Canadian Warplanes 4: General Aircraft Hotspur Gliders

General Aircraft Hotspur Mk. II Glider

(IWM Photo, CH 006030)

General Aircraft GAL.48 Hotspur Mk. II gliders, RAF (Serial No. BT551), L, nearest, of No. 2 Glider Training Unit based at Weston-on-the-Green, in free flight over the Oxfordshire countryside, England, 24 June 1942. Although relatively heavy with a high sink rate, the Hotspur exhibited good flying characteristics and could even be flown aerobatically, allowing novice pilots to quickly gain proficiency. Brown, Robert G. On the Edge: Personal Flying Experiences During the Second World War. (Renfrew, Ontario, Canada: General Store Publishing House, 1999)

General Aircraft Hotspur Mk. II Glider (22), (Serial Nos. HH418, 19, 21, 25, 27, HH521, 51-53, 57-62, 64, 79, 80, HH6646, 47, 54, 67).

The General Aircraft GAL.48 Hotspur was a military glider designed and built by the British company General Aircraft Ltd during the Second World War . When the British airborne establishment was formed in 1940 by order of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, it was decided that gliders would be used to transport airborne troops into battle. General Aircraft Ltd were given a contract by the Ministry of Aircraft Production in June 1940 to design and produce an initial glider for use by the airborne establishment, which resulted in the Hotspur. Conceived as an "assault" glider which necessitated a compact design and no more than eight troops carried, tactical philosophy soon favoured larger numbers of troops being sent into battle aboard gliders. Due to this, the Hotspur was mainly relegated to training where it did excel and it became the basic trainer for the glider schools that were formed. The Hotspur was named after Sir Henry Percy, a significant captain during the Anglo-Scottish wars who was also known as "Hotspur". (Wikipedia)

(IWM Photo, TR 276)

Paratroops of the Airborne Division with a Hotspur Glider, 12 Nov 1942.

(RAF Photo)

General Aircraft GAL.48 Hotspur Mk. II Glider, RAF (Serial No. 8T596.

(IWM Photo, CH11722)

General Aircraft GAL.48 Hotspur Mk. II Glider in the foreground, with aircraft of the Empire Central Flying School lined up for display at RAF Hullavington, Wiltshire. In the front row, right to left: De Havilland Mosquito, Hawker Typhoon, Supermarine Spitfire, Percival Proctor, Grumman Avenger, Hawker Hurricane and three Miles Masters. In the back row, right to left: Avro Anson, Airspeed Oxford, De Havilland Tiger Moth, Avro Lancaster, Miles Magister, Vickers Wellington, Douglas Boston, North American Mitchell, Miles Master and Short Stirling, c1945.

(IWM Photo CH 7883)

An RAF instructor, with an Army trainee pilot on board, books out a GAL Hotspur Mark III glider before a training flight at No. 3 Glider Training School, at Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire, c1943.