The Anson originally came into being as Avro Type 652 following a response to Imperial Airways specification for a fast six-passenger low wing monoplane issued in 1933. Roy Chadwick of Lancaster fame designed the aircraft, the first of which flew in 1935 from Woodford. But the Anson, as it became known, also fitted the bill for a general reconnaissance aircraft required by the RAF due to the growing threat from German rearmament, and so the Anson entered service in 1936.
It was never designed as a trainer per se, and certainly not a pilot trainer (the Airspeed Oxford, a more demanding aircraft fulfilled that role), but it became a valued jack of all trades throughout the airforces of the allied world. Its potential as an aircraft in which to train future navigators, bomb-aimers, wireless operators and gunners soon became obvious. Nearly 8000 were built in the UK before the end of the war alone, with significant numbers also being built in Canada.
The standard gun fitted was a single Vickers .303 though some sported a Bristol turret.
It was tight inside the turret, which was accessed through a door in the rear of the cabin, life for trainee w/ops, navs or b/as was more spacious but the Anson cabin was draughty so Sidcot suits were the order of the day!
Unfortunately there are very few photographs available of such a ubiquitous aircraft serving in wartime Rhodesia, this is the only one that Dad took. It shows the flight lines at No. 24 Bombing, Gunnery and Navigation School at Moffat. To the right are three Ansons and in the far distance an assortment including Fairey Battle target tugs and at least one Hurricane. This an enlargement of the nearest Anson, which is a navigation trainer with a large dome for sextant training.