33 SQUADRON - Fighter - Gloster Gladiator
History | Operations and losses | Sources | Links | Books | Questions and/or remarks
In 1935, the Squadron moved to Egypt during the Abyssinian crisis, and remained in the Middle East when the conflict was over. Shortly after however, the unit took up air policing duties over Palestine where Arabs had begun attacking Jewish settlements.
With the outbreak of World War II, No. 33 moved to the Western Desert, active action beginning with the entry of Italy into the War in June of 1940. Conversion to ground attack Hurricanes was completed some six months later.
33 and 112 Squadrons took over most of the available Gauntlets during 1940 as useful means to pursue training techniques while conserving Gladiator flying hours. 33 Squadron took on charge six Gauntlets (K5273, K5286, K5299, K5316, K7793 and K7884) at Mersa Matruh during February 1940, and these machines were still listed at reserve strength when Italy declared war on 10/11 June that year.
Following the disastrous defence of Greece in 1941, the Squadron returned to the Western Desert before returning to the UK in April 1944 and receiving Spitfires. By the end of the year, No 33 had traded these in for Tempests and these were used on fighter sweep tasks until the end of the War.
Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940
Not all operations listed; those with losses are.
See Gloster Gladiator in 33 RAF Squadron Service for all operations in June 1940
16/06/1940: ? 1 Plane lost, 1 MIA
19/06/1940: ? 1 Plane lost 1 KIA
Type: Gloster Gladiator
Serial number: N5759, NW-?
Flight Lieutenant Hale W. Bolingbroke, RAF 37442, 33 Sqdn., DFC, age 29, 16/06/1940, missing, Alamein Memorial
Flew into sea off Sidi Barrani while descending in cloud
Four Gladiators, S/L Johnson, F/L Hawkins, F/O Lynch, and Sgt Green, took off to patrol over Sollum. With the Gladiators was the Hurricane piloted by Fly Off Wykeham-Barnes. There were also two Blenheims present. Formation flying was rather difficult as there were three different aircraft with three different cruising speeds. When this unwieldy formation was over Sollum they encountered 5 CR42s and either 7 CR32s or RO37s. Two of the CR42s were shot down by Wykeham-Barnes. The Gladiators accounted for a further two but lost Sgt Green when he was cornered by 3 CR425 and shot down despite some violent aerobatics.
Type: Gloster Gladiator
Serial number: ?, NW-?
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Roy L. Green, RAF 44754, 33 Sqdn., age 24, 19/06/1940, Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt
33 Squadron RAF - by
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Gloster Gladiator in 33 RAF Squadron Service
Royal Air Force - 33 Squadron
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account
H Halliday 'Woody - A Fighter Pilot's Album' (Canav 1983)
P Joubert 'The fated sky: autobigraphy of ACM Sir Philip Joubert' (Hutchinson 1952)
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Armée de l'Air - Order of Battle,
10th May 1940
Axis History Factbook
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Czechoslovak airmen in
the RAF 1940-1945
Håkans aviation page (from Sweden, in English)
'High flight', poem by John Gillespie Magee
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, poem by W.B. Yeats
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
Luchtoorlog ('Arial War', in Dutch, with many photos)
The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association
Nordic Aviation during WW2
Pilotfriend.com: aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
De Slag om de Grebbeberg (Dutch)
War over Holland
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway
North East Diary 1939-1945
Wartime Leicester and
The Aerodrome -
Aces and Aircraft of World War 1
This page is dedicated to the men of No. 33 Squadron.
© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/index.html