, both Dudley Craigs and Francis Blackadders are gems as is the latters diary which covers the period from 1938 to the end of 1940.

    Best Wishes.
    Robert.

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