Meet the Calgary Mosquito
by Richard de Boer, President of Calgary Mosquito Society
And meet it they did, from around the province and across the country. The weekend celebration at the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton on August 17 and 18 was an opportunity for many of our members and hundreds of visitors to see the object of our endeavours for the first time. After more than a decade locked away in city warehouses, it was time to show her off, to celebrate with our friends and partners and to acknowledge some of those who helped to make this happen. After an incredibly successful move just the weekend before, things kicked off Friday night with a dinner and dance event in the museum.
The sold-out evening event gave us the chance to meet our special guests including Deputy Mayor and Alderman Jim Stevenson, Senator Anne Cools, 13 historian and author Robert Stitt and former Spartan navigator Bob Bolivar. The sultry summer evening was capped with a blue fire spitting night run of the Lancaster.
Morning broke with hot air balloons from the Calgary Balloon Club drifting over town as guests, visitors and members started their day with a pancake breakfast at the Community Center and admired the collection of vintage sports cars parked in front of the Lancaster from the Vintage Sports Car Club of Calgary. Uniformed and costumed Devil’s Brigade re-enactors from the Edmonton area camped outside the museum and added some delightful colour and drama to all of the weekend’s events.
Kicking off the speaking and presentation events in the Joe English Room of the museum was Jim Blondeau with a preview film of his upcoming documentary on the Bomber Command Memorial in London. This was followed by a PowerPoint history of our Mosquito, a standing room only look at our restoration plan by Jack McWilliam, and finally an illustrated history of Spartan Air Services and their use of the Mosquito by Robert Stitt who came out from Vancouver Island to be with us.
Robert then joined Bob Bolivar, who has over 150 hours of flying time on our beloved CF-HMS with Spartan, at one of our ‘centres’ where visitors could talk to them about Spartan, view their photos and collect signatures on the beautiful colour profile prints produced for us by Clavework Graphics.
At a second centre, wartime Mosquito navigators, Pat Anderson and Society VP Bob O’Connor, shared their photos and experiences with visitors as well as signing profile prints of their aircraft, between interviews with newspaper and television reporters.
Our event received national television coverage from the CBC on the following Saturday and throughout the weekend.