Gloster Gamecock J8409 of 23 Sqn taking off from Northolt in 1929.
The Gloster Gamecock was a biplane fighter designed some years after the end of World War One and at a time when there appeared little need for new military aircraft.
It was an improved development of the Gloster Grebe III with the main change between the two types being that the Gamecock used the Bristol Jupiter engine in place of the heavier (and less reliable) Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar of the Grebe.
Three prototypes were ordered, the first aircraft (J7497) flying for the first time on 22nd February 1925 with production aircraft (Gamecock I) using a 425 hp Jupiter VII engine. The type inherited the excellent performance and handling of the Grebe, although, like the Grebe, it also suffered from spin recovery and wing flutter issues.
A low fly past by an unmarked Gloster Gamecock, probably at Brockworth.
Deliveries to the RAF commenced with deliveries to 23 Squadron at Henlow in May 1926, a total of 90 Gamecock I being procured. As well as being the first Squadron to be equipped with the Gamecock they were also the last, retiring the type in July 1931. This was a relatively short service life for an aircraft type and this was partly due to its unusually high accident rate (22 of the 90 aircraft suffered either landing or spin accidents). The faults were remedied in the MkII version with a larger tail unit and an increased size upper wing.
During its life, additional developments were the Gamecock II (three built) with the revised wing construction and improved pilot’s view and modified rudder and ailerons. A single Gamecock I was modified with a longer fuselage as the Gamecock III and used during the spin recovery trials.
Three Gamecock I were supplied to Finland, where the type was put into production as the Kukko, 15 being built by the Finnish National Aircraft Factory.
A Finnish Gloster Gamecock operating on skis from a frozen lake.
The Gamecock served with 6 Operational RAF Squadrons, No2 & No3 Training Schools as well as the Cenral Flying School and the RAF College at Cranwell.
Variants & Numbers built
||90 aircraft (one modified as Gamecock III for spinning trials)
||Three only, with revised wing structure and modified rudder and ailerons
||15 aircraft built by the Finnish National Aircraft Factory
||One 425 hp Bristol Jupiter VII radial engine
||29 ft 9½ in
||30 ft 1 in
|Capacity & Armament
||Single pilot (fighter); Two Vickers Mk I machine guns
|Endurance / Range
||2.5 hr / 365 miles
|No examples survive
||A full-size replica Gamecock I has been built for display in the Jet Age Museum, Staverton, Glos. www.jetagemuseum.org