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A private venture derived from the earlier Gauntlet, the Gloster Gladiator was simultaneously the RAF's last biplane fighter and the first with an enclosed cockpit. The Gladiator prototype was first flown in 1934 by company test pilot Gerry Sayer. Deliveries of the Gladiator MK1 began in 1937. The Gladiator II with certain equipment changes and a three bladed propellor began soon after. Because of Royal Navy requirements, a navalised version, the Sea Gladiator began in 1938, with production ending in 1940. By 1940 the Gladiator had been mostly replaced in front line service by the new breed of eight gun fighter monoplanes although two squadrons were sent to France at the outbreak of the second world war. Although obsolete the Gloster Gladiator achieved a certain amount of fame overseas, serving with distinction during the Norwegian compound operating from frozen lakes, the western desert and during the defence of Malta. The Gladiators front line service ended in 1942