Originally one of 26 examples purchased by Latvia, using the proceeds of a public lottery, the future Werk Nr 45829 was among the aircraft acquired by the Soviets during the occupation of Latvia and Lithuania in July 1940, resulting in red stars being painted over the red swastika insignia of Latvia.
At least 13 Gladiators, including 45829, and a significant quantity of spare parts, were captured by the Germans during the initial part of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941.[N 1] After being dismantled, these aircraft were transported by rail to Langendiebach near Hanau, and passed to Erganszungsgruppe (S) 1,[N 2] where they were repainted with Luftwaffe insignia and codes, 45829 becoming NJ+BO.
Werk Nr 45829 crash-landed on 15 April 1942, and was apparently written off as 45% damaged.[N 3]
- The Gladiators are mentioned in a captured document, held by the US National Archives in Washington, listing the war material captured by the Luftwaffe prior to 1 September 1941.
- Erg.Gr. (S) 1 ('S' for Schlepp - towed) was a training Gruppe giving primary and operational training for assault glider pilots. Training was mainly conducted on the DFS230 glider. For glider towing duties however, the unit used a wide variety of types, including German Arado Ar65s and Heinkel He46s, Czech Avia B-534s and the larger Letov S-328, and at least 10 Gladiators, usually described as 'Glosters'.
- This was presumably before the unit adopted the unit code IE.
- Green, William. Famous Fighters of the Second World War. Purnell Book Services. 1975. Page 185