Dedication Day -Huge Success
The July 27, 1990 dedication of the Nanton Lancaster to Ian Bazalgette is now history, but it will be recalled as one of the outstanding events of 1990 by those who attended.
A a fierce storm brewed off to the northwest, NLS President Dan Fox commenced the outdoor ceremony sharp at 6 p.m. In the distance the four-engined Aurora patrol aircraft from Comox could be seen circling in and out of the clouds waiting for the 6:30 p.m. flypast.
A crowd of several hundred listened as Douglas “Duke” Warren then read the Victoria Cross citation that detailed Bazalgette’s brave deeds which led to his being awarded the VC.
The Rev. Dwight Powell (longtime Nanton resident and retired United Church minister) then proceeded to dedicate Lancaster FM-159 to the memory of Ian Bazalgette. he spoke of the importance of wartime memorials such as the Bomber.
“It is a symbol for us, a very real symbol of something that is tremendously important to us,” he said. “We, all of us in our community, regard it as an honor and a privilege to be able to dedicate this machine (as a memorial) to this gallant man.”
Rev. Powell said that Bazalgette would agree that the Bomber should also stand as a tribute to all the men and women who risked their lives during World War II. “His self-sacrifice is symbolic of the sacrifice of many thousands of unsung heros.”
Ethel Broderick, the late Ian Bazalgette’s sister, then unveiled the plaque that had been prepared to commemorate the dedication.
Two of the survivors of the ill-fated Bazalgette Lancaster, George Turner, flight engineer, and Charles (Chuck) Godfrey, wireless operator, then unveiled the newly painted F-2T on the fuselage of the Bomber. This had been the markings of the Bazalgette Lancaster.
Local musicians, under the leadership of Darrel Croft, played appropriate music before and after the ceremony.
The Nanton Legion was present as guard of honor and presented colors as part of the outdoor ceremonies.
Rev. Powell ended the outdoor dedication ceremonies with this statement: “Ian, here is your aircraft. Through difficulties, to the stars. Fly on to eternity.”
Sod Turning Ceremony November 2
After thirty winters the Lanc will soon be inside! the afternoon of November 2, 1990 saw the first sod turned to start construction of the new building to house the bomber and other artifacts. With a crowd of some seventy on hand for the ceremony, councilor Mike Blades, (speaking for Nanton town council), MLA Don Tannas and MP Ken Hughes spoke of the event as a milestone in the Society’s efforts to preserve the Lanc and BCATP artifacts.
The Rev. Dwight Powell then asked the Lord’s blessing upon the project. George White, Kay Garratt and Howard Armstrong (White, Armstrong and Garrett’s deceased husband Fred, brought the Lanc to Nanton in 1960) then used “golden” shovels to turn the first sod for the new museum. MLA Don Tannas, MP Ken Hughes and NLS President Dan Fox had their turn at moving a little sod on the site where the new building will stand. As the ceremony ended, a large tractor loader, manned by town personnel, began to remove a hedgerow, preparing for the building’s foundation work.
This is all happening due to our “Lifetime” and “Square Footer Club” members. With their generous support the Lancaster is well on its way to being properly preserved.
$170,000 is now in place to be spent on the 120′ x 100′ metal clad structure. It will be “bare-bones,” with a gravel floor, no heating and limited lighting. A 110′ door in the south will enable the aircraft to be rolled out for display. Although it is not the museum building of our dreams, it is a beginning and will provide protection for the Lance and enable our other aircraft to be placed on display as well.
The $170,000 on hand is made up of $80,000 obtained through various provincial government grants, $50,000 from private donations to the building fund, and the remaining $40,000 in the form of an interest free loan, provided by the Town of Nanton, which is also providing the building site.
Any donations received while the building is under construction will enable extra features to be added during the initial construction phase. this is , of course, much more economical than adding them later. Proper lighting, concrete floor, development of areas to house the restoration shop and our museum displays, are some features we would like to build during the first phase, but which are out of reach without additional donation.
If you are not already a “Lifetime” or “Square Footer Club” member, we ask you to consider helping to make it possible for us to do a little more during the initial construction phase. We have many more square feet for sale and we invite you to add your name to the plaque which will be placed in the building, next to the Lanc.
Several of our members have made donations in the name of friends or relatives who served in Lancasters or to whom the Avro Lancaster is very significant, with the name of those persons to be placed on the plaque. We are pleased to do this.
Dedication Day Airshow (reprinted from The Nanton News)
A CF-5 jet, an Aurora coastal patrol aircraft and two vintage aircraft thrilled hundreds of people on hand for the dedication of the Bomber on July 27, 1990.
The CF-5 jet flown by Capt. Stooke blasted over the gathering and quickly got the attention of the crowd. the jet flew directly from CFB Cold Lake to Nanton, and returned home immediately following the air show. The fighter’s arrival set the stage for the remainder of the show.
Pilot, Major Ray Makomechey, arrived next with an Aurora, used for maritime coastal patrol at CFB Comox. For Makomechey, it was also a reunion, as he had flown the Nanton Lancaster when it was converted for coastal patrol in the 1950’s.
There was a slight delay as the two other aircraft were grounded at Springbank airport by a thunder and hail storm. As the crowd began to filter away, however, the harvard flown by Charlie Money and a T-28 Trojan piloted by randy Diaper, both of Calgary, arrived in the nick of time.
“I couldn’t have been happier to see them show when they did,” said airshow organizer, John Green. “It worked out quite well. I think everyone was happy with the show.”
An update on our last contest, which was for a ride in a Mustang. This was won by Cliff Dickinson (a former Lancaster bombardier) of Vancouver. Several attempts were made to arrange dates convenient to both the P-51 owner and Cliff Dickinson, without success. NLS organizers were about to give up when local flying farmer (and NLS director) John Green offered a substitute flight over the former BCATP airfields in this part of Alberta.
When Cliff came out for the July 27 dedication day, John flew him and his grandchildren over a route that viewed former air bases at Vulcan, High River, Claresholm, Pearce, Fort Macleod and over Nanton to view the Lanc. Cliff and his grandchildren enjoyed the alternative flight immensely.
Your executive has arranged another contest, this time for a ride in either a Harvard or a T-28 Trojan, both planes owned by Charlie Money, of Calgary. Charlie was contacted by our “resident” pilot John Green (organizer of the dedication fly-past) and Charlie has very generously donated the flight. A sincere THANK YOU goes out to Charlie for his support.
Win A Flight With Charlie Money
All you have to do is have a paid-up 1001 membership on or before draw date and your name will be automatically entered in our new contest. The draw will take place Monday, August 5, at 1:00 p.m.
Notice -Annual Dues
At the October regular meeting, a motion was carried, raising the Society’s annual dues to $10. However, we will accept memberships (and renewals) at the old rate ($5) up to December 31, 1990.
Bazalgette Dedication Banquet (and indoor ceremony)
All 350 banquet tickets were sold prior to July 27, 1990. Some last minute people were turned away due to the halls’ legal limit of 350 persons.
After a cocktail hour, President Dan Fox began the indoor ceremony by asking for the lights to be switched off. The distant droning of Merlin engines filled the Nanton Community Centre and the closed stage curtains gradually opened. The Merlins’ roar filled the room as two spotlights illuminated a 1/8th scale Lancaster. This was to set the tone for the rest of the evening, as all those assembled stood in tribute to the Lanc!
This spectacular opening was followed by an excellent dinner of western beef and all the trimmings, prepared by local caterer Helen Williams and served by local high school students, who are earning money for a trip to France in 1991.
Douglas “Duke” Warren took the controls as master of ceremonies. Duke is an ex-Spitfire pilot who was born in Nanton. He served with the RCAF during and after WWII and is now retired at Comox, B.C.
Some guests who spoke during the evening were: Larry Melling, DFC (flew F2-T alternatively with “Baz”), “Hamish” Mahaddie, DSO, DFC, AFC, (organizer of the Pathfinder Sqdrn’s), Ethel Broderick (Ian Bazalgette’s sister), George Turner and “Chuck” Godfrey (Bazalgette’s flight engineer and wireless operator).
Several presentations were also made during the evening. Larry Melling presented the Society with a Lancaster print on behalf of Canadian Warplane Heritage, Mount Hope, Ontario.
The whole evening took up nearly three hours, but no complaints were heard. In fact one longtime resident of Nanton summed it up with, “It was the best event I’ve ever attended in my 65 pears in the Nanton community!”
If you were unable to attend the dedication, NLS has a video tape that we will send you for $25 (this includes postage & handling).
Message -For Lifetime and Square Footer Members
As donations to our building fund have been received we have kept a record of everyone. Those who mentioned they were former members of particular squadrons (RAF or RCAF) have also been noted. We intend to note these affiliations on the plaque honoring those who have donated. If you are a Lifetime or a Square Footer and wish any decorations (DFC, DFS, FC, etc) and/or your squadron noted with your name on the plaque, please let us know your wishes. We are impressed with the number of squadrons represented in our membership and hope to have this reflected on the plaque that is to honor contributors to the building that will preserve FM-159.
Another Successful Summer Season
Thanksgiving Day saw the conclusion of the third season in which guided tours of our Lancaster were provided to our visitors. In three years over 54,000 people, many having little knowledge of the role of Bomber Command and Lancasters, have left Nanton with an appreciation of the sacrifices made by so many during the Second World War.
One of the Society’s main goals is to educate today’s and future generations in this regard. With our summer program, museum, portable displays, and special events (eg. Bazalgette Dedication Day), we have had some success.
We were pleased to have the assistance of the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta, both providing grants which helped to pay our tour guides. In addition our visitors supported the Society by leaving us approximately $1.00 each in donations and merchandise purchases.
Donations to the Society are almost always made following a guided tour and the fact that they add up to a significant amount reflects on the talent and efforts of our summer tour guides. Local high school students, these young people quickly acquire the knowledge, which combined with their natural friendliness is the secret to providing an enlightening and enjoyable experience for our visitors. It has also generated a large percentage of our members.
SAIT and CASM
The Society has received very welcome assistance from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the Calgary Aero Space Museum (CASM), over the past year.
SAIT restored a Lancaster undercarriage door for us, under a grant program aimed at training unemployed persons in the art of sheet metal work. SAIT aircraft engineering student Kevin Hrab, one of our members, was instrumental in organizing this with SAIT.
Co-operation between NLS and CASM has resulted in our Anson ailerons being rebuilt, again under a grant program, training the unemployed. NLS has supplied several derelict ailerons for the project. Because of this project, both groups will end up with rebuilt ailerons ready for recovering. THANKS go out to George Ryning, CASM restoration director, for his assistance.
Your Society Now Owns A Bi-Plane
On August 9th Milt Magee, Dave Birrell and Bob Evans went to Saskatchewan and brought back a Fleet Finch biplane. This rare aircraft was acquired from the same family who donated the PT-26 Cornell last fall and which is also now in storage at Nanton.
Ernie and agnes Oakman saw fit to also let us have Fleet Finch #264. With these two Oakman aircraft, NLS now has a total of five vintage aircraft for the Nanton Air Museum. This last airplane may easily be the first one to be eventually made airworthy.
Ernie owned and flew a Fleet Finch an number of years ago but finally sold it. The one we now own was obtained by him some 17 years ago. Ernie had planned on rebuilding this machine, but at age 80 he has decided to put it in our hands to restore and preserve. The Oakmans also donated a lot of other aircraft components, such as propellers, the cotton, tapes and dope to recover the Finch wings, more Cornell canopy parts, etc.
The Finch is nearly complete and is in excellent condition for a vintage aircraft. The wings are probably in need of the most work. We will need to find, or have made, a number of the metal wing ribs. Of course the whole aircraft will have to be restored to original specs.
The Kinner engine is relatively complete with only some minor parts missing. (Info re parts is needed.)
The plane will be stored until the Society’s new museum building, that will house the Bomber and other aircraft, is in place. The Fleet Finch will then go on display there while it is being restored.
The Model 16 Finch 1 was developed as a primary trainer in 1930. From 1939-’41 a total of 606 Finch 1 and Model 16B Finch 2s were built for the RCAF. The planes were used it the BCATP.
The Society is at present trying to trace the history of #264.
NLS Flies High at 1990 Airshows
by Ray Courtman
“You mean to tell me you have a restorable Lancaster out there in Alberta?” The young man looked quite astonished as he perused the Society’s exhibit, set up in a hanger at the Saskatchewan Airshow at CFB Moose Jaw on July 8, 1990. “You know, I’ve heard about the Mynarski Lanc and the City of Lincoln Lanc, but I didn’t realize there was another Lancaster in this good shape and with a society ready to restore it, here in Canada. This is absolutely awesome!”
This man, far too young to be a WWII vet, bought a membership, a badge and took away some of our literature. We have another follower. Scenes like this were played out countless times for Society members who manned the traveling display for airshows at Namao, AB.; Moose Jaw, Sask.; Red Deer, AB.; and numerous Calgary shopping malls this past summer. This reporter also took part of the display to a rural “fly-in,” generating interest there too.
“U-Haul” trailers were generally used to haul the display to the site. The extensive display consisted of the Lanc instrument panel, a bombsight, a television, VCR, video tapes, display panels full of photos and pictures, plus numerous books, caps and souvenirs to be sold.
The display was manned throughout the airshows (two days), then dismantled and hauled back to Calgary or Nanton. This undertaking was not for the faint of heart with a weekend airshow representing about 200 volunteer man (woman) hours.
Was it worth it? In a word, yes! The good will and souvenir sales certainly made each visit a successful one. The project was spearheaded by Garth Hurl and Dan Fox with much of it put together by Larry Wright. Helpers at one or more airshows included Joe English, Barb Fox, Dave Birrell, Kevin Hrab, Rhys and Ray Courtman, Vera Wright and Rob and Pat Pedersen.
It was a super summer indeed. The hard work and sacrifice of the above-mentioned persons and others behind the scenes, paid off. $5,000 worth of souvenirs were sold and thousands of friends and supporters were made for the Society. Well done!
Editor’s note: Ray Courtman is a Society member and a freelance journalist from Beiseker Alberta.
Operation Annie II
by Ray Courtman
Thanks to some hard-working members’ and others, our Society has the world’s largest “squadron” of (derelict) Avro Ansons. For the uninitiated, the Anson was a prewar light twin-engined bomber, used extensively as a trainer by the British commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). She was docile enough to let a student fly her but had enough bad habits to give that student a taste of what multi-engined aircraft are all about. Many students went from the Anson directly into heavier birds like the Lancasters, Halifax, etc.
As well as being nicknamed the “Faithful Annie,” these gaudily painted trainers were also known as the “Yellow Peril,” They droned back and forth over this part of Alberta, training bomb aimers, navigators, wireless operators, pilots, airgunners. After the war they were sold off at an incredibly fast rate to farmers and others. the instruments, tubing tires and other parts found many uses on farm machinery, etc.
NLS has to dane rescued 22 Anson airframes in various stages of decomposition. This final total was reached on Sept. 15, 1990 when “Operation Annie II,” composed of a gaggle of volunteers, supported by Mullen Trucking of Aldersyde, L&W Trucking and Louie’s Trucking of Nanton, as well as equipment and personnel from Magwood Motors, hauled in six more. Many NLS members went out early in the morning to arrange the pickup with the farmers who had donated the Ansons. In some cases the crews had to clear away trees, bushes and grass into which the airframes hd sunk over the years.
Why save the lowly Anson? This warbird just doesn’t have the class of our Lanc, but it was a vital part of the BCATP aircrew training. They were built or assembled in Canada in many wartime plants at such places as Toronto, Ottawa and Winnipeg. The RCAF flew 4413 of the noisy little twins, training many thousands from twelve nations. Only about a dozen complete examples survive and only one is presently airworthy. The Calgary Aero Space Museum will have a non-flying Anson completed in the next couple of years. The Moose Jaw Western Development Museum has one well along towards completion.
Why do we need twenty of them? The Society hopes to start its Anson restoration project as soon as a building is in place. The rebuilt Anson II will go on display with the Lancaster, Cornell, Fleet Finch, Bolingbroke, etc. Other museums are now realizing that our dry climate has preserved the remains of these old birds and that NLS has a squadron of skeletons ready for restoration or trading.
Yes, a valuable project that will see results over the next few years. The Society thanks MULLEN TRUCKING, L&W TRUCKING, LOUIE’S TRUCKING And MAGWOOD MOTORS for their donations of equipment and personnel. The job could not have been accomplished without this help. THANK YOU ALL.
The Other Anson Project
contrtibuted by Alvin Berger
Back in 1946 the Berger brothers and the Jones boys pulled two Ansons home from Fort Macleod to our farms at Parkland (seven miles from Nanton). We had to cut off the wings before we were allowed to transport them and it brought tears to my eyes. We had always been intrigued by the big yellow Ansons. During the war years it was nothing to see 15 to 20 fly over every day.
Now we had one of our own. Nothing to do but start up the motors now they were home. With an assortment of six volt batteries, we got the starboard engine going, what a thrill. But it smoked so bad it scared us, as we thought it was burning up! the port engine started easily. Out to the field we went, about 300 yards from the highway.
Off across the field we went in a cloud of dust and smoke. Cars began to come off across the field, thinking there had been a airplane crash! We assured them that it was all in fun. This Anson eventually was dismantled.
About four years ago I purchased an old Anson from my brother in-law. My neighbor, Peter Macklin, became very interested when I told him and he helped to haul it home and build a shed to protect it from the elements. We picked up some other “hulks” for a supply of parts and were suddenly into the Anson rebuilding business.
An engine was the first project to get underway. It was a learning experience taking the Jacobs apart, making special tools to do this, etc. The mice had don as much damage as the elements. Every piece was cleaned and polished, valves were ground and rings installed. (Editor’s note: both men are mechanics and/or machinists).
After over a year of working every Wednesday and Sunday it was back together. It looks beautiful, with its black-painted cylinders, blue crank case, polished brass and copper fittings No plastic like today. A stand has been built to run it on and a prop to cool it is next on the list.
On the 23rd of June we took the engine to the Claresholm Air Force Reunion where it generated many stories from admirers (of the engine that is). Former mechanics ad bits of advice for us and told of their wartime efforts of keeping the “Shaky Jakes” running on all seven cylinders.
Peter and I are NLS members and hope our engine rebuilding knowledge ca benefit the Society whet their Anson project gets going in the new museum building.
Consultants Appointed For Study
by Dave Birrell
The Highwood Economic Development Committee, based at High River, has advised the Society that funding is now in place for a major feasibility study to begin.
The purpose of the study is to evaluate the Nanton Lancaster Society’s proposal for the establishment of an air museum at Nanton and the possibility of its becoming a significant tourism attraction. Funding for the $44,000 study has been obtained from provincial government programs. The Society will be contributing information and ideas but none of the money raised by the Society will be directed towards the feasibility study.
The building currently under construction for the Lancaster may or may not be integrated into what we hope will be proposal for a much “grander” long-range plan for future development of the Nanton Air Museum. It is felt that a major study by a recognized, independent consulting firm is a prerequisite to significant government assistance.
“The Advisory Group,” a Calgary based consulting company, has been selected to do the study. They have prepared a detailed document outlining their plans and it is expected that the six month project will begin in January of 1991. The Nanton Lancaster Society is pleased that the possibility of a major tourism attraction centered on the Lancaster Bomber has been recognized by our regional economic development organization and the they have made arrangements for this study to take place.
London Calling, London Calling
by Jon Spinks (U.K. member)
After a year of law school, your man in the U.K. is back in the world of vintage aircraft. In the United Kingdom aviation enthusiasts converge on various airfields to stage what is essentially a super “flea” market of aviation-related materials. One such event is the Yeovilton “Aerojumble,” Here you could come up with anything from a Robert Taylor print to a pilot’s seat.
I attended this year’s sale at Yeovilton. Someone brought in the top third of an Anson gun turret, and immediately a crowd gathered. As interest grew and offers were thrown out, a gentleman to my left said something about having Lancaster turrets. The poor man didn’t stand a chance of being heard and before anyone else did, I cornered him and the Nanton Lancaster Society acquired two and a half FN-50 mid-upper turret cupolos, complete with perspex! these are the only substantial parts that are missing from NLS’s own FN-50 turret.
Fifty years ago Britain stood alone and the future of the world was determined by a few hundred young pilots. Many celebrations were held this year in recognition of their sacrifices. On Sept. 15, the RAF amassed 165 aircraft over London as a salute to the “Few.” This flypast was led by five Spitfires and two Hurricanes of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. At altitudes of between 500 and 2000 feet this armada flew over London and then over Buckingham Palace. The Lancaster, one Spitfire and a Hurricane came around again as a final salute to the Queen. Many upper lips quivered as these three disappeared into the haze….
Recent exciting news is of six preserved buried Lancs, interred forty feet down, with crates of spare engines, etc., found by remote sensing equipment at a former airfield at Elsham Wolds. Digging for these will take place this fall. I am a little Skeptical but hope it is true. I plan to investigate further.
This is the London fringe of the Nanton Lanc Society, signing off…
Collection Registration and Inventory
by Dave Birrell
With the assistance of a grant from the Alberta Museums Association the Society is completing a project which will see our extensive collection of wartime Lancaster aircraft parts and artifacts properly catalogued. In addition our Anson airframes, associated engines and parts, our Cornell aircraft and parts, our Fleet Finch, and other artifacts, video tapes, audiotapes, books and manuals will be properly documented and registered.
this project is in the able hands of longtime member Milt Magee who is our most skilled local person at the identification of these items. The completion of the project will provide us with information upon which to base the acquisition of further parts and decisions related to the sale and trade of parts now on hand. In addition the proper registration of our collection is essential, in order to receive museum operating grants from the province.
The “Magnificent Seven”
The whole former crew of RAF Lancaster “F for Freddie” visited the Nanton Lancaster Bomber. Their visit to the Nanton Bomber and Air Museum was arranged by NLS member Jim Love of Calgary. Jim, former navigator and the only Canadian on this crew, was hosting a reunion of the “Seven,” including some of their wives. This reunion was only the second time they had gotten together since their WWII tour of duty.
Members of the Society toured the group through FM-159 and the Nanton Air Museum and hosted a luncheon at the Nanton Texaco Truck Stop.
One highlight of the luncheon was when hostess Jean Read, sang “Lili Marlene” for the benefit of the visitors. Jean was a child in wartime Germany. She told the “Seven,” with a smile – her English is still telltale of her Tutonic birth – “You bompted me, you Lancaster people, yes you did, many times!”
NLS is indebted to “lifetime” member and supporter, Jim Love, for arranging for the “Magnificent Seven” to visit here. Local members thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone. THANK YOU Jim!
Summer 1990 -New Friends
Here is a list of some of our visitors from other museums, etc., as well as new friends from airshows:
- “Hamish” Mahaddie, DSO, DFC., U.K. (WWII ‘Pathfinder’ Sqdrns.)
- Larry Melling, DFC, Hamilton, Ont. (Canadian Warplane Heritage.)
- Lt. Col Terry Chester, C.O., 407 Sqdrn., Comox, B.C.
- Chuck Godfrey and George Turner, both from the U.K.
- Ethel Broderick, Penn., U.S.
- Marian Hildebrant, New York, U.S..
- All the “Bazalgette” clan who assembled in Nanton for Dedication Day, July 27, 1990.
- Don O’Hearn, Moose Jaw, SK. (WDM)
- Phil Fraser, of Brandon, Man, (CATPM)
- Capt. Earl Hewison, C.D. Ret’d., Trenton, Ont. (RCAF museum curator)
- Fred Vincent, Toronto Ont. (Air Gunners Assoc.)
- Lew Rabone, Calgary, member and artifact donator to our museum.
- Dick Atkinson, Indianapolis, U.S. (Treas., B-26 Marauder Hist. Soc.).
Calgary Chapter Update!
by Larry Wright
The Nanton Lancaster Society’s Calgary Chapter (NLSCC) executive was pleased to see several new faces at our past meeting held at the RCAFA facilities. We hope that this shall continue in the months to come.
The travelling display, our first major project, turned out to be a great success. NLSCC and NLS members took the display to numerous air shows this past summer, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. While raising some badly needed funds, they also made several new contacts. We are now looking into the possibility of travelling to British Columbia next summer for several major events. If anyone would like to sponsor the display to cover the cost of transporting the display and/or its personnel, this would be of great help to the Society.
We have been given two new tasks. The first is to research the locations of BCATP air fields, and/or locations where WWII aircraft were scrapped or buried. The hope being that some parts or artifacts may still be salvaged from these sites and then displayed in our museum. Our second task is to begin video or audio taping WWII Air Force personnel in order that we can begin a historical library of wartime stories and experiences. Therefore, we would like to hear from anyone with information regarding old air fields or salvage sites and also from anyone wishing to take part in our library project.
Operation Crystal Palace!
NLS has recently acquired three mid-upper FN-50 turret domes in England. The first, donated to us from RAF Cardington, while the remaining two have been purchased for us by U.K. member Jon Spinks, from Mr. Brian Perry of Sommerset.
The problem of getting the domes to Canada was taken on by Larry Wright, NLSCC President, who quickly named the project “Operation Crystal Palace” and who is pleased to report that several responses have already been received from his recent plea for a sponsor to move the domes to Canada for us.
Larry hopes the domes will be delivered to us within the next few months, and will thus allow us to complete our FN-50 turret project.
Words from the President
Where do I start? The past six months have had so many exciting developments for the Society that it is hard to even pick out the high lights. However, we’ll start with our traveling exhibit. This was displayed at several Calgary shopping malls in the spring, then went to three excellent airshows during the summer (Edmonton, Moose Jaw and Red Deer), and ended the season at the Ex-Air Gunners Reunion in Calgary.
This exhibit saw a lot of mileage this year. Hard working NLS volunteers raised over $5,000 selling merchandise and memberships at these events, to say nothing of the valuable contacts made.
July was devoted to preparations for and staging of the highly successful Bazalgette Dedication Day. I only wish everyone reading this could have been there. The Society received lavish praise from many sources for the professional manner in which the event was executed. Well done NLS volunteers!
Our summer program was again ably conducted under the watchful eye of supervisor Wanda Evans. Thousands more visitors enjoyed touring the Lancaster and museum, thanks to the expertise and hospitality of our student guides.
Milt Magee approached his job of researching and cataloging our growing inventory with his usual professional manner. As a result we now know what we have and even where to find it!
Fund raising for our new building to house the Lanc and other artifacts proceeded very well over the summer. Upwards of $170,000 has been raised so far and sod turning is slated for November 2, 1990.
“Operation Annie II,” in which six more Ansons, were recovered, went off without a hitch, thanks to equipment from Mullen Trucking, Louie’s Trucking, L & W Trucking, Magwood Motors and many volunteers. Bob Evans’ acreage now boasts an air force that rivals Iraq’s!
I guess the most exciting part about the last few hectic months has been the many friends we have made from points near and far. There are too many to list here. Suffice be it to say, it is not just “old airplanes” that keep us going, it’s the human element, friendships, conversations and remembrances that are most valuable. Keep it touch!
Ye Editor’s Corner
Herewith is our largest ever newsletter, twenty pages in all. There have been so many things happening that even this didn’t let us put in all the news items!
This past summer was hectic but fun. We have met so many new and old friends, made much progress toward a new building to house the Lanc and other artifacts, taken a display to airshows and malls; and brought home two vintage aircraft, (the Cornell and the Fleet Finch).
Both the vintage aircraft were donated by my former Sask. Flying Former friends, Ernie Oakman and his wife Agnes. There is no way to truly thank these folks for this tremendous boost to our collection. However, when the Cornell and Finch go on display in the museum, the names of Ernie and Agnes Oakman, as donators, will become a permanent part of each display.
Our shop report is missing in this newsletter, however, the main winter project will be to rebuild the WWII aircraft towing “Mule.” Also it is hoped that the FN-50 turret will be reassembled.
Your sect/treas. has asked me to insert a plea for operating funds. Yes, the building fund has been the focal point for recent donations. Funds for operating are down. $10 each from 900+ members would do it!
We have adopted the “Pathfinder” motto, “Press On Regardless” and will be doing just that!