Published: 11-04-2018 photo #23053 0 comments 0 votes
Photographed at the RAF Museum, Cosford, Shifnal, Shropshire on 4 March 2018. On 27 August 1937 delivered new to No. 1 Aircraft Storage Unit, with a 840 hp Bristol Mercury VIIIA engine. By 13 February 1939 the aircraft was at 5 MU Kemble, another Aircraft Storage Unit (ASU). From there it went back to Glosters on 1 June 1941 for possible updating.
On 29 August 1941 iK8042 was allocated to the A&AEE Boscombe Down Station Flight. Where it was used for trials that September with an extra pair of guns, under the top wing, making a total of 6.
On 20 April 1942 it went to 27 MU, an ASU at Shawbury, Shropshire, going one month later to RAF Ternhill, also in Shropshire. There it was assigned to No. 5 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit.
On 27 October 1943 it went to 61 OTU at Rednal, Shropshire. This was a single-seater fighter training unit, but the aircraft, along with other Gladiators, possibly participated in a film about the exploits of 80 Squadron in Greece in 1941.
On 11 February 1944 it went to Marshalls at Teversham, Cambridgeshire and 2 days later suffered damage, necessitating repair. Its next visit to an ASU was 8 MU at Little Rissington, Gloucestershire on 17 October 1944. In 1945 it was put into long term storage with a view to eventual display.
In September 1950 it was on display on Horse Guards Parade, and by November 1954 included in the Air Historical Branch Collection stored at RAF Stanmore. There followed various movements until it once again appeared on Horse Guards Parade on 12-18 September 1960.
K8042 was seen in an inaccurate camouflage paint scheme in storage at RAF Biggin Hill in 1961, and continued in this scheme until at least 1967, by which time it was at RAF Henlow, Bedfordshire being refurbished. It then appeared at the RAF 50th Anniversary at RAF Abingdon (where I saw it) in June 1968. Later that year it also appeared at dusplays at RAF Hendon and on Horse Guards Parade.
By 30 November 1971 the Gladiator had gone to the RAF Museum at Hendon, which opened one year later. A year after that it was assigned maintenance serial 8372M, then in 1978 was moved into the Battle of Britain Museum at Hendon. It finally arrived at Cosford in December 2012.