Gloster Aircraft Co
The Gloster Aircraft
Company was formed at Hucclecote, in 1915 as the Gloucestershire Aircraft
Company. Hucclecote was the second in a series of villages located along
an old Roman Road following a more-or-less straight line to the inland
port city of Gloucester, and because of the land availability the company
was able to build its own runway to test its aircraft.
In 1934 the company was amalgamated with Hawker Aviation Ltd, though still
producing aircraft under its own name. In that same year the company
produced the famous Gloster Gladiator biplane.
1939-1945 WWII production
In 1939 the company built 1,000 Hawker Hurricanes in the first 12 months
of World War II and it delivered its last of 2,750 Hurricanes in 1942.
Production was then switched to building 3,330 Hawker Typhoons for the
Royal Air Force.
On April 8, 1941 the first test flight of the Gloster E.28/39 with a
turbo-jet engine invented by Sir Frank Whittle took off from the companies
airfield at Hucclecote. This formed the basis for the Gloster Meteor, the
only jet to be used by the Allied Forces during World War II.
1945 World Record
In 1945 a Gloster F-4 Meteor prototype, stripped of armaments, gained a
World Speed Record of 606 mph. It was eventually put into service by 12
In 1952 the two seat, delta-winged Gloster Javelin was developed as an all
weather fighter that could fly above 50,000 feet at almost the speed of
sound. This modern aircraft proved to be too heavy to take off from the
short airfield in Hucclecote, and was instead fitted out to the bare
minimum and given a very small fuel load. It was then flown in a short hop
to RAF Moreton Valence 3 miles to the South, where the aircraft would be
completed. Parts of this old airfield can still be seen as you drive on
the M5 motorway just South of Junction 12. The motorway was constructed
parallel to the runway and at either end, large concrete sections of
taxiway can be seen angling off the carriageway. It was this shortcoming of
the facilities, along with the rationalisation of the British aircraft
industry, that would lead to the demise of the Gloster Aircraft Company.
Gloster Aircraft Company closed in 1962. The runway, while still visible
from the air, has been partially obstructed by buildings on what is now
the Gloucester Trading Estate. Many of the firms based on the estate are
housed in former hangars.