Gloster G42 E1/44 RAF cover signed Test Pilot Squadron Leader Jan (Zura) Zurakowski

Cover produced for the 50th anniversary of the Gloster E1/44. Cover depicts the unflown first prototype SM809, second prototype TX145 and third prototype TX148.

Cover bears 26p Unicorn of Scotland Horse of Hanover stamp cancelled with 50th Anniversary of Gloster E1/44 postmark 9 March 1998.

Cover has been flown on a local training sortie from Chalgrove in Gloster Meteor T7 operatied by the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company for ejection seat testing.

During early 1942 the Ministry of Aircraft Production and Gloster Aircraft Company were anxious about the delays in the supply of engines for the F9/40 the forerunner to the Meteor. Both Rover and de Havilland were running very late with deliveries of their engines and as a contingency Gloster offered a single engined design for the Ministry's approval. Although the engine problems were overcome Gloster continued with the design, further refining it into a single seat fighter. Three prototypes were drawn up.

It was not until July 1947 that the completed prototype was rolled out. Many of the test flights were carried out by Squadron Leader Jan Zurakowski.

Cover is signed by Squadron Leader Jan Zurakowski,

Chief Development Test Pilot, Gloster Aircraft Company 1947-1952

He joined the Polish Air force in 1934 as Cadet in Officer's School and was commissioned in 1937 and posted to 161 Fighter Squadron. IN 1939 he was posted asan Instructor to Fighter Training School at Deblin. During the German invasion of Poland he flew an obsolete fighter aircraft and damaged a German bomber Do-17. He arrived in England in 1940 via Romania, Syria and France and joined the RAF(VR). He was posted to 234 Fighter Squadron flying Spitfires. He took part in the Battle of Britain and bailed out of a damaged Spitfire. He was later posted to 609 Fighter Squadron at Middle Wallop and Biggin Hill. During the Battle of Britain he was acredited with 3 destroyed. In 1941 he was posted as an Instructor to 57,61 and 58 Operational Training Units. He was then later posted to 315 Polish Fighter Squadron flying Spitfires at Northolt. In 1942 he was Flight Commander of 306 Polish Squadron flying Spitfires and was later Squadron Commander of 316 Fighter Squadron. IN 1943 he was posted as Squadron Leader to RAF Northolt as Sector Gunnery Instructor and later as Deputy Wing Leader led Polish Wing on 46 operatinosl sorties. Later he was posted Headquarters Fighter Command at Stanmore. In 1944 he was selected for 2 Course at Empire Test Pilots' School. In 1945 he was posted as a test pilot to A&AEE at Boscombe Down in Fleet Air Arm Squadron and A Squadron. He tested over 30 aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm RAF And American Fighters.

Following demobilisation in 1947 he joined Gloster Aircraft Company as an Experimental and Development Test Pilot. In 1948 he undertook the maiden flight of the Meteor F8. In 1950 he undertook the Maiden Flight of the FR9 and the PR10 and set an International Speed Record.

Between 1947 and 1952 he carried out 1000 flights in Meteors with 50 on the E1/44 and 14 on Javelin. Between 1946 and 1955 he demonstrated at the Farnborough Air Show. In 1952 he left Gloster to join Avro Canada as Chief Experimetal Test Pilot responsible for development of CF-100 Interceptor Fighter.

In 1955 he undertook the maiden flight of CF-100 Mk5. IN 1957 he tetsted Convair and in 1958 piloted CF-105 Avro Arrow on its Maiden Flight. He retired from Avro Canada in 1959 after the Arrow Project was abandoned by Canadian Government.

Harold Moon BSC CEng, Head of Structures Gloster Aircraft Company 1947-62

He joined the company in 1939 at the Stress Office at Blackburn Aircraft company and was involved in early work on the Beverley. In 1947 he was appointed Head of Structures at Gloster and was responsible for structural aspects of the Meteor, E1/44 and the Javelin. He retired in 1962 following the company merge with Sir WG Armstong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd