Title of model in white (Trebuchet MS) text

by David Edwards


The Anson has a special place in RAAF history as more of them - 1,028 - were operated by the service than any other type. It was also the RAAF's first low wing monoplane, the first with a retractable undercarriage and with an enclosed gun turret.

The Anson has a special place in the Edwards family, as my Dad trained on them at the Central Gunnery School at Cressy, Victoria. He often said that the only reason the wings stayed on was that the termites held hands!
First ordered in 1935 as part of the RAAF's modernisation programme, the Anson was conceived as a general reconnaissance bomber and was initially used for maritime patrol duties. Deliveries of the first order of 48 aircraft began in November 1936 and were completed in September 1938. Allocated serial number A4-1 to 48 these aircraft served with Nos 2, 4, 21, 22 and 23 Squadrons on maritime patrol work.

Although already obsolete as a front line aircraft before World War 2 started, the lack of any suitable replacement led to a further 40 machines being chartered from the British Government and these were delivered during 1938 and 1939. These aircraft retained their British serial numbers.

Upon replacement in the maritime reconnaissance role by the Lockheed Hudson in 1940, the Anson found a new lease of life as a trainer for Observers and Navigators under the Empire Air Training Scheme. No fewer that 937 Anson Mk. 1s were delivered to the RAAF between 1940 and 1944. These aircraft also flew with their original British serial numbers, and although most served with a variety of over 40 training units, some were fitted with ASV radar and patrolled the Eastern seaboard of Australia with Nos. 66, 67, 71 and 73 Squadrons.
Ansons also served as light transports and ambulance aircraft with a number of Communications Units, and with 87 (PR) Squadron.

Ex RAAF aircraft flew with many private companies post war, usually with their engine cowls replaced by items from Airspeed Oxfords. Most were grounded by 1962.

Technical data (Avro 652 Anson)

DESCRIPTION: General Reconnaissance Bomber

OTHER ROLES: Multi Engined Trainer and light transport

IN SERVICE: 1937 to 1950

POWER PLANT: 2 355 hp Armstrong Siddley Cheetah IX Radials

WEIGHTS: Empty 5,512 lbs (2,500 kg), Loaded 7,955 lbs (3,608 kg)

DIMENSIONS: Wingspan 56 ft 6 in (17.22 m), Length 42 ft 3 in (12.88 m), Height 13 ft 1 in (3.99 m)

PERFORMANCE: Max Speed 163 kts (302 kmh), Cruise 138 kts (256 kmh), Service Ceiling 19,500 ft (5,944 m), Range 710 nm (1,315 km)

ARMAMENT: Two 0.303 machine guns, one fixed in nose, & one in Dorsal turret; Bomb Load 360 lbs

Anson Survivors

Despite the large amount of timber and fabric used in Anson airframes, there is a surprising number of surviving aircraft. This table includes what I have been able to find out about existing Ansons, but I suspect there are several more incomplete aircraft in private hands.



South Australia

Recovered from a Port Pirie farm by private restorers, very long term project.


Adelaide, SA

Under restoration at the SA Aviation Museum with parts from EF954.


Caloundra, QLD

Fueslage frame on display at QAM.


Greenock, SA

Partially restored, incomplete but on display.


Ballarat, Vic

Under restoration with parts from LV298.


Bull Creek, WA

Incomplete, at RAAFA Museum.


Forbes, NSW

Restoration in early stages.


Wakefield, NZ

Fitted with metal wings post war, I used to see this one fly! Being returned to military fitout and airworthiness.


Ballarat, Vic

Cockpit under restoration.


The Oaks, NSW

On display at Camden Museum in Dutch/Coastal Command scheme.


Tamworth, NSW

On display as VH-ASM.


Bull Creek, WA

On display at RAAF Museum, substantialy complete with turret.


RAAF Museum

Incomplete fueslage donated in the 80's, and a 'project' purchased more recently.


Ansons in plastic

The forecast 1/48 Classic Airframes 1/48 and MPM/Special Hobby 1/72 kits have quite a few modelers eager with anticipation. In the meantime, 1/48 modellers have had to content themselves with the very basic 1/48 kit, while us 1/72 victims have enjoyed the potential of the 1963 Airfix offering.

The Airfix kit is a challenge. Originally issued with wings that represented ply skinning, it was retooled to show fabric covering, not used on RAAF Ansons. Detail is rather heavy and basic, but it is recognizably an Anson. Aeroclub supply a replacement set of transparencies, and really keen modelers can add the fuselage frames (represented as frame lines on the kit windows). If building a turreted Anson, check on the type of turret fitted.

Colour Schemes

For modelers keen on variety, there are plenty of different schemes to choose from – early silver dope, early war earth brown/foliage green/night bomber scheme, RAF style camouflage, overall foliage green or the late war yellow. A favorite of many is the 71 Sqn trial scheme of colours similar to RAF Coastal Command, as supplied in a recent Airfix boxing.

Colour schemes are well represented in Geoffrey Pentland's 2 volume set on RAAF camouflage and markings, the Stewart Wilson book, and several Ian K Baker booklets.


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