Key.Aero Network
Register Free

Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Biafran Anson

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Southend on Sea
    Posts
    1,219

    Biafran Anson

    Came across this picture which I bought of another spotter at Southend around 40 years ago.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	anson G-AWML.jpg 
Views:	308 
Size:	281.5 KB 
ID:	168868

    Anson G-AWML was registerd 25 July 1968 and had arrived at Southend as
    TX166 after retirement from the RAF. It was marked "Biafra Save the Children" with a British Historic Aircraft Museum logo on the fin although as far as I can remember the original BHAM must have gone pretty quiet by then.
    She departed to Weston Super Mare where at the time word had it she was to be fitted with extra fuel tanks for the trip to Baifra but she never actually made it and was broken up at Weston in May 1970.
    Does anyone know what happened at Weston Super Mare as there were stories circulating at the time of unauthorised night flights and the aircraft being impounded.
    Just realised that the pilot is quite visible in the photo. I have an idea of his identity but would appreciate conformation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    696
    What an amazingcoincidence!!!! I have just been perusing some old Air Pictorials before coming upstairs to put them on eBay and, not an hour ago, I was reading about G-AWMG photographed at Bovingdon before flying to Biafra where it crashed 3/9/68. It belonged to Mercy Mission, as presumably, did G-AWML.
    The Air Pictorial was the March 1969 issue,
    Jim
    The US registered Anson was G-AWSB originally.
    Last edited by jim_jobe; 21st September 2012 at 10:31.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The wild west of France!
    Posts
    4,282
    There were a number of Avro 19s (ex RAF Anson 19s and T.21s) that were earmarked for "mercy relief" work in Biafra. I think that they were those that were registered to L.A.Osborne and J.M.Smith. If so they were G-AVHU, G-AWMG, G-AWMH and G-AWML. Only two of these - G-AWMG and G-AWMH - actually made it to West Africa and both crashed there. I believe that I saw one or more of these at Shoreham in the late 1960s but, in my dotage, I may be confusing them with G-AWRS. Can anyone help me here?

    There were many more ex RAF Ansons civilianised in the late 1960s as Avro 19 series 2s but most of those were reduced to spares or scrapped without any significant flying career. They were G-AVCK, G-AVEV, G-AVIJ, G-AVPP, G-AVTA, G-AVVP and G-AVVR, which appear to have lingered at Halfpenny Green and Baginton before succumbing at the end of the 1960s.

    If G-AWML went to the HAM at Southend as TX166 then, it would appear, it was one of two there as it is recorded that G-AVHU went to the HAM as TX211. Can any of the Southend locals at that time comment on this?

    Of the remainder, G-AVGR was scrapped at Staverton in 1969; G-AWRS went to Shoreham; and G-AYWA went to Thruxton. Apparently two went to the USA. They were G-AWSA and G-AWSB which became N5054 and N7522 respectively.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Southend on Sea
    Posts
    1,219
    The original British Historic Aircraft Museum (BHAM) as founded at Biggin Hill by Tony Osborne and then moved to Southend owned Anso G-AVHU / TX211 and this passed to the new owners Historic Aircraft Museum (Southend) Ltd.
    Historic Aircraft Museum (Southend) Ltd was given G-AVVO - VL348 ex Tippers Air Transport which was impounded at Southend for non payment of parking fees. Historic Aircraft Museum (Southend) Ltd was later also gifted airworthy Anson G-AGPG by Ecko.
    At this point a rationalisation took place which saw G-AVVO move on to Newark (I spent several days in the school holidays helping dismantle this one) to replace their Anson G-ALIH (the original Ecko Anson from Southend) which had been torched by arsonists. G-AGPG was retained at the Historic Aircraft Museum Southend and poor old G-AVHU (which by now looked very sorry for herself) joined the other wrecks from all over the airfield at the end of the runway 33/15 and presumerably succumbed to the scrapman or a training session for the airport fire service.
    G-AWML was registered to Lesley Anne Osborne who was I believe the wife of Tony Osborne. It had a BHAM badge on the fin but I am pretty sure that by the time it was registered and painted the BHAM was dormant with the museum aircraft left by the railway line and I suspect that by that time the airport held a charge over them for outstanding rent on the site.
    It appears that G-AWML never got any further than Weston Super Mare. As I said the story was that it went there for fitment of long range tanks but allegedly undertook unauthorised night flights and was impounded probably by customs. It was certainly scrapped at Weston (a long way from Biafra) and I was hoping someone on the West Country could provide a proper account of what actually went on at Weston as the story has fascinated me for over 40 years now.
    AS far as I can tell Leslie Anne Osborne had no part in ownership of the other Biafran Ansons and G-AWMG was registered to a John Smith as trustee of the assets of Mercy Misiions at an address in Hertfordshire.
    I suspect the pilot in my picture is most likely Tony Osborne. I don't remember seeing G-AWML Anson fly after it arrived in RAF colours at Southend as TX166 following demob so it is likely that the photo I have was taken as it was leaving for Weston Super Mare.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Where you wish you were.
    Posts
    7,551
    I recall (circa 1970) reading a review of a book written about the Anson groups plans and role in the airlift.
    As I recall, it said that one Anson ended up bellied-in somewhere.
    I don't recall the name, perhaps a good internet search might turn it up.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Frankfurt
    Posts
    177
    Here's one I took of G-AWSA at Norwich in the mid-sixties. I don't believe there was any clue as to its affiliation to the Biafran cause at the time, not that I knew anything about it then. I got involved (with Hank W and his cronies) in late '65.

    atb
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    If you meet a piebald horse, wish before you see his tail.
    New Forest Proverb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The wild west of France!
    Posts
    4,282
    Quote Originally Posted by avion ancien View Post
    There were many more ex RAF Ansons civilianised in the late 1960s as Avro 19 series 2s but most of those were reduced to spares or scrapped without any significant flying career. They were G-AVCK, G-AVEV, G-AVIJ, G-AVPP, G-AVTA, G-AVVP and G-AVVR, which appear to have lingered at Halfpenny Green and Baginton before succumbing at the end of the 1960s.
    Does anyone have any images of these aircraft that they would care to post?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sheffield
    Posts
    179
    I seem to remember one at what was then Yeadon airport (Now Leeds and Bradford airport) blowing half way across the road in a gale sometime in the 60's have no idea what happened to it or which one it was. I did have a photograph of it taken at the time, but alas no longer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Southend on Sea
    Posts
    1,219
    I am still digging around on the web to try to find out more but I did come across a website devoted to the history of Baginton. The site had titles for several pictures including one of G-AWML at Baginton which said that the Baifra titles were applied there but unfortunately the links to the photos were missing.
    I had always assumed that G-AWML was part repainted at Southend. I do remember it spent some time parked at Southend after delivery as TX166 and then suddenly appeared with the Biafran titles but I was only 13 years old then so maybe my memory is playing tricks.
    The site also mentioned Tippers Air Transport which advertised Ansons configured with executive interiors. Tippers owned many of the aircraft mentioned in earlier posts which were broken up. Apparently the more valuable parts (in terms of scrap value) were removed to Tippers Farm. With the possible exception of G-AVVO which I believe came from Halfpenny Green to Southend where it was abandoned it seems unlikely that any of the Tippers aircraft flew again after their delivery flights from the RAF. The same site also stated that Tippers Air Transport, Mercy Mission and LA Osborne were all linked but doesn't give details.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    pi::
    Posts
    601
    G-AVGR at Staverton April 1967.
    Last edited by chumpy; 28th March 2010 at 08:35.
    pb::

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Bedford
    Posts
    1,297
    Battledamaged ,Would love to hear about your time with Hank Wharton ?

    Anson G-AWMH forcelanded at Port Etienne 17.8.68 in a sand-storm. G-AWMG crashed in the Methodist Leprosy Settlement at Uzuakoli,Biafra 3.9.68.

    Best book is "Shadows" by Michael Draper.
    Fly with the eagles,or scratch with the chickens.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Bedford
    Posts
    1,027
    Tony Osbourne actually founded the British Historic Aircraft Museum (BHAM), but this title was changed to the Historic Aircraft Museum, as the powers that be at Companies House, deemed the title British to be inappropriate! Tony personally funded the purchase of the aircraft, but being unable to display them at Southend at the time, was unable to realise any income from them.
    He then became involved in the Biafra relief effort and acquired the Anson for relief flights. The Anson had the HAM's logo painted on the tail. I'm pretty sure it never left these shores, but I was aware of its visit to Coventry at some time.
    Tony allegedly had other dealings with the Biafrans around this time, involving several Piston Provosts and 2 Meteors. He also, allegedly, spent some time in a government facility for his involvement with arms sales...
    Regardless of some of his dubious deals, Tony saved Lincoln G-APRJ, the B-25, Proctors, Hawk Trainer, 2 Sea Furies, The DHA Drover and other aircraft from scrapping at the time, when aircraft preservation was in its infancy, though several did eventually pass away at later dates.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Southend on Sea
    Posts
    1,219
    I don't think G-AWML ever left the UK. I always understood it went to Weston Super Mare for the fitting of long range tanks and was scrapped there allegedly after customs investigated flights made outside of airfield opening hours although I have never been able to confirm this. You can see the BHAM logo superimposed on the fin flash in the photo I posted.
    Although I never met Tony Osborne I was involved with the later Historic Aircraft Museum together with several volunteers from the original BHAM including Stan and David Brett and Bill Gent and I heard many stories. The incident involving the Meteors is fairly well documented and a web search will even throw up reports of the court case and other court cases as well so there is no doubt that he was a colourful character. Several of the museum aircraft were registered to his wife Lesley Anne Osborne described to me by one person as being very pretty and having money. He also said that she bought some of the aircraft for the museum so that would make sense.
    My museum newsletters say that the original BHAM never progressed because the aircraft were held by the council in lieu of unpaid rent and some of the original volunteers were close to a deal with the council for a museum site when the business consortium came along that finally built the museum.
    I also read that Proctor G-ANZJ was used as a hack by Tippers Air Transport. It was impounded at Southend along with Anson G-AVVO for non payment of landing and/or parking fees. Ironically both aircraft landed up with the Historic Aircraft Museum (Southend) Ltd. I believe both were donated by the airport authorities most likely because they were unsaleable and had little scrap value.
    There is no doubt that he did save several aircraft for preservation but, as you say some have sadly been lost in the intervening years.
    Last edited by WJ244; 14th June 2011 at 17:18.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    20
    There are couple of photos of G AWML at Weston Super Mare dated Aug 69which may be of interest.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    20
    The Air Britain website carries a couple of photos of G-AWML at Weston Super Mare that may be of interest

    They are on - Air Britain Photo Image Collection ID 6098328 and 1097424

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Five Miles Out
    Posts
    358

    Biafran Anson

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Cake View Post
    There are couple of photos of G AWML at Weston Super Mare dated Aug 69which may be of interest.
    Links here: http://www.abpic.co.uk/photo/1097424/ and here http://www.abpic.co.uk/photo/1098328/

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Five Miles Out
    Posts
    358

    Biafran Anson

    Quote Originally Posted by chumpy View Post
    G-AVGR at Staverton April 1967.
    The link has gone missing! Here it is again http://www.flickr.com/photos/egbj/56...57626449872004

    However, according to the caption it was 31 March 1968 (not April 1967)
    Last edited by Dr. John Smith; 14th June 2011 at 19:43.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Southend on Sea
    Posts
    1,219
    Thanks for the link to the photos at Weston. It looks as if she may have been parked there for some time and the open door suggests someone has had a poke around inside. It also looks like the Biafra Save The Children logo above the cheat line has been scrubbed out.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Beyond the Neutral Zone
    Posts
    870
    Quote Originally Posted by avion ancien View Post
    Does anyone have any images of these aircraft that they would care to post?
    Here's a few:


    G-AWML - with "Biafra - Save the Children" titles - at Baginton, 31 August 1968


    G-AVVO, Halfpenny Green, 21 April 1968


    G-AVVR, Halfpenny Green, 21 April 1968


    and another one just for fun! This was taken at Strathallan, it is ex G-APHV and now under restoration at East Fortune.
    http://www.apss.org.uk/projects/NMS_...nson/index.htm
    Last edited by G-ORDY; 17th June 2011 at 11:54. Reason: Added details about VM360/G-APHV
    Now working on Hurricane Survivors - to be published in September 2015 by Grub Street

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    152
    I can't confirm the rumours about the Anson scrapped at Weston but I do have the fabric with registration on stored and almost forgotten in my loft !
    I'll have to get it out now and check the reggie!!

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    2,961
    Love those colour shots.

    VVO seems to have that sinking feeling !

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Beyond the Neutral Zone
    Posts
    870
    Quote Originally Posted by Propstrike View Post
    Love those colour shots.

    VVO seems to have that sinking feeling !
    At the risk of hijacking the thread, I've dug out some more Anson photos:


    G-AGPG seen at the Hatfield Families' Day, 4 July 1970


    WD413/G-BFIR seen at Old Warden in August 1983. Now with Air Atlantique as G-VROE

    I'll see if I have any more ...
    Last edited by G-ORDY; 17th June 2011 at 11:58.
    Now working on Hurricane Survivors - to be published in September 2015 by Grub Street

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Bedford
    Posts
    1,027
    I flew as an ATC Cadet in VV306 from Cottesmore in August 1961...

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

- Part of the    Network -

KEY AERO AVIATION NEWS

MAGAZINES

AVIATION FORUM

SHOP

 

WEBSITES