Cheltenham’s ‘top-secret’ wartime aircraft site to be commemorated

The once ‘top-secret’ manufacturing site for the Gloster Aircraft Company in Bentham, Cheltenham, is to be commemorated with a plaque on September 10 at 1130hrs

The plaque will mark the site’s strategic and important role in the development of jet-powered aircraft during World War Two.

Now a residential housing development, Bentham Green near Brockworth is steeped in history as it was once home to the Gloster Aircraft Company's experimental facility where the first British jet aircraft, the E.28/39 was developed, incorporating Sir Frank Whittle’s revolutionary jet engine.

Following the aircraft’s development, its first unofficial 'flight' took place at Gloster’s nearby airfield in Brockworth (now the Gloucester Business Park) before taking off for the first time from RAF Cranwell in May 1941.

Funded by Badgeworth Parish Council, the plaque situated at the entrance to Bentham Green will serve as a reminder to the community of the importance of the site during the war years.

Local parish councillor Chris Haines MBE said: “Once the Gloster Aircraft Company ceased operations in Bentham, the old factory became an eyesore. The housing development that was built in 2015 in its place is a vast improvement for the area. This plaque is an opportunity to inform newer residents of the events that took place on their soil all those years ago and is a reminder of the great effort that was made by our region during the war.”

The plaque will be officially unveiled by Tony Sangwine OBE, Chairman of The Jet Age Museum

The ground-breaking Gloster E.28/39
The ground-breaking Gloster E.28/39 KEY