A Gloster Gladiator J8a parked at F19 Rovaniemi base March 1940. In October 1939, Finland asked the Swedish government for military aid in the form of equipment and volunteers. On Dec 8:th two J 7 Bristol Bulldog, three J 6A and J 6B Jaktfalken and three S 6B CVM (Fokker) C.VE were handed over to the Finnish air force. They were never part of the Swedish volunteer unit.

On Dec 19:th, the Swedish Volunteer Corps formed an aviation unit, initially designated F101, consisting of a staff unit, fighter squadron, light bomber group, transport group and ground support unit. Total staff was about 250 men and two women. A Finnish air order of Jan 4:th mentioned the unit as Lento R 5, but on Jan 8:th, it was given the name "19. flygflottiljen" (19:th wing, numbered in sequence with the wings in Sweden), F 19.

To the air wing was on Dec 30:th assigned four B 4 Hawker Harts and twelve J 8A Gloster Gladiators.

The Gladiators were the most modern fighter in Swedish service, and twelve were no less than a third of the total operational fighter force. (More modern fighters were ordered, but not yet delivered.) They were camouflaged with aluminum dope partially over the olive green top surfaces and given Finnish insigninas.

On Jan 7:th 1940 the first airbase was operational at Kemi. Later on, five forward bases were constructed.

During the cold winter until the cease fire, F19 patrolled this area and made a number of contacts with Soviet bombers and fighters.