Newsletter – 1991 Fall and Winter

Museum Update

To date, progress on the new museum has exceeded all expectations. This is due, of course, to the tremendous donation support from the corporate and business world, individuals, Legions and service clubs. Phase II, finishing the interior, is well under way.

The building is composed of the main structure, 120 ft. x 100 ft., and two 20 ft. x 100 ft. lean-tos or wings, the south one being the small artifact display area and the north a restoration shop.

Both wings now have concrete floors (donated) and the display area has in-floor heating pipe. Framing for mechanical rooms, washrooms, library/office, etc., is completed. By December 1, the display area will have the rough wiring (materials at cost – labour donated) and insulation installed (insulation and installing donated). A hot water boiler (at cost) will be hooked to the heat pipes once the wiring and insulation is in

Tentative plans are to install the drywall sheeting ourselves.

Plans are to have the display wring read for displays by spring.

Artist Portrays F2-T

The Society has commissioned John Rutherford, well-known artist, to render a painting of F2-T, the Bazalgette Lancaster. Also arranged for, was the printings of 500 limited edition prints of the painting, “Early Morning Test Flight. “The painting depicts the test flight which Ian Bazalgette made prior to the August 4, 1944, bombing run over Trossy St. Maximins, in which the aircraft was lost. (FM159 was dedicated to the memory of Ian Bazalgette in 1990 and is now marked F2-T).

NLS member Ray Courtman was responsible for this project. Ray arranged to make the prints available to the Society, with all profits from their sale going to the Society.

The artist, John Rutherford is a noted aviation artist. He immigrated to Canadain 1947 and served for 26 years in the RCAF. Rutherford’s interest in aviation has been evident with his paintings, with which he has gained an international reputation.

The 19″x 28” prints of Early Morning Test Flight are priced at $65 each,(GSTincluded), plus $10 for postage,handling and insurance. Remember, all profits go to your Society!

Museum Study Positive

A $44,000 feasibility study funded by the Highwood Economic Development Corp. has concluded that development of the Nanton Lancaster Museum is a ‘feasible undertaking’that would attract 50,000 visitors per year. “The Advisory Group”, marketing and financial consultants, concluded this after extensive consultation with dozens of air museums and tourism attractions across Canada and the United States.

The study also involved the architectural firm of Simpson,Roberts, Wappell which specializes in museum development. They have created a master plan of phased development for the museum, with capital cost estimates for each phase. The initial phase calls for the expenditure of $1.9 million within the building ‘shell’ we now have. This would include such mundane items as; concrete floor, heating, lighting, and additional doors so the Lancaster (and other aircraft) could be rolled outside. Some $700,000 worth of displays, including simulators, audio-visuals, etc., are recommended to complete a museum capable of attracting the average tourist and telling the story of Bomber Command and of the BCATP in a complete and realistic manner.

The consultants also developed phase 1 operating cost projections, concluding that the museum could operate on a break-even basis.

The NLS is very satisfied with the study and hopes to use it to support future development.

Meanwhile, the Society intends to continue development of the display and restoration wings and other upgrading, as funds become available.

In other words we will… ‘Press on Regardless!’

Movie Mockups

In August the Society received several truckloads of items from the Montreal movie set of ‘Map of the Human Heart. ‘Included in these loads, of course, were the artifacts that your Society rented to the movie company (three gun turrets, the main instrument panel and numerous small items). The turrets came back with most of the plexiglass installed and somewhat operable. These are now on display in the new building, installed on mockups of WWII training carts.

Also received were fives actions of the full size Lancaster fuselage. These sections are so realistic that we’ve had ex-crew members ask where we got the pieces of a second Lanc! These will be invaluable in the future as ‘hands on’ exhibits in the museum.

As well as the Lanc parts, a 7/8’s scale mockup of a Vickers Viking IV was shipped to the museum. It is still under assembly at this writing.

Squadrons Represented

Listed below are the Squadrons represented by donators to the building fund.

7, 9, 35, 44, 49, 61, 62, 66, 78, 90, 100, 101, 102, 116, 117, 120, 138, 141, 149, 150, 153, 156, 161,166, 170, 195, 196, 204, 206, 207, 233, 355, 356, 402, 405, 408, 415, 419, 420, 423, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, 431, 434, 435, 462, 490, 502, 550, 576, 582, 600, 617, 619, 625, 626, 635, 1615cu, 1666cu.

(Squadron numbers will be noted on the plaque honoring donators).
Thanks to all donators

The Bomber Worked On

With the Lanc now under a roof, work has commenced. Some cleaning and getting ready for the tourist season took place after F2-T(FM159) was placed in the new building.

More cleaning was done in mid-August by member David Clemens and his family. In October, the tin covering the broken plexiglass are as was removed. Cowlings came off to get at accumulated bird’s nests, etc. Work was done on a weekend by the ‘Knights of Atrebla’ Rover Scouts and local members.

The mid-upper and rear gun turrets, that will eventually go into the Lanc, have been mounted on the mockup training carts and locally made mockup guns installed in one. The spare front turret returned from the movie site is still in the Lanc nose section mockup. More guns are in the works to be installed before next year.

Of course the installation of the new tires before moving and the fact that the aircraft now sits on its gear was a major move in the upgrading process.

We have had a number of members from afar offer to come and spend several weeks starting the restoration. Harold Branton of Trail, BC is one such member. He has offered to come in May or June next year and spend 10 days or more!Plans are now underway to organize such volunteer restoration work. If you have at anytime volunteered to come to Nanton to help, please contac tus again this winter so we can plan for next year.

Olds, Alberta, Member Wins NLS Contest

David Clemens of Olds, AB., was the winner of a ride in a WWII AT6 Harvard trainer. His name was drawn from the Society’s 1991 membership list on August 4 and flight in the Harvard took place on Sunday, October 6.

The ride in the war time trainer was donated to the Society by the aircraft owner Charley Money. Charley and his Harvard are not new to the Society as they were part of the Lancaster dedication day flypast in July 1990.

David Clemens, his wife Joyce and children John, Richard, and Diane were met at the Calgary Springbank airport by NLS members John Green, Bob and Jason Evans, and Susan Monroe.

John Green is an NLS director and local flying farmer .He had arranged to get David and Charley together for the ride. The Nanton group flew to Springbank in John’s Piper Commanche.

David Clemens thoroughly enjoyed the Harvard ride which took him along the mountains and over Nanton to view the new museum from the air.

After winning the ride, David and his family visited Nanton in mid August and they spent the afternoon washing and cleaning the Lancaster. David wanted to contribute some effort toward the bomber’s upgrading.

SPAAR Team Report

Calgary Chapter SPAAR team has taken on some of the recovery operations of the Society in the past year. Operation Crystal Palace involved arranging transportation of three mid-upper turret domes from England. One is on hand and the others due on the next RAF Hercules flight to Canada. The team also moved the Boly wing for member Jon Spinks, as reported in the last newsletter.

Tentative plans are in the works for recovery of as sorted Bolingbroke and Airspeed Oxford aircraft parts from Sask., for both the Society and Jon Spinks. It had been hoped that this would have taken place this fall but the operation is not yet finalized due to costs involved, etc.

With no recovery operations in the offing, we are busy organizing some of the small artifact displays for the new museum. Some of these are as follows.

  • A Bomber Command display which includes;
    the Ken Smith tribute, target photo, aircrew logs and personnel equipment displays.
  • A history of FM-159 display.
  • A display of Lancaster poetry.
  • Updatingo f the NLS brochure.

The Vickers Viking IV

Now in our museum is the mockup replica of Vickers Viking G-CAEB from these et of the upcoming movie ‘Map Of The Human Heart’ (to be released sometime next year).

The original of this aircraft was the first amphibian aircraft in Canada. It was registered to Laurentide Air Services Ltd. ,of Montreal in 1923.

In 1924, it flew to the James Bay area, taking Indian Affairs officials there to pay out treaty money to the Indians in the area. The trip took two weeks instead of the usual month of canoe travel. In1925G-CAEB went west and was used in mineral explorations in the northern interior of BC and the Yukon, flying nearly 100 hours.1926 saw the Viking north of Lake Athabasca searching for minerals. It enabled prospectors to cover more ground than they had ever imagined.

It is interesting to note that in 1927-28, G-CAEB was placed ins torage at High River, Alberta, for some time. This places it within 17 miles of Nanton, where its mockup is now located. Sometime between 1928 and 1931G-CAEB was sold and shipped to Jerico Beach, BC, where it was again placed in storage.

The last of this saga began when it was sold again and completely overhauled. On Sept.16, 1932, while flying overthe Straits of Georgia, it’s engine caught fire from a broken gas line. The Viking landed successfully, but the fire destroyed it. Thus ended the story of Canada’s first amphibian airplane.

To date we know of no other replicas of this pioneer airplane. Maybe fate has decided that G-CAEB’s image be preserved near where some of it’s pioneering flights took place.

Viking G-CAEB ca nbe tied in with the Lancaster by way of the movie, Map of the Human Heart, which starts out introducing a young boy of the remote north to the air age, with the arrival of the Viking. This child grows up to manhood as WWII commences and he becomes a bomb-aimer on Lancasters. Thus it may tie in with the museums main theme. We await the release of the movie to determine if this is realistic. Vikings were also used by the RCAF between 1923 and 1932. Eight Canadian built Vickers Vikings were on strength in that period.

The NLS might be interested in trading (or selling) the Viking to a museum where it would fit in better.

Cornell Moved In

The same September weekend that saw volunteers working on the Lancaster, the PT-26 Cornell was moved to the museum. By spring of 1992 we hope to have it assembled as a display that will be eventually restored.

Shell Donates Again

Shell Canada has supported NLS several times in the last five years. Due toS hell employee and NLS member Fred Hollowell’s efforts, Shell has now donated an IBM-XT computer to the Society.

This newsletter has been put together using the new computer. We hope you think as we do that the newsletter is just a bit better.

You could help us thank Shell by filling your car with gas at one of their service stations next time!

Fred Hollowell brought the IBMPC-XT to Nanton in July and it was installed in ‘ye editor’s’ computer room. My Commodore 64, that has been used on all previous newsletters, now plays second fiddle! It is still used for some correspondence.

Fred gave secretary Dave Birrell and your editor lessons and he had already installed the lists of inventory, the membership list to that date, etc., on it’s hard drive and other programming. The first test of our abilities was to draw a name from the numbered members list for our contest. Now this, we thought, would be simple. Two hours later and a long distance conference with Fred, we had the number and a name!Honest, we’ve gotten better and next year it’ll be a snap!

All joking aside, the Shell computer is a great addition to the Society’s future office and for the record keeping, listing our inventory, etc. THANKS to SHELL CANADA for again assisting the Society.

Esso Resources Donates

Local Esso bulk petroleum dealers, Doug and Marianne Morrison, contacted the Society early in the year indicating that Esso would likely donate to the Lanc museum fund if contacted. Due to them a request for assistance was sent, resulting in a donation of $1,500, a boost toward finishing the museum. MANY THANKS to ESSO! and the Morrisons. Buy ESSO products and help us thank them too!

Grants Received

A $650 Alberta Museums grant has been received by the Society to assist with the purchase of four cabinets for use ind isplaying small artifacts associated with the Bomber Command. Although we have some artifacts on hand, if members have suitable memorabilia which they would consider donating, we would be pleased to hear from you.

With the newly constructed building we feel that the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum is able to provide long term, reliable custody of donated and loaned artifacts.

The Society Needs

With the new building to be operational next spring, we are in need of many things. Listed below are needed items.(Used items OK.)

  • two office type desk and chairs
  • two filing cabinets
  • a computer desk
  • shelving for books etc.
  • counter top unit for reception and merchandise sales areas
  • a dozen chairs for the video viewing area etc.
  • mannequins for uniform display NLS can issue official tax receipts for such donations.

A Wandering Friend

Richard Weber of Ridge field, Washington, USA, travelled to Nanton after reading an article about the Prairie Lancaster in anaviation magazine. He arrived after Labor Day, as the main tourist season ended. Richard offered to do any chore that would let him near the Lanc, to learn about it, and the following day he was painting the window frames and trim on the new museum building and giving tours!

Richard is a U.S. Navy pensioner who served as a Naval Aviation technologist. Recently he worked as a security guard at Evergreen Field, at Vancouver, Wash., taking his pay in flying lessons. You may have already guessed, he is an airplane enthusiast and is well versed to American WWII aircraft but wanted to know all about British and Canadian vintage aircraft. He volunteered to stay for two weeks. Richard actually stayed until December at no cost to the Society!Several hundreds of dollars in donations have resulted from his keeping the museum open. Thanks, Richard. Come again.

Corporate Donators

Listed below are corporate friends of the Society who have donated towards the construction of the new museum building. The Nanton Lancaster Society extends a grateful THANKYOU!

  • Curtis Engineering Associates
  • All West Surveys (1982) Ltd.
  • Stavro Marapopalas Ltd.
  • Groenveld Construction Ltd.
  • G & JD Construction Ltd.
  • Burnco Rock Products Ltd.
  • Mautone Concrete Const. Ltd.
  • Canbar Steel Fabricators Ltd.
  • High River Rentals Inc.
  • Mullen Trucking Ltd.
  • Calstar Construction Ltd.
  • Remwan Construction Ltd.
  • Skyline Crane Services Ltd.
  • H & H Crane Services Inc.
  • Thermal Insulation Ltd.
  • Nanton Home Building Centre
  • Kenmar Building Centre
  • Highwood Trusses Ltd.
  • Raffin Transit Mix Ltd.
  • Blayne Clark Trucking
  • Construction ’79’ Ltd.
  • North Lethbridge MillWork
  • Kruger Concrete Ltd.
  • Steel Craft Door Products
  • Willow Creek Plumbing
  • Ideal Insulation Ltd.
  • Bill Martin Stucco and Drywall
  • L & L Electric
  • Quidalta Distributors Ltd.
  • Thompson Glass Service Ltd.

(Note-list of donators is to November. 1/91. NLS apologizes if someone has been inadvertently left off this list.)

A Grateful Thanks also to

our civic partner, The Town of NANTON, for its contributions of: the building site, help with the excavation and utilities, funds loaned and other considerations.

The Museum’s Funding

When the museum opens next year it will represent and investment of $432,000. The Society is pleased that these funds have come from a variety of sources and that the museum has been developed as a co-operative effort of several hundred individuals, veterans groups (including many Royal Canadian Legions), the Town of Nanton, the Province of Alberta, and the Government of Canada (re our status as a registered charitable organization).

Sources of funding are:

    • $87,000 (Prov. govt. grants)
    • $83,000 (Corporate donations)
    • $107,000 (Donation of property and services by Town of Nanton)
    • $40,000 (interest-free 5 year loan by Town of Nanton)
    • $15,000 (borrowed by Society)

The above figures include costs of installing heating, electricity, and minimum finishing in the display wing of the museum.
Our next task is to repay the $15,000 (borrowed to complete the display wing.)We are confident this can be done and at the same time we can develop displays and interpretative programs, plus the north restoration wing.

Calgary POWs Help Out

On August 6, four members of the Calgary Prisoner of War Assoc. visited Nanton to present a $1,000 cheque as a donation to the building fund. In a brief ceremony in front of the Lanc, Bob Charmen made the presentation to NLS president, DanFox.

The group toured the museum reminiscing about Lanc’s and Hali’s. Their tentative verdict was that while the Halifax was better at taking off with a full load, the Lancaster performed better in the air. (Friendly discussion goes on!)

The group swapped more stories later, while lunching at the Nanton Truck Stop Coach Room.

The Society’s many THANKS go out to the Calgary POW Assoc. for their welcome contribution.

Norm Etheridge’s Calendar

The man mainly responsible for restoration of VR-A, Canada’s flying Lanc, Norm Etheridge, visited NLS this fall.(Norm is no longer with the CWH museum). We had a short visit with Norm and his wife Mary. They have just put together an aviation calendar (’92 through to June ’93). We have a copy and it’s GREAT! Particular attention is paid to AVRO, the Lanc, and the ill fated Arrow.
To order: Send$18. (P&H and GST paid.)(Ont. orders add 8%.)

Calgary Chapter News

by Chapter President Larry Wright

It has been another hectic summer for chapter members as we took the travelling display on the road again. The display went to three major airshows and concluded the season by attending 407 Squadron’s 50th anniversary celebrations in Comox BC. This final event was probably the highlight for the summer. The opportunity to fly with 407S quadron was a great honor and one we’ll not soon forget.

This winter we will undertake several new projects for the Society. The SPAAR team report lists these but might I add that if you can supply any information or photographs that might enhance or complete these displays, please contact us via the Society’s address.

Finally, a small plea on behalf of the Chapter. If anyone in the Calgary areaw ould like to become involved with Chapter activities, please feel free to contact me (Larry at 255-3170), or drop in at one of our meetings, which are held on the second Wednesday of each month at the RCAF. Assoc. Hall, 1107720 Fisher St. SE, Calgary. We look forward to meeting you.

407 Squadron Reunion

by Rob Pedersen

Dan Fox, Larry Wright, my wife, Patricia Pedersen, and myself attended the Sept. reunion of 407 Sqdr. at Comox BC. We would like to thank the ‘Icemen’ of 407 Sqdrn. for an unforgettable trip in the Aurora from Calgary to Comox and return. A special thanks to Lt. Col. Terry Chester, Capt. Mike Subchuk, M. Sgt. Andy Sweet and Cpl. Craig Chislette for everything they did for us.

We met and talked with at least six former aircrew that flew in Lancaster FM159, who related incidents from its duties flying coastal patrols. One incident of the aircraft being some 400 miles out over the Pacific and losing an engine, turning back and over the Island having electrical failure, but finally making a safe landing.

The travelling display needs more manpower. If you are interested in helping in the ’92 season, please contact Larry Wright at 255-3170.

The President’s Corner

Another busy summer is over for the Society, but it appears like the cumin winter is going to be very busy also.With a consultant’s study (funded by outside sources) regarding the feasibility and costs associated with operating our museum in three different phases, we can now approach government and/or the corporate world for funding to complete or expand the museum. (See page three for more about this study.)

Now that the Lanc is inside, work has commenced in regard to the initial stages that will lead to restoration to its original wartime configuration. Also the Cornell has been moved into the building and is being assembled as is our ‘movie prop,’ the 7l8s scale Vickers Viking IV.

Your executive has decided that it is imperative that all displays be under one roof in 1992. To this end we have recently arranged to borrow $15,000 in order to complete the display wing of the new building before spring. To do this it will mean a lot of work by volunteers, but with any luck it should be operational by May ’92.

We continue to co-relate with other restoration organizations ouch as the Calgary Aerospace Museum, The Western Development Museum in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and others , with whom we share artifacts and information.

Yours truly, Calgary Chapter President Larry Wright and Rob and Patricia Pedersen attended 407 Squadron’s reunion at Comox, B.C. We were treated royally by Lt. Col. Terry Chester and his personnel, This included our flying from Calgary to Comox, and back in an Aurora!

The 1992 grand opening of the new museum building will be held next July. The spring newsletter will give all the details.

Recent progress of course has a price. We can use any donations you feel capable of giving – believe me it will be made good use of!

Dan Fox

Editorial Comments

We’ve come a long way in a few short months. This time last year a building to house the Lanc was not yet certain. Even last spring, while the museum’s shell was for sure, finishing of the interior was still a dream. But people, corporations, service clubs, Legions and members, from near and far suddenly latched on to the idea that here was a really worthwhile project. And has it ever caught fire! Reading through this newsletter should give you an overview of our progress. The momentum has not stopped, not a day goes by, even as winter approaches, that we don’t receive letters with donations and words that encourage us to ‘press on!’ And we are doing just that! By spring we will be operating entirely out of the new museum.

We hope that you see an improvement in this ‘letter’ as we use the computer donated by Shell Canada to put it together. Our aim is to continue to upgrade this newsletter so as to keep you, the member, well informed about the progress made in completing the museum, restoration updates, and expansion.

The museum you have helped put is place has a present value of a bout $400,000. Of course this includes land value, donated materials and labour, which hove been added to the original contracted price of just over $185,000. The donated materials and labour that have come in, and still are, have been, to say the least, phenomenal!

Stay with us, we,re just getting into high gear! But we still need your help to finish the job. Donations, large or small will help reach the final goal.

On behalf of your executive thanks for the great support. If you haven’t visited us yet, plan a trip to see first hand what we have done to date.