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Paul McGuiness RAAF Archive
Paul McGuiness is an Australian aviation researcher and historian. Using primary sources he has assembled detailed information on the history of each plane
used by Australians and Australian forces in WWl and WW2, and on personnel involved.

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History of Australian Military Aviation

First World War

Armstrong Whitworth FK3

Avro 504

Bristol F2b Fighter

Fairey Aviation Model lllD Seaplane

Martinsyde G.100 G 102 Elephant

Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn

Royal Aircraft Factory BE2

Royal Aircraft Factory BE12

Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8

Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A Experimental Scout

Sopwith Camel B Series

Sopwith Camel C D E F Series

Sopwith Snipe

Sopwith Scout (Pup)

Sopwith 1½ Strutter

Supermarine Seagull lll

Supermarine Southampton Mk 1

Westland Wapiti


Post First World War

Bristol Bulldog

De Havilland DH.9A

Hawker Demon

Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5A

Avro 504K


Second World War

3 Sqn Gladiators 1940-1941

3 Sqn Gauntlets 1940-1941

10 Sqn Sunderlands

451 Sqn Spitfires Med 43-44 Europe 44-46

452 Sqn Spitfires Europe 41-42

455 Sqn Hampdens 1941-43

458 Sqn Wellingtons

460 Sqn Wellingtons

461 Sqn Sunderlands

462 Sqn Halifax Part 1 MTO

462 Sqn Aug 44 May 45 Part 2 ETO

466 Sqn Wellingtons


Further Information:

Aces and Aviators WWl Database

Material Relating to Australia

No.3 (AC) Squadron RAAF in WW2

A Brief History of Gloster Gauntlet Operations

September 1940 to January 1941


gloster gauntlet

The Gloster Gauntlet was a single-seat biplane fighter designed and produced by the British aeroplane manufacturer Gloster Aircraft in the 1930s. It was the last fighter to be operated by the RAF to have an open cockpit, and also the penultimate biplane fighter in its service. The Gauntlet had a somewhat lengthy development process, linking back to the S.S.18 prototype of 1929. Extensive modifications resulted in a relatively fast fighter aircraft for the era as well as having heavy armament and favourable manoeuvrability. By mid-1933, the Gauntlet name had been applied to the type and the Air Ministry placed an initial order for 24 aircraft during September of that year. It was procured as a replacement for the Bristol Bulldog, being roughly 50 MPH faster while also being more heavily armed. In May 1935, No. 19 Squadron became the first unit to receive the Gauntlet I.

An improved model, the Gauntlet II, featuring structural improvements sourced from Gloster's new parent company, Hawker was developed during 1934; deliveries of this new model commenced in the following year. Gloster received orders for over 200 Gauntlet IIs, with the type eventually being operated by 14 RAF squadrons of RAF Fighter Command. It was used for various duties, including a secretive series of exercises that included the first interception of an aircraft using information relayed from ground-based radar, a technique that would prove to be vital during the Second World War. However, as early as 1936, frontline squadrons begun to be reequipped with more advanced fighters, such as the Gloster Gladiator, Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire. Gauntlets were increasingly used in secondary roles and by overseas squadrons, serving in a reduced capacity into the Second World War. The last examples were withdrawn during 1943.


3 Sqn Crest RAAF

At the outbreak of World War 2, No.3 Squadron RAAF was one of only 12 RAAF Squadrons in existence and was located at RAAF Base Richmond on the outskirts of western Sydney. In mid-1940 the squadron, minus aircraft, was deployed to the Middle East to support the 6th Division Australian Army in the Army co-operation role. The squadron was destined to remain in the Mediterranean theatre, and became part of the Allies' Desert Air Force (later the First Tactical Air Force), supporting the 8th Army.

On 19th September 1940 HQ Middle East directed 3Sqn to immediately send four pilots and sufficient groundcrew by road from RAF Ismailia to No.102 Maintenance Unit at Abu Sueir near Cairo, Egypt. The airmen were to collect four Gloster Gauntlet aircraft and the next day fly to No.208Sqn RAF at Qasaba Landing Ground (LG11) approximately 376km NNW of Cairo. The party of four officers (The four pilots were FLTLT Blake Pelly, FGOFF Al Rawlinson, PLTOFF Lindsay Knowles and FLGOFF Peter Turnbull.) and nine airmen (The site currently shows eight airmen, the 9th person was 8351 AC1 John Doderico) departed as ordered to collect the four Gauntlets from 102MU and prepared to leave the next day. On 20th September the Gauntlets departed 102MU and safely arrived at Qasaba, the groundcrew following aboard a RAF Bombay transport aircraft. At Qasaba the pilots underwent an intense four week course of general flying and operational dive bombing tactics using the Gauntlet aircraft while the groundcrew were given instruction on field maintenance and the day-to-day operation of the aircraft.

FLGOFF P.B Turnbull became ill and had to be evacuated from Qasaba on 05Oct40, FLTLT Gordon Steege along with PLTOFF Al Davidson were flown to Qasaba as a replacement pilot and relief pilot respectively. On 11th of October FLGOFF J.R Perrin and FLGOFF J.M Davidson were ordered to 102MU and collected two additional Gauntlets then proceeded to Qasaba on 12Oct40. The detachment at Qasaba now numbered six aircraft with six pilots and nine groundcrew. (The pilots were FLTLTs Steege, Pelly, FLGOFFs Knowles, Rawlinson, Perrin and J.M Davidson. Airmen were unchanged.) On 12th October FLTLT Jock Perrin departed Helwan in Gauntlet K7884 and flew to El Qasaba via Amriya and Aboukir arriving Qasaba late morning of the 13th.

On 26th October the Squadron was warned it would soon move to Gerawla Landing ground in the Western Desert for operational duty, all aircraft (Gladiators and Gauntlets), stores and personnel were to prepare for the move over the period 26-31Oct. The Squadron eventually moved to Gerawla on 2nd / 3rd Nov40 and four of the Gauntlets were flown from Qasaba to Gerawla (Flown by Steege, Pelly, Perrin and Rawlinson) while the other two aircraft were left unserviceable at Qasaba awaiting spares. During the remainder of November the Gauntlets partook of several training exercises with various Army units to give them some understanding of what they could expect in future combat facing dive bombers and fighters. On 6th Dec 1940 K5325 was issued to No.51 RSU and did not return to the Squadron.

gerawla libya

On 8th December HQ No.202 Group decided to position one flight of Gladiators and one flight of Gauntlets at an advanced landing ground for a period of approximately 10 days. Accordingly, early the following day five Gladiators [from Gerawla] and five Gauntlets [from Qasaba] moved to ALG75 near Sidi Barrani in Egypt, 95km east of the Libya-Egypt border. The Gauntlets flew Operational missions over the next week as shown:

09Dec40 Five Gauntlets departed the ALG at 1235hrs for a dive bombing attack on enemy MT on the escarpment NW of Sofafi. One aircraft aborted with mechanical issues but the remaining four completed the mission.

11Dec40 Five Gauntlets departed the ALG at 0620hrs to dive bomb retreating enemy troops NW of Halfway House between Sofafi and Halfaya Pass. The flight returned to base without seeing the enemy.

11Dec40 Four Gauntlets departed the ALG at 1105hrs to dive bomb retreating enemy troops near Sofafi. Targets were dive bombed and machine gunned successfully and aircraft returned to base at 1200hrs.

11Dec40 Four Gauntlets departed the ALG at 1400hrs to dive bomb and strafe the same target. Mission completed and returned to base at 1510hrs.

12Dec40 Five Gauntlets departed the ALG at 0815hrs to attack enemy troops near Halfaya. Target located and attacked successfully, returned to base at 0945hrs

13Dec40 The detached flight moved from ALG75 to a new operating base at Bir Mella airfield near Sidi Barrani in Egypt, 77km east of the Libya-Egypt border

By this time HQ 202 Group realised the Gauntlets were not suited to the task at hand nor was it easy to maintain such venerable aircraft; it was therefore decided to retire the aircraft from front line duty immediately. Accordingly, three Gauntlets (Flown by Rawlinson, Turnbull and Davidson) withdrew from Bir Mella on 14Dec40 and returned to Gerawla; on the next day the two remaining Gauntlets flew back to Gerawla. (Flown by Perry and Perrin) Later that same day HQ 202 Group ordered two Gauntlets to escort three Lysanders containing General Wavell and staff on a transit flight the following day. FLGOFF Perrin in K7843 and FLGOFF Turnbull in K7825 departed Gerawla at 0745hrs 16Dec40 arriving Maaten Bagush airfield where they picked up three Lysanders and escorted them to WD Force HQ at ALG E.75. Arrived back at Gerawla 1540hrs.

Gauntlet Serial Numbers.

A total of seven Gloster Gauntlet Mk.II aircraft are known to have served briefly with 3Sqn during the Sep-Dec 1940 period and flew 23 operational missions in support of the British 8th Army during its advance into Cyrenaica. Sadly, the 3 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) did not record most of the Gauntlet Serials thus making it almost impossible to determine the exact day(s) each aircraft flew. However pilot log books (The Log Books are those of FLGOFF Al Rawlinson and FLGOFF Jock Perrin) have come to light recently and with these irrefutable documents it is at least possible to identify six of the seven aircraft used by 3 Squadron in the Western Desert during the latter months of 1940. The six Gauntlets positively identified in the log books are K5286, K5325, K7793, K7838, K7843 and K7884. The seventh aircraft positively identified in the Squadron ORB is K7825 (A brief history of the seven Gauntlets is attached as Annex A.)

Two Gauntlets were used in May-Jun 1941 when the Squadron was at RAF Aqir, Palestine re-equipping with Curtiss Tomahawk fighters. The two aircraft were K5268 and K5318, there is no record of the flights undertaken in this period.

Annex A: Gloster Gauntlet

The squadron is known to have used nine Gloster Gauntlets in 1940-41. Seven were used when the squadron was in the Western Desert (Sep-Dec 1940) and two when the Squadron was in Palestine (May-Jun 1941). Brief histories of 3 Squadron’s known Gloster Gauntlets are detailed below:


K5268

00Apr36 The 5th of 104 Gauntlet aircraft manufactured in the 1st Mk.II production batch by the Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd in their facility at Brockworth, Gloucester, built in the Serial Range K5264 thru K5367. Powered by a single 640hp (485kW) Bristol Mercury VIS2 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine driving a 2-blade wooden Watts propeller. Armed with two Vickers Mk.V synchronised machine guns/600 rounds per gun.

28May36 Issued to 111 Squadron

1937 Two bladed wooden Watts propeller replaced by a 3-bladed Fairey metal propeller.

14Feb38 Issued to 46 Squadron

15Mar39 Issued to 26 Maintenance Unit

00Apr39 Issued to 36 Maintenance Unit, Shipped to the Middle East

08May39 Issued to Air Depot Aboukir, Egypt

00Dec40 Issued to 102 Maintenance Unit Aboukir, Egypt

00May41 Issued to 3 Sqn RAAF at RAF Aqir, Palestine.

00Aug41 Issued to the Greek Training Fight at RAF Gaza in Palestine

10Nov41 Crashed near Gaza, damaged beyond repair and struck off charge


K5286

00Apr36 The 23rd of 104 Gauntlet aircraft manufactured in the 1st Mk.II production batch by the Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd in their facility at Brockworth, Gloucester, built in the Serial Range K5264 thru K5367. Powered by a single 640hp (485kW) Bristol Mercury VIS2 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine driving a 2-blade wooden Watts propeller. Armed with two Vickers Mk.V synchronised machine guns/600 rounds per gun.

13May36 Issued to 111 Squadron

1937 Two bladed wooden Watts propeller replaced by a 3-bladed Fairey metal propeller.

06Jan38 Issued to 46 Squadron

27Feb39 Issued to 24 Maintenance Unit

12Apr39 Issued to 36 Maintenance Unit. Shipped to the Middle East

04May39 Issued to Air Depot Aboukir, Egypt

24Feb40 Issued to 33 Squadron

19Sep40 3 Squadron RAAF. While in service with 3Sqn the aircraft is known to have flown at least six flights.

05Dec40 FLGOFF Al Rawlinson flew a 35min test flight

00Dec40 Issued to 102 Maintenance Unit, Aboukir

15Jan42 Issued to the Greek Training Fight at RAF Gaza in Palestine

01Sep43 struck off charge



K5318

00Jun36 The 55th of 104 Gauntlet aircraft manufactured in the 1st Mk.II production batch by the Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd in their facility at Brockworth, Gloucester, built in the Serial Range K5264 thru K5367. Powered by a single 640hp (485kW) Bristol Mercury VIS2 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine driving a 2-blade wooden Watts propeller. Armed with two Vickers Mk.V synchronised machine guns/600 rounds per gun.

08Jul36 Issued to No.9 Flying Training School

10Nov36 Issued to 46 Squadron

1937 Two bladed wooden Watts propeller replaced by a 3-bladed Fairey metal propeller.

27Feb39 Issued to 24 Maintenance Unit

08May39 Issued to 36 Maintenance Unit. Shipped to the Middle East

06Jul39 Issued to Air Depot Aboukir

00Jan40 Issued to 112 Squadron

00Jul40 Issued to Pilot Reserve and Reinforcement Pool

29Aug40 Force landed on approach to Ismailia, repaired on Site

10Sep40 Issued to Training Unit and Reserve Pool, Cairo

00Jan41 Issued to 112 Squadron

30May41 Issued to 3 Sqn RAAF at RAF Aqir, Palestine.

00Jan41 Issued to the Greek Training Fight at RAF Gaza in Palestine

13Jan42 Undershot landing and hit tents, Gaza. Damaged beyond repair and Struck off Charge


K5325

00Jun36 The 62nd of 104 Gauntlet aircraft manufactured in the 1st Mk.II production batch by the Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd in their facility at Brockworth, Gloucester, built in the Serial Range K5264 thru K5367. Powered by a single 640hp (485kW) Bristol Mercury VIS2 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine driving a 2-blade wooden Watts propeller. Armed with two Vickers Mk.V synchronised machine guns/600 rounds per gun.

17Jul35 Issued to 32Sqn

1937 Two bladed wooden Watts propeller replaced by a 3-bladed Fairey metal propeller.

16Jan39 Issued to 691Sqn

24Mar39 Issued to 24 Maintenance Unit

02May39 Issued to 36 Maintenance Unit, shipped to Middle East.

06Jul39 Issued to Air Depot, RAF Aboukir, Egypt

1940 Issued to 33 Squadron

19Sep40 3 Squadron RAAF. While in service with 3Sqn the aircraft is known to have flown at least seven flights.

05Dec40 FLGOFF Al Rawlinson flew a 30min test flight

06Dec40 Issued to No51 RSU

00Jan41 Issued to the Greek Training Fight at RAF Gaza in Palestine

14Jan42 struck off charge


K7793

00Jul36 The 2nd of 100 Gauntlet aircraft manufactured in the 2nd Mk.II production batch by the Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd in their facility at Brockworth, Gloucester, built in the Serial Range K7792 thru K7891. Powered by a single 640hp (485kW) Bristol Mercury VIS2 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine driving a 2-blade wooden Watts propeller. Armed with two Vickers Mk.V synchronised machine guns/600 rounds per gun.

10Nov36 Issued to 46 Squadron

1937 Two bladed wooden Watts propeller replaced by a 3-bladed Fairey metal propeller.

18Feb39 Issued to 26 Maintenance Unit

06Jun39 Issued to 36 Maintenance Unit

10May39 Shipped to the Middle East for Air Depot Aboukir

07Jun39 Placed in reserve at Aboukir

17Dec40 Issued to 33 Squadron

19Sep40 3 Squadron RAAF. From 19Sep to 28Sep FLGOFF Al Rawlinson made 17 non-operational flights

26Sep40 Aircraft nose art applied – “Sweet F.A.”

02Oct40 from 02Oct until 29Oct 1940 FLGOFF Al Rawlinson made 15 non-operational flights

00Nov40 FLGOFF Al Rawlinson made five non-operational flights

00Dec40 FLGOFF Al Rawlinson flew nine operational missions

15Dec40 FLGOFF Al Rawlinson flew the aircraft from ALG11 to Gerawla

16Dec40 aircraft returned to No.102 Maintenance Unit, Aboukir

15Oct41 struck off charge. While in service with 3Sqn the aircraft is known to have flown at least 40 flights.

FLGOFF Al Rawlinson in K7793 ‘Sweet F.A.” at ALG74, December 1940

FLGOFF Al Rawlinson in K7793 ‘Sweet F.A.' at ALG74, December 1940

K7825

00Aug36 The 34th of 100 Gauntlet aircraft manufactured in the 2nd Mk.II production batch by the Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd in their facility at Brockworth, Gloucester, built in the Serial Range K7792 thru K7891. Powered by a single 640hp (485kW) Bristol Mercury VIS2 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine driving a 2-blade wooden Watts propeller. Armed with two Vickers Mk.V synchronised machine guns/600 rounds per gun.

30Sep36 Issued to 66 Squadron

05Nov36 Tipped up in forced landing

1937 Two bladed wooden Watts propeller replaced by a 3-bladed Fairey metal propeller.

13Jan38 Issued to 615 Squadron

17Jul39 Issued to No.5 Maintenance Unit

18Sep39 Issued to No.36 Maintenance Unit.

00Nov39 Shipped to the Middle East

00Jun40 Issued to Southern Rhodesian Air Force as 152

19Sep40 3 Squadron RAAF, While in service with 3Sqn the aircraft is known to have flown at least 11 flights.

00Dec40 returned to 102 Maintenance Unit, Aboukir

00Oct41 struck off charge


K7838

00Aug36 The 47th of 100 Gauntlet aircraft manufactured in the 2nd Mk.II production batch by the Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd in their facility at Brockworth, Gloucester, built in the Serial Range K7792 thru K7891. Powered by a single 640hp (485kW) Bristol Mercury VIS2 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine driving a 2-blade wooden Watts propeller. Armed with two Vickers Mk.V synchronised machine guns/600 rounds per gun.

27Oct36 Issued to 65 Squadron

23Mar37 Issued to 213 Sqn

1937 Two bladed wooden Watts propeller replaced by a 3-bladed Fairey metal propeller.

17Feb39 Issued to 26 Maintenance Unit

29Apr39 Issued to 36 Maintenance Unit

12May39 Shipped to the Middle East for Air Depot Aboukir

07Jun39 Placed in reserve at Aboukir

17Dec40 Issued to 33 Squadron

19Sep40 3 Squadron RAAF. While in service with 3Sqn the aircraft is known to have flown at least three flights.

26Nov40 FLGOFF Al Rawlinson flew a practice dive bombing flight against tanks.

05Dec40 FLGOFF Al Rawlinson flew a 30min test flight

00Dec40 returned to 102 Maintenance Unit, Aboukir

00Feb42 Issued to the Greek Training Fight at RAF Gaza in Palestine

16Jul42 Hit Hurricane BP322 while taking off from Gaza, damaged beyond repair.

00Jul42 Struck off charge and sold for scrap.


K7843

00Sep36 The 52nd of 100 Gauntlet aircraft manufactured in the 2nd Mk.II production batch by the Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd in their facility at Brockworth, Gloucester, built in the Serial Range K7792 thru K7891. Powered by a single 640hp (485kW) Bristol Mercury VIS2 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine driving a 2-blade wooden Watts propeller. Armed with two Vickers Mk.V synchronised machine guns/600 rounds per gun.

04Nov36 Issued to 46 Squadron

1937 Two bladed wooden Watts propeller replaced by a 3-bladed Fairey metal propeller.

18Feb39 Issued to 26 Maintenance Unit

06Jun39 Issued to 36 Maintenance Unit

22Apr39 Shipped to the Middle East for Air Depot Aboukir

1939 Issued to 112 Squadron

19Sep40 3 Squadron RAAF, While in service with 3Sqn the aircraft is known to have flown at least 13 flights.

00Dec40 FLGOFF Jock Perrin flew combat sorties on 9th Dec (1), 11th Dec (3) and 12th Dec (1)

13-16Dec FLGOFF Jock Perrin flew six non-operational flights

10Jan41 FLGOFF Jock Perrin ferried the aircraft from Gerawla to 102 Maintenance Unit, Aboukir via Amriya.

01Jan44 struck off charge

K7843 with 46 Squadron at RAF Station Kenley 1938

K7843 with 46 Squadron at RAF Station Kenley 1938

K7884

00Jan37 the 93rd of 100 Gauntlet aircraft manufactured in the 2nd Mk.II production batch by the Gloster Aircraft Co Ltd in their facility at Brockworth, Gloucester, built in the Serial Range K7792 thru K7891. Powered by a single 640hp (485kW) Bristol Mercury VIS2 nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engine driving a 2-blade wooden Watts propeller. Armed with two Vickers Mk.V synchronised machine guns/600 rounds per gun.

02Feb37 Issued to No.1 Aircraft Storage Depot

18Mar37 Issued to 79Sqn

1937 Two bladed wooden Watts propeller replaced by a 3-bladed Fairey metal propeller.

24Feb38 Engine lost power on take-off at Biggin Hill, aircraft hit fence and overturned. Damage assessed as Cat.B

00Feb38 Issued to 24 Maintenance Unit

02Dec38 Issued to 610 Sqn

24Mar39 Issued to 24 Maintenance Unit

06May39 Issued to 36 Maintenance Unit

28May39 Shipped to the Middle East for Air Depot Aboukir

17Sep40 Issued to 33 Squadron

19Sep40 3 Squadron RAAF, While in service with 3Sqn the aircraft is known to have flown at least six flights.

12Oct40 FLGOFF Jock Perrin flew from Helwan to Amriya, the next day to Aboukir, on the 13th to Qasaba LG.

14Oct40 FLGOFF Jock Perrin flew a 2hr Low Level bombing practice flight

17Oct40 FLGOFF Jock Perrin flew two x 1hr dive bombing practice flights

25Oct40 FLGOFF Jock Perrin flew a 2hr 10min parallel track search mission.

05Dec40 FLGOFF Al Rawlinson flew a 25min test flight

00Dec40 Issued to 102 Maintenance Unit, Aboukir

01Dec42 Aircraft struck off charge.

PMcG 2023-02-18

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