Avro Anson L7949

Lairdside Hill, Renfrewshire













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: An Avro 652A Anson T21 of Air Atlantique Classic Flight on a take-off run at Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire, England.


RAF Hullavington


presevered avro anson on take-off run at hullavington airfield


Photo: 2005. Adrian Pingstone (Arpingstone). Released by the author to the public domain.






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Avro Anson / L7949



Aircraft Type Nickname: Faithful Annie



The Avro Anson was an adaption of the civilian Avro 652 in use by Imperial Airways.


The Anson was the first aircraft in RAF service to be equipped with a retractable undercarriage. The aircraft type was flown initially by No. 48 Squadron of RAF Coastal Command.


The Anson was used for coastal reconnaissance and maritime patrols. Latterly, it was used for crew training, light transport, and communications purposes. Among crew members, however, the Anson was considered to be a cold, draughty, and very noise aircraft.


Although the Anson was a solidly-built and reliable aircraft, it was nevertheless slow and vulnerable to attack. For this and other reasons, it was inevitable that the Anson would be replacedas indeed it was, with the Lockheed Hudson bomber.


Later generations of Ansons (the Anson C.19 series) remained in use with the RAF until 1968.


Usually, Mark I Ansons were powered by two Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah radial engines. Occasionally, however, other types would be substituted. The Anson had a top speed of about 188 mph (164 knots or 303 km/h) at 7,000ft (2,100m).






Aircraft Accident Details


This aircraft departed from No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) at RAF Ayr (Heathfield) Aerodrome (now, incorporated within Prestwick Airport). The EFTS used both Avro Ansons and Fairey Battles for flight training purposes.


Anson L7949 is understood to have been on a flight from Prestwick to RAF Newcastle. However, while flying over the Renfrewshire hills, the pilotLt Cmdr John Charsley RMencountered low cloud and mist. Unable to establish his true position, he flew into the hilly ground in the proximity of Lairdside Hill.


After the accident, the pilot struggled down the boggy moorland to a farm about two miles away. As the shocked and injured pilot approached the farm, he was seen by an estate worker and taken to the farmhouse (Muirfauldhouse Farm). Later, another crew member—William Nichol—also found his way to this farm.


The farmer sent a labourer into Lochwinnoch (the nearest village) to call the police. Ambulances were then sent from the towns of Paisley and Johnstone to transport the airmen to hospital. The nearest RAF station was also alerted and a team made their way to the scene.


Soon after, a rescue party set out to look for the downed aircraft. Eventually, they discovered it in the vicinity of Cockmalain [now a ruin], on Lairdside Hill by Misty Law—west of Lochwinnoch.


When the rescuers arrived, they found the other two crew members unconscious and trapped inside the aircraft. After freeing them, they were taken by stretchers over the moorland to the nearest suitable roadway at Muirfauldhouse, where an ambulance was waiting.



MORE HERE (PDF Document)


Newspaper Feature on PAGE 2.



[Accident details based on information kindly made available by Alan Thomson.


Other information kindly provided by Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, Rangers Service.]






Aircraft Crew


Remarkably, all members of the crew survived. These were:

    Lt Cmdr John Charsley (Pilot)

    Hubert Jordan

    Percival Davidson

    William Nichol





Crash Site Photos


BELOW: Looking south over the remaining wreckage from Avro Anson L7949.


view of remaining wreckage from avro anson.


Photo: © 2013 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Very badly corroded undercarriage leg.


part of undercarriage leg.


Photo: © 2013 Gary Nelson



BELOW: One of the two radial engines from the aircraft.


one of the two radial engines.


Photo: © 2013 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Side view of engine, close up, and showing some cylinder heads and highly corroded exhaust collector ring (right).


close-up of engine and cylinders.


Photo: © 2013 Gary Nelson





BELOW: Fragmented parts of landing gear assembly, and other wreckage from Avro Anson L7949 that crashes at Lairdside Hill in 1938.


Note one of the Cheetah engines lying at the rear of the wreckage, on the right hand side of the photo.


overview of few remaining parts from Anson l7949 crash at lairdside hill


Photo: © 2006 James Towill






(Engine Wreckage)





(Newspaper Article and Photos)






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Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 19 Sep 1938


Accident Site:

Cockmalain, Lairdside Hill (338m)

(vicinity of), on Ladyland Muir


Region: Renfrewshire


Nearest town or village:

Kilbirnie or Lochwinnoch


Nearest large town or city:

Kilbirnie (S)


OS Grid Ref. 63 / NS 318 606


Present Condition: Engines, landing gear and some fragmented parts remain onsite.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: L7949


Operator: RAF (No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School)


Operating Base: RAF Ayr (later renamed 'Prestwick'); RAF 44 Grp Transport; RN HMS Gannet


Base Location: Ayr (Heathfield) Aerodrome (HMS Wagtail), Ayr, Scotland.


Current Airport Status: Operational Civil Airport; Scottish Air Traffic Control Centre; MATO (Military Air Traffic Control).


Current Airport Name: Glasgow (Prestwick) International Airport (EGPK)




Related Links


Articles and photos of the Avro Anson type are available at the following sites:

Lancaster Museum

North East Aircraft Museum (NEAM)

Scramble (Dutch Aviation Society)


Warbird Alley




Hill Walking Links



(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)

WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)

Walking Scotland's Mountains



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