Book Author(s)
Alex Crawford , Illustrated by Karolina Hołda
Review Author(s)
Published on
December 29, 2015
Other Publication Information
Softbound, A4 [8.27” x 11.69:], 120 pages

Scotland native Alex Crawford is back for his sixth book with Mushroom Model Publications and his third on the Gloster Gladiator. This book is an operational review of the squadron’s two disastrous visits to Norway. The first trip ended with the destruction of all of 263 Squadron’s Gladiators after two days of heavy fighting. The squadron was evacuated and re-equipped with more Gladiators and made a return trip to Norway. Improved organization allowed 263 Squadron to perform better for three weeks of fighting before they were once again evacuated. The remaining ten Gladiators were flown on board HMS Glorious for the return to the UK. Disaster struck the next day when during HMS Glorious was attacked and sunk by the German battle crusiers, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, with the loss of all of 263 Squadrons’ pilots.

I counted 122 black and white photos. Karolina Holda contributes 6 color side views as well as 2 color three views (over four pages) depicting the two standard RAF schemes applicable to the Gladiators in Norway. Two nice color scrap drawings are included of a newly discovered flying dog head mascot that was painted just below the rear canopy. A video trailer of the book can be seen on YouTube at


  • Acknowledgement
  • Forward by Tim Kershaw
  • 263 Squadron Forward by Richard Haldane
  • Introduction
  • The Early Months
    • October 1939
    • November
    • December
    • January 1940
    • February
    • March
    • April
  • A Norwegian Adventure
    • Norway Invaded
    • 24th April, Wednesday
    • 25th April, Thursday
    • 26th April, Friday
  • A Return to Norway
    • May
    • 21st May, Tuesday
    • 22nd May, Wednesday
    • 23rd May, Thursday
    • 24th May, Friday
    • 25th May, Saturday
    • 26th May, Sunday
    • 27th May, Monday
    • 28th May, Tuesday
    • 29th May Wednesday
    • 30th May, Thursday – 1st June, Saturday
    • 2nd June, Sunday
    • 3rd June, Monday
    • 4th June, Tuesday
    • 5th June, Wednesday
    • 6th June, Thursday
    • 7th June, Friday
  • The Loss of HMS Glorious
    • 8th June, Saturday
  • The Aftermath
  • The Pilots
  • The Aircraft
  • Camouflage and Markings
  • 263 Squadron Claims
  • The Recoveries
  • Restorations
  • 263 Squadron Roll of Honour
  • Bibliography
  • Colour Profiles by Karolina Hołda

Alex Crawford provides nice biographies of each of the 263 Squadron pilots, 34 in all, involved in the two Norwegian assignments. The chapter on “The Aircraft” provides tables of all the Gloster Gladiators associated with 263 Squadron, their serial numbers, and any additional information (i.e., source, code, pilot, disposition, etc.). ‘263 Squadron Claims’ provides a similar table based on date, referencing the pilot, serial number, and any comments. ‘Restorations’ provides the current status of the six Gloster Gladiators that are being restored. Part of the reason this book came to be created was in Alex Crawford’s involvement in the Jet Age Museum’s Gloster Gladiator Mk II, N5914.

I was impressed with the depth that Alex Crawford provided in this book, using first-hand accounts and other official documentation. My thanks to Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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