The previous article presented the capabilities of the Gloster Gladiator fighter plane. Now, let's look at the pilots of the three versions of this aircraft which are included in the WW2 Wings of Glory Airplane Packs - two Mk.Is, piloted by the Squadron Leader Marmaduke "Pat" Pattle and by Lieutenant Dag Krohn, and a Sea Gladiator, flown by Lieutenant George Burges.

Marmaduke Thomas St. John "Pat" Pattle

Born in July 1914, in South Africa, Marmaduke Thomas St. John "Pat" Pattle was a RAF fighter ace with the highest score on a Gloster Gladiator (15 victories) and sometimes noted as being the highest-scoring British and Commonwealth pilot of the Second World War. Unofficially, his score is 50 victories, and at least 40 are considered highly trustworthy.

Marmaduke "Pat" Pattle: 15 victories scored with the Gladiator

Pattle left South Africa to join RAF in April 1936, and after flight training he was graduated with distinction in early 1937and posted to No. 80 Squadron, which had just been re-equipped with Gladiator biplanes. In April 1938, he accompanied the unit to Egypt, where by 1939 he had become a flight commander.

In August 1940, the unit moved up to the Libyan border, where Pattle was in action for the firtst time. During early battles with the Italians over the desert, he claimed four victories (or possibly five), although he was shot down himself on 4 August 1940, bailing out and walking towards the Allied lines. He was rescued after two days.

Pattle scored all his victories over a period of nine months, against Axis opponents who outnumbered the RAF fighter contingent at all times. In February 1941, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his numerous victories, even flying the “obsolete” Gladiator. He was reputed to be a crack shot, a better-than-average pilot and a highly capable formation leader in the air. Even while suffering from high fever, he scored nine air kills in his last four days. He was killed in action on 20 April 1941, in Greece, when his formation of 12 Hawker Hurricanes was attacked by Axis fighters in what became known as the Battle of Athens.

The Gloster Gladiator flied by Dag Krohn.

Dag Krohn

Lieutenant Dag Krohn was born in 1912 in Oslo, Norway. He served the Norwegian Jagevingen (Norwegian Fighter Wing), based at Fornebu Airport and equipped with seven serviceable Gloster Gladiators. On 9 April 1940, the first day of the invasion of Norway, the Jagevingen pilots managed to shoot down five German aircraft: two Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighters, two He 111 bombers and one Fallschirmjäger-laden Ju 52 transport. Flying the Gladiator n.423, that day Lieutenant Krohn scored two victories and reported to have damaged an enemy bomber.

Georges Burges

Born in Sheffield on 4 June 1916, Flight Lieutenant George Burges joined RAF pre-war and became a Pilot Officer in August 1936. At the outbreak of the war, he was selected as one of the pilots forming the Fighter Flight with Sea Gladiators on Malta (the famous "Faith", "Hope" and "Charity").

He participated to several sorties and engaged aerial battles with Italian forces, without scoring victories, until 22 June 1940, when he shot down a SM79. The following day, contrasting a bomber raid, and after a first attack without results, he became involved in a dogfight with a faster Macchi, and was able to hit his opponent. On July 9th, he claimed his first victory flying a Hurricane, and ten days after he was awarded with the Distinguished Flying Cross - it was Malta's first decoration. The citation stated that he had shot down three Italian aircraft and probably three more. He served in the island until June 1941, when he was posted home to the UK.

Burges ended the war with 3 biplane victories and a total of 7 victories, as a Group Captain. He died in November 1990.

Information sources: WW2 Aircraft, WW2 Vehicles, Wikipedia, Shuttleworth, Battle of Britain Historical Society, Håkans aviation page – Drag Krohn, George Burges.

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