1938 Gloster Gladiator

The Collection’s exhibit

L8032 was the last production Gladiator I built in 1937 but not actually assembled until 1938. In 1948 it, together with Gladiator II N5903, was bought by Glosters. In 1950 the two were delivered to Air Service Training for use as instructional airframes at Hamble and Ansty. When Ansty closed the aircraft were bought by Viv Bellamy for a nominal sum. L8032 was restored using the engine from N5903 and flew again as G-AMRK. L8032 was bought back by Glosters in 1953, in 1956 returned to full military specification in 72 Squadron markings, albeit with the fictitious serial K8032. When Gloster Aircraft closed the Gladiator was presented to The Collection for safe keeping on 7 November 1960.

In 1990 the aircraft was repainted in a camouflage scheme, with No 247 Squadron codes and wore these until a fabric re-cover was carried out in 1996. Part of the restoration work was funded by donations in memory of the late Robin Bowes, a good friend of The Collection, who was killed flying his Fokker DR1 replica on Sunday 20 July 1995. When finished, the Gladiator emerged in Norwegian colours for filming.

In 2007 it re-appeared as K7985 of 73 Squadron RAF, the aircraft flown by the WWII Ace ‘Cobber’ Kain at the 1937 Hendon Air Pageant.

It is a crowd favourite at The Collection’s flying events.

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