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Anson file photo [4842]


CountryUnited Kingdom
Primary RoleOther
Maiden Flight24 March 1935


ww2dbaseThe Avro Type 652 Anson was designed in August 1933 to meet an Imperial Airways requirement for a light transport with accommodation for four passengers. The A. V. Roe design team, led by Roy Chadwick soon produced a plan for a sleek low wing monoplane with retractable undercarriage and powered by two Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah V radial engines. Imperial Airways placed an order for two machines in April 1934 and the first of these flew on the 7th January 1935. The two aircraft were delivered to Imperial Airways on the 11th March of that year.

ww2dbaseMeanwhile the Air Ministry had notified the company of their requirement for a new twin engine land-based plane for the Coastal Reconnaissance role. Rather than create a new design, the Avro design team based their proposal on a military version of the Imperial Airways aircraft. This was given the designation Type 652A and differed from the Civilian machines in having a revised tail unit, larger cabin window area, a dorsal turret, Cheetah IX engines, and full Military equipment. This flew for the first time on the 24th March 1935.

ww2dbaseAfter service trials, series production began on the 31st December 1935 with initial RAF deliveries commencing on the 6th March 1936. No.38 Squadron RAF based at Manton becoming the first (and ultimately the last to employ the Anson on Front Line Service) began receiving the Anson Is (later Anson GR.I) on the 6th March 1936. Further RAF orders followed, culminating in some twenty-one Coastal Command Squadrons being equipped with the Anson I, primarily in the Coastal Reconnaissance and Search and Rescue role. Foreign orders for the type were also received from Australia, Egypt, Estonoia, Finland, Greece and Ireland. By the outbreak of World War II over 1,000 machines had been manufactured of which some were Trainers (which would eventually become the Ansons major contribution to the War effort).

ww2dbaseIn Janury 1942 the Coastal Command Ansons began to be replaced with the Lockheed Hudson. Many of the replaced aircraft being later converted for training, ambulance and transport duties.

ww2dbaseThe five seat trainer with dual controls and different equipment was selected to be one of the standard training aircraft under the Commonwealth Air Training plan (18 Decmber 1939) and was soon equipping OTU training units, navigation, army co-operation and air gunnery schools.

ww2dbaseWhilst the Mark I was the most numerous Anson (6,742 built) before and during the Second World War, other notable variants included:

ww2dbaseFifty Anson IIs (which made its first flight in the 21st August 1941) were also supplied to the USAAF as AT-20 crew trainers.

ww2dbaseThe Anson remained in production for both civilian and military customers world wide following the end of the war, and by the end of its production life in May 1952, the Anson spanned nine variants with a total of 8,138 built in Britain by Avro and, from 1941, a further 2,882 by the Canadian Federal Aircraft Ltd. After some 32 years service the RAF officially ended its association with the Anson on the 28th June 1968. A handful of Ansons are still flying with two currently known to be operating in the United Kingdom.

ww2dbaseSources: Aircraft of World War II by Chris Chant (Dempsey-Parr, 1999), Airlife's World Aircraft (Airlife Publishing, 2001), World Aircraft Information Files (Aerospace Publishing Peridical).

Last Major Revision: Sep 2007

Anson Timeline

24 Mar 1935 Avro Type 652 Anson took its first flight.
5 Sep 1939 An Avro Anson aircraft of No. 500 Squadron RAF made the first attack of the war on an enemy submarine.


Mk I
MachineryTwo Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX or XIX seven cylinder radials rated at 335hp or 395hp
Armament1x0.303in fixed forward machine gun, 1x0.303in dorsal machine gun, 360-lb of bombs internally
Span17.22 m
Length12.88 m
Height3.99 m
Wing Area43.10 m²
Weight, Empty2,500 kg
Weight, Loaded3,608 kg
Weight, Maximum4,000 kg
Speed, Maximum303 km/h
Rate of Climb3.80 m/s
Service Ceiling5,791 m
Range, Maximum1,300 km


Anson aircraft in flight, date unknownVarious aircraft at RAF Mandy, England, United Kingdom, 1940s

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Lynn McR. Hawkins says:
4 Jan 2009 04:59:51 PM

Enjoyed this article related to the Anson aircraft.

My cousin, LAC Norman McReynolds, was a wireless operator/aerial gunner on a Anson assigned to the 269 Squadron at Wick, Scotland RAF Base. He and his fellow crewmates were killed in action on 8 April 1940, returning from a mission over Norway, the day Germany invaded Norway. Only some wreckage of his Anson in the sea.

Would like to hear from anyone who served with LAC Norman McReynolds,in the 269 Squadron and would love information, pictures, etc. related to the 269 Squadron at Wick, Scotland RAF Base.

Capt. Lynn McR. Hawkins, Ret., FSA Scot
Tennessee, USA
2. WPF says:
14 May 2009 11:44:49 AM

I may have some information for you.

Contact: [email protected]
3. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
29 Aug 2017 08:14:27 AM

One unique feature of the “Faithful Annie” was its ability to float longer in the sea than it could fly! On one occasion an Anson which had ditched survived for five hours –half an hour longer than what was considered to be its safe working limit!

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Anson aircraft in flight, date unknownVarious aircraft at RAF Mandy, England, United Kingdom, 1940s

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