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Airspeed Oxford

Known to hundreds of R.A.F. aircrew as the “Ox-box”, the Oxford first appeared in 1937 as a military development of the 1934 Envoy feeder-liner, and was the first twin-engined monoplane trainer in the Royal Air Force. the first Oxfords joined the Central Flying School in November 1937, and by the time of the outbreak of World War 2 nearly 400 were in service. Production was subsequently stepped up, Airspeed building nearly four and a half thousand Oxfords, and with sub-contracts placed with de Havilland, Percival and Standard Motors the total number of Oxfords completed came to 8751.

Although used most widely in its intended role as aircrew trainer, the Oxford gave valuable service on communications and anti-aircraft co-operation duties, and was also used in some numbers as an ambulance, particularly in the Middle East. As a trainer, it served in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Southern Rhodesia as well as in the United Kingdom.

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Outwardly there was little difference in appearance between the various mark numbers, the principal variations being in power-plant and internal equipment. the Oxford I was a bombing and gunnery trainer, and featured a dorsal Armstrong-Whitworth turret – the only Oxford to do so. The Mk.II was similarly powered, and was equipped as a navigation and radio trainer. This was likewise the function of the Mk.V, powered by two 455 h.p. Pratt & Whitney Wasp Juniors and was chiefly used in Rhodesia and Canada. The only Oxfords used in Canada were the Mk. I, Mk. II and Mk.V. During the war period a number of Oxfords were also in service with the Fleet Air Arm as naval crew trainers.

[ photo courtesy Maynard Norby ]

Airspeed Oxford Mk. I Specifications

Country of Origin: Great Britain
Advanced trainer and ambulance
Airspeed (1934) Ltd.
Two 355 h.p. Armstrong-Siddeley Cheetah IX or X radials
16.26 m (53 feet 4 inches)
11.13 m (34 feet 6 inches)
3.38 m (11 feet 1 inches)
Weight (Empty):
2440 kg (5380 pounds)
Weight (Loaded):
3447 kg (7600 pounds)
Maximum speed:
293 km/hour (182 miles/hour) at 8300 feet
Operational ceiling:
5852 m (19 200 feet)
885 km (550 miles)

Number of Airspeed Oxfords Used in Canada During WWII

MK. I’s: 25 (initial shipment 1939)
Mk. I’s:
2 (1940)
Mk. II’s:
606 (1941)
Mk. V’s:
188 (1942)