1998 Spring & Summer Newsletter
Aircraft Displayed In Museum Expansion -
While the 9,600 square foot expansion to our museum is not yet finished inside, it is being used to display three aircraft not previously in the museum and now under restoration by the Society. It is hoped that funding will be in place by this fall so we can commence finishing the interior of the expanded area. First efforts will likely go toward finishing the small artifact area.
Prominent among the aircraft being displayed on the gravel floor, is the Bristol Bolingbroke (British Blenheim Bomber), which was donated to NLS last year by Harry Whereatt of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. The Society hopes to have this aircraft restored as a static displayfor dedication in the year 2000 to the late Barry Davidson.
Also being assembled in the new area for display in its unrestored state is the North American Yale donated in 1997 by David and Jo Spinks, parents of the late Jonathon Spinks.
A recently acquired 1946 Beech Model 18, Expediter, donated by Orville and Svea Rowland of Okotoks, Alberta, is the third aircraft now in the new area of the museum.
Canada's Airforce Past-Present-Future -
This is the theme of the Society's annual event for 1998 which will be held on Saturday, July 25, 1998. Each summer for the past several years our Society has held what we feel are very successful events to honour various aspects of our Country's contribution to the air war from 1939 to 1945. In 1990 we organized a dedication ceremony to honour Ian Bazalgette VC, the only Albertan to be awarded the Commonwealth's highest decoration for bravery during WW II. In subsequent years we have officially opened our museum and honoured the Dambusters Raid, the Pathfinder Squadrons, the dropping of food supplies to the starving Dutch at the end of the war, and the unveiling of a memorial to those who served with the Allied Air Forces. Last summer we commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the great designer of aircraft, Roy Chadwick.
As our museum works towards honouring those who served with the BCATP and Bomber Command during World War II, we are pleased to see much of the spirit and traditions of those days continuing with the Canadian Armed Forces Air Command and the Royal Canadian Air Cadet's program.
This years event will honour Canada's former and current aircrew. As well, we will be gathering together as many of Alberta's Air Cadet Squadrons as possible. Indications are that we will have significant representation from our veterans, today's Air Command, and the Cadet squadrons.
Major General Campbell, Commander of No. 1 Canadian Air Division, will be in attendance as will the National Air Cadet Band. The cadets will be involved in a marchpast with the salute being taken by Major General Campbell. Following the marchpast, Major General Campbell will inspect the Cadet Squadrons.
As part of the ceremonies we will be unveiling a painting commissioned for the event and we hope to have participation by vintage and modern military aircraft.
Prior to the ceremonies we will be having a luncheon at the Nanton Memorial Community Centre adjacent to the museum at which Major General Campbell will be one of our special guests.
Luncheon tickets will be available some time in June. Cost will be $20 per person. As in other years, if you are planning to attend it might be wise to get your tickets early.
Please contact the museum or watch our website for more details as we get closer to July 25, 1998.
*July 4 Event* Wing Commanders Club - To Welcome New Members -
At a ceremony to be held at the museum on Saturday, July 4, 1998, a number of individuals will be honoured by membership in the Society's "Wing Commanders Club." At the same time we will be officially placing on display the very significant artifacts which these people have kindly donated to the museum.
Karl and Sara Bazin of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and Alexander and Dorothy Miller of Sherwood Park, Alberta, will be honoured for their donations of BCATP vehicles.
In the last 12 months our collection of BCATP aircraft grew significantly as a result of major donations by Harry and Anne Whereatt of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, David and Jo Spinks of Lethbridge, and Orville and Svea Rowland of Okotoks, Alberta. They will all be honoured for their contributions of 1940's vintage aircraft to the museum.
As well, we will be thanking various other individuals, corporations, and associations who contributed to the acquisition and, in some cases, the restoration of these significant additions to our collection.
Members interested in attending this event may contact the Society for further details.
Beech Expediter -
A recent addition to your museum is a 1946 Beechcraft Model D-18-S Expediter. This aircraft has been donated to the musem by Orville and Svea Rowland of Okotoks, Alberta.
Beech Expediters were used as a transport aircraft in the BCATP. While the new arrival was not used during wartime, it is an excellent example of the type.
This aircraft is one of two Beech 18s that were purchased by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1946. This aircraft carried the Canadian Civil Registration, CF-MPI, and was used by the RCMP until 1973 when it was no longer possible to make it airworthy. It was then replaced by a more modern aircraft. The second RCMP Beech 18 is preserved in Regina, Sask. MPI was used extensively by the RCMP in northern Alberta and in the Northwest Territories (NWT). There are at least two retired RCMP pilots in Alberta who have flown CF-MPI during its service years.
The aircraft is now displayed in the museum. We extend our grateful THANKS to Orville and Svea Rowland for the donation of the Beech 18s.
Operating Grant -
The Alberta Museums Association has recently awarded the Nanton Lancaster Society a grant in the amount of $3617 to assist with the operating costs of the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum.
The funds will be used to pay for heating and electrical expenses for 1998. This represents a substantial percentage of the money which is required for the museum's utilities, telephone, and other operating expenses. The Town of Nanton also contributes to the operation of the museum by providing water, sewage, garbage collection, and some insurance costs through its lease agreement with the Society.
Funds distributed by the Alberta Museums Association are provided by the Government of Alberta through lottery fund profits.
Simulator Donated -
Owners of the High River Flight Centre, Alex and Eileen Bahlsen, recently donated a Frasca Ground Instrument Trainer to the museum. While it is an older model, this simulator is operational.
Even though it doesn't fit with the museum themes of Bomber Command and the BCATP, your Society just couldn't pass this up! We are presently pondering how we might use it in the museum. We will be trying it out in the next while and some local members are really fired up to try "flying" it! Maybe it could be used as the basis for a virtual reality, hands-on attraction?
Of course, the High River Flight Centre now has a much more up-to-date simulator and the expertise to train you for instrument or night ratings. We have no intention of competing!
Alex and Eileen Bahlsen are good friends of the Society and have donated the use of their aircraft many times for our special events. Alex flew the airplane from which we dropped the "manna" on the museum when we celebrated the 50th anniversary (1995) of the dropping of food to the starving Dutch people. Alex has also flown the aircraft to drop skydivers at NLS July events.
THANKS to Alex and Eileen for the donation of the simulator and for their continuing support!
1941 - 60 CWT Truck -
Last fall, Lex and Dorothy Miller of Spruce Grove, AB, donated a meticulously restored 60 hundred weight (cwt) truck to the museum. This vehicle was one of eight similar trucks which were taken off the assembly line in Oshawa, Ontario, in 1941, for use by the RCAF. These units were sent to Alaska as support vehicles for a Canadian squadron which assisted the U.S. Air Force after the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands.
This 60 cwt RCAF truck is now on display in the museum. Our THANKS to Lex and Dorothy!
New Museum Booklet -
The Society has recently published a 48 page (8 1/2 x 11) souvenir booklet authored by Dave Birrell, NLS treasurer. This publication summarizes, from the Society's point of view, the history portrayed in the museum, the history of the Society and the establishment and development of the museum.
This book is for sale in the museum gift shop, priced at $5 or can be ordered, postage paid, for $7.
N.A. Yale Assembled -
The North American Yale, donated by David and Jo Spinks (parents of the late Jonathon Spinks), is being assembled as this newsletter goes together. The components of Yale #3404 will be assembled as an unrestored display for now. Eventually it will be restored (static) and dedicated to the memory of Jonathon Spinks.
We are working with Society friend, Marcus Stephenson of Calgary, who recently purchased a Yale package from Harry Whereatt, Assiniboia, Sask. From this he intends to create an airworthy Yale. So far we have supplied fuel tanks, a rudder, and other components for his project.
Marcus recently delivered a Pratt and Whitney (P&W) 975 engine core to the museum. Previous to receiving this engine core, the museum only had a military tank version of the 975 engine for this project. Between the two engines we can now make up one complete aircraft engine, possibly a runnable one. As with other aircraft restorations in the museum, where the engines are runnable, the restored aircraft, while not airworthy, may be taxiable when completed.
THANKS to Marcus Stephenson for his help!
Centotaph On The Net -
Nanton's memorial to those who died in two world wars is now listed on the Internet along with over 450 other Canadian memorials. It can be viewed on the World Wide Web on the site of the War Monuments of Canada. This is a project of the Educational Network for Newfoundland and Labrador.The URL is:
Our local Royal Canadian Legion is custodian of the monument. In the photo above you will note the brass plates have been renewed. This upgrading was done by Snodgrass Funeral Homes of High River, Alberta. They had the plaques redone as a donation to the Legion.
The members of the Nanton Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion are major supporters of the Air Museum. Their members are active volunteers in the museum and are helping hands at all NLS functions!
We extend a grateful THANKS to all Nanton Legion members for their continuing support!
Blenheim Project -
The Society's main project for the next two years got underway when the Bolingbroke, donated by Harry and Ann Whereatt of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, was pulled into the new area of the museum late last fall. The object is to create a static Blenheim Bomber from the donated Boly.
In case new readers are not aware, Bolingbrokes were the Canadian-built version of the British Bristol Blenheim bomber. In Canada they were used as training aircraft with the BCATP and as maritime patrol aircraft on Canada's east and west coasts during the war.
The completed Blenheim will be dedicated to the late Barry Davidson of Calgary, Alberta, in the summer of the year 2000. Barry was a POW for nearly five years after crash-landing a Blenheim bomber in occupied France in the early part of the war. He is probably best known as the "scrounger" in the celebrated "Great Escape" from the German POW camp, Stalag Luft #3.
This project is still in need of some items such as the engine nacelles (back of the engine cowling position), inboard wing centre-section leading edge covers, ailerons (L and R), wing tank covers, engine exhaust collector ring, etc. Anyone knowing where any of these components can be found, please contact us.
To complete this project in the two year time frame, additional volunteer help will be needed. If you can help in any way, please contact the museum.
<B>NLS Website (by Dave Birrell) -
Members are encouraged to make full use of this website for additional information regarding the Society and museum. Member, Brent Armstrong, is the Society's Webmaster. He has been constantly developing this website over the past two years.
This site is linked to numerous other sites and this is drawing a large number of visitors who are able to learn about the history which we are honoring and about our museum. As well, our volume of e-mail continues to grow with many encouraging comments and specific questions which are addressed by our curator.
Sections of this site are devoted to current news, descriptions of the museum's collection, stories related to our goals, photos, and a growing archives section which will eventually include all of our past newsletters.
Also provided are links to related sites including the highly recommended "Larry's Bomber Command Page." This site has been developed by Society director Larry Wright.
Space for our site is provided by Lexi.net as a public service to the Society. We extend our grateful THANKS to Lexicom for their donation of this service.
Towing Tractor -
The Society's wartime towing tractor hasn't had much publicity in recent years. It was completed a fiw years ago, except for a hood over the engine. When it was obtained from 408 Squadron as a collection of parts, it was minus the hood to enclose the engine compartment.
In 1995, while attending the CAPA convention at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, our delegates found a similar unit, complete with hood. Photos were taken and this past winter two NLS volunteers took on the job of creating this missing item.
At this writing, the towing tractor's engine hood is nearly completed. Members, Alvin Berger and Albert Fox, have pieced this assembly together using only a couple of photos for guidance!
It is hoped to have the towing unit repainted and operational by early summer.
The Society would like to extend a grateful THANKS to Alvin Berger and Albert Fox for completing the last stage of this project.
NLS Visits CASM -
On January 9/1998, NLS members Frank Dwyer, Joe English and Jim Wiersma attended the opening of a permanent Space Exhibit at the Calgary Aero Space Museum.
After a wine and cheese buffet and presentations on behalf of the Alberta Government, the poduim was turned over to Canadian astronaut, Lt. Col. Chris Hadfield. Using a combination of video and slides, he gave a great verbal and visual tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, an talked about his role as an astronaut, preparations for blast off, etc.
The shots of Russian Space Station MIR with its orbiting inhabitants were dramatic. Those present shared Hadfield's excitement, the hazards, and the joys of matching up with and docking to the MIR. A human kinship was evident when his group of astronauts entered the floating space-station platform. Hadfield spoke of being proud to be a Canadian on board and working on the installation of the Canada Arm.
Following his presentation, Lt. Col. Hadfield cut the ribbon officially opening the space exhibit. He then obliged by signing autographs for the guests.
The Nanton Lancaster Society extends congratulations to the Calgary Aero Space Museum on the addition of their new space display.
Fuel Bowser -
The ex-BCATP fuel truck, which was used on the base at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, is now on display in the museum. The overhead booms which carry the fuel hoses have yet to be installed. These should be in place by the first of May when the museum will again begin opening daily for the spring/summer/fall months.
Your Society now has four 1940's vintage BCATP vehicles, not including the wartime towing tractor, on display along with the aircraft collection. We like to think that these vehicles add another dimension to the museum. Hopefully they help the visitor see a more complete picture of wartime airfield operations, especially those of the training bases of the BCATP.
There will be a special display of the Fuel Bowser and the other museum vehicles on July 4/98. Along with this display the Society will be honouring the donatators of these and other major artificts to the museum.
We would like to thank everyone who helped restore the fuel truck, including donor Karl Bazin, Swift Current, Sask., Siebens Auto Industries and their employees (bodywork, painting, tune-ups).
Don Vance -
Those of you who have visited the museum in the last couple of years will have seen the numerous Squadron plaques in the foyer of the small artifact area. They were donated in 1995 along with other memorabilia by Don Vance of Marysville, B.C.
Don has again donated a number of items to the museum, among which is a framed, limited edition print of Canada's only flying Lancaster VR-A (restored and operated by Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton, Ontario.) This print is signed by the artist and all surviving crew members of the original VR-A, in which Victoria Cross recipient Andrew Mynarski perished trying to save a fellow crew member. This print is now on display in the museum.
Other donated items are too numerous to mention but include, special one-of-a-kind pins and crests, two Gurka knives, and special commemorative items from Don's service with the RCAF in Germany after the war. More of the items donated by Don Vance will be displayed in the future.
Your Society extends a grateful thanks to Don Vance for his donations and continuing interest in our museum.
In Memoriam -
* David P. Faulks, Courtenay, B.C. Lifetime Member and friend of the Nanton Lancaster Society.
* David P. Faulks, Courtenay, B.C. Lifetime Member and friend of the Nanton Lancaster Society.
Copyright 2010, Nanton Lancaster Society