Newsletter – 1991 Spring and Summer

The Lancaster Bomber Moves to its Home in the New Museum

Phase I of the Nanton Lancaster air museum building is a reality! NLS now has a home wherein to display artifacts and the Ian Bazalgette Memorial lancaster. Soon we will be installing restored turrets, panels, etc.

The building was made possible through the faith and generosity of NLS members, Legions, Aircrew Associations, the Province of Alberta, corporations, town of Nanton and supporters near and far.

Construction did not begin last fall as the society had hoped. It wasn’t until April when excavation started and the footings and foundation of the 16,000 sq. ft. museum were put in place.

the general contractor, G & JD Construction, had the backfilling and gravel fill completed by May 6 when the building package arrived.

That day three semi-truckloads of building materials were unloaded and over half the steel frame erected. By May 31 the walls and roof were nearly complete and the annexes framed in.

During the winter months NLS member (also partner in G & JD Construction), John Dozeman, approached many of acquaintances in the construction supply business for contributions to the museum project. Through his efforts such items as 40 cubic metres of concrete, dimensional lumber for framing the annexes, excavation for the foundation, concrete pump work, fill gravel, etc., have been donated. John’s company is also donated materials and labour.

Due to the overwhelming support received to date, the museum building shell is much farther along than the executive had projected. One thing should be mentioned. The construction to date is not a finished building. However, we now have a structure that can be worked on in stages as funding becomes available.

Notice ! Notice ! Notice !

Members who feel that donations of $100 and $500 are beyond their means can, under our new plan, become either a Square Footer or a lifetime member by sending installments of as low as $10 (or greater amounts when possible). With the last payment, all rights will be awarded and your name (or that of someone you wish to honour) will be placed on the appropriate permanent plaque.

A plaque for the names of all Lifetime, Square-Footer members, and Corporate donors is now in the works, for permanent placement in the Museum Building once the building is functional.

The on-going funding campaign will enable the society to start on Phase II. This Phase will finish the building’s interior and make it a fully functional museum.

NLS members, your new museum is now a reality. Its completion WILL happen because of YOU.

Come see YOUR Museum it 1991!

NLS off to the Movies

Yes, weÕre off to be in the movies! No, the stars are not to be any of our members but rather some of the Lancaster bits and pieces that NLS has accumulated over the past five years.

On April 27 we received a call from Ian Newby of International Movie Services in Vancouver. He helps supply props for the industry, especially in the military category. Ian is also ex-RCAF, having flown in Lancasters in peacetime.

Ian’s call resulted in NLS renting the rear, mid-upper, and the front gun turrets that we have on hand. the turrets, as part of the agreement, will be returned nearly completely restored, and operational (except for guns), also with plexiglass installed!

NLS will receive over $6,000 for the use of these gun turrets in a movie being made in Montreal. This movie is called “The Ways of the Human Heart.” It is a love story set in the time frame of the second World War. One of the main characters is a bomb-aimer who is part of a Lancaster crew. The movie company has already shot the flying scenes using the Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum’s airworthy Lanc. (Canada’s only flying Lancaster.)

Part of the agreement with the movie company was that our Lanc expert, Milt Magee, be hired as a consultant and thus oversee the use of the artifacts. milt, at this writing , has been to Montreal twice for several days at time with all expenses paid by human Heart Productions (the movie company). (Some of the personnel working on this production also worked on the movie “Memphis Belle.”) Milt came back the last trip reporting the two turrets now working.

Due to further negotiations, our restored main instrument panel and several other Lanc components are also in Montreal being used in the mock-up of a Lancaster. Credits will go to NLS for its part in supplying artifacts for the movie.

NLS members are indeed excited about this new development and with the new contacts we’ve made.

THANKS go out to Real Proule, John beard, and other personnel of Human Heart Productions for their interest in helping the Society and making NLS artifacts operational.

It’s A Fawn Mk.II – Not A Finch!

Yes, we now know the aircraft which was acquired in 1990, from Ernie and Agnes Oakman, of Stewart Valley, SK., is a rare Fleet Fawn.

First of all wo should have listened a bit closer to Ernie, when we first talked to him about acquiring Fleet #264. At one point he did say he thought perhaps it should be called a Fleet Fawn. but somehow we got to calling the machine a Finch and even had Ernie doing the same.

Anyway, after the fall 1990 newsletter was received by Harry Whereatt of Assiniboia, SK., he wrote to inform us of the error and also filled us in on some of the history of this particular Fawn 7C.

Also informing us was Piet Bouthoorn of Belmont, Ont., with whom we were corresponding regarding parts for the aircraft.

Anyway our faces are a bit red, but again we’ve found out that not too many people are really informed about the various Fleet aircraft produced during the 1930’s.

The Fleet 7’s, designated as Fawns by the RCAF, were built in Canada by the Fleet Aircraft Co. of Canada. The particular model we have is a Fleet 7C. The 7C’s were part of a second batch of Fawns to be ordered by the Dept. of National Defence, during the 1930s. Twenty Fleet 7B’s (Fawn Mk. I’s) were delivered in 1931. They had Kinner 125 hp engines. In 1936 another 20 Fawn Mk. I’s were taken on strength.

Thirty one Fawn Mk. II’s powered by a British-built 140 hp, Civet 1A engine, were delivered to the RCAF from 1936 to ’38. During WWII the Civet engine was in short supply and most 7C aircraft had the Kinner X-5 engine installed, thus converting them to Fawn I’s.

Having thoroughly confused you, the reader, here is a bit of the history (hope its correct) of Fleet Fawn #264. Both Harry Whereatt and Piet Bouthoorn told us that Fawn D.N.D. #264 was delivered to the Air Force on July, 7 1938. It was taken off strength Dec. 3rd, 1945, and later sold as surplus by the War Assets Corp., minus the engine.

According to Harry, Fawn #264 was purchased by Ernie Oakman along with Fawn #220. Ernie put one away in his barn and the other in the yard for his kids to play in.

In the early 1960s, Harry acquired both aircraft and restored Fawn #220. Later on Ernie Oakman had found the remains of a Hawker Hurricane and having decided that it was too big a job to restore, he traded it to Harry, taking back the remaining Fawn and parts. Harry said that he was so happy to get the Hurricane that he gave Ernie has best Kinner engine. This is the engine that we now have.

If anyone knows where wa can find a Civet engine and/or parts, please contact our museum Curator. We would like to restore #264 as an original Fleet 7C, if possible.

Wartime Towing Tractor Being Restored

With the assistance of a $2680 grant from the Alberta Museums Association, work will commence on the restoring of an aircraft towing tractor which was used during the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. This particular tractor was later used aboard the HMCS Bonaventure, Canada’s last aircraft carrier.

The tractor was donated to the Society by 408 Squadron based at CFB Edmonton. It is in very poor condition and will require numerous new parts and extensive overhaul.

Len Hoffarth, a licensed automotive mechanic, and his group at our restoration shop have already stripped the tractor apart and have obtained an engine and other parts. When complete it will be a operational artifact in the museum.

The Society appreciates the support of the ALBERTA MUSEUMS ASSOCIATION in providing funding for this project.

The AMA is financed through lottery funds provided by the Dept. of Culture and Multiculturalism.

Other Shop News

The shop also fabricated the tow-bar that was used in moving the Lanc on May 25th. Assisting shop foreman Lenard were John Dozeman, his two sons, John Jr. and Jason, and Calgary member Fred Hollowell. The tow-bar is something that will be used whenever the Lanc is moved.

The shop also has added to its equipment list an electric arc and an acetylene welder. These items make possible the building of tow-bars, etc.

The shop crew is looking forward to the early completion of the north annex of the new building, which will be the restoration shop.

New member Ron Jackson, of Calgary, has been out using the glass bead cleaner as he works at getting our Gypsy Major display engine together. Ron is a graduate Aircraft Maintenance Engineer from SAIT who is restoring his own Tiger Moth to airworthy condition. Ron believes he has enough parts to put together a static Moth for our museum. he has already been of invaluable service to the Society in getting the Lanc ready to move and installing the “new” tires. He works in Calgary at the Flying Club. Ron’s wife Julie was also active in helping getting the Bomber ready for its new quarters.

Another new member is Bill Howe, again from Calgary. Bill is an hydraulics expert and was very helpful in making the Lanc move successful. He has put together an hydraulic power pack for operating the turrets the society has leased for the movie production in Montreal.

We foresee a great influx of new volunteers once the new shop is usable and restoration gets seriously underway. Anyone who might be interested in joining the restoration crews, please contact us. We’ll let you know when the shop is ready for use.

Shell Canada Assists Society

Shell Canada Resources provides grants for assisting community organizations, which its employees support, through volunteer efforts. NLS members, Vera Wright and Fred Hollowell, were successful in arranging for a $1500 donation from Shell. Vera is active in our souvenir merchandising and travelling display and $750 will be spent to improve this aspect of the Society’s work. Fred’s primary interest is in needed tools and welding equipment.

In addition Shell has offered to donate a surplus computer to the Society some time in 1991. this will enable us to better keep track of our membership and mailing lists which now number in excess of 1000 names. As well, our artifact registration files will eventually be kept on the new computer.

The Nanton Lancaster Society appreciates the support of Shell Canada Resources. THANK YOU SHELL!

NLSCC Hauls Boly Centre Section

On April 28 the Calgary Chapter SPAAR team swung into action again. They met at an early hour on the South Centre parking lot. The crew consisted of Rob and Pat Pederson, Garry Low, Kevin Hrab, Larry Wright and yours truly. All were ready to venture forth to recover a Bolingbroke center section, belonging to U.K. member Jon Spinks. (Jon in return for this, has scoured the U.K. for Lanc parts to help NLS).

Using george White’s 1/2 ton truck and Doug McGowan’s trailer (both of Nanton), the team headed north of Calgary to the recovery site where two and a half hours were spent removing bomb bay doors, etc. At last, after skinning knuckles and breaking several hacksaw blades, the section was loaded with a local farmerÕs loader. “Official” photographs recorded the event. the trip to Nanton was uneventful, as the center section “flew” down highway #2 in a vertical position. Passing motorists gawked at us as they passed our cavalcade.

The 1991 Contest – Fly With Charley Money

Yes, don’t forget that we will be drawing a name (on August 5, 1991 at 1:00 p.m.) from our member’s list, for a ride in a T-28 Trojan or a Harvard. Charley Money, of Calgary, has very generously offered this prize to our Society. So get those memberships updated! Only members with paid-up 1991 memberships will have their names put in a barrel for the draw! THANK YOU CHARLEY MONEY!

NLS will arrange a flight date agreeable to Charley and the lucky person. The winner will be responsible for his or her transportation to the arranged airport.

Our Friends At The Calgary Aero Space Museum

Again we are indebted to our friends at CASM for expanding the number of artifacts that we will have for display in our new building, when it is completed.

Delivered to us (yes, they make deliveries too!) in April, on a long-term loan basis, were an Orenda jet engine, a Nene jet engine and a Link trainer.

The two jet engines actually tie in with the Lancaster. The Orenda engine prototype was originally fitted to a Lanc for testing. This engine was used in CF-100 fighters. The Nene jet came along a bit later and it was test bedded on a Lancastrian, one of the aircraft which evolved from the Lancaster.

These jet engines are presently in storage, but will go into the new museum as soon as use of the unfinished building commences. The Link is now in the small existing museum as an artifact. The latter is a great display until NLS gets a complete Link trainer of its own.

CASM has also delivered to Nanton several loads of Anson parts and extras, (stored on the NLS editor’s acreage). These parts are stored for joint use in either museum’s Anson restoration project.

THANKS go out to CASM for initiating a co-operative effort in preservation of aviation history. NLS hopes to be able to reciprocate in the future.

Corporate Donators To The New Nanton Air Museum

Listed here are corporations and businesses who have made donations to the museum building (up to June 1st, 1991). The Society extends a grateful THANK YOU to them all. We apologize if anyone has been inadvertently left off this list.

A, plaque with all corporate donor’s names on it, will be placed in the completed museum building:
All West Surveys
Curtis Engineering
Groenvold Excavating
Burnco Rock Products
G & JD Construction
Mullen Trucking
Nanton Home Hardware
Kenmar Hardware & Lumber
Ideal Insulation Ltd.
Willow Creek Plumbing
Highwood Trusses
Olympia Engineering
Thompson GlassKruger Concrete
Stavro Marapopalus Engineering
Chabar Steel
North Lethbridge Millworks
Therm All Insulation
Raffin Transit Mix
Blayne Clark & Son Trucking
TransAlta Utilities
Construction 79
Comtec Thermosystems
H & H Ccrane Service
Shell Canada

Calgary Chapter Summer Plans

After a somewhat quiet winter your Calgary Chapter is now preparing to go on the road with the travelling display. This is our on-going project for the Society and we are looking forward to promoting NLS in several distant places once again.

Our summer schedule includes the following events: 408 Squadron reunion in Edmonton, AB., 407 Squadron reunion in Comox, B.C., and airshows in Red Deer, Alberta, Moose Jaw, Sask., and Lethbridge, Alberta. If you plan to attend any of these events, please drop by and visit with us.

We will miss two of our members, Garry H. Low and Kevin Hrab, who having graduated from SAIT. have left Calgary for jobs elsewhere. These members were always able to find time to help, when we really needed it. On behalf of every one in NLS and NLSCC, THANKs, Garry and Kevin for all your help. We wish you both every success in the future. You will be missed!

The Crystal Palace Op’s Again

As mentioned in the Fall ’90 newsletter, NLS has acquired three FN-50 mid-upper turret domes in England.

We are pleased to announce that the first dome arrived over Christmas last. NLS would like to extend our thanks to S. BLACK (SHIPPING) LTD., of the U.K. and COLE FREIGHT SYSTEMS of Calgary, who sponsored the move. Also thanks to BARBER INDUSTRIES LTD., and LAWRENCE CUSTOMS BROKERS, both of Calgary, who aided in the moving of the dome from the U.K. to Nanton.

The final two domes and several crates of Lanc parts that U.K. member Jon Spinks has dug up for us are now awaiting transportation by R.A.F. #47 or #70 Squadrons, on the next available military transport flight ot Calgary. This is expected in the near future.

In Memorium

Our Society has again lost one of its founding members with the recent passing of Doug MacLauchlan. Doug was instrumental in initiating the Society and establishing its goals. His expertise, with the first shop project of rebuilding a Jacobs engine, was invaluable.

Doug was a dedicated Society member and was primarily responsible for a change in thinking that resulted in the bare bones building now nearly complete. A plaque in his memory will be placed in the new museum.

President’s Corner

Every time I write this column, I’m amazed at the progress your society has made in the time frame between newsletters.Phase I of the new museum building nearly finished. The Lanc is in the building, a gov’t-funded study which will help determine our future development is nearly complete, the summer 1991 tourism program is underway and our Lanc expert, Milt Magee, is in Montreal as a consultant for a Lancaster movie (along with some of our turrets and artifacts).

No, it hasn’t been boring the last while! Nor will the next few months as we start to place our other aircraft and artifacts in the building. We anticipate arrival of an RAF Hercules with Lanc “goodies” from Great Britain and our display is booked into several airships this number. The latter is being directed and managed by our Calgary Chapter.

Restoration work is also due to get going in earnest. The towing tractor is presently dismantled and its restoration is under way in the “loaned” shop. This is being funded with the help of a grant from the Alberta Museums Association. Restoration of the Cornell and Fleet 7c will be soon in the organizational phase.

The future will look even brighter if we can raise more funds to complete phase II of the museum. Another $1000,000 is needed to finish the floor in the main building, complete the large door, display area, and put in the heating and lighting.

Great things happen regularly confirming our beliefs what the Society is dung is worthwhile. An example happened the day the Bomber was moved into the new building. A former RAF navigator from Scotland, visited Nanton. They wondered if he might be allowed to go up in the Lanc. Of course we complied with his request. After spending some time in the Lanc reliving the past, he descended the crew ladder with tears in his eyes saying, “I haven’t been in a Lancaster for 47 years. I new expected to be in one again. Thanks so much!”

Incidents like this are one of the reasons the Society continues on, ever mindful of our borrowed Pathfinders’ motto, “Press On Regardless.” Have a good summer… come visit your museum and view the progress made to date.

Dan Fox

A Plea from your Editor

Phase I of our new museum building is now nearly complete. Your NLS executive has managed to get a lot of building for the monies raised. BUT, to finish the job of making a fully operational museum, we now need to complete Phase II of the project.

Again the awesome head of that devil, FUNDING, must be contended with before we can go much farther.

Our small group of local volunteers are getting their second wind, as they get ready to press on to a completed museum. However, we again need your help to finish the job.

One member of the Society made a statement recently that, “If all our members were to become Square-Footers, right now, we would have the needed funds to complete the museum and make it operational.”

As an NLS director, as well as the person who attempts to make this newsletter something the members will look forward to receiving, I am appealing to all our widespread membership, to please consider, that each of you can help make it possible for your Society to finish the job.

Your children and grandchildren will be the beneficiaries of NLS preservation of an important part of our history and its artifacts.

On another note, we can all be proud of the accomplishment to date. Just think, a year and a half ago, there was very little light at the end of the tunnel, as to the possibility of a building to house the Lanc. the response to our plea to save FM-159 and other artifacts, by construction of a “bare bones building,” was almost miraculous!

On behalf of the small “on-the-scene” volunteer group, I extend a grateful THANK YOU to all, for the help and faith you have had in us.

With your help, we will continue to “Press on Regardless” toward the goal of a completed museum.