J 8 - Gloster Gladiator  (1937-1947)
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Swedish Air Force fighter aircraft J 8 Gloster Gladiator. Photo Lars Henriksson, www.avrosys.nu

Gloster Gladiator was the last single-seat fighter biplane in the RAF. The first of the 448 Gladiators built for the RAF was delivered in 1935. The Gladiator was also exported to several other countries.

The Swedish Air Force purchased in 1936-37 three batches of totally 55 Gladiators, intended for the  fighter wing, F 8, at Barkaby near Stockholm. The first batch (Gladiator Mk I) was fitted with 645 hp Bristol Mercury S 2 engines and got the Swedish designation J 8. The remaining aircraft was of the Mark II with the stronger Mercury VIII A engine (840 hp). The were designated J8A.

At the outbreak of WWII, a squadron of Gladiators was based in most southern part of Sweden. Another squadron, equipped with 12 J8As was detached to the voluntary Wing F 19 in Finland. When the Finnish Winter War was over, two Swedish Gladiators had been lost in action.

The Swedish Gladiators were armed with four 8 mm machine-guns and could also be fitted with bombs.

The preserved aircraft at Flygvapenmuseum (colour photos) carries the markings it bore during when it took part in the Finnish Winter War in 1939-40. Note the blue swastika, the symbol of the Finnish Air Force until 1945. C/n G559066, Sw AF/n 278.  

J 8A: Length: 8,36 m. Span: 9,83 m.  Maximum take-off weight:2,160 kg. Max. speed: 410 km/h.



For the Model Builder

Airfix has a plastic model kit of Gloster Gladiator Mk I in RAF colours. With Swedish decals (easily obtainable at Internet shops), a Swedish J 8 can be built. Catalogue number A01002. Click on the thumbnail to get to Amazon's page about this model.
Swedish Air Force fighter aircraft J 8 Gloster Gladiator. Photo Lars Henriksson, www.avrosys.nu
  Stamp from Bahamas depicting a RAF Gloster Gladiator. The stamp was issued in 1993.

A Gloster Gladiator of the  British Royal Air Force on a stamp from the Bahamas. The stamp was issued in 1993.


  Military Aviation in Sweden - main page  

Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-06-21


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