Gloucestershire Aircraft Company

Gloucester Aircraft Logo
Gloucester Aircraft Logo
In 1917, A.W. Martyn (of architectural woodworking firm H.H. 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, Cheltenham, the new company was to provide Airco with more production space, essentially by taking over the sub-contract component work for Farman aircraft and the Airco DH2.
By 1918, the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company had reached peak production and had switched to building up to 45 Bristol Fighters per week. As production requirements increased in Gloucestershire, a number of local business concerns also 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 itself (just outside Hucclecote) would also 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. This resulted in only partial compensation for the cancellation of the huge number of outstanding contracts that were lost with 11th November Armistice. Gloucestershire Aircraft Company however, wasted no time in acquiring the rights to the large quantities of components of the Nieuport Nighthawk components, which they placed into storage.   
In 1920, accomplished designer Henry Folland joined the company, after Nieuport & General Aircraft finally closed down.
Folland brought with him the rights for the complete Nieuport Nighthawk aircraft and so after a few design modifications, Gloucestershire Aircraft Company supplied 50 aircraft (now known as Sparrowhawks) to the Imperial Japanese Navy. These proved very successful and they eventually they went on to produce a further 92 Sparrowhawks.
Gloucester Nighthawk production at Cheltenham
Nieuport Nighthawk production in Cheltenham
The company changed its name to Gloster Aircraft Company in December 1926, mainly because customers outside the UK found the original name difficult to pronounce, especially in the lucrative U.S. market.

Genealogy (Gloucestershire 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 

Gloster Aircraft Company

Gloster logo
Gloster logo
In 1926, the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company had changed its name to the Gloster Aircraft Company although just 8 years later, Gloster itself was taken over by Hawker Aircraft Limited.
Despite the change of ownership, it continued to trade under its own brand name of 'Gloster' 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 it undertook the manufacture of Hawker aircraft.  
During the first 12 months of the conflict, Gloster Aircraft built over 1,000 Hawker Hurricanes, delivering the last of the 2,750 it constructed in 1942.  Production was 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 producing sub-contract aircraft, Gloster is probably best known for its involvement with new technology, and especially that of the turbo-jet engine being developed by Sir Frank Whittle and his Powerjets Company.

On 15th May 1941, the first test flight of the Gloster E28/39 took off from RAF 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 of the Gloster Meteor continued post-war, with more than 3,800 aircraft being built.

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


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

In 1961, Gloster Aircraft Company merged with Sir WG Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Limited 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 finally disappeared from aviation. 

The factory at Brockworth was closed in 1964, although BAE Systems still retains premises in nearby Hucclecote.


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



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


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