Gloucestershire & Gloster Aircraft | BAE Systems | United States

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Gloucestershire
& Gloster Aircraft

Gloucestershire Aircraft Company changed their name to Gloster Aircraft and produced many important types such as the Meteor and the Javelin.

Gloucestershire Aircraft Company

Gloucester Aircraft Logo
In 1917, A.W. Martyn (of architectural woodworking firm HH Martyn) and Hugh Burroughes (General Manager of The Aircraft Manufacturing Company - Airco) joined forces to create The Gloucestershire Aircraft Company.
 
Based at the Sunningend Works in Cheltenham, the new company was to provide Airco with more production space by taking over the sub-contract component work for Farman aircraft and the Airco DH2.
 
By 1918, the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company reached peak production and were building up to 45 Bristol Fighters per week and as production requirements increased a number of local business concerns became involved in the war effort. Complete aircraft (with wings detached) were transported by road to Brockworth aerodrome where a new Air Board Acceptance Park had been built.  In time, Brockworth (just outside Hucclecote) would eventually become the new home of the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company.
 
At the end of World War I, the company continued in the aircraft industry despite the financial blow caused by the collapse of Airco resulting in only partial compensation for the cancellation of outstanding contracts after the 11th November Armistice. 
 
Gloucestershire Aircraft Company wasted no time in acquiring quantities of Nieuport Nighthawk components which they placed into storage.   
 
In 1920, designer Henry Folland joined the company when Nieuport & General Aircraft finally closed down, bringing with him the rights for the Nieuport Nighthawk and after a few design modifications they supplied 50 aircraft (known as Sparrowhawks) to the Imperial Japanese Navy. Eventually they went on to produce 92 Sparrowhawks.
 
Gloucester Nighthawk production at Cheltenham Nieuport Nighthawk production in Cheltenham
 
The company changed its name to Gloster Aircraft Company in December 1926 because customers outside the UK found the original name difficult to pronounce.

Genealogy (Gloucesterhire Aircraft Company)

1917 Gloucestershire Aircraft Company 
1926 Gloster Aircraft Company 
1960 Whitworth Gloster Aircraft Limited                               
1963 Hawker Siddeley Aviation 
1977 British Aerospace 
1999  BAE Systems 
SEE GLOSTER AIRCRAFT COMPANY FOR LIST OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE AIRCRAFT
 

Gloster Aircraft Company

Gloster logoIn 1926, the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company had changed its name to the Gloster Aircraft Company.  Just 8 years later however, Gloster itself was taken over by Hawker Aircraft Limited although it continued to trade under its own brand name for many years. 
 
In the same year (1934), it produced the iconic Gloster Gladiator biplane of which it built 747 aircraft.

 

At the outbreak of World War II, Gloster Aircraft Company had little in the way of modern designs and so undertook the manufacture of Hawker aircraft.  During the first 12 months of the conflict, Gloster built over 1,000 Hawker Hurricanes, delivering the last of the 2,750 it constructed in 1942.  Production then switched to Hawker Typhoons for the RAF of which it built all but 17 of the 3,317 aircraft produced.

Although deeply involved with the war effort, Gloster is probably best remembered for its involvement with a new technology, that of the turbo-jet engine invented by Sir Frank Whittle.

On 15th May 1941, the first test flight of the Gloster E28/39 took off from Cranwell (although during early taxying trials at Brockworth it is also claimed it became airborne). This aircraft led the way for the introduction of the Gloster Meteor, the only Allied jet-fighter to be used in World War II.  Production continued post-war with more than 3,800 being built.

Air to air photograph of Gloster GA5 Javelin prototype WD804 Air to air photograph of Gloster GA5 Javelin prototype WD804

 

In 1952, the company turned to delta-winged aircraft with the Gloster Javelin although the restricted facilities at Brockworth meant that aircraft were finally completed and flown from nearby RAF Moreton Valence.

1961 saw Gloster Aircraft Company merge with Sir WG Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Limited to form Whitworth Gloster Aircraft Limited.  In 1963 this was changed once again to become the Avro Whitworth Division of Hawker Siddeley Aviation and so finally, the Gloster name disappeared from aviation. 

Brockworth was closed in 1964 although BAE Systems still retains premises in nearby Hucclecote.

Genealogy

  Gloucestershire Aircraft Company
1926 Gloster Aircraft Company
1960 Whitworth Gloster Aircraft Limited                                                
1963 Hawker Siddeley Aviation
1977 British Aerospace
1999 BAE Systems

Aircraft

1921 Mars 1927 Goldfinch
1921 Sparrowhawk                                  1927 Gambet
1922 Mars VI Nighthawk            1928 Gnatsnapper
1922 Mars X Nightjar 1929 Gloster VI
1923 Gannet 1929 A.S.31 Survey
1923 Grebe 1932 TC.33
1923 Grouse 1932 TSR.38
1924 Gorcock 1934 Gauntlet
1924 Gloster II 1934 Gladiator
1925 Gloster III 1937 F.5/34
1925 Gamecock 1939 F.9/37
1925 Guan 1941 E.28/39
1925 Goral 1944 Meteor / Meteor F8 Prone Pilot
1926 Goring 1948 E.1/44
1927 Gloster IV 1954 Javelin

Other Information