The Meteor wasn’t the first operational jet fighter; the Messerschmitt ME262 did come before it (by some months) but it was the first allied jet and it was also far more successful; remaining in RAF service in its various versions for many years.
The 2 wing mounted turbojet engines were based on the design by Frank Whittle and the Meteor first flew as a test aircraft on 5 March 1943.
The Meteor first saw active service with 616 Squadron on 27 July 1944, although for security reasons the aircraft was not allowed to operate over enemy territory; the design and construction of the engines was significantly different and more advanced than those of the ME 262.
At this time in the war its main role was trying to intercept the V1 flying bomb because it was fast enough and stable enough at those high speeds to make a successful interception viable. In fact the Meteor was credited with shooting down some 14 flying bombs, although there were some difficulties mainly with guns jamming.
During wartime service the Meteor F1s of 616 sqdn were replaced with the F3 variant which were later powered by the Rolls-Royce Derwent 1 engines along with an increased fuel capacity.
While still being forbidden to fly over enemy territory, the Meteors of 616 sqdn were employed in training bomber gunners and also developing escort fighter practice to counter the threat posed by the German ME 262 and also the Komet rocket propelled fighter, both of which had devised an attack method which employed the high speed dive from above.
Post war, the Meteor was deployed in Korea and was also used by a number of Air Forces around the world.
The Meteor was finally retired from RAF service as a target towing tug in the 1980s, and of the 3947 aircraft (in various versions) built, only five remain in an airworthy condition; four in the UK and one in Australia.