Unexpected visitors

Can anyone tell me when this was and what this plane was doing on Canvey beach?

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  • The aeroplane is an Avro Anson trainer/transport, in RAF use from the 1930s to the 1960s. But I can find no reference to one crashing on Canvey, so can’t help any more than that I’m afraid.

    By Nick Rutter (26/04/2012)
  • Hi Janet. I have no memory of this incident but if the aircraft is an Avro Anson it was built by the A.V.Roe & Co Ltd who were also the builders of the famous Lancaster Bomber.!! There is a web site , perhaps it includes some crash info. Avro also established a presence here in Canada and were the developers of the now famous, but cancelled Arrow project. Hope this will be of some help. Regards Gerald

    By Gerald Hudson (26/04/2012)
  • Hello I remember it alright, it came down in the evening and only just cleared our house. It made such a noise that we thought it must be an aircraft coming down short from southend airport. The next morning my mate came round to tell me about it and when we got there it was guarded by R.A.F police and they told us “souvenir hunters” had got there first. This was about 1957 or 58, Concord beach. Regards Sparrow

    By sparrow (27/04/2012)
  • I have been told it was a training flight and they had run out of fuel.

    By Janet Penn (27/04/2012)
  • I remember the Avro Anson in the picture,it skimmed over the piles that were currently being hammered into the sea wall just after the 1953 flood (1953/1954)and landed on the beach roughly opposite the Casino amusements.When my friend and myself arrived [we lived nearby] to have a look we were told to ‘oppit by a local constable!

    By Ian Newman (29/04/2012)
  • Hello Re “Unexpected visitors” I have had a reply from the Air Investigation Branch of the C.A.A. They say they have no record of the crashed Avro Anson on Concord beach. They then put me on to the R.A.F. who say the same but tell me the R.A.F museum might know something. Very strange but it definitely happened. Plenty of us saw it. Regards Sparrow

    By sparrow (09/05/2012)
  • Information is coming in regarding ‘Ecko’ who had flights in an Arvo. They think this might be the plane. The actual incident info I am also being told was the plane came down in the water and was washed up onto the beach.

    By Janet Penn (09/05/2012)
  • Hello The “ecko” Anson was owned by E.K.Cole of Southend and was used for testing airborne radar.For this purpose it had a very bulbous nose that was painted bright yellow in order that other aircraft could recognise it.For that reason it was called “Snozzle” I used to see it quite often when I worked at Southend airport but it never wore R.A.F markings. Regards Sparrow

    By sparrow (09/05/2012)
  • The Anson that came down on Canvey beach had just completed taking Essex Air Cadets on air experience flights. Along with cadets from Canvey and other parts of Essex we had enjoyed our turn, seven at a time in the Anson with a screened off Elsan toilet for 30 minutes flying (our yearly allocation). About 40-50 cadets had flown on that Sunday and the Anson had taken off to fly back, I believe, to RAF Kenley. Mechanical trouble forced it to land, finishing up on the beach. My ATC cadet logbook tells me the date, my flight, and aircraft number, PH774.

    The following year we again had our air experience at Southend in a repaired PH774. After we had finished our flying the aircraft took off to return to base and ended up on its nose on the runway.

    The following year, at Summer camp we were offered our flying again and PH774 arrived again !!! Canvey Island ATC refused to fly so had our picture taken with it.

    I have agreed to rake out all my ATC memorabilia and relate it all to Graham Stevens

    By Snowdrop (10/05/2012)
  • I saw this plane on the beach, there was no one securing the site at the time and we climbed onto the wing. This would be around 1954. I know I was very young at the time about 8

    By Joan Liddiard (19/09/2012)
  • Hello Re the forced landing on Concord beach. The Anson that was mentioed having crashed after carrying air cadets is not the one that crashed on Concord beach. It did indeed spend the day flying cadets [05-04-1954]but then crashed on take off at the airport.–Southend Standard archives.Easy mistake to make The one on concord beach is an enigma.The R.A.F have no record of it nor do the Air accident investigation bureau. The Hendon air museum are searching there records. I’ll let you know. From the same archives–In Aptil 1955 Canvey cuncillors Burton and Alterman suggested a helicopter port be built on Canvey but were defeated because the flood had depleted funds.Previously in the 1930s a seaplane port was suggested for Tewkes creek. It seems that “Boris”was not the first Regards Sparrow

    By Sparrow (01/11/2012)
  • Hi Sparrow, This would still be the same plane as ‘Snowdrop’s’ account states that it crashed on take-off at the Airport the year after the forced landing at the Seafront. I reckon every kid on Canvey went down there to see it at the time!

    By Graham Stevens (04/11/2012)
  • Hello At long last I have a reply from R.A.F Museum about the crashed “Anson” on Canvey beach. There seems to be an anomally re Anson No. PH 774 There record show that it had two accidents in its career, in 1948 and1952 and was struck off charge in October 1956 They summise that this is probably not the one on the beach and that there is no record of it crashing at Southend airport. So it seems we still are dealing with two aircraft. I shall plod on. I’ve been trying to forward the report to Dave Clayton . Regards Robin Howie

    By Robin Howie (29/11/2012)
  • I can give accurate information on this incident. I Was in the RAF and had just been posted to Hornchurch. On New Year’s Day 1954 I was sent with three others to guard this Anson as we were told it was on a  ”special” flight and extreme secrecy must be maintained. On arrival some local sightseers were already attempting to board but everything was intact before nightfall and we had to keep a watch on it all night

    The tide was coming in fast and we had to quickly secure the plane.The next evening some very high  ranking Officer turned up with several other special Police and we were relieved of our duties on site and returned to Hornchurch Camp.

    We never got to know the true facts but the rumour was it was on a special flight connected with the “Cold War” and the Berlin Airlift.

    It is pure coincidence I clicked on the Canvey Island site today to see if there was anything about the crash as I was sorting out some of my old Raf records yesterday and I suddenly remembered this incident.

    I would be one of the RAF personnel shown on the photo and it must have been a good opportunity photo as we had specific instructions to prevent photos.

    thanks for the memory I am now 84  but remember it clearly

    Bernard. Harris


    By B Harris (14/10/2014)
  • This is great news. at last we can put all the theories to bed! Thanks for this Bernard.

    By Joan Liddiard (14/10/2014)
  • I was very pleased to see this photograph and read the comments by B Harris because although only just 5 at the time the memory of this plane on the beach is still very fresh in my mind’s eye.  However because of the paucity of information or corroboration most of my family thought I was dreaming and my Dad is no longer around to ask, although Mum seems to think she remembers the incident.

    By Maurice Ullman (19/06/2017)
  • The plane was an Avro 652 Anson (Mk X1) registration PH812, with 231 Operational Conversion Unit Royal Air Force (231 OCU RAF). It was on a training flight from RAF Bassingbourn, Herts. Piloted by Lieut K C Howard A dual engine failure forced the crew to ditch the aircraft into the Thames. Both crew members were rescued while the aircraft was lost. I have another photo showing Canvey police Sergeant William Edward Howes BEM (awarded for the work he done on Canvey during the flood) standing on a breakwater with the half submerged plane.

    By Eddie clarke (11/03/2018)
  • When Amy Johnson went missing over shoeburyness waters in an arvo anson like this aircraft ,at the end part ww2, she still missing at shoeburyness waters,

    By Gary Foulger (14/01/2022)
  • For the sake of accuracy in regard to the aircraft Amy Johnson was flying the night she died on 5th January 1941. It was an Airspeed Oxford AS.10 Mk II (registration V3540) and not an Avro Anson as several people have commented. It is an easy error to make as they have a similar design.

    By Paul Wilkinson (02/03/2023)

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