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Gloster Sea Gladiator - Night Fighter?


Tweener
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Today I have come across this collection of paint schemes for the Gloster Gladiator - 

Gloster Gladiator Schemes

 

 

 

I was curious as to the accuracy of the Sea Gladiator painted black, that allegedly shot down a Heinkel. I have never seen a Gladiator painted in all black, though I have seen a Gauntlet painted this way. 

Does anyone know about the accuracy of this scheme? If it is accurate, it is definitely going onto my list, though I have 3 other Gladiators, a Walrus, and another Fury planned first.

 

Thanks all,

Tweener

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Roden offer this scheme on their Sea Gladiator - not that that proves anything. 

 

Pure speculation - might it have been EDSG and DG upper surfaces with black undersurfaces - there is a photo and profile of a Swordfish in Lloyds Fleet Air Arm Camouflage and Markings in this scheme which looks very dark.

 

Also the red codes look a bit odd. RAF night fighters adopted these in mid 1941. 

 

Maybe a dark photo has been "squeezed" into a mid war RAF night fighter scheme?

 

Pete

 

 

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It's too attractive not to model from my point of view and I don't think it can categorically be disproven as a scheme, so I am going to do it at some point. There are decals for it in the 1/48 Roden Sea Gladiator boxing

 

H.M.S. Sparrowhawk in this context is a land station, the Orkney airfield also known as R.N.A.S. Hatston.

 

The spec for the Gladiator included the requirement to be suitable for night fighter ops so I can't see why it would not be pressed into service for that when required. "Interim" Sea Gladiators were converted from Gladiators rather than originally built navalised, , so they had the external hook rather than the later true Sea Gladiator recessed hook. It was also common to remove the hook and other naval equipment when operating from land. So if you want, there is reasonable justification for building this as an unmodified Gladiator. At the time it was based at Hatston, the squadron was operating under the control of Fighter Command rather than the Navy.

 

You might be interested in this biog of Cockburn...

http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/CockburnJC.htm

 

...and there is a lot if detail of Gladiators and other unlikely types fending of Heinkels in the region here, though it seems to attribute this particular Heinkel to a different Gladiator and pilot

http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/commonwealth_theobald.htm

 

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When did the RAF adopt overall black for night fighters, rather than just flying in the standard colours?  Let alone the FAA...  April 1940 may be a little early.  I suspect that Blenheims may have been the first, but it is an interesting inttle niche question.  As for Sea Gladiators in black - some people will invent anything.  I suspect some unwarranted assumptions may have been made.

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Seems a stretch to me on a couple of counts. First, according to the Squadron Diary N2266 was not a 804 Squadron Sea Gladiator. I know that Sturtivant assigns N2266 to 804 Squadron, but I have all of the serials for 804 Squadron's deployment in January 1940 at Hatson and the reorganised disposition from March 1940 and N2266 is not amongst them. Cockburn's usual aircraft was N5507 January-March and N2265 from March 1940. The latter was deployed on Glorious in April and Furious in May. Secondly, the SRB contains several photos of 804 Squadron lined-up at Hatston. All are finished in standard S1E finish, with black and white IFF markings on the undersurfaces, though one, which I believe is N2265, has a black and white cowl. This doesn't disprove the profile, but I think it makes it unlikely. 

 

The code RTP is probably Richard Thomas Partridge, who was C/O of 804 before taking over at 800 Squadron. His usual 804 Sea Gladiator was N5545.

 

Edited by iang
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N2265 was on strength of 771 Sqn in 1942/43 period and could well have been coded R5P which could explain some confusion regarding its use over the Orkney Isles,,particularly if the profile is taken from a typically poor wartime photo?

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31 minutes ago, iang said:

First, according to the Squadron Diary N2266 was not a 804 Squadron Sea Gladiator. I know that Sturtivant assigns N2266 to 804 Squadron, but I have all of the serials for 804 Squadron's deployment in January 1940 at Hatson and the reorganised disposition from March 1940 and N2266 is not amongst them. Cockburn's usual aircraft was N5507 January-March and N2265 from March 1940. The latter was deployed on Glorious in April and Furious in May. Secondly, the SRB contains several photos of 804 Squadron lined-up at Hatston. All are finished in standard S1E finish, with black and white IFF markings on the undersurfaces, though one, which I believe is N2265, has a black and white cowl. This doesn't disprove the profile, but I think it makes it unlikely. 

 

In the master file for Gladiators we (now) have it as being Fighter Flt RAF Shetland but in use by 804 NAS. If correct, presumably Cockburn borrowed it. At some point we have seen his logbook (noting it's not at FAAM) but at the moment I don't have the transcript to hand to check (I'll get it re-checked). But we've been going back through these copies as part of the new research for the second edition of the book, so I'm guessing that's what is in the transcript although it is, of course, entirely possible that a '6' has been incorrectly scribbled down instead of a '5' when the logbook was copied (the original edition is littered with mistakes like this that we're trying to weed out).

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Thanks all for the quick replies. I'm definitely a little bit bummed to hear it likely isn't an accurate profile, but I may well carry on and try to build it anyways once I get a few other Gladiators built. I have an old Microscale sheet in the mail that covers Glad's and Fury's and plan to build some of the other options seen on the image above. 

 

In the meantime, I've got Revell's ancient 1/48 P51 to find RNZAF markings for...

 

Wish me luck,

Tweener

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3 hours ago, Tweener said:

I'm definitely a little bit bummed to hear it likely isn't an accurate profile

the page is from the series of aircraft monographs published in the mid 1960's "Aircraft in Profile" 

This was up on an Amazon review, but seems about right

"For the reader unfamiliar with Profiles, they were a series of aircraft monographs published in Great Britain between 1964 and 1974. In all, 262 of these booklets were issued and they varied in length from 12 to 25 pages, contained a large number of photos (for their size), and were illustrated with color multi-view and profile paintings of the subject aircraft, which is, after all, what the name derives from"

 

They were, in their day, ground breaking, and very influential.  Problem is, back then, there was a lot less information available, for example, a lot of RAF documents were still classified,  but in some cases the profile painting have taken on a life of their own, becoming the source of many others.  

There are quite a few Hurricane profiles which have been discussed on here as to if anyone has ever seen the source photo, the classic for this is this one

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234976286-hurricane-mk-iic-flown-by-km-kuttlewascher/

 

which has become so ingrained that the BBMF had hurricane in these markings, and it is still an option in various kits and even recent decal sheets (eg after this had been discussed on here) 

 

they were ground breaking, and we owe them a debt for inspiring so much interest, but some of those pretty pictures are just that, pretty pictures, and this is one of the reasons I have my sig line..... 

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11 hours ago, Tweener said:

In the meantime, I've got Revell's ancient 1/48 P51 to find RNZAF markings for...

 

Wish me luck,

 

That at least is easy. Ventura has two sheets. I buy mine here:

https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/VA4883

https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/VA4884

 

I don;t know who sells them in the USA but someone must, or you can probably get them direct from https://www.venturapublications.com/

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5 hours ago, Work In Progress said:

 

That at least is easy. Ventura has two sheets. I buy mine here:

https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/VA4883

https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/VA4884

 

I don;t know who sells them in the USA but someone must, or you can probably get them direct from https://www.venturapublications.com/

I'd been eyeing one of those sheets but couldn't find it on Ebay like I could a few of their RAAF Sheets. Now I have to decide which I think looks better...

 

Thanks,

Tweener

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  • 2 months later...

While tidying up some loose ends as we get nearer to finishing the book I found this in ADM 207/8 - 804 NAS Diary for 8 December 1940 which reads:

 

"R-Parker [Sub Lieutenant J Reardon-Parker RNVR] took the damaged Grumman [Martlet] to Hatston after lunch & returned with a beautiful pitch black Gladiator. The new scheme is all-black for night & we have gone back to one black mainplane for day & also a duck egg blue snout & truss or belly band just ahead of the tailplane."

 

The only aircraft that appears to have arrived in December 1940 was N5537 and we only have a record of it for this month. There are no recorded incidents of incidents involving Gladiators for that month and there is a large gap in N5537's history thereafter.

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1 hour ago, Lee Howard said:

While tidying up some loose ends as we get nearer to finishing the book I found this in ADM 207/8 - 804 NAS Diary for 8 December 1940 which reads:

 

"R-Parker [Sub Lieutenant J Reardon-Parker RNVR] took the damaged Grumman [Martlet] to Hatston after lunch & returned with a beautiful pitch black Gladiator. The new scheme is all-black for night & we have gone back to one black mainplane for day & also a duck egg blue snout & truss or belly band just ahead of the tailplane."

 

The only aircraft that appears to have arrived in December 1940 was N5537 and we only have a record of it for this month. There are no recorded incidents of incidents involving Gladiators for that month and there is a large gap in N5537's history thereafter.

Thank you for this very interesting note from 804 Sqn. diary. As I understand it, the description agrees with Fighter Command marking instructions for the 1940-41 winter.

 

Out of curiosity, "The Fleet Air Arm in camera 1912-1996" has a nice picture of Martlet 'S7B' nosed over in mud on 17 November.

Is there any connection with the damaged Martlet ferried to Hatston (from Skeabrae?) on 8 December?

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On 12/28/2020 at 10:41 PM, Tweener said:

In the meantime, I've got Revell's ancient 1/48 P51 to find RNZAF markings for...

Ventura as noted above, or there's one from the Wellington Territorial Squadron on Xtradecal 48176. You'll want a Dallas hood as well from memory - one for the Monogram kits was issued by Falcon/Squadron, but I think this was updated while ago to suit the Tamiya kit, so may need some surgery to work with the Monogram kit. I might have an original one in the spares box if you get stuck.

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2 hours ago, Aidrian said:

Ventura as noted above, or there's one from the Wellington Territorial Squadron on Xtradecal 48176. You'll want a Dallas hood as well from memory - one for the Monogram kits was issued by Falcon/Squadron, but I think this was updated while ago to suit the Tamiya kit, so may need some surgery to work with the Monogram kit. I might have an original one in the spares box if you get stuck.

I ended up picking up the Xtradecal sheet for British Mustangs. As for the canopy, I personally can hardly tell the difference between the two types, but I may take you up on the offer. 

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