Bob Stratton peeks inside the remains of the cockpit of the Avro Anson at the Evans Head Aviation Museum.
Bob Stratton peeks inside the remains of the cockpit of the Avro Anson at the Evans Head Aviation Museum. Samantha Elley

Rare aviation item found in shed

WHEN 95-year-old Bob Stratton moved for the final time into a nursing home, a clean out of his shed uncovered an aviation treasure.

Aviation donation: Bob Stratton donates a rare starter motor for a plane being restored at the Evans Head aviation museum.
Aviation donation: Bob Stratton donates a rare starter motor for a plane being restored at the Evans Head aviation museum.

After the Northern Star's recent call out for people to check their sheds for any aviation memorabilia, it was more coincidental that Mr Stratton and his daughters, who were helping him move, discovered a starter motor for a very rare airplane.

Even more coincidental, the starter motor was for an Avro Anson trainer aircraft, the exact same type acquired by the Evans Head aviation museum only two months ago.

After 8,500 of the Anson planes were built from 1935 until the war, Mr Kinnish said they are now very rare.

"There are only two Ansons flying at the moment,” museum president Rod Kinnish said. "So (the museum) has now been given the responsibility of restoring one of the most iconic World War Two aircraft.”

Mr Stratton acquired the starter motor when he bought two Anson airplanes for 25 shillings each after the war.

Ex-Woodburn resident Bob Stratton, 95 with his daughters Lindy Newnham of Brisbane and Julie Cooper of Wardell holding the starter motor for the Avro Anson plane behind them.
RARE TREASURE: Bob Stratton, 95 with his daughters Lindy Newnham of Brisbane and Julie Cooper of Wardell with the starter motor in front of the Anson. Samantha Elley

"My brother and I took our semi-trailer out there, we cut off the wings of the planes with a cross saw,” Mr Stratton said. "I pulled them to pieces.”

Mr Stratton recycled items from the plane for his beekeeping business, even burning the copper wiring and selling the copper on.

"I am getting close to the end of my target and I thought it's time to give back where it came from.”

Bob Stratton, 95 of Bangalow hands over the starter motor for the Avro Anson engines behind him to EHMAHAA president Rod Kinnish with daughters Lindy Newnham and Julie Cooper.
Bob Stratton, 95 of Bangalow hands over the starter motor for the Avro Anson engines behind him to EHMAHAA president Rod Kinnish with daughters Lindy Newnham and Julie Cooper. Samantha Elley

The Avro Anson's two engines will now have one starter motor, a small step in the long process of full restoration.

"To fully restore the plane will take many years,” Mr Kinnish said. "So we are concentrating on preserving it so we can put it on display first.”