The history of Gloster Mars 


This plane started from the Nieuport plane manufacturing company in England and it was its last model, named Nighthawk,  just before its final end of business in 1920. In 1921 it was bought by Gloster and then the model was continued under the name Gloster Mars II, a mono-sitter fighter plane with a Bendley 230 hP engine and 2 Vickers 7.7 mm machine guns. The design is a late derivative of the famous WW1 SE5a fighter but with a radial engine and was the 'grandfather' of the later Gloster Gladiator , the last WW2 biplane, that saw action in the 1940 air battles with the Hellenic Air Force. 

The design was not however attractive with its rather slow 200 Kt and the company converted it to the Gloster Gamecock coastal defense fighter 

Gloster Gamecock

This is how the British navy became interested and set an order for few under the name Sparrowhawk , then Japan as a rising naval force decided to use it as a shipboard plane under the code name AN1-1 and AN1-2 as converted slightly by Nakajima

An AN1-1 aboard Yiamato

Gloster Mars appeared in Greece under the Eleftherios Venizelos government air force reorganisation in 1925-26, where the air force became a separate weapon split from the navy or  army according to the British 'dogma' of the days as supported by the ideas of the RAF commander Sir H. Trenchard. The frictions between the Greek army and navy forced the air force to share the planes between Faliro ( the naval base ) and Tatoi/Dekelia ( the air force base ). The track between the 2 airfields eventually crosses the area of Colonos  and this is how on such a flight Spyros Pisanos had his encounter with his fate. 

The 25 planes bought by Venizelos were known under the type Gloster Mars VI Nighthawk with an Armstrong Sideley Jaguar engine. In 1934 they were all transferred to Tatoi and ever since , already outdated , they have been used for training alone. 



Gloster Mars VI Nighthawk with Greek national markings


Return to Spiros Pisanos page