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UNIT NUMBERS

Photo:  Jack Howard Collection

Anson VH-AGG - Unit No 2
In the early days of Adastra, the survey aircraft carried Unit Numbers as shown in the above photograph (from the Jack Howard Collection) of Anson VH-AGG in October 1945. Very little is known of these numbers except that Hudson VH-AGX was photographed carrying the number 9 in 1955. A photograph of Hudson VH-AGS wearing the grey scheme in late 1957 shows it carrying the above emblem and inscription, but without a number. (VH-AGS entered service in early 1956). Apparently, the Unit Numbers (as well as the emblem and inscription) had been discontinued by the time the green scheme was introduced. The following table was initiated by Anson research specialist Geoff Goodall. It has been derived from the known Unit Number 9 working backwards based on the dates aircraft entered service. (In most cases, these dates are when the aeroplane was registered to Adastra). In its original form this table was highly speculative, but as more information has become available, it has been possible to validate much of the data.

THE TABLE

NO.
AIRCRAFT
CONFIRMED
IN SERVICE
OUT OF SERVICE
1
Dragonfly VH-AAD
Yes
28MAY42 (1)
14JUN51
2 # 1 Waco YKS-6 VH-UYD
Yes
27SEP39 (2)
07JUN45
2 # 2
Anson VH-AGG
Yes
22OCT45
19AUG48
2 # 3 Anson VH-BKZ
Yes
04MAR49
17JAN53
3
Anson VH-AGO
Yes
29JAN46
31OCT52
4
Anson VH-AVT/AGA
Probable
09JAN47
15JUL62
5
Anson VH-BGO
.
05MAY48
05JUN48
6
Hudson VH-AGG
Yes
30MAR51
08JUN58
7
Anson VH-BNS
.
29JAN53
03APR53
8
Hudson VH-AGO
.
13MAY53
24JUN57
9
Hudson VH-AGX
Yes
25NOV54
21DEC73

NOTES
1
The Dragonfly VH-AAD was modified for aerial survey on or about 28MAY42. It had been in use earlier as an airliner.
2
The Waco YKS-6 VH-UYD was modified for aerial survey on or about 27SEP39. It had been in use earlier as an airliner.
 
Hudson VH-AGG Photo: Allen Windross
Hudson VH-AGG Unit No 6

 

THE EVIDENCE

 

Larger Image

Anson VH-AGG, Unit No 2, photographed at Mascot in October 1945 prior to departing on the Victoria contract. This photograph appears in Tom Carpenter's album with the following caption: "Note this was our first Anson but it is Unit No 2, VH-AAD the Dragonfly was Unit No 1."

 


 

Larger Image

This photo from Allan Yee shows an Adastra Anson which, in the larger version, is clearly Unit No. 3. Also, it can be seen that the cabin windows are round. We now know that only VH-AGG and VH-AGO had this feature and having previously established that VH-AGG was Unit No 2, this aircraft must be VH-AGO.

 


Photographic evidence confirms that Waco YKS-6 VH-UYD and Anson VH-BKZ both carried the Unit No 2. Evidently therefore, some numbers were reissued as aeroplanes were retired and replacements went into service, presumably to avoid gaps in the fleet numbers. Given the new information that the Waco did in fact carry a unit number, we need to reappraise whether or not the B.A. Eagle VH-UUYmight have been given a unit number. This is unlikely as there were apparently no other aircraft used on survey work while the Eagle was in survey service. The second survey aeroplane, the Waco, did not enter service until 1939 by which time the Eagle was out of service. The first occasion when Adastra had two aircraft simultaneously involved in survey work was when the Dragonfly was converted for survey in 1942. This may well be the point at which unit numbers became necessary. Given a choice between the Waco and the Dragonfly, it is more likely that the company would have considered the Dragonfly their "flagship" and therefore more worthy of Unit No 1. This is a possible explanation of why Unit numbers 1 & 2 appear to have been issued in reverse chronological order.



If you can throw any further light on this subject, please contact Ron

 

ISSUE
DATE
AMENDMENT
7
27AUG05
Captions in Tom Carpenter's photo album state that Dragonfly VH-AAD was Unit No 1 and Anson VH-AGG was Unit No 2. On this basis, both of these aircraft are now shown as confirmed in the above table. In the light of this new information, this page has been rewritten, eliminating much earlier speculation.
6
23FEB05
There is now photographic proof that:
Waco YKS-6 VH-UYD was also Unit No 2
Anson VH-BKZ was also Unit No 2
Therefore, Anson VH-BKZ has been moved up from 5 #2 to 2 #3 and the Waco has been added to the table for the first time.
5
14AUG04
Added a close-up of the Unit Number 6 on Hudson VH-AGG.
4
30DEC03
The emergence of this photo, believed to be Anson VH-AGO, has prompted major changes to the table of Unit Numbers. The methodology behind these changes has also been added to this page as much of this material is still speculative and therefore subject to further amendment.
3
25NOV03
The emergence of this photo, believed to be Anson VH-AVT, has prompted a reassessment of the above table. In the photo, which was taken in 1956, the aeroplane is clearly marked as "Unit No 4" which was previously thought to be VH-BGO. However this cannot be, as VH-BGO was destroyed in a hangar fire in June 1948. Accordingly, the following amendments have been made to the table:

Anson VH-AVT/AGA moved down from 3 to 4.
Anson VH-BGO moved up from 4 to 3.

Unfortunately this messes up our nice chronological sequence and there is no apparent reason why these numbers might have been issued out of sequence.

Unit No 4 will not be shown as confirmed until such time as we can be certain of the identity of the Anson in the photo.
2
26FEB03
Kevin Pavlich has examined a photo of Hudson AGG which appears to be carrying Unit No 6. Previously, we had Hudson AGG as Unit No 7 and Anson BLF as Unit No 6. However, BLF did not quite fit the chronological sequence as it came to Adastra relatively late, having been with World Wide Aerial Surveys. By the time BLF came to Adastra, it is believed that Unit Numbers had been discontinued. Accordingly, I have deleted BLF from the table. By re-examining Anson service entry dates, I find that we had not previously accommodated the short-lived Anson BNS which entered service on 29th January 1953. The first Hudson, AGG, actually entered service before Anson BNS, so if we delete BLF, move AGG up to #6 and insert BNS at #7 it seems that our theory is back on track. Additional pieces to the jigsaw will be most welcome.
1
08FEB03
Original Issue