Move from Sumburgh Fighter Flight to 247 Squadron RAF Roborough around July 1940
Sumburgh Fighter Flight that transferred as 247 Squadron to RAF Roborough
247 (China British) Squadron
"Rise from the east"
Gloster Gladiator HP-B of No.
the fall of 1940 off the coast of SW England
Thursday,12th August 1940, 399 Tavistock Road, Plymouth Roborough
Tired I lift, Flight Lieutenant George F. Chater born in Durban / South Africa,
my gaze from the unpleasant paperwork and look out the window of Tea Rooms of
requisitioned "George Hotel".
Outside awakens a new day, it's still summer, the fruits in the hotel's garden
are slowly maturing.
and ready for use now seems the No.
247th, MY, Squadron.
10-ready pilots, including myself are ready to Southwest England to the whole of
Wales in the composite squadrons of No.
Fighter Group, to defend against the daily raids by the German Luftwaffe.
to leave again circling the views of all relevant key points:
My Squadron has only been 12 days.
01 August, it was put into service officially on RAF Roborough.
motto of our squadron I have appointed to a unit internal ideas competition
"Rise from the east" because our equipment was procured by vigorous help of
donations from collections in the Chinese colonies His Majesty among others.
We honour the loyal subjects in the Far Eastern colonies and want to prove to us
their sacrifice worthy!
core of our season is the result of the "Shetland Fighter Flight", which I
belong to, since December 39, and which I was allowed to run ever since.
RAF Sumburgh we have since winter 39/40 German reconnaissance and combat
aircraft, which had the naval bases of the North goal intercepted.
Fighter Flight in turn was before the B-Flight of No.
Equipped with the old but reliable Gloster Gladiator Mk.II we have our best
attempts to keep the Huns of the fleet.
only countable result was the launch of a Do-17 by Thomas William "Jock" Gillen
on 05.06.1940 (this launcher message could by no loss record an official Air
Force document to be confirmed, but a Lockheed Hudson of No. been since that
date in the said region 233 Sqd missing., probably therefore a case of
/ O Gillen, right in the picture
the laying instruction by RAF Roborough in the Devonshire countryside in order
to protect the southwest of the Kingdom with the important fleet ports Plymouth
and Falmouth and their essential war docks before the bombing of the Air Force.
Since the increase in German air raids on British territory in July 1940, more
and more fighter squadrons were moved to the southeast so that air defence was
always full of holes in the southwest.
However, even here the attacks German associations grew increasingly.
We arrived with our gladiators in Roborough, place were other machines of the
same type, usually there were Mk.II, camouflaged loosened and roughly around.
hope of being able to take with the relocation to the south and a new device,
Somewhat disgruntled we took the standing around Gloster possession.
of them were in such a bad condition that one would assume that they had
participated in the 100th still war.
After 10 days of painstaking work, the newly ragtag ground personnel in addition
to the 5 Gladiator Mk.II the original Shetland Fighter Flights 5 more Gloster
for "enthronement" of No.
make 247 ready.
are in the works, the rest are only good as a source of spare parts!
Currently were more clear messages true luxury because only 10 drivers are
have sent an urgent request to supply new pilots to RAF Filton (our sector
command), we were short Nachersatz assured.
Division for the time being:
A-Flight: F / L GF Chater / P / O NIC Francis / Sgt H. Makin / Sgt E. Trent..
B-Flight: F / L RA Hooks / P / O RA Winter / Sgt F. Jeffries.
C-Flight: F / O TW Gillen / P / O NAR Doughty / Sgt G. Greenwood.
aim is to equip all Flights 4 gladiators.
addition to still a reserve pool (R-Flight) of 4 machines and if possible also
arise another Reserve pool of pilots.
Along with F / L Hooks, F / O Gillen and P / O Francis I
sprint to the machines of the A-Flights.
ORIGINAL WEB SITE - P/O FRANCIS MENTIONED MULTIPLE TIMES: (COPY AND PASTE
WHOLE LINE IN BROWSER to view in english)
Gloster Gladiator N5585 - Anzac - usually Flown By Pilot
Officer N.I.C.Francis on 247 Squadron
Under the cockpit is a kangaroo superimposed on a map of Australia, the text
'Anzac Answer' and a kill marking. Why?
There are two possibilities quoted for this aircraft operated by 247 Squadron
RAF and usually piloted by a Briton (PO NIC Francis) which are
1. Australian ace Pat Hughes was temporarily assigned from 234 Squadron to 247
at the time they had Gladiators.
2. 247 flew escort for 10 Squadron RAAF Sunderland's.
Roden Gloster Gladiaror Model Page - note
Decals for P/O N.I.C.Francis N5585 aircraft:
In 1937 the Royal Air Force's last biplane fighter the
Gloster Gladiator did not satisfy the demands of modern air
combat - the future belonged to high-speed monoplanes, and
the war that approached Europe would become a war of 'next
However, the interests of the British Empire meant a
military presence in the most remote parts of the world,
including South Africa and the Middle East. That is why the
Ministry of Aviation placed an order with the Gloster
Aircraft Company for the improved Gloster Gladiator Mk.II
modified according to the requirements of specification
F.36/37. The most significant innovation was the
substitution of the Bristol Mercury IX engine with the
Mercury VIIIA: the capacity was still the same, but the gear
ratio was 0.572, permitting the installation of the new
three-blade Fairey Reed metal airscrew. There were no more
external differences, but the designers also paid attention
to improving the business of flying the aircraft. The Mk II
had an electric engine starter, an improved navigation
system, and new equipment for measuring altitude and climb
rate. Since the intended operating area was the desert, the
aircraft was equipped with a tropical carburetor intake, as
well as a special container with water and provisions.
In 1938, just before the Munich Crisis, the Gladiator Mk. II
served in the front line of the Royal Air Force. However,
after the arrival of the Hawker Hurricane in sufficient
quantities, they were gradually transferred to the Auxiliary
Air Force. The Gladiator Mk.II was too obsolete for modern
air combat, but the shortage of new types led to extensive
service during the first years of the war.
Right after the beginning of WWII, Gladiator Mk. IIs were
sent to France as part of the Expeditionary Force. Sadly,
their career was very short - after one Luftwaffe raid
almost all machines were destroyed.
At the time of the Battle of Britain, 247 Squadron of the
Royal Air Force was the only unit equipped with the
Gladiator Mk.II; pilots flying the type managed to score
several victories. The most notable campaigns in which the
Gladiator Mk.II took part were the Battle for Norway and the
South-African Campaign. Numerous victories over enemy planes
proved that when piloted by an experienced pilot, the Mk.II
could be a deadly weapon.
Another important part of the Gladiator Mk.II's fighting
career was the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet
Union. The Swedish volunteer squadron that arrived in
Finland with their own Gladiators (the Swedish export
version of the Gladiator was known as the J8) fought on the
Finnish side along with the pilots of the Finnish Air Force.
The Swedes managed to shoot down at least 10 Soviet planes.
The most successful Finnish ace Oiva Tuominenn scored 4
victories flying the Gladiator Mk.II.
To secure take-off and landing in snowy regions most Finnish
and Swedish fighters were equipped with skis.
The Finnish Gladiator Mk.II fought on the front line the
longest, until the middle of 1943. In North Africa the
Gladiator Mk.II served until the end of 1942. Other Mk.IIs
were used as messenger and weather reconnaissance planes
- Gloster Gladiator Mk.II, B/N5585, No.247 Sqn RAF,
Roborough, August 1940, flown by PO N.I.C. Francis.
- Gloster Gladiator Mk.II, HE-K/serial unknown, No.263
Sqn RAF, Battle of Norway, Spring 1940.
- Gloster Gladiator Mk.II, GL-255 of LLv 26, Finnish
Air Force, Winter War, Finland, Mensunkangas, flown by
Sgt Oiva Tuominen (44 victories in total, 6 ? on
Gladiator), February 1940.
- Gloster Gladiator Mk.II, GL-269 of 1/LLv 26, Finnish
Air Force, Winter War, Finland, Utti, flown by Capt
Paavo Berg (5 victories), February 1940.
- Gloster Gladiator J-8A, "yellow A"/271 of
Flygflottilj F 19 (Royal Swedish Air Force), Winter War,
Finland,pilot unknown, winter 1940.
- Gloster Gladiator J-8A, "yellow F"/284 of
Flygflottilj F 19 (Royal Swedish Air Force), Winter War,
Finland, Lake Kemi, flown by 2Lt F H I Iacobi, January
|Take off weight
||1xBristol Mercury VIII 830 h.p.
||4x0,303(7,7)mm machine guns