Gloster Sea Gladiator 3 Piece Set – Faith, Hope & Charity, Malta Air Defence (VERY RARE)
3 X Sea Gladiators – Faith, Hope & Charity Set (VERY RARE)
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Set of all 3 Gloster Sea Gladiators “Faith, Hope and Charity”, which were part of a tiny air defence force for the island of Malta for a 17 day period in 1940. Although the total limited edition production run is 3230 it has actually been divided into thirds (to represent each of the 3 planes), so that only just over a thousand of each exist. These were originally sold individually and now extremely hard to find, especially as a complete set of all 3 models.
Length 4.5 inches Wingspan 5.25 inches
The Hal Far Fighter Flight was a British fighter unit formed during the Siege of Malta in 1940. For several weeks, the island of Malta was protected by a small force of Gloster Sea Gladiator biplane fighters, based at RAF Hal Far, which was also known as the Fleet Air Arm station HMS Falcon. The Gladiators were assembled out of crated aircraft left on the Island by the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious. It is actually a myth that only three aircraft, named Faith, Hope and Charity formed the fighter cover for the island. In fact, six aircraft were operational, though not always at the same time; others were used for spare parts. The names Faith, Hope and Charity were applied to the aircraft many months later, by a Maltese newspaper.
“Faith,” Sea Gladiator N5520 of 802 Sq. from June–November 1939, joined the Hal Far Fighter Flight in April 1940. She was quick to defend Malta, and while piloted by Flt. Lt. J. L. Waters RAF shot down and destroyed an Italian SM.79 Sparviero 3 engined bomber on June 11, 1940, and the next day on June 12, 1940, destroyed another SM.79. She was renamed “Faith” between October 1941 and January 1942. The fuselage is preserved in Malta.
“Hope,” Sea Gladiator N5531 of 802 Sq. from June 1939 to January 1940, joined the Hal Far Flight, and was renamed “Hope” on April 19, 1940. She was destroyed in an air raid on February 4, 1941.
“Charity,” Sea Gladiator N5519 “G6A” of 802 Sq. from June–September 1939, joined the Hal Far Fighter Flight and was renamed “Charity” on April 19, 1940. She was involved in defending Malta over the critical 1940 period, but was shot down on July 29, 1940, and her pilot, F/O P. W. Hartley RAF, was badly burned.
Designed as an improvement over the Gauntlet, the Gladiator was first flown on September 12th, 1934. The Gloster Gladiator was a British-built biplane fighter, used by the Royal Air Force and Navy and exported to a number of other air forces. Though often pitted against more advanced modern aircraft, it achieved wartime fame in the hands of skilled pilots, fighting some of the most dramatic battles of the early war years. Sea Gladiators were successful as carrier-based aircraft because their slower speed made them suitable for carrier operations, and because they were less likely to be facing modern fighter opposition.
Powered by the 850 h.p. Bristol Mercury IX air cooled radial engine, the Gladiator carried four Browning Machine Guns, two mounted in troughs just forward of the cockpit at each side of the aircraft, and two mounted beneath the lower wing, contained in streamlined pods. The top speed in level flight was about 250 m.p.h., and on a full tank of fuel could stay in the air for some two hours, or approximately 420 miles. With a wingspan of 32′ 3″ , length of 27′ 5″ , wing area of 323 sq. feet and fully loaded weight of 4,750 lbs the aircraft were very maneuverable . This along with the remarkable courage and daring of their young pilots in combat against faster Italian fighter and bomber aircraft made the story of these planes legend.
Model features include superbly accurate looking fine gauge wire to simulate the structural bracing wires found between the wings and above the rear control surfaces, two machine gun pods under the lower wing and two almost hidden synchronized guns mounted on the sides of the fuselage. The radial engine is also nicely detailed.
This has got to be a unique opportunity to obtain the complete set of such rare items of historic importance.