A gremlin is a folkloric mischievous creature that causes malfunctions in aircraft or other machinery. Depictions of these creatures vary. Often they are described or depicted as animals with spiky backs, large strange eyes, and small clawed frames that feature sharp teeth.
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air. It counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines. Common examples of aircraft include airplanes, helicopters, airships, gliders, paramotors and hot air balloons.
Since World War II, different fantastical creatures have been referred to as gremlins, bearing varying degrees of resemblance to the originals.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The term "gremlin" denoting a mischievous creature that sabotages aircraft originates in Royal Air Force (RAF) slang in the 1920s among the British pilots stationed in Malta, the Middle East, and India, with the earliest recorded printed use being in a poem published in the journal Aeroplane in Malta on 10 April 1929.Later sources have sometimes claimed that the concept goes back to World War I, but there is no print evidence of this.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain.
Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 316 km2 (122 sq mi), Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated sovereign country. Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km². The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese officially recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union.
The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation while Bahrain is the smallest. The corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century.
Although their origin is found in myths among airmen, claiming that the gremlins were responsible for sabotaging aircraft, John W. Hazen states that "some people" derive the name from the Old English word gremian, "to vex",while Carol Rose, in her book Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia, attributes the name to a portmanteau of Grimm's Fairy Tales and Fremlin Beer.
Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers probably in the mid-5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English.
Fremlin's was a brewery in Maidstone, Kent, England. It was established by Ralph Fremlin in 1861, who eschewed the pub trade and focused on bottled beer, on religious grounds. The beer was known for the distinctive elephant logo on the bottles. The brewery expanded to become the largest in Kent, before going into decline after being purchased by Whitbread in 1967.
An early reference to the gremlin is in aviator Pauline Gower's 1938 novel The ATA: Women with Wings, where Scotland is described as "gremlin country", a mystical and rugged territory where scissor-wielding gremlins cut the wires of biplanes when unsuspecting pilots were about.An article by Hubert Griffith in the servicemen's fortnightly Royal Air Force Journal dated 18 April 1942, also chronicles the appearance of gremlins, although the article states the stories had been in existence for several years, with later recollections of it having been told by Battle of Britain Spitfire pilots as early as 1940.
Pauline Mary de Peauly Gower Fahie was a British pilot and writer who established the women's branch of the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War.
A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two main wings stacked one above the other. The first powered, controlled aeroplane to fly, the Wright Flyer, used a biplane wing arrangement, as did many aircraft in the early years of aviation. While a biplane wing structure has a structural advantage over a monoplane, it produces more drag than a similar unbraced or cantilever monoplane wing. Improved structural techniques, better materials and the quest for greater speed made the biplane configuration obsolete for most purposes by the late 1930s.
The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. It has been described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces. The British officially recognise the battle's duration as being from 10 July until 31 October 1940, which overlaps the period of large-scale night attacks known as the Blitz, that lasted from 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941. German historians do not accept this subdivision and regard the battle as a single campaign lasting from July 1940 to June 1941, including the Blitz.
This concept of gremlins was popularized during World War II among airmen of the UK's RAF units, in particular the men of the high-altitude Photographic Reconnaissance Units (PRU) of RAF Benson, RAF Wick and RAF St Eval. The flight crews blamed gremlins for otherwise inexplicable accidents which sometimes occurred during their flights. Gremlins were also thought at one point to have enemy sympathies, but investigations revealed that enemy aircraft had similar and equally inexplicable mechanical problems. As such, gremlins were portrayed as being equal opportunity tricksters, taking no sides in the conflict, and acting out their mischief from their own self-interest. In reality, the gremlins were a form of "buck passing" or deflecting blame. This led folklorist John Hazen to note that "the gremlin has been looked on as new phenomenon, a product of the machine age – the age of air". Some experts believe this form of "passing the buck" was important to the morale of pilots. Author and historian Marlin Bressi stated, "Gremlins, while imaginary, played a very important role to the airmen of the Royal Air Force. Gremlin tales helped build morale among pilots, which, in turn, helped them repel the Luftwaffe invasion during the Battle of Britain during the summer of 1940. The war may have had a very different outcome if the R.A.F. pilots had lost their morale and allowed Germany's plans for Operation Sea Lion (the planned invasion of the U.K.) to develop. In a way, it could be argued that gremlins, troublesome as they were, ultimately helped the Allies win the war." Bressi also noted: "Morale among the R.A.F. pilots would have suffered if they pointed the finger of blame at each other. It was far better to make the scapegoat a fantastic and comical creature than another member of your own squadron."
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the northwestern coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the northeastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Royal Air Force Benson or RAF Benson is a Royal Air Force (RAF) station located at Benson, near Wallingford, in South Oxfordshire, England. It is a Main Operating Base of the RAF and home to its fleet of Westland Puma HC2 support helicopters, comprising No. 33 Squadron and No. 230 Squadron. Other flying units comprise No. 28 Squadron which is the combined Puma and Boeing Chinook HC4 operational conversion unit, the Oxford University Air Squadron and No. 6 Air Experience Flight both flying the Grob Tutor T1. The National Police Air Service and the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance are also based at the station, both operating the Airbus H135 helicopter.
Royal Air Force St. Eval or RAF St. Eval was a strategic Royal Air Force station for the RAF Coastal Command during the Second World War. St Eval's primary role was to provide anti-submarine and anti-shipping patrols off the south west coast. Aircraft from the airfield were also used for photographic reconnaissance missions, meteorological flights, convoy patrols, air-sea rescue missions and protection of the airfield from the Luftwaffe.
Author Roald Dahl is credited with getting the gremlins known outside the Royal Air Force.He would have been familiar with the myth, having carried out his military service in 80 Squadron of the Royal Air Force in the Middle East. Dahl had his own experience in an accidental crash-landing in the Western Desert. In January 1942, he was transferred to Washington, D.C. as Assistant Air attaché at the British Embassy. It was there that he wrote his first children's novel, The Gremlins, in which "Gremlins" were tiny men who lived on RAF fighters. In the same novel, Dahl called the wives of gremlins "Fifinellas", their male children "Widgets", and their female children "Flibbertigibbets". Dahl showed the finished manuscript to Sidney Bernstein, the head of the British Information Service, who came up with the idea to send it to Walt Disney.
The manuscript arrived in Disney's hands in July 1942, and he considered using it as material for a live action/animated full-length feature film, offering Dahl a contract.The film project was changed to an animated feature and entered pre-production, with characters "roughed out" and storyboards created. Disney managed to have the story published in the December 1942 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. At Dahl's urging, in early 1943, a revised version of the story, again titled The Gremlins , was published as a picture book by Random House. (It was later updated and re-published in 2006 by Dark Horse Comics).
The 1943 publication of The Gremlins by Random House consisted of 50,000 copies, with Dahl ordering 50 copies for himself as promotional material for himself and the upcoming film, handing them out to everyone he knew, including the British ambassador in Washington Lord Halifax, and the US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt who read it to her grandchildren.The book was considered an international success with 30,000 more sold in Australia but initial efforts to reprint the book were precluded by a wartime paper shortage. Reviewed in major publications, Dahl was considered a writer-of-note and his appearances in Hollywood to follow up with the film project were met with notices in Hedda Hopper's columns.
The film project was reduced to an animated short and eventually cancelled in August 1943, when copyright and RAF rights could not be resolved. But thanks mainly to Disney, the story had its share of publicity, which helped in introducing the concept to a wider audience. Issues #33–41 of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories published between June 1943 and February 1944 contained a nine-episode series of short silent stories featuring a Gremlin Gus as their star. The first was drawn by Vivie Risto, and the rest of them by Walt Kelly. This served as their introduction to the comic book audience as they are human gremlins who lived in their own village as little flying human people.
While Roald Dahl was famous for making gremlins known worldwide, many returning Air Servicemen swear they saw creatures tinkering with their equipment. One crewman swore he saw one before an engine malfunction that caused his B-25 Mitchell bomber to rapidly lose altitude, forcing the aircraft to return to base. Folklorist Hazen likewise offers his own alleged eyewitness testimony of these creatures, which appeared in an academically praised and peer-reviewed publication, describing an occasion he found "a parted cable which bore obvious tooth marks in spite of the fact that the break occurred in a most inaccessible part of the plane". At this point, Hazen states he heard "a gruff voice" demand, "How many times must you be told to obey orders and not tackle jobs you aren't qualified for? – This is how it should be done." Upon which Hazen heard a "musical twang" and another cable was parted.
Critics of this idea state that the stress of combat and the dizzying heights caused such hallucinations, often believed to be a coping mechanism of the mind to help explain the many problems aircraft faced whilst in combat.
|In The Gremlins||In Sometime Never|
|Habitat||Formerly in the prima forest and swamps of England, later in hangars (the Spandules, a different breed of Gremlins, live in clouds)||In one forest in England before the Industrial Revolution then moved underground|
|Food source||Used postage stamps||Snozzberries|
|Social Structure||Uncertain; rivalry between gremlins of different habitats; no established families||Ruled by one Leader, human-like society|
|Intelligence||Comparable to children, no clear culture of their own||Fully comparable to human; read human books|
Gremlin Americanus: A Scrap Book Collection of Gremlins by artist and pilot Eric Sloane may predate the Roald Dahl publication. Published in 1942 by B.F. Jay & Co, the central characters are characterized as "pixies of the air" and are friends of both RAF and USAAF pilots. The gremlins are mischievous and give pilots a great deal of trouble, but they have never been known to cause fatal accidents but can be blamed for any untoward incident or "bonehead play", qualities that endear them to all flyers.
See also Ssh! Gremlins by H.W. illustrated by Ronald Neighbour ("Neb" of the Daily Maily), published by H. W. John Crowther Publication, England, in 1942. This booklet featured numerous humorous illustrations describing the gremlins as whimsical but essentially friendly folk. According to "H.W.", contrary to some reports, gremlins are a universal phenomenon and by no means only the friends of flying men.
Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot. His books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide.
Gremlins is a 1984 American comedy horror film directed by Joe Dante and released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, destructive, evil monsters. This story was continued with a sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, released in 1990. Unlike the more satirical tone of the sequel, Gremlins opts for more black comedy, balanced against a Christmastime setting. Both films were the center of large merchandising campaigns.
The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden was a British twin-engine medium bomber of the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was part of the trio of large twin-engine bombers procured for the RAF, joining the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and Vickers Wellington. The newest of the three medium bombers, the Hampden was often referred to by aircrews as the "Flying Suitcase" because of its cramped crew conditions. The Hampden was powered by Bristol Pegasus radial engines but a variant known as the Handley Page Hereford had in-line Napier Daggers.
Wing commander is a senior commissioned rank in the British Royal Air Force and air forces of many countries which have historical British influence, including many Commonwealth countries but not including Canada and South Africa. It is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. It ranks immediately above squadron leader and immediately below group captain. It has a NATO ranking code of OF-4, and is equivalent to commander in the Royal Navy and to lieutenant colonel in the British Army, the Royal Marines, and the US Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is episode 123 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, based on the short story of the same name by Richard Matheson, first published in Alone by Night (1961). It originally aired on October 11, 1963 and is one of the most well-known and frequently referenced episodes of the series. The story follows the only passenger on an airline flight to notice a hideous creature lurking outside the plane.
Falling Hare is a 1943 Warner Bros. cartoon directed by Robert Clampett, and starring Bugs Bunny in the Merrie Melodies series. As with many Bugs Bunny cartoons, the title is a play on words; "falling hair" refers to impending baldness, while in this cartoon's climax the title turns out to be descriptive of Bugs's situation.
133 Squadron RAF was one of the famous Eagle Squadrons formed from American volunteers serving with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War.
The Gremlins is a book written by Roald Dahl and published in 1943.
A gremlin is a mythological mischievous creature.
Fifinella was a female gremlin designed by Walt Disney for a proposed film from Roald Dahl's book The Gremlins. During World War II, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) asked permission to use the image as their official mascot, and the Disney Company granted them the rights.
David Arthur Coke, DFC, was a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War, and is credited with 2 destroyed, 2 probables and 2 damaged aircraft during his service. He is known in popular culture for his friendship with the author Roald Dahl while serving in the Royal Air Force.
Christopher Frederick Currant,, nicknamed "Bunny", was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot and flying ace of the Second World War.
No. 38 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was a bomber squadron formed in 1916 and was disbanded for the last time in 1967.
Some Time Never: A Fable for Supermen is a 1948 book by Roald Dahl, his first adult novel. Dahl began writing it after editor Maxwell Perkins expressed an interest in publishing a novel length book if Dahl were to write it. The book was met with predominantly poor reception and was considered to be a failure, although it is historically noteworthy as the first novel about nuclear war to be published in the United States after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The story is a darker take on the same premise as Dahl's first children's novel, The Gremlins.
The third wave of Walt Disney Treasures was released on May 18, 2004. It was originally planned to be released in December 2003, but was delayed for almost half a year in order to meet an increased demand with a higher number of tins produced. This wave was the first to have a certificate of authenticity with the individual number of the tin on it, replacing the number embossed on the tin. This was the final wave released with side straps.
Fifinella (1913–1931) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare. In a career that lasted from 1915 until 1917 she ran seven times and won four races. She was the highest-rated British two-year-old of either sex in 1915 and went on to greater success the following season. As a three-year-old in 1916 she won the Derby and Oaks both of which were run that year at Newmarket. She was the sixth and most recent filly to win the Derby.
410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron, nicknamed the "Cougars", is a Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft squadron currently located at Canada's primary training base for the CF-18, at Cold Lake, Alberta. The squadron was formed during the Second World War as an RCAF squadron under the Royal Air Force (RAF), at RAF Ayr, near Prestwick, in Scotland.
Royal Air Force Sutton Bridge or more simply RAF Sutton Bridge is a former Royal Air Force station found next to the village of Sutton Bridge in the south-east of Lincolnshire. The airfield was to the south of the current A17, and east of the River Nene, next to Walpole in Norfolk.
The Battle of Athens on 20 April 1941 is the name given by author Roald Dahl to a dog-fighting air battle over Athens fought for half an hour between the RAF and the Luftwaffe towards the end of the Battle of Greece.
Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was a British author and scriptwriter, and "the most popular writer of children's books since Enid Blyton", according to Philip Howard, the literary editor of The Times. He was raised by his Norwegian mother, who took him on annual trips to Norway, where she told him the stories of trolls and witches present in the dark Scandinavian fables. Dahl was influenced by the stories, and returned to many of the themes in his children's books. His mother also nurtured a passion in the young Dahl for reading and literature.
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