Avro 652A Anson I VH-CAL
radio compass directional antennapitot headDCA Flying Unit badge - click here for moreventuri to provide vacuum for gyro instrumentsVHF radio antenna localiser antenna

Avro 652A Anson I VH-CAL was built by A.V. Roe & Co, Newton Heath, UK, and was originally taken on RAAF charge under its RAF serial as W2448 on 8 August 1941. It was issued to 6 Service Flying Training School at Mallala, SA, where it was fitted with a dorsal gun turret in January 1942. In November 1943 the aircraft was sent to Ansett Airways in Melbourne for an overhaul, which lasted until September the following year, when it was returned to 6 SFTS.

In April 1946 the aircraft was selected for post-war use and transferred to storage. It was flown to RAAF Benalla, Victoria, in December that year. After nearly two years in storage, the aircraft was offered for sale through the Commonwealth Disposals Commission in October 1948.

It was purchased by DCA for £250 on 5 October 1948 and collected by Civil Aviation on 27 June 1949. The aircraft was then sent to Victorian & Interstate Airways (VIA) at Melbourne/Essendon for civil conversion. The VIA quote for the job was accepted by DCA on 5 May 1949 for £1631 pounds, subject to DCA bearing the cost of delivery to Essendon from storage at Benalla.

Overseas Corporation (Australia) Ltd Aviation Division at Bankstown had quoted £1800 and wrote lengthy letters pleading for the job or else they would have to lay off staff (their primary work was selling and maintaining Bristol Freighters.) The aircraft had a total of 2040 hours and 25 minutes flying time when DCA acquired it, including the ferry to Essendon. Click on the icon below to download the entry from the aircraft's logbook detailing the work done by VIA during the civil conversion:

VH-CAL logbook entry - click here to downloadNote: This is a 1.09 Mb .pdf file

Following civil conversion, test flights were made on 28 March and 6 April 1950, although VH-CAL was not officially registered until 12 April. The wonderful shot above shows the aircraft in New Guinea at an unknown date and provides a good view of many of the modifications made during civil conversion, including: a new nose with baggage locker; rebuilt passenger windows; radio compass directional antenna in streamlined 'bullet' beneath the nose; VHF antenna above the mid cabin; and localiser antenna above rear fuselage. Note also the DCA Flying Unit badge on the nose.


VH-CAL was initially based with DCA's Queensland Region at Brisbane/Eagle Farm, where the photos on above and below were taken by Henry W. Pryor in 1953/54. Mr Pryor was a porter with TAA and a keen photographer of the aircraft at Eagle Farm. The DCA Ansons were used as general utility aircraft, principally transporting DCA officers on field work. VH-CAL was later allocated to DCA's NSW Region between 1954 and 1957.

It was withdrawn from service on 20 August 1958 at Sydney/Mascot and probably burned on the fire dump for fire-fighting practice.

(Photos: top-Hopton collection; middle & bottom-Henry Pryor collection via Ron Cuskelly [upper HP004, lower HP085])

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