On 4 May the Old Warden-based, BAE Systems Heritage Flight-owned Avro XIX Anson G-AHKX flew in to RAF Coningsby wearing its new colours, the familiar two-tone blue civil scheme having been replaced with that of the Coningsby Station Flight Anson C19, TX176, which operated from the Lincolnshire base as a ‘hack’ on general communications duties during the early 1960s.
The repaint was carried out at Gloucestershire Airport by Ardent Paint Care, from where the Anson was flown direct to Coningsby by BAE test pilot Peter Kosogorin. The idea for the new scheme is at least partly to mark the RAF’s 100th anniversary. BAE Systems is a strong backer of the RAF 100 programme and is heavily embedded at Coningsby with 600 civilians working to support the RAF’s fleet of Typhoons. After landing, ‘HKX — which remains based at Old Warden, ‘parented’ by the Shuttleworth Collection — was welcomed by the station commander, Gp Capt Mike Baulkwill.
The machine first flew in November 1946. It was operated by Smiths Aircraft Instruments at Staverton, Meridian Air Maps at Shoreham, Treffield Aviation — set up by Lord Trefgarne and Charles Masefield — flying freight, and Kemps Aerial Surveys at Southampton, who used the Avro for the final five years of its career before retiring it in 1973. G-AHKX was then acquired by the Strathallan Collection and moved to Auchterarder, Perthshire. During July 1981 it was bought by British Aerospace at the famous Strathallan auction. A rebuild to flying condition at Woodford was intended to be carried out by apprentices, but ended up being undertaken by volunteer retired Avro staff, who still retained the necessary skills. It flew again on 8 March 2002.
“The civil scheme has been replaced by that of the Coningsby Station Flight Anson C19, TX176, during the early 1960s”
The original TX176 was built at Yeadon and delivered to the British Air Forces of Occupation Communications Wing Station Flight at RAF Gatow in Berlin. It then served with the Home Command Communications Flight, Coastal Command Communications Flight, the Station Flights at Gibraltar, Kinloss and Coningsby and finally with Transport Command’s Northern Communications Squadron. The Anson was sold off into civilian hands in February 1967, becoming G-AVGR, but only lasted a couple more years before being scrapped in March 1969.