INDEX OF NAVAL AIRCRAFT
|Airspeed AS 10 Oxford|
It entered service with the RAF in 1938 and the Royal Navy in 1939/1940 and served until 1945/46. These aircraft included the Mk I with an Armstrong Whitworth dorsal turret, and the Mk II which had the turret removed and was employed mainly for pilot and navigation training.
On the outbreak of World War II, Oxfords were selected as one of the favoured trainer aircraft in Canada, Australia and New Zealand as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) or British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), and trained many Fleet Air Arm personnel. The BCATP evolved following a meeting of Government representatives from United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada in Ottawa, and signed an agreement to set up the Plan in December 1939, converting Canada into what President Roosevelt later termed "the aerodrome of democracy." The first schools opened in Canada in April 1940, and by 24 November 1940 the first trainees from the Scheme arrived in the UK. A total of 8,751Oxfords served in Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Rhodesia, and the Middle East. In total 137,000 aircrew came to Canada from all corners of the globe to earn their wings in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. One of the main training schools was at the RCAF Station, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, where the Royal Navy had the eastern side of the airfield whilst the RCAF flew anti-submarine patrols in Cansos from the other side of the field.
Known to trainees as the "Ox Box" the Oxfords were used at the BCATP
schools in Canada and EATS Australian schools for instruction in flying,
navigation, gunnery, radio and bombing. Designed for all aspects
of aircrew training, It enabled training to be given in navigation and
direction finding, high-altitude bombing, air gunnery, aerial photography,
night-flying and twin-engine flying. In Australia, the prefix A25 was allocated
for RAAF use but the imported Oxfords retained their RAF serials. Altogether
391 Oxfords were shipped to Australia and the first aircraft, P6878, was
received on 28 October 1940 and the last, LW999 in March, 1944. By the
end of production over 8,000 were built.
In addition to the RCAF, RAAF and RNZAF aircraft used to train RN personnel,
the Fleet Air Arm also directly received transfers of over 300 aircraft
from the RAF, and some from the RAAF (eg AR979, AS355, LX183, LX722),
primarily to 700 series squadrons. First trials were held at RNARY Donisbristle
on 19 September 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain with Oxford
R6230. However, the main number of aircraft started to be delivered at
TOC 781 squadron in December 1942, then subsequently to 790 squadron for
trials on 18 February 1943 where they remained in service until 1945. The
type remained in service with the Fleet Air Arm until after WWII.
Battle Honours and Operational History
None with FAA
Up to ten Oxfords are known in Museums or collections around the world, although only 6 are complete. Preserved examples are found at the Midlands Warplane Museum (UK), RAF Museum (UK), Imperial War Museum - Duxford (UK),Musée de l'Armée et d'Histoire Militaire (Belgium), and at the South African Air Force Museum/Port Elizabeth Friends. There is also a wreck which has been recovered from Windwhistle, Auckland, NZ - for sale through Warbirdsite.com. It is not known if any former Fleet Air Arm aircraft have survived.
South African Air Force Museum, Port Elizabeth Friends Airspeed Oxford ED290/G-AITF is currently being restored in 2000 to taxying condition.
Illustration of the Royal Air Force Museum Airspeed Oxford I: MP425
In New Zealand, one complete ex-RNZAF Oxford remains, although this is currently only partially assembled. Percival built NZ1332 (c/n228, formerly AP414) was part of the 1947 disposal sale. Passing into the hands of Les Bergenson, the aircraft was eventually disassembled and placed in storage. In 1994 the aircraft was located by Don Subritzky who now has possession and has begun reassembly. Engine mounts and propellors have been supplied by the Ferrymead Aeronautical Society (the outer wing panels have been found to belong to a different, unknown aircraft). See Kiwi Aviation Images
Pieces of several other aircraft remain. Parts of Oxford NZ277 (c/n499, formerly
P2030), recovered from the wreck site in the Poukai ranges are on display in the
Taranaki Aviation Transport And Technology Museum (illustrated below), along
with various parts assembled from other sources. The nose and components of
NZ2144 (c/n3765, formerly NM630) are held by Philip Burns at Dunsandel. The
RNZAF Museum also holds components of NZ1289 (c/n2915, formerly V3267)
for eventual restoration.
NZ2155 for sale by warbirdsite.com: NZ2155 was one of the last of the Airspeed Oxfords to arrive in New Zealand under the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme. The aircraft was disposed of in 1954 and, along with five other Oxfords, it was acquired by a group of farmers living in mid-Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand. Although most of the aircraft quietly rotted away on the farms where they ended up, some parts were recovered by collectors and museums. The last of these aircraft to be recovered was NZ2155, which was "found" in late 1999. The major components of NZ2155 recovered include the engine bulkheads and metal fittings, the control column, rudder pedals, under-wing panel, throttle pedestal and a number of other smaller items. In researching the fate of the other five Oxfords, all the farms they were taken to were visited and the remains of other Oxfords collected. This aircraft was recovered from a farm at Windwhistle, which is located in the mid-Canterbury area of the South Island of New Zealand, over the 1999/2000 summer months.