Brockworth Airfield and GAC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gloster Aircraft Company was first formed at Hucclecote, Gloucestershire in 1915, as the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company. In 1926 the name of the company was abbreviated to Gloster Aircraft Company because customers outside of the United Kingdom found the original name too difficult to pronounce. In May 1934 the company was purchased by Hawker Aircraft but the company name was unchanged.

 

The company produced from 1921 :- Sparrowhawk, Nighthawk, Nightjar, Grouse, Grebe, Gamecock, Gorcock, Guan, Gambit, Gnatsnapper, Gauntlet, Gladiator, Hawker HurricaneHawker TyphoonGloster Meteor and Gloster Javelin and its runway became famous for the first flight of Sir Frank Whittle's turbo-jet aircraft.

The Gloster Aircraft Company (known locally as GAC) drew upon an employment pool from the surrounding area and it was responsible for much of the growth in the development of housing estates which was halted by the outbreak of World War II. During the war Brockworth and the surrounding area were bombed by the Luftwaffe in an attempt to halt the production of aircraft.

As the pre-war biplane Gladiator was rapidly rendered obsolete by faster monoplanes the Brockworth factory was available to manufacture Hawker aircraft. In 1939 the company built 1,000 Hawker Hurricanes in the first 12 months of World War II and it delivered the last of 2,750 Hurricanes in 1942. Production was then switched to building 3,330 Hawker Typhoons for the Royal Air Force. On 8 April 1941 the first test flight of the Gloster E28/39 with a single turbo-jet engine (invented by Sir Frank Whittle) took off from the company's flight test airfield at Brockworth. This was followed by the twin-engined Gloster Meteor, the only jet to be used by the Allied Forces during World War II. The speed of the Meteor enabled it to fly alongside V1 flying bombs, tip them off course, to crash before they could arrive at their London target. In 1945 the Meteor gained a world speed record of 606 mph and it was eventually put into service by 12 nations.

Following World War II it took the area many years to revive; but after the mid-1950s, renewned housing growth, the development of motorways and redistricting eventually changed the entire look of Brockworth and what were once adjoining villages. In 1952 the Brockworth factory produced the two seat, delta-winged Gloster Javelin which was developed as an all weather fighter that could fly above 50,000 feet at almost the speed of sound. In 1962 the Gloster Aircraft Company closed down and its once famous runway fell victim of redistricting and it is now within the boundary of Hucclecote. The airfield has now been redeveloped as the modern Gloucester Business Park, with additional housing developments continuing to grow around it.

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