Restoring an Avro Anson – 2019 Update

At six monthly intervals since January 2018, I have dropped by to visit the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (NAHC) in the small Wimmera town of Nhill, Victoria and check up their grass-roots, community based restoration of an Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) 1941 Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) and a pair of RAAF Link Trainers (A13-54 and A13-60) – a World War Two era flight instrument and flight training simulator. Restoration progress has been steady and very noticeable between January 2018 and January 2019. The key focus for the Anson has been the starboard wing but many internal fittings and the like have been added and so on.

RAAF 1941 Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) restoration progress at the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre from January 2018 to January 2019
RAAF 1941 Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) restoration progress at the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre from January 2018 to January 2019
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) and Armstrong-Siddeley Cheetah Mk.IX seven-cylinder radial engines - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) and Armstrong-Siddeley Cheetah Mk.IX seven-cylinder radial engines – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (Serial Number W2364) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
Starboard Anson wing restoration - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
Starboard Anson wing restoration – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
RAAF Link Trainers (A13-54 and A13-60) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
RAAF Link Trainers (A13-54 and A13-60) & CAC Wirraway trainer (A20-722) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
Restoration of RAAF Link Trainer (A13-54) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
Restoration of RAAF Link Trainer (A13-54) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
Restoration of RAAF Link Trainer (A13-60) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
Restoration of RAAF Link Trainer (A13-60) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)

The Anson and Link Trainer along with two other aircraft at the NAHC, a 1942 de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth (A17-588 – later registered as VH-GMF, currently VH-RIN) and an Australian designed and built 1945 CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722), were all types that formed the key pilot and aircrew training component of the RAAF Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) at the Nhill air base between 1941 and 1946 (today’s aerodrome where the NAHC is located) or training aircrews. 10,000 plus men and women were trained at the base during those years, whilst attending the RAAF No. 2 Air Navigation School,  No. 1 Operation Training Unit,  No. 97 Squadron Reserve, Air Armament and Gas School.

Ahrens Hangar - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
Ahrens Hangar – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
1942 de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth (A17-588 - later registered as VH-GMF, currently VH-RIN) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
1942 de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth (A17-588 – later registered as VH-GMF, currently VH-RIN) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
1942 de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth (A17-588 - later registered as VH-GMF, currently VH-RIN) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
1942 de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth (A17-588 – later registered as VH-GMF, currently VH-RIN) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
1942 de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth (A17-588 - later registered as VH-GMF, currently VH-RIN) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The cockpits of the Tiger Moth – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The Tiger Moth heading out for a flght - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
The Tiger Moth heading out for a flght – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
1945 CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
1945 CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) and the restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (W2364) - Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)
CAC CA-16 Wirraway (A20-722) and the restoration of Avro Anson Mk.I (W2364) – Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre (January 2019)

I was also given a look at the restoration work that has been completed out at the old Aeradio Station building on the edge of the Nhill Aerodrome. It is possibly the last of its type in Australia and they are getting it back into shape!

Restorative work at the old Nhill Aeradio Station January 2018 to January 2019
Restorative work at the old Nhill Aeradio Station January 2018 to January 2019

Twelve Aeradio Stations were built by Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) in 1938-1939 at aerodromes around the country to provide communications and aircraft guidance to improve aerodrome safety. They operated for around 35 years before being replaced with more modern alternatives. A big thanks to Merv Schnieder who volunteers at NAHC, for showing me around the Aeradio building – He also happens to be one of Nhill’s World War Two veterans, who served with the RAAF as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber crew member and has a fantastic wealth of information and stories from his service career, time working down in Antarctica in the 1970’s and much more!

 

Restoring an Avro Anson Progress Reports 2012 to 2018:

2012 Nhill Fly In – Where It All Began

2013 My First Close Look at the Anson Project

2015 Update

2016 Update

2017 Nhill Military Vehicle Rendezvous

2018 Update

2018 Update Part II

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10 thoughts on “Restoring an Avro Anson – 2019 Update

  1. Dear Deano

    I would like to thank you for your wonderful “Aces Flying High”. Ive spent many pleasant hours browsing your adventures.

    It occurred to, given you enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, all things aero especially in Australia, you may be able to throw some light on my attempts to find out a bit more about my Dad’s contribution to WWII.

    My Dad, Walter Edward Joseph Smeal served in the RAAF from 1931 to 1936 at Richmond on Westland Wapitis and then Hawker Deamons and I have a copy of his service records from that time. However, during the war he was an aircraft inspector (No. AID 173) at Bankstown, and I think also at Mascot and Chullora but despite lots of web searches I can find very little about AID apart from the fact it was part of the Department of Aircraft Production but there seems to be no records of staff and where they were employed and over what period of time.

    Dad often told me stories about the various aircraft he came into contact with and I recall he was particularly taken with the Bell Airacobra’s when they were stationed at Bankstown for a short time. He also told me about a time he was running up a Mustang and had a strong desire to “jump the chocks” and take it it up!. Obviously sanity prevailed and he stayed firmly on the ground.

    Dad’s other claim to fame was that when I was about 4 years old, so 1948, he too a Catalina from Rathmines to Katoomba by road! He reassembled it and it was a tourist attraction floating in an artificial lake at Catalina Park for a number of years.

    Anyway, if you can point me to any source that may provide additional information about his service with AID I would be very appreciative.

    Kepp up the great work.

    Regards

    Col 0401438984 >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot Colin, glad you enjoy reading my posts. Sounds like your Dad certainly had an interesting life! I don’t know a lot about the DAP inspectors but let me see what I can find out. Regards Deano

      Like

    2. Hi Colin, I put the call out to the Australian Aviation Historical Society facebook group and got the following info from one of the Members:
      A logical place to start for a Bankstown (deHavilland) inspector are in the records held in the HARS Archive in Illawarra, who are the custodians of dHA material. Understanding that folks are volunteers, who cannot necessarily respond to a distant request with alacrity, it will probably be better for you to visit them, and I am sure a cheerful request will result in cheerful access. You may find that knowing the inspector’s number, being the stamp that they applied to approved work, might help, eg AID 234. dHA employed internal Works Inspectors (WID) and the taxpayer, through the DAP, installed AID to maintain standards. So clarify if the Inspector was WID (dHA) or AID (DAP). If something still exists, I am always very interested in copying old Inspectors folios, because they contain a wealth of technical information. An Inspector would stamp any paperwork in this folio or even in his books, so this is how you find the Inspectors number.

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