The End of Avro Anson I VH-BXC

During the 1950s and 60s many aircraft were burned on fire dumps throughout Australia to provide practice for the Fire Service. In many cases these were ex-wartime aircraft whose commercial usefulness was at an end, or which were caught up in the DCA edict grounding wartime-built aircraft of wooden construction because of concerns about the longevity of the glues used.

Such a fate befell Avro Anson I VH-BXC at Perth/Guildford Airport on 26 October 1961. The photograph at top left shows the aircraft being dowsed in petrol by DCA officials, and on the right the aircraft is seen well ablaze. The photo below shows the result of the Fire Service's intervention. The fire is out and although the aircraft was burining fiercely, the wings and main structure remain relatively intact.


This aircraft was originally constructed by A V Roe & Co. Ltd at Manchester as W2260. It was exported to Australia and taken on RAAF charge on 28 June 1941. It spent its wartime career in Western Australia until sold in June 1946 through the Commonwealth Disposals Commission to George Wyndham Lewis of Kalgoorlie, WA.

Following civil conversion, the aircraft was added to the Civil Register on 13 September 1946 as VH-AXC. On 28 October 1948 the aircraft was re-registered as VH-BXC. During this time the aircraft was based in Kalgoorlie and used on Flying Doctor and general charter work.

On 24 July 1958 the aircraft changed hands to Bell Brothers Pty Ltd of Perth, WA. It was based at Guildford and given the name Learmonth as Bell Brothers had a contract to rebuild the RAAF airfield there. The photos above show the aircraft with the name Learmonth on the nose and titling reading BELL BROS PTY LTD CONTRACTORS.

The aircraft's Certificate of Airworthiness expired on 21 November 1960 and was not renewed, although the aircraft's last flight appears to have been made in January 1961. It was stored in a hangar at Guildford until burnt for fire practice by DCA on 26 October that year.

(Photo: Phil McCulloch/Geoff Goodall collection)

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