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Bomber Command Museum of Canada

1998  Fall & Winter  Newsletter


News Articles

Library And Expanded Display Area Construction Nears Completion
Sgt. Albert S. Prince "First Of The Ten Thousand"
We Remember
Society Donates Plaque
The Airforce, Past, Present, And Future
Lancaster Restoration Progress
U.K. Engineer To Visit
Blenheim Restoration Underway
Report On Anson 7481
NLS Attends CAPA
Air Show Display
T-33 Is Outside Exhibit
Baz's Brother And Family Visit The Bazalgette Memorial Lancaster
Parts Delivered
Wing Commander Club Welcomes New Members
Air Gunners Reunion
Plexiglas Installed In Rear Turret
Virginia EAA Chapter Donates Link Trainer
Crystal Attwood
Air Cadets Cleanup
North American Yale
BCATP Memorial At Claresholm
New Storage Area A Priority For 1999
In Memoriam For


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Library And Expanded Display Area Construction Nears Completion -
Thanks to the continuing generous support of our membership and a successful summer season, construction is proceeding on the heated portion of our 1997 building expansion. This project involves the partial relocation and renovation of our washroom facilities, the addition of a 360 square foot library, and 840 square feet of additional display area.
As this newsletter goes to print, the area has a concrete floor, insulation and doors have been installed, heating and plumbing is complete as is the preliminary electrical work. In the next few weeks the drywall will be finished, lighting fixtures installed, and our volunteers will do the necessary painting. The project represents an expenditure of approximately $19,000.
Our library grows almost daily, a recent donation by Wally West of St. Albert, Alberta, added hundreds of volumes in itself. During the winter we will be moving our books, manuals, and videotapes from their current locations in our very crowded office into the new area. The library will be very visible to our visitors through a large window donated by Albert and Joan Fox. It is our intention that this room will be an attractive, comfortable area where members may make use of a very valuable collection of books, magazines, and videos. Our new library will be readily available to members and the general public upon request.
Our expanded display area will allow for a number of new interpretive displays. As well we will finally solve the problem of properly presenting our "Square-footer Member," "Lifetime Member," and other display boards. These boards are an important part of the museum. Their plaques number in excess of one 1000. Through their various inscriptions, the support the Society receives from across Canada and outside the country is readily visible. The hundreds of references to particular individuals who have been remembered through a donation to the museum are most impressive.
Finishing of the expanded display area has been made possible through the support of our Community Lottery Board, which provided funding for the concrete. Other contributors were Home Hardware, Willow Creek Plumbing and Heating, Silvertip Construction, Wittich Electric, Bill and Blair Martin Drywall, and Lee Fox Construction. The museum will definitely have a "new look" about it for 1999 and we encourage all our members to visit and let us know what they think.
Report by Dave Birrell


Sgt. Albert S. Prince "First Of The Ten Thousand" -
On September 4th, 1939, one day after Britain declared war on Nazi Germany, the first of some 10,000 Canadians was killed while serving with Bomber Command during World War II. Sgt. Albert Stanley Prince was a pilot with 107 Squadron RAF when he took part on the first bombing raid of the war, an attack on enemy warships at Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
The Society will be commemorating the 60th anniversary of this significant event on September 4, 1999. With the help of North Vancouver member Don Currie and others, we are involved in a challenging bit of detective work in an attempt to locate relatives of Sgt. Prince and details of the raid. Indications are that we will have good news to report in the Spring '99 newsletter as well as our plans for this commemoration. While progress is being made in locating relatives, if anyone has any information about Sgt. Prince please contact the Society.


We Remember -
On the afternoon of November 11, the Gleichen Choir, of Gleichen, Alberta, brought their production, "We Remember," to Nanton. This group donated their efforts, with funds from admissions going to support the museum. A crowd of 200 was entertained with the songs of both World Wars intermingled with the drama of wartime activities, such as enlisting, landing a crippled bomber, women at war, etc.
The Society extends a grateful THANKS to the Gleichen Choir, and director Janet Bolinger for their generosity in helping our museum and an entertaining afternoon.


Society Donates Plaque -
Just before the production, "We Remember," by the Gleichen Choir (above), a plaque, donated by our Society, was unveiled in Nanton's Community Hall designating it as a heritage building. After the war, this building was moved to Nanton from the BCATP SFTS #19 base near Vulcan, Alberta. It is still serving Nanton today!


The Airforce, Past, Present, And Future -
Close to 1000 people attended the Society's "Salute to the Airforce, Past, Present, and Future" on July 25, 1998. The day started with a variety of displays in the museum, and the arrival of a British Army Air Corps "Gazelle" helicopter from Suffield, Alberta.
At 11:00 a.m. our friend from Wetaskiwin, Byron Reynolds, did a flypast in a vintage Harvard aircraft. Also at this time Major-General Lloyd Campbell, Commander of #1 Canadian Air Division, CFB Winnipeg, arrived and was given a tour of our museum.
The noon luncheon started off with piper, Katrina Banfield, leading the head table guests to their places. After lunch and the traditional taped "Lancaster Flypast," Judy Armstrong presented a medley of WWII songs. The Toast to the Queen was given by Cliff Black, wartime C.O. of 426 Squadron.
Special guests were introduced, including Clarence Simonsen, nose art researcher and artist; John Melborne, president of the Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Air Force Association; and Major-General Ken Lett (retired). In addition, Jim Love, NLS member and Peenamunde Raid navigator was present, as were Doug and Ellen Penny, representing the Ex-Air Gunners Association of Canada; Don Hudson, nephew of Roy Chadwick (designer of the Lancaster); and artist, John Rutherford with his wife Mabel. John donated this yearís painting depicting the past, present and future of the Air Force.
A very pertinent message from NLS Honorary President Margaret Dove, relating to the day's events was read. After a toast to the aircrew, past, present, and future, by Joe English, local ex-Lancaster pilot, the guest speakers were introduced.
Aircrew veteran Art Smith DFC, OC. and Honorary Colonel of 416 Tactical Fighter Squadron, gave the first address which was very well received. He was followed by former Air Cadet Warrant Officer John Chute, who spoke about the future of the air force. The keynote speaker, Major-General Campbell, appealed to the crowd to remember our proud history, to respect the achievements of todayís air force, and look to the future, which will still require a strong air force presence.
The afternoon ceremonies commenced with a marchpast and inspection of local Air Cadet Squadrons by Major-General Campbell. The three guest speakers assisted in unveiling the donated Rutherford painting, a beautiful tribute to the dayís theme. The Penhold Air Cadet Training Centre Band added to the pomp and ceremony with appropriate military selections.
This was followed by an impressive Flypast, led by a vintage 1942 Tiger Moth owned by Gordon Jones, WWII Tiger Moth instructor; a Beech 18 Expeditor, piloted and owned by Gordon Laing, of Calgary, who tragically died a few weeks later in the crash of a T-28 Trojan; a Chipmunk owned and operated by John Phillips; and an aerobatic Zlin aircraft, piloted by Alex Bahlsen of High River Flight Centre.
The finale was a candy-drop for the kids, by Wayne Stier and Greg Scott flying two agricultural spray planes in impressive formation.
Report by Dan Fox


Lancaster Restoration Progress -
Society director Larry Wright and Sarnia, Ontario, member Peter Whitfield have recently made significant strides in the restoration of our Lancaster Bomber this past summer.
The Society's goal is to restore the aircraft to its wartime configuration. As the aircraft underwent many modifications prior to and during its postwar service with the Royal Canadian Air Force, significant amounts of postwar wiring and equipment have had to be removed. This requires many hours of labour and constant reference to both wartime and post war Lancaster manuals. As well as the removal of post war materials, Larry and Peter have temporarily installed wartime radios, and bomb-aimer's equipment, including the bombsight and instruments. They also added wartime antenna fixtures and wire.
Some additional plexiglas was installed and the wooden rear canopy framework removed. Bob Evans, our curator, will rebuild this over the winter in preparation for plexiglas installation in the spring and Andy Lockhart of Calgary will be rebuilding our navigator/wireless operator table. It is encouraging to see some of the parts and pieces collected by the Society over the years being placed in their rightful place in the aircraft.
Our THANKS to Seal Tech Restorations for their special assistance with this project.


U.K. Engineer To Visit -
Next spring Ian Hicklen, an AME who has spent seven years working with the Merlin engines of the RAF's flying Lancaster and the last several years restoring the Lanc at East Kirkby to its present taxiable condition, will be spending two weeks at our museum.
Society members Peter and Paul Whitfield met Ian while in England two years ago and have made arrangements for the visit. Peter and Paul, as well as Society director Larry Wright, will be working with Ian. They will be examining our aircraft's engines and airframe as we work towards the possibility of engine run ups. Ian will provide us with a report on the feasibility of this, what needs to be done, and the costs involved. It is the Society's hope that our Lancaster will one day be restored to a taxiable condition. The initial goal is to run the starboard inner engine. However, much remains to be done before this is achieved, not the least of which is the installation of four large overhead doors on the east side of the museum so that the aircraft may be moved outside. The purchase and installation of these doors is estimated to cost $30,000.
Ian Hicklen's visit will represent a necessary first step towards this ambitious goal and we look forward to seeing him at the museum next spring.


Blenheim Restoration Underway -
The restoration of the "Barry Davidson Memorial Blenheim," formerly the Harry Whereatt Bolingbroke, has begun. This will be a priority at the museum over the next two years. A formal restoration plan was approved by members at the Society's monthly meeting in October. This plan includes what we believe is a workable timetable within which the different components will be restored. Applications for funding to assist with the restoration have also been sent out to groups who have helped fund past projects.
Virtually all of the necessary parts are on hand, with the exception of propeller hubs and ailerons. The rudder has been removed and NLS member Bill Erickson of Claresholm will be rebuilding this damaged flight surface using the one from the aircraft and parts from another partial rudder.
During an October weekend visit, Air Cadets from the Elkford, B.C., squadron, completely cleaned the interior of the aircraft of decades of dirt and debris. They stripped paint off the fuselage as well and cleaned up the main undercarriage wheel fairings.
With the full support of the Davidson family, the aircraft will be dedicated to Barry's memory during the summer of the year 2000. Pilot Officer Barry Davidson, an Alberta-born pilot, with 18 Squadron, RAF, was taken prisoner after crash landing his Blenheim on a beach in France in 1939. He remained a Prisoner of War for almost five years, playing a key role in the famous "Great Escape" from Stalag Luft #3.


Report On Anson 7481 (by Rob and Pat Pedersen) -
We have been working at preserving any wooden pieces that are currently mounted on our stockpiled airframes. Sixty odd years have reduced what was once first grade Sitka spruce to little more than rotting firewood. Our current efforts have been to take examples of Anson construction and preserve them until they can be properly repaired or new pieces constructed.
It became very apparent that just moving them into the workshop would only create a large pile of parts that would be very confusing. To preserve their original position on the airframe and reduce some of the confusion, they are being temporarily mounted on the fuselage of Anson 7481.
In restoring 7481 we continue to follow our museum guidelines of using as much original material as possible and only replacing pieces when no other alternative is available. All reconstruction and repair methods are a result of research into the original methods used.


NLS Attends CAPA -
President Dan Fox and Curator Bob Evans attended the annual conference of the Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association (CAPA) on October 30 and 31, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Thirty-five delegates from air museums across Canada stayed at the International Hotel in Winnipeg or at the Air Command Headquarters housing facility.
The first day of this event was held in Winnipeg and hosted by the Western Canada Aviation Museum (WCAM.) On Sunday the delegates travelled to Brandon where the host for the day was the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (CATPM).
Membership in CAPA has increased in the past year, with delegates from two additional museums attending over and above the attendance in 1997.
CAPA is now recognized by Dept. of National Defence and Crown Assets as the voice of air museums across Canada. Due to this recognition, several changes have been instigated in the disbursement of surplus aircraft and parts to museums. As well there have been changes to the new gun legislation as it pertains to museums.
One of the main advantages of belonging to CAPA and attending the annual conference is the chance delegates have to network. Getting together to discuss the individual needs of our different museums, both formally and informally on a one-to-one basis, has resulted in surplus parts being exchanged and expertise being shared.
Over the last few years our Society and its museum have benefited greatly from this direct association. In turn we have extended help to CAPA members, such as the Edmonton Aviation Heritage Museum, Calgary Aero Space Museum, and the Brandon Museum.
Canadian aviation museums have now come into their own with a recognized national association. NLS is proud to be a member and participant in this group where our museum is recognized equally with much larger entities.


Air Show Display -
The Society's travelling display was on the road a couple of times during the summer. It also went by air to a northern Alberta airshow.
Dan and Barb Fox and Dave Birrell took a display to the High River airport for the High River Flight Centre's open house on June 21. John Green arrived in his180 Comanche with Bob and Carol Evans as passengers, "just for fun."
Several members of your Society attended the Airshow in Lethbridge again this year, taking along the museum's larger travelling display. Manning the display were, Pat and Rob Pedersen along with daughter Krista, Dan and Barb Fox, Crystal Attwood, and Dave Birrell.
A small NLS travelling display went to the Peace River Airshow. High River Flight Centre owners, Alex and Eileen Bahlsen, donated the flight! One of their pilots flew NLS President Dan Fox, Crystal Attwood, summer supervisor, and Secretary Frank Dwyer to Peace River on the morning of August 22 and returned them to the High River Airport that evening. Thanks go out to Alex and Eileen Bahlsen for their generosity!


T-33 Is Outside Exhibit -
On October 25, Society member Neil Wilson, local welder, and two cranes from H&H Cranes placed the T-33 Silverstar on a pedestal near the northeast corner of the museum. The T-33 is on long-term loan from Orville and Svea Rowland of Okotoks.
For various reasons plans to mount the aircraft in the spring did not materialize. However, paint stripping, polishing and painting new markings went on in earnest through September and early October with Pat and Rob Pedersen and daughter Krista doing the lion's share of the paint stripping.
The tip tanks, painted and repaired by Siebens Auto Industries, were polished and mounted. The undercarriage was replaced with mounting brackets. All these accomplishments took much time and effort on the part of many members and other volunteers.
The aircraft now bears the markings 616, which were those of the support aircraft used by the Golden Hawks aerobatic team. Aircraft "616" was flown by a Nanton native son, Jack Allan, who was the Commanding Officer (1959-63) of Canada's Golden Hawks.
Our thanks go out to all who helped to bring this project to a successful conclusion. A special thanks to Orville and Svea Rowland for the loan of the aircraft.


Baz's Brother And Family Visit The Bazalgette Memorial Lancaster -
During August the museum was honoured with a visit by Deryck Bazalgette of Devon, England. Deryck was accompanied by his wife Ruth, son Charles and his wife Trish, and other members of the Bazalgette family.
In 1990 the museumís Lancaster was dedicated to the memory of S/L Bazalgette VC DFC, the only Albertan to be awarded the Victoria Cross during World War II. At the ceremony and since that time, we have enjoyed several memorable visits by Ianís relatives, aircrew, and friends. The most significant of all are the visits by Ianís sister Ethel, and now his brother Deryck.
Those of us who spoke with Deryck were struck, not only by his likeness to the photos of his brother, but by a personality similar to that accorded to Ian. It was a moving experience, to say the least, as Deryck Bazalgette entered the Ian Bazalgette Memorial Lancaster. His words of support and encouragement were most appreciated.
The Society, which has published a biography of S/L Bazalgette, is proud of its association with this valiant airman and his family. We hope to maintain our relationship with the Bazalgette family in the years to come.


Parts Delivered -
Ralph Peterson of Bellingham, Washington, U.S.A., arrived in Nanton on September 29 with a donation of Tiger Moth pieces. He also delivered a brand new Martin Turret Plexiglas dome and two new Lancaster cabin heater radiator cores in their original cases from Neil Rose of Vancouver, Washington. The latter items were in trade for a Martin Turret base and miscellaneous parts which Ralph took with him on his return trip.


Wing Commander Club Welcomes New Members -
At a ceremony held at the museum on Saturday, July 4/98, twelve individuals who have made extensive donations of artifacts and/or services to the Society in the past, were honoured by receiving either "Lifetime" or "Wing Commanders Club" memberships.
All of the donors received framed certificates, as well as plaques on the respective boards, for their contributions. The ceremony was chaired by NLS President Dan Fox, with Curator Bob Evans handing out the framed certificates. The plaque boards were also unveiled. Following the short ceremony a light lunch was enjoyed by all with seating under the wing of the Lancaster.
The following is a list of the donors and supporters who were honoured with Wing Commander memberships:
*Karl and Sara Bazin of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, donated the 1941 Fuel Bowser truck, now restored. It had been used at the Swift Current BCATP base. They have also donated several Airspeed Oxford remains.
*Alexander and Dorothy Miller of Sherwood Park, Alberta, added a 1941, 60 CWT truck, to the museum collection. This vehicle has a history of being used by the RCAF during the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands.
*Harry and Anne Whereatt of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, donated the Bolingbroke which is being restored as the "Barry Davidson Blenheim. They are long-time friends and supporters of the museum.
*David and Jo Spinks of Lethbridge, AB, and Ipswich, England, donated the Bolingbroke and N.A. Yale collection. Accumulated by their late son, Jonathon, the collection includes five Boly airframes, and many other parts, plus a nearly complete North American Yale.
*Orville and Svea Rowland of Okotoks, Alberta, donated two aircraft, the former RCMP Beech Craft Expeditor CF-MPI, now on display in the museum, and a second Expeditor for parts.
*Honoured with "Lifetime Memberships" were Louis and Pat Kowalchuk and family, owners of Louie's Trucking Ltd. of Nanton, Alberta. Their donation of trucking services over the years has been a tremendous help in getting large artifacts to the museum. The most recent donation by the Kowalchuk family was the hauling of the Harry Whereatt Bolingbroke from Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, to the museum in the fall of 1997. Over the past years they have donated many similar hauling jobs.
The Society again extends a grateful THANKS to all those persons listed above for their generosity and help.


Air Gunners Reunion -
NLS President Dan Fox and his wife Barb attended the Ex-Airgunners Reunion, held in Calgary on September 12/98. Here they renewed acquaintances with Doug and Ellen Penny, Mr. and Mrs. Garth Greenaway and many other airgunner members.
Dan reports that they sat with ex-Transport Command Ferry pilot of WWII, Marie Wright, who entertained them with stories of her wartime experiences flying 60 different types of war planes.
Guest speaker was Karl Kjarsgaard who related his experiences in recovering two Halifax bombers from Europe.


Plexiglas Installed In Rear Turret -
Through the efforts of NLS members Bill Howe and Larry Wright, of Calgary, and Peter Whitfield, of Sarnia, Ontario, the plexiglas has been installed in our operational Lancaster rear gun turret. This completes a very challenging restoration project which has been ongoing for several years.
The turret operates from a remote electric hydraulic power unit and functions exactly as per the WWII specs. The machine guns are replicas made of plastic.
Our Society appreciates the support of the Alberta Museums Association which provided funding for the plexiglas. Thanks go to Bill, Larry, and Peter for their efforts in completing the final stage of this restoration.


Virginia EAA Chapter Donates Link Trainer -
A complete Link Trainer has been donated by the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter No. 646 of Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.A.
Chuck Waring, one of the Chapter's directors, visited our museum in June. In a conversation with NLS Secretary Frank Dwyer, he mentioned their group had a Link Trainer, plus spare parts, which they would donate to our museum, if we could arrange transportation.
It was arranged with Mullen Trucking, Aldersyde, AB, to pick up the Link Trainer and transport it to Nanton at a special rate. The necessary documents for Canadian Customs were finally in place by October. The shipment arrived November 12. We hope to have the Link Trainer operational and on display by next spring.
We extend grateful THANKS to Dave Mullen, Mullen Trucking, the Mullen dispatchers, and staff, for again assisting our Society.
NLS also extends special THANKS to Chuck Waring and all the members of the Roanoke, Virginia, EAA Chapter #646 for their donation to our museum.


Crystal Attwood -
We hope that members who visited the museum during July and August were impressed with our knowledgeable and pleasant staff and the neat and clean facility.
Crystal Attwood has been employed at the museum for the past three years as our summer supervisor. A talented and dedicated young lady, she has presented an excellent example to our younger student employees as well as managed our museum in a very responsible and professional manner.
There is no job in the operation of the museum that Crystal would not do, from office manager to mowing the lawn or stripping paint!
Your museum executive has unreservedly left the museum operation in her capable hands for the last three summer tourist seasons.
Crystal is a university student, now in her fourth year of studies. The job as our 1999 summer supervisor is open to her! This will depend on whether she can find a job in her chosen field. The Society extends a grateful thanks to Crystal for a job well done and wishes her all the best in the future.


Air Cadets Cleanup -
Twice in the past six months Cadet Squadron #279, of Elkford, B.C., travelled to Nanton. The squadron and their leaders were here in April, just before the museum commenced daily operation for the summer months. Their second visit was in October.
On both occasions they spent their time painting floors and walls, cleaning both the aircraft and the building, polishing exhibits and aeroplanes, and stripping paint from the Blenheim project.
The Society is happy to give these young people the opportunity to actually have a hands-on experience with the display aircraft. A grateful THANKS is extended to the squadron and its leaders for their help in making the museum and its artifacts more presentable.


North American Yale -
One of the many projects in our museum, the North American Yale was assembled and placed on display as an unrestored aircraft. It was not slated for immediate restoration.
In spite of this, the Yale has been upgraded with very little effort by local volunteers. Tires and other parts supplied by the late Neil McClain, enabled the aircraft to be displayed on its gear. An engine was donated by Marcus Stephenson of Calgary.
Marcus is accumulating components to restore a N.A. Yale to airworthy condition. Our Society has supplied him with fuel tanks and various other components we had in duplicate. We loaned our engine mount to Marcus for use as a pattern in making a new one. He recently returned our engine mount completely restored! Marcus has now offered to restore the forward (tube) portion of the fuselage, at no cost, if we dismantle it. With an offer like that, how could we refuse! On Saturday, November 8, several members dismantled the aircraft and the tube section was made ready for transport to Calgary.
Marcus Stephenson, is the owner of Allwood Furniture Repair and Finishing, Calgary, AB. Our grateful THANKS go out to Marcus for his help.


BCATP Memorial At Claresholm -
Bill Erickson of Claresholm was the prime force in raising a memorial to those who served and trained at SFTS #15, the BCATP base that was situated near Claresholm.
The memorial, a Harvard aircraft mounted on a concrete pylon with a bronze plaque, commemorates the activities of the base during wartime and afterwards as a NATO training facility. The Harvard was pieced together from non-airworthy parts and has a mock-up engine installed at the moment due to the unavailability of a runout P&W 1340 engine.
The Society endeavoured to find an engine for this project but found even a runout P&W 1340 engine demanded a price beyond our means. Our hopes were to find a reasonably priced run-out engine which would have enabled us to donate the incomplete engine presently in the museum Harvard to the Claresholm memorial.


New Storage Area A Priority For 1999 -
With the completion of our expanded display area and library, the Society's attention will turn to the interior finishing of the new expanded storage area. At the moment this 1200 square foot space is being used but awaits a concrete floor, heating, lighting, and drywall. It is our hope to finish this area during 1999 to provide proper storage for our many valuable parts and artifacts now stored in less than adequate facilities.
Through a grant received from the Alberta Museums Association, funding for the concrete floor and heating is in place. Support is being currently sought from other sources and, of course, our ever-supportive membership to complete this important project.


In Memoriam -

*Neil McClain - Our Society's good friend and supporter, Neil McClain of Cayley, Alberta, passed away on September 22. Neil had restored a Sea Fury over the past several years and was in the process of certifying it when he became ill. The warbird community is missing oneof its most dedicated members and preservationists. We extend our deepest sympathy to Neil's family and friends.

*John K. Williamson - We also regret the loss of our Calgary, Alberta, member and supporter John Williamson. John served with 428 Squadron during WWII and was a Square Footer member of our Society. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family in their time of sorrow.


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