Air Enthusiast 1996-09
D.Ford - Oxford Graduate
After 14 years’ faithful service with Boulton Paul from Wolverhampton and Seighford, de Havilland-built Oxford I G-AHTW passed on to the Sky fame Aircraft Museum at Staverton on March 25,1960, and returned to military guise as V3388. As such it was the last of her breed to fly - pro tern. Today the Oxford is displayed statically at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.
Scottish Aviation’s Oxford II G-AHDZ seen against the obvious backdrop of Croydon. Built by Percival ED190, it operated out of Prestwick from 1946 until being sold in France in July 1954 as F-BBIU.
With Oxfords awaiting conversion in the background, Consul VR-TAU on the compass circle at Portsmouth prior to delivery to United Air Services of Tanganyika in mid-1948. Built as Mk I Oxford EB974 at Portsmouth in 1942, it served only with 116 Squadron in the anti-aircraft gun calibration role. It was registered as G-AJWY for the Consul conversion.
Burmese Oxford conversion under test, with the ‘B Condition’ markings G-22-11 in 1949. Hardpoint stations can be discerned under the wing, but it does not appear to have the machine-gun ‘pods’ under the centre section. It is thought perhaps six aircraft were delivered to Burma with the Consul nose and armament but lacking the turret.
Percival-built Oxford I ED290 became G-AITF with Air Service Training at Hamble and later served with Airwork at Perth, before going to the RAF Museum. Exchanged for a Lockheed Ventura with the South African Air Force Museum, G-AITF is undergoing restoration to flying condition at Port Elizabeth.
Oxford I MP425 was built by Standard Motors and from May 1947 served with Air Service Training at Hamble as G-AITB, later moving to Perth with Airwork, retiring in 1961. It was acquired by the RAF Museum and given a painstaking restoration to the colours it wore with 1536 Beam Approach Training Flight. Displayed briefly at the Newark Air Museum (illustrated), it is now on show in the RAF Museum.
Percival-built Oxford Mk I HM831 with roundels and tail flash painted out and civilian registration G-AMFL crudely painted in. The codes are of the Fighter Command Control and Reporting School, the aircraft being ‘demobbed’ in October 1950. Initially purchased by Airspeed, it was not converted to Consul status and gravitated to Israel in 1952.
Malayan Airways started operations with Consuls in May 1947. To mark its 30th anniversary Singapore Airlines (as it had become) restored former RAF Museum Consul G-AJLR to pristine condition as ‘VR-SCD’ - it is preserved at SAL’s maintenance base.
Last Consul to fly (certainly in the UK) was the Rapid Flying Group’s G-AIKR, which was based at Baginton. Built by Airspeed as Oxford I PK286 in 1945, it saw no service and was sold to the makers in September 1946, emerging as a Consul for Chartair that December. The Rapid group retired G-AIKR in May 1965 and it went to the RAF Museum and then to the Canadian National Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe.
The Consul prototype was G-AGVY, built originally by de Havilland as Oxford IV 3679. As a Consul, it was sold to the Bata Shoe company in March 1946 and crashed in the Lebanon in February 1949.
The longer nose made the Consul a smoother-looking evolution of the already handsome Oxford. Airspeed-built Oxford I EB748 became Consul G-AIOX for Transcontinental Air Services of Gatwick in February 1947. It was sold in Transjordan as TJ-ABD in 1950.
G-AJWR, originally Airspeed-built Oxford I HN829, served as the prototype (and only?) ambulance version in October 1947. Here it demonstrates the standard Consul swing-nose baggage bay.
Oxford I G-AIUH served the Reid & Sigrist company at Desford from early 1949. It was later acquired by Hunting Aerosurveys and gained a Consul nose (illustrated). It was sold in Kenya as VP-KOX in 1959.
Consul G-AIUX ‘Star Master’ was used by British South American Airways and later by BOAC for training - note the comprehensive array of aerials and the faired D/F loop. Built by Airspeed as Oxford I LB527 it saw no service use, becoming a Consul in late 1948.
Built at Portsmouth in 1940 and demobbed in February 1947, Oxford I R6029 became Consul G-AJLR in June 1947 serving in turn with Olley Air Services from Croydon; Cambrian Air Services, Cardiff and Morton Air Services of Gatwick. In 1956 it was acquired by All Power Transformers (illustrated) and operated out of Fairoaks until being withdrawn in 1963 and moving on to the RAF Museum. It went to Singapore in 1986.
Liverpool-based Steiner’s Air Service operated a fleet of seven Consuls. G-AJND, formerly Airspeed-built Oxford I EB718 was converted to Consul status at Portsmouth (where it is illustrated) and was delivered direct to the Burma Corporation as XY-ABJ without entering service with Steiner’s.
Two Consuls in the Airspeed compound at Portsmouth showing the rare use of the company’s ‘B Condition’ (or ‘trade plate’) markings G-22-. Their previous identities and destination(s) are not known.
Envoy 251 of the South African Air Force showing the evolution into a general purpose military aircraft.
The AS.6 Envoy prototype G-ACMT was first flown on June 26, 1934 and set Airspeed onto the successful twin-engined multi-use course.