Our First Newsletter Ever !
This newsletter is our first ever and is an indicator that this society is alive and well. A lot has been accomplished in a little more than a year since we became organized. If you are one of those members that is not local, we hope to fill you in about the society’s progress to date with these pages.
The local membership has had a number of meetings over the past months. Attendance has exceeded expectations, and we have gained several new people at recent meetings. This is probably due to the fact that the extended aims of the society are now, not only to preserve the Lancaster, but to create an Air Museum. We now have some members who are interested in the rebuilding of an Anson aircraft. Many Lanc pilots and crew trained in these twin engined airplanes.
Due to several “field” trips, there is now on hand a fairly extensive inventory of parts, for the Lanc and also lots of duplicate parts which we can trade to other museums, for parts we don’t have. It should be mentioned that a lot of our progress to date is due to the dedication of members. There are 20 or more people involved in committees for: a funding proposal for a museum building; finalising building plans; field trips for additional parts; refurbishing smaller items i.e. the main instrument panel. This latter item looks like new, due to the labours of Lethbridge member, Jon Spinks. Others have also been busy. For instance there is Milt Magee. He is just one of the Society’s ”sparkplugs”. It seems that pieces of wartime airplanes are attracted to Milt, like iron to a magnet! He has also become our resident, self-taught engineer. He can pick odd pieces of metal out of someone’s junk pile and tell instantly where it fits on a Lanc or Anson!
Below is a list of the present executive and others who are active. We apologize if we have missed anyone, however, ALL members are equally important. YES, even just YOUR membership, new or renewed for 1987, will help to make the LANCASTER AIR MUSEUM a REALITY! Official tax receipts sent for $20 or more. (membership is only $5.)
Exhibits & Restoration
Lancaster Society Aims
The Lancaster Society (a registered charitable organization) was formed in Jan.1986. Its objectives are still the same one year later, but have been expanded.
Original aims were:
- To plan and construct a building in which to preserve the Lancaster.
- To work toward the complete restoration of the aircraft.
- To collect and exhibit artifacts and materials related to the Bomber.
- Through the construction of a museum, inform the public of the contributions made by the Lancaster and the men and women who built, maintained, and flew them during World War Two.
In addition to these aims, the society has expanded its objectives to include the following:
- To create a museum that will not only commemorate the Lancaster bomber, but also the activities of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).
- To incorporate restoration of not only the Lancaster, but also any other available aircraft that were used in the BCATP or WW II.
- To find means of financing a new museum building of adequate size to house the Bomber plus other artifacts.
- Acquired over 600 members.
- Established a small Lancaster museum, adjacent to the Bomber. It includes a mid-upper turret; a video display of Lancasters in action; a Packard-Merlin engine of the type in the Lanc (courtesy of the Calgary Aero Space Museum); a collection of books, papers, photographs and other artifacts pertaining to the Nanton Lancaster.
- Made contact with other museums and individuals in England, New Zealand, France and other parts of Canada.
- Sold caps, T-shirts, posters, etc. to raise funds, as well as to advertise our project.
- Acquired a near complete set of instruments for the Bomber, to replace those stolen 25 years ago.
- Made strides toward acquisition of tires and plexiglass, both of which are high priority in our restoration of the Lancaster.
- Acquired numerous books, video tapes and manuals which became part of our permanent collection of Lancaster background material.
- Raised over $28,000 from memberships, donations and profits from merchandise sales.
- Accumulated a large inventory of Anson parts. Enough now on hand to create a display aircraft.
Avro Anson II
With the establishment of the BCATP in Canada, it was agreed that the British Avro Anson I would be the standard twin-engined trainer. By May 1094, Britain could not keep up the supply. Canada decided to supply its own. The first Anson II to become airborn was built in the Amherst, N.S., factory of Canadian Car and Foundry Co. It was flown on Aug. 14, 1941. By 1945, the Anson II was renowned as one of the most reliable aircraft in the world. These “Faithful Annies” were used by the BCATP mainly for pilot training but some were used for radio, navigator and bombardier training. Ansons became the mainstay of almost every Allied military service. They saw action, and as a general all-round work plane. Anson IIs were a familiar sight in the skies of southern Alberta in the early 1940s. After the war, they were sold as scrap and became a familiar sight in farm yards. Our Society has obtained several Anson ”carcasses” and plans to restore one as a static display to go with the Lancaster.
Anson II Specifications
|two 330 hp. Jacobs LCMB
56 ft. 6 in (17.2 m.)
42 ft. 3 in. (12.9 m.)
13 ft. 1 in.(4 m.)
5580 lbs. (2669.5 kg.)
7650 lbs. (3473 kg.)
160 mph(257.4 km/h)
140 mph (225.3 km/h)
1300 ft. (396.2 m.) in 15 min.
16,200 FT. (4937 m.)
The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
Dec. 17, 1939, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia agreed to give Canada responsibility for a British Commonwealth plan to instruct wartime aircrew. Canada had the open areas necessary for air training, and close to American industry. It was also beyond the reach of enemy aircraft. The plan proved a major contribution to Allied air supremacy in WW II. At the height of its activity, 1942-1943, there were 107 aircrew training schools and 184 auxiliary units at 231 sites. These were spread from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island. Most pilot training schools were on the Prairies. (Trained 131,553 Aircrew).
The Lancaster X
The first Lancaster flew Jan.9/41. By Oct./41 the model 683 Lancs were coming off the production lines. By the war’s end 7374 of these aircraft had been built. Several other models evolved from 683. The demand for this exceptional bomber soon exceeded British Avro’s production. Canada agreed to start manufacturing them at Victory Aircraft, in Malton, Ont. A total of 430 Mark X Lancasters, closely modelled on the British Mark III were produced and sent to No. 6(RCAF) Bomber Group of the RAF Command in England.
The role of the Lancaster in World War II, was summarized by wartime Chief Of Bomber Command, Air Marshal, Sir Arthur T. Harris RAF. He said, “The Lancaster took the major part in winning the war with its attacks on Germany. On land it forced the Germans to retrieve from their armies half their sorely needed anti-tank guns for use as anti-aircraft guns by over a million soldiers, who would otherwise have been serving in the field. The Lancaster won the naval war by destroying over one-third of the German submarines in their ports, together with hundreds of small naval craft and 6 of their largest war ships. Above all, the Lancaster won the air war by taking the major part in forcing Germany to concentrate on building and using fighters to defend the Fatherland, thereby depriving their armies of essential air and particularly bomber support.” (taken from Max Hasting’s, Bomber Command.)
Lancaster X Specifications
|four 1,300 hp. Packard-Merlin 28s; 1,480 hp. Merlin 38s; or 1640 hp. Merlin 224s
102 ft. 0 in.
69 ft. 4 in.
20 ft. 6 in.
1,297 sq. ft.
Tare, 36,457 lbs – All Up, 61,000 lbs
2,530 miles (with a 22,000 lb. bomb, range was 1,550 miles. Take off weight – 73,000 lbs.)
Restoration Committee Report
Work began in May 1986, when the bomber was cleaned out and work lights installed. We are now filling in the gaps inside FM159, left by vandals in the past. Many cockpit instruments were brought from England by Jon Spinks. Upwards of 12 field trips since last fall have yielded generous donations of Lancaster and Anson parts. Radio and navigation equipment are still being looked for, with some now on hand. Some instruments came from Eastern Canada. We are engaged in trade negotiations with 408 Squadron in Edmonton, Canadian Warplane Heritage-Hamilton, RAF in UK and a private dealer in Florida, for needed parts.
We have removed most of the post-war modifications in the rear and centre sections of the Lanc. John Dozeman is undertaking woodwork rebuilding inside. The pilot’s seat is being refinished by Jake Gerbrandt and the F/Es main panel repaired by Alvin Berger. We’ve acquired 14 Lancaster and Anson manuals, all desperately needed.
The Aero Space Museum- Calgary, has been very helpful to us with loans of a Rolls Royce 224 Merlin engine, a .50 calibre machine gun, several instruments and uniforms for display in the Tourist Information building beside the Bomber. They have also assisted with manuals and expertise for our Anson project.
A recent trip (by 4 of our members) to consult with the Lancaster engineers at the Canadian Warplane Heritage, Hamilton, Ont., provided a wealth of information for restoring our Lanc. Their offered assistance with AME Tim Mols as our personal consulting engineer will be invaluable.
Engine and airframe crews have been formed for the Lancaster and Anson projects. Summer activities are being planned for these crews, with engine & airframe seminars at the ASM, Calgary. Any volunteer help would be very welcome. Field trips to pick up 8(plus) Anson remains will commence upon completion of a specially designed trailer being built locally. A portable stairway has been built to facilitate work crews and tours of FM159. During OPEN BOMBER DAYS on May 9 & 10 you’ll get a chance to view the work being done. The rebuilt instrument panel and other items will be in place. The Bomber can also be toured July 15 & 16 during Alberta Summer Games.
MANY THANKS to all who have helped us begin this project. We will need your continued support to see us through to the DYNAMIC taxiable exhibit stage and beyond.
Proposal Committee Report
Our group is working towards the preparation of a document which will outline, in some detail, this Society’s plans for the preservation and restoration of the Nanton Lancaster. Also to be outlined with this, are our plans to build a museum to house the Bomber and to commemorate the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan’s activities in southern Alberta. We will be presenting this document to various provincial and federal gov’t. departments to gain funding for these joint projects. We realize that gov’t. spending is restricted today, bu are convinced that we have a worthwhile project, which will eventually receive the support required.
Building Committee Report
This committee is presently in the process of choosing a building design suitable to house the Bomber, additional smaller aircraft, a small museum, workshop and display area. We have a choice of 3 buildings so far, but have not yet come up with an acceptable size and design with low maintenance and operating costs. A decision should be reached within the next six weeks. the society intends to approach the federal and provincial governments for funding of the construction.
Finance Committee Report
It has been mentioned elsewhere about our source of funds. The T-shirts, caps, etc. with the Bomber logo have been very popular. The promotional value of these has been more than realized. We sold these and other items at the Air force reunion in Claresholm (June), a booth in Lethbridge (fall) and in the tourist booth. The committee journeyed to Calgary (Sept) to meet with professional fund raisers. Much knowledge was gained there. We also looked into revenue from lotteries. When the Society’s proposal is complete, our funding effort will intensify. Membership fees of $5 have resulted in over 600 members. Cash donations keep rolling in. The Lancaster Society is registered, and official receipts will be sent for all amounts of $20 or more ($5 membership plus donations.)
The Finance committee is very optimistic about fund raising activities this summer, and feels the objectives of the Nanton Lancaster Society will eventually be met.
The Presidents Corner
In Nanton stands one of the few Lancaster bombers left in the world today. In 1960, Fred Garratt, Howie Armstrong, and myself, purchased this airplane for a tourist attraction to Nanton. With a crew of local helpers and Archie Clark with his 5 ton truck, we hauled it from Vulcan to a site next to the highway in Nanton. It has proved itself tourist wise. Thousands stop each year to view and photograph it.
However, over the years, vandalism and the weather have taken their toll of the bomber. Now, 27 years later, Nanton’s citizens are taking action to preserve this antique aircraft. The Lancaster Society was formed last year for that purpose. Several committees are actively working toward the restoration and housing of the Lanc. Help in establishing a fund to save the Bomber has come from the community, service clubs, Legion branches, tourists and all of you who have bought memberships. Due to this support, a lot has been accomplished in one year.
It is our ardent hope that we can preserve and restore the Lancaster, as a tribute and a memorial to the human sacrifice that assured the freedom we have today. To see what has been done to date, come along to the “Open Bomber” days to be held on May 9 and 10. Go up to the Lanc, you’ll become as enthused as we are in our project.