The Gloster Aircraft Company Gamecock was a biplane fighter designed some years after the end of World War One, 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 the use of the Bristol Jupiter engine, in place of the heavier (and less reliable) Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar of the Grebe.
Three prototypes were ordered, the first of which (J7497) flew for the first time on 22nd February 1925, with production aircraft (Gloster 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.
Deliveries to the RAF commenced with deliveries to 23 Squadron RAF at Henlow in May 1926, with a total of 90 Gloster Gamecock I's being procured.
As well as being the first Squadron to be equipped with the Gloster Gamecock, they were also the last, retiring the type in July 1931. This was a relatively short service life for any 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 causes were remedied in the Gloster Gamecock MkII version with a larger tail unit and an increased size upper wing although by then all confidence in the type had been lost.
During its life, additional development variants included the Gloster Gamecock II, of which three were built with the revised wing construction, an improved pilot’s view and modified rudder and ailerons. A single Gloster Gamecock I was also produced, modified with a longer fuselage and known as the Gloster Gamecock III and this aircraft was used during the spin recovery trials.
Three Gamecock I's were also supplied to Finland, where the type was put into production as the 'Kukko', with 15 being built by the Finnish National Aircraft Factory.
The Gloster Gamecock served with 6 Operational RAF Squadrons and No2 & No3 Training Schools. It was also used by the Central Flying School and the RAF College at Cranwell.
Variants & Numbers built
|Gamecock I||90 aircraft (one modified as Gamecock III for spinning trials)|
|Gamecock II||Three only, with revised wing structure and modified rudder and ailerons|
|Kukko||15 aircraft built by the Finnish National Aircraft Factory|
|Grand total||111 aircraft|
|Gamecock I||Gamecock II|
|Powerplant||One 425 hp Bristol Jupiter VII radial engine|
|Span||29 ft 9½ in||30 ft 1 in|
|Maximum Weight||2,742 lb||3,082 lb|
|Capacity & Armament||Single pilot (fighter); Two Vickers Mk I machine guns|
|Maximum Speed||148 mph||157 mph|
|Endurance / Range||2.5 hr / 365 miles||2.0 hr|
|No examples survive||
A full-size replica Gamecock I has been built for display in the Jet Age Museum, Staverton, Gloucestershire