Keith Meggs, DFM, AAM

Keith Meggs: A Man and his Machines

Sgt. K.R. Meggs

During conversion training to Gloster Meteor Mk.8 Jet Aircraft.

77 Squadron RAAF, Iwakuni, Japan, ca. mid 1951

Photographer: N/S, Australian War Memorial Negative Number: JK0910

The Machines

Gloster Meteor


Gloster Meteors, 77 Squadron RAAF, Korea, c.1951

photo courtesy of Keith Meggs. The Mk.8 A77-730 in the foreground was in fact his 'Private' Meteor !

Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8: (A77-702) (A77-305) : RAAF Museum(note1)

" was not until 1951, when Meteors went into action with 77 Sqdn in Korea that these aircraft made their mark in RAAF history. Ninety-three Meteor F8s and six Meteor T7s were allocated to Korea with scattered serial numbers ranging between A77-2(note2) (T7) and A77-982 (F8). They were used mainly in the ground-attack role(note3), but also accounted for three MIG-15s. Forty-one F8s and three T7s returned to Australia aboard HMAS Vengeance, and by 1958 most Meteors had been replaced by CAC Sabres. The remaining Meteors served with CAF squadrons until the RAAF "officially" retired the Meteor in 1963."

Keith Meggs comments: (1) A77-702 and A77-305 were in fact both T7 trainers with -702 initially being numbered -229. They were later renumbered 701(?) and 702 as they now are back in Australia. (2) there was never a A77-2 in my time in Korea to October 1951. (3) this followed after 4-5 months of air-to-air combat. One T7 was lost en route Iwakuni - Kimpo, South Korea whilst I was in the USA if I remember correctly. Sgt. Alan Avery was the pilot and Eng. Officer [.] Johnson was in back. It would have been either 229 or 305 unless others had arrived by the time I left in mid-October '51

Is the aircraft referred to above as A77-2 simply a 'typo' and should have said A77-702 ? [Ed.]


Gloster Meteor T7 - a 'postcard' issue from Flight magazine c. 1950s

There are more photographs in our Meteor Photo Gallery

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The Gloster Meteor - premiere site


Part 6, The F.8

As improved jet fighters began to emerge in the years following the war, Gloster decided to perform a significant redesign of the F.4 to keep it up to date, while retaining as much of the manufacturing tooling of the F.4 as possible. The result was the Meteor F.8 (G-41K). The first prototype was a modified F.4, followed by a true prototype that flew on 12 October 1948. Initial deliveries to the RAF were in August 1949.

The F.8 featured a fuselage stretch of 76 centimeters (30 inches), intended to change the aircraft's center of gravity and eliminate the dead weight of ballast that had accumulated in earlier marks, which had reached a total of about 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds) in the F.4.

Evaluation of the stretched fuselage in the initial prototype gave positive results, except that as ammunition was expended the aircraft became tail-heavy and suffered instability around the pitch axis. However, by an odd stroke of luck, Gloster had developed a single-engine jet fighter designated the G.42, that hadn't entered production, and fitting the tail of the G.42 to the modified F.4 cleared up the stability problem.

Given the modular design of the Meteor, fitting the new tail proved simple. It also made the new variant distinctively different from its predecessors. While the vertical tailplane of earlier Meteors was elliptical, resembling an asymmetric guitar pick, the new vertical tailplane had straight edges.

Another important change in the F.8 was, of course, still further uprated engines in the form of Derwent 8 engines with 1,633 kilograms (3,600 pounds) thrust each. Other changes included structural strengthening, a Martin-Baker ejection seat as evaluated earlier on the F.4, and a revised "blown" cockpit canopy that provided improved pilot visibility. The F.8 could carry two 450 kilogram (1,000 pound) bombs or sixteen rocket projectiles.

The Meteor F.8 was the mainstay of RAF Fighter Command between 1950 and 1955, though it was increasingly outmatched by newer swept-wing fighters developed during this period, such as the US North American F-86 Sabre and the Soviet MiG-15. It was eventually replaced in RAF squadron service by the Hawker Hunter.

Although the Meteor may have been obsolescent in the 1950s, it served with distinction with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during the Korean War in the ground-attack role. The RAF began receiving Meteor F.8s at the end of 1949, most of which were modified to carry a radio compass, with the antenna in a small dome on the aircraft's spine. The RAAF received 93 ex-RAF Meteor F.8s for combat service in Korea from 1951 through 1953.

The Meteor was used for escort duties at first, with the aircraft's initial combat mission taking place on 29 July. A month later, the Meteors mixed it up with MiG-15s and got the worst of it, with one Meteor lost and the pilot taken prisoner, and two others badly damaged. The Meteor seemed to be no match for the MiG-15, though Australian pilots protested that they might have done much better had they been trained for air-to-air combat rather than ground support, but by the end of 1951 the Meteor had been relegated to the ground-support role.

This was dangerous work, all the more so because a Meteor had to be held smooth and level on its firing run for its gyro-stabilized gunsight to operate accurately, making the aircraft vulnerable to ground fire. 32 were lost in action. Despite the aircraft's general inferiority to the MiG-15, the Australians were able to score at least three "kills" against the Soviet fighter with the Meteor. After the war, the F.8s were sent home to Australia, to be replaced by Commonwealth CA-27 Sabres in the mid-1950s.

A total of 1,183 F.8s were built in all by Gloster and Armstrong-Whitworth, with 23 ex-RAF aircraft supplied to Belgium, 60 new-build aircraft to Brazil, 20 new-build aircraft to Denmark, 12 ex-RAF aircraft to Egypt, 11 new-build aircraft to Israel, 5 ex-RAF aircraft to the Netherlands, and 12 new-build and 7 ex-RAF aircraft to Syria.

Fokker built 150 F.8s for the Dutch and 150 F.8s for the Belgians. Avions Fairey built 30 from kits supplied by Fokker and 37 from kits supplied by Gloster, with these aircraft going into Dutch service.

Meteor F.8 Specifications

wingspan11.3 meters37 feet 2 inches
length13.6 meters44 feet 7 inches
height3.96 meters13 feet
empty weight4,850 kilograms10,680 pounds
loaded weight7,120 kilograms15,700 pounds
maximum speed960 KPH600 MPH
service ceiling13,100 meters43,000 feet
range965 kilometers600 miles

Two reconnaissance variants of the F.8 were also built. The FR.9 (Fighter Reconnaissance 9, or G-41L) retained the four 20-millimeter Hispano cannon, but had an extended nose to accommodate a camera that could be oriented on the ground to shoot through one of three windows. It could also carry an external tank under each wing and an external tank under the belly.

A total of 126 FR.9s were built and went into RAF service in the low-altitude reconnaissance role, with 12 of these aircraft later passed on to Ecuador, 7 passed on to Israel, and two passed on to Syria. RAF Meteor PR.9s saw extensive use in the 1956 Suez intervention, and Middle Eastern Meteors of various types saw intermittent combat through the 1950s.

The PR.10 (G-41M) was intended for the high-altitude reconnaissance role. It not only had the older long-span wing, it also had the older elliptical Meteor F.4 tail. Armament was deleted, and it was fitted both with a camera in the nose as with the FR.9 and wth two cameras in the rear fuselage for along-track imaging. The RAF received 59 PR.10s. None were exported.

The RAF also operated reconnaissance Meteors during security operations in Kenya, Aden, Cyprus, and Malaya through the 1950s.

The F.8 proved popular as a test and trials aircraft. F.8s were used to test airborne radar for the Fireflash missile, midair refueling schemes, and engine fits. A heavily modified F.8 experimentally fitted with Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire 2 engines set a world climb-rate record in August 1951. One test rig was fitted with the Armstrong-Siddeley Screamer rocket engine, fitted under the fuselage. Another was fitted with Rolls-Royce Soar mini-jet engines, while retaining its Derwents, making it the only four-engine Meteor.

One of the oddest test fits was built by Armstrong-Whitworth, and involved adding a second cockpit to a longer nose. This additional cockpit was intended to accommodate a pilot lying in a prone position on his stomach, in the belief that this posture might provide more resistance to gee forces. This testbed was first flown in February 1954, but the idea went no further.

Gloster also refitted an F.8 to a specialized close-support configuration, with wingtip tanks and belly stores pylons. This aircraft was known as the "Reaper", and could carry 24 rockets or up to four 450 kilogram (1,000 pound) bombs. It is likely it had some structural reinforcements and possibly additional armor.

for the complete Meteor story - discussing all variants - please refer to the source article


ADF Aircraft Serial Numbers

Gloster Meteor

Gloster Meteor 1944 - 1965

Gloster Meteors in Australia


Mustangs, Meteors and MiGs

also some other 'Meteor' sites , not necessarily RAAF...

Gloster Meteor T.Mk.7:/F.Mk.8

Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8: (WL-181)

Czech Resins 1/72 Gloster Meteor F.8/FR.9

Czech Resins 1/72 Gloster Meteor F.8/FR.9

Gloster Meteor F.8/FR.9 Part 1: Silver

Gloster Meteor F.8/FR.9 Part 2: Camouflage

Tamiya's 1/48 Meteor F.Mk.1 and V-1

Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8:

Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8: (WK-979)

Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8:


Meteor Strike by Frank Wootton

Further Reading


Buttler, Tony, Gloster Meteor, Warpaint Series No. 22

Bartlett, Norman, With the Australians in Korea. Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1954


Ashley, Glenn, Meteor in Action, Aircraft Number 152, Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton, Tx, USA

Cover Image: Gloster Meteor F.Mk.8 (A77-851) as flown by Sgt. George Hale in Korea, (77 Squadron, RAAF), c.1951

Donselar, Annette, (Ed.), compiled by Wayne Brown, Andrew Cork, Colin Faggo Swift To Destroy - An illustrated History of 77 Squadron RAAF, 1942 - 1986 ; Norman Morris Printers ; Newcastle, Australia, 1986

Hill, Brian L., Wirraway to Hornet : a history of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, 1936 to 1985; Bulleen, Vic. : Southern Cross Publications, 1998


Odgers, George. Across the Parallel: The Australian 77th Squadron with the United States Air Force in the Korean War. Melbourne: William Heinemann Ltd, 1953


Pentland Geoffrey, Malone Peter : Aircraft of the RAAF 1921-71 - Jubilee Issue ; Melbourne: Kookaburra Technical Publications, 1971

Stephens, Alan. Going Solo: The Royal Australian Air Force 1946-1971. Canberra: AGPG Press, 1995

Wilson, David, Lion over Korea : 77 Fighter squadron, RAAF, 1950-53. Belconnen, A.C.T. : Banner Books, 1994


Meteor, Sabre and Mirage In Australian Service

Wilson, Stewart

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