Rare Gloster

Today we have a magazine cover. According to this listing, it’s the October 1937 issue of Air Stories.


As well as the delightful story titles and bylines ‘Recording Officer’ and ‘Finger of Death’, the cover illustration is something that just jumped out at me as soon as I saw this on the internet. While it looks like a made up aircraft, it is, in fact the Gloster F.5/34 prototype put into squadron service colours, though the real, never-named machine gained no production orders.


Unsurprisingly, it looks rather like a monoplane Gloster Gladiator, which was, in reality, used by 56 Squadron RAF which did use the red and white chequer-board marking in the illustration.


The artwork is a competent piece, and the signature, bottom left is ‘R Drigin’. Apparently, according to the Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum, this is Serge R. Drigin. They say: “Born and raised in Russia, he became a sailor, then studied art in Moscow and following World War I settled in London. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he produced a prolific number and range of illustrations…” [see here] “…especially for action magazines and comics intended for boys; he was also a pioneer illustrator of science fiction. Drigin was a keen yachtsman, and was a fan of motor racing at Brooklands.” The other illustrations on their page by him include a number of imaginative covers, including a couple more one-offs, both enabling original artwork, and something that’s very different to more sober, credible covers. A great find.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

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