Newsletter – 1992 Fall and Winter

July Grand Opening a Huge Success!

The July 25 Grand Opening of the new museum building drew a crowd estimated at over 3000!

The day turned out to be perfect weather-wise. Four hot air balloons started off a full day of events at 7:30 a.m. As these ‘flying machines” passed slowly north, from the south side of town from where they were launched, they floated past those early risers partaking of the pancake breakfast served by the local Lions Club. The Calgary Hot Air Balloon group also brought a special effects balloon which, when inflated, turned out to be a huge cow! It took 12 persons to get it launched. this ‘cow’s’ flight was short as it landed just north of the new museum, after hovering nearlyon top of the museum building.

It was open house in the museum all day, with many displays from other aviation groups such as the Calgary Aerospace Museum, Western Aviation News, CAF Recruiting, etc. Our Society’s limited edition print was displayed and the artist, John Rutherford, was on hand with a display of many of his aviation paintings and prints.

Outside, there were displays of military vehicles, an ultralite aircraft and demonstrations of radio controlled aircraft. These models flew intermittently all day.

Your executive was very pleased with every phase of opening day and we made a lot of new friends that day. The evening banquet, with guest speaker Reg Lane, topped off an excellent day.

Concrete Donated For The Museum Main Floor

When your basic museum building was completed just one short year ago, we felt very fortunate to have a gravel floor ready for the concrete in the future.

This summer however, through the initiative of Calgary resident, Paul Hawkes, a W.W.II Lanc crew member, Lafarge Construction Products have announced they will be donating concrete for the 12,000 square foot main hangar floor! This exceptional gift, combined with the donation of the required reinforcing rebar by John Wells and the family of High River, provides all the material to complete the museum’s main floor.

However, a cost of $13,331 will be incurred for the necessary preparation, placing, and finishing, etc., of this concrete.

The Society is now seeking donations from members and others to help us see that these gifts of concrete and rebar can be put to use and our floor completed. It will make a tremendous difference to the museum and if you are able to assist, please do. Even membership renewals help to maintain our momentum and develop our displays and restoration projects. Square Footer ($100) and Lifetime ($500) memberships are, of course, greatly appreciated.

Meetings, Dinners, Etc. Under The Lancaster

Next May, with the expected completion of the concrete floor in the hangar area, the possibility will exist for the groups to hold various events in the museum, under the wings and nose of the Lancaster. At this time we would be limited to the summer months and daylight hours as we have limited artificial lighting and no heat in the hangar area.

However, if you feel that your group might be interested in having an event at the museum in 1993, we would be pleased to assist with arranging meals, bar facilities, music or any other services you might require. Please let us know if you are interested or require further information.

Grand Opening Flypast

Gordon Jones of High River, Alberta, flew Tiger Moths as an instructor at #15 EFTS (High River) during W.W.II. Gordon, along with his wife Lenore, operate the High River Flight Centre and he is still instructing.

This past summer (nearly 50 years later), Gordon again flew a Tiger Moth. Firstly, at W.W.II instructors reunion at High River in June and again in the flypast at our opening day ceremonies. The Tiger Moth flown by Gordon is owned by Bill Hosford, of the Edmonton area, who was unable to fly the Moth. Gordon Jones brought the aircraft to High River for this event and convinced Mr. Hosford to leave it there to be part of the NLS flypast in July.

In the opening day celebrations the Tiger Moth, flown by Gordon Jones, was the lead aircraft for the flypast. It was followed by two D.H. Chipmunks, a Harvard and the four CAF Tutors. A Pitts Special did aerobatics after the main flypast.

The Society is most grateful to all who contributed to the flypast.

Glenbow Conservators Help Move Blackboard

As indicated in the spring newsletter the blackboard from the Vulcan, Alberta, W.W.II Training base was moved to the museum during the summer. This artifact still has chalked on it the names of one of the last classes to graduate from that base.

We had stated that this was the blackboard illustrated in F.J. Hatch’s book “Aerodrome of Democracy.” However, the board now on display in our museum is from “C” hangar and the one illustrated in the Hatch book is apparently in storage at the Calgary Aero Space Museum.

The Case Of The Vulcan Blackboard

by Cynthia Ball

Glenbow’s Conservation Dept. answers hundreds of enquiries yearly from the public and other institutions. Occasionally, a case comes up that warrants immediate hands-on attention by conservators. Such was the case of the Vulcan blackboard.

Vulcan is a small town Southeast of Calgary. Its location in the flatlands that emerge from the foothills make it ideally suited as the site for a BCATP flying school during W.W.II. During those years it was a busy centre and the air was alive with the sounds of yellow training aircraft. All that has disappeared, however, except for the hangars and an old blackboard on which names of one of the last classes to graduate are still legible: Anderson, Blair, Dunnet, Mackie, etc. It’s a poignant and fragile piece of southern Alberta history.

Glenbow’s conservators were called in to advise on transporting the blackboard from the old Vulcan hangar to the Nanton Air Museum. They quickly recognised that special care would be needed to ensure that the piece arrived safely. Colleagues from other Glenbow Departments assisted.

Identifying the blackboard’s construction was the first step. The blackboard’s surface had been painted on 1/4 ” plywood. A layer of shiplap was under the plywood nailed to 2 x 4 wall studs. An analysis of the blackboard paint by scientists at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa determined that the slating consists of quartz, various silicates and probably a carbon black in a shellac medium. This composition is similar to some recipes for blackboard slating that date to publications of 1906.

Preserving the chalk layer during transport was key concern of the Glenbow conservators. Original headings on the board had been outlined using a silver tape which was now brittle and very loosely adhered to the surface. This tape was carefully re- adhered in place using a heat-set adhesive film.

Once the blackboard had been framed and it’s face protected with sheets of plywood covered with silicon release paper, it was carefully cut out of the wall.

Packing the blackboard for transport required special care so the chalk-work wouldn’t be vibrated loose during the trip. Strips of foam were placed on the bed of the truck and the board placed face up on the cushioning material.

The treasured blackboard arrived in Nanton in excellent condition. It has now been framed, glazed with glass and is now on display in the newly constructed Nanton Air Museum.

Anson Restoration Gets a Boost

by Rob Pedersen

The Society has begun the long journey towards restoring one of it’s MK II Ansons. the project was begun in the early spring of 1992. volunteers worked throughout the spring and summer removing and cataloguing pieces. By early fall the airframe had been stripped and was ready for sandblasting.

On the 21st of October, Maurice Galli of Twin City Enterprises, Rocky Mtn. House, Alberta, sandblasted the frame and it was then moved to Siebens Auto Industries for a coat of primer. The frame has been returned to the museum and now awaits the next step. Immediate plans for the Anson are to start replacing fittings, etc. on the tubing frame and making the wooden formers. this should get under way as soon as the shop “wing” is completed (December?).

We are still searching for information and manuals. If anyone has any information or is interested in being a part of the Anson Restoration Team please contact Rob Pedersen at 272-1741 or the Air Museum at 646-2270.

We would like to thank the sponsors who have helped to give the project a real boost: Jerry Harlam of Superior Sand, Taber, who donated all the sand for the sandblasting; Maurice Galli of Twin City Enterprises who donated his time, expertise and the use of the equipment for sandblasting; George at Endura Manufacturing who donated the primer; and Siebens Auto Industries who donated their time and equipment to spray our frame. And a special thanksto all the volunteers for their help and support on this project.

“Duke’s” Dieppe Return

Those members who attended either our 1990 Dedication Ceremony or the 1992 Official Opening will remember Duke Warren being our very capable Master of Ceremonies. Duke, together with his twin brother, was born in Nanton and flew Spitfires at Dieppe.

Duke was selected by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to represent the RCAF at the 1992 official commemoration of the raid on Dieppe. Duke reports that he was one of a number of veterans selected from each regiment or service arm which participated. they were flown by military aircraft and treated in a first rate manner by the Dept. during events which included visits to military cemeteries, a flypast of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster, Hurricane, and Spitfire, a crossing of the channel by sea to Dieppe, and various ceremonies at Dieppe. Duke was impressed with the warmth and respect shown by the people of the small village.

Dams Raid Anniversary

Make a note on your 1993 calendar to come to Nanton on July 17, 1993, (details will be in the spring newsletter) to help us commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the raid on the Ruhr Dams by 617 Squadron’s Lancasters. Although it is not possible to organise the event on the exact date (16/17 May) of the raid, we do have confirmation that Ken Brown of Surrey, BC, will be attending tot speak to us.

Ken is one of our square footer members and was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for his participation as a pilot on this historic raid. Plan to attend.

New Horizons Grant To Complete Restoration Shop

With the assistance of a $20,000 grant from the New Horizons Program, our 2000 sq. ft. restoration shop is now being completed. The grant will complement previously committed donations of heating equipment by Quidalta Distributors, plumbing fixtures by Western Supplies and Allan Forrest Sales, electrical installation by Wittich electric of Nanton, and our door installation by G&JD construction.

As well as enabling the completion of heating, electrical, drywall and doors, the grant provides for the purchase of $4700 worth of tools to augment those already in place at our temporary shop location.

The grant was obtained by the Society’s Senior’s Wing under the leadership of Joe English. The completion of the shop wing this fall will provide an opportunity for members with time and/or expertise to become actively involved with the restoration. Please let Joe English or Bob Evans, our curator, know if you would like to participate.

The Towing Tractor

While restoration of the WWII towing tractor has taken a little longer than expected to complete, it is now nearing completion. However, the overhauled engine, transmission and rear axle assembly now have been installed in the sandblasted frame.

The towing tractor should be completed in the near future.

Oakman Family Visits

Several members of the Oakman family from Stewart Valley, Sask., and elsewhere, were visitors for the first time to the museum. We were pleased to be able to show them the displayed Cornell, Fleet Fawn and other artifacts that the late Ernie Oakman and his wife Agnes had donated to the NLS Museum. The Oakmans are still helping out. Larry Oakman, a son of Ernie helped to load the remains of an Airspeed Oxford for Society members on a recent trip to Swift Current, Sask.

1992 Summer Visitors

Over 18,000 visitors stopped at the museum this year. Some were old friends of NLS and some new.

Trail, B.C., Member Work’s On Lancaster FM-159

Almost 50 years ago Harold Branton, of Trail, B.C., worked on Lancaster and Halifax aircraft, trying to ensure that they were ready for another bombing mission over Europe. This summer Harold was once again involved in working on a Lancaster. Branton, who served with 429 Squadron of 6 Bomber Group in Yorkshire, England, from 1944 to 1946, spent the first five days of June, in Nanton at the museum.

In his time spent working on the Lancaster he removed all the broken plexiglass pieces from nose bubble frame and the front gun turret. Harold then installed a new plexiglass nose bubble (Montreal movie company prop). he also repainted the turret area in flat black, as per the original. All his efforts were geared to restoration to original standards with the idea that the aircraft will someday fly again.

Harold Branton has indicated he will be coming in 1993 to again work on FM159. He has also donated several WWII artifacts to the museum, these will probably be on display in 1993. THANKS Harold Branton for your help in restoring FM159.

Sarnia, Ontario, Members Work On The Lancaster

As part of their summer holidays, Paul Whitfield and his son Peter of Sarnia, Ontario, spent a week doing restoration work on the Lanc and other museum artifacts.

The Whitfields learned of the bomber five years ago, when Paul passed through Nanton.

Paul’s love affair with vintage aircraft began when he was a small boy growing up in England. His home was just four miles away from a WWII airbase where Lancs were based. Son Peter has inherited his dad’s interest invintage (and other) aircraft. He builds models, has a large collection of books about vintage aircraft and spends hours doing research on WWII aircraft.

Paul and Peter both laugh when they think of their planning holidays at the museum. They had thought it was too far to Hamilton to help with the restoration of VR-A a few years ago and now they are contemplating coming to Nanton, Alberta, several thousand miles away to help restore FM159!

Paul Whitfield has 11 years to go before retirement. In a conversation with NLS President Dan Fox, he stated, ” I’ll tell you what my goal is. It is to see this Lancaster fly before I retire!”

The Whitfields removed the sheet metal that had covered the ailerons and the one elevator, etc., and cleaned up the last broken plexiglass in the cockpit area. They installed the engine and cowlings on the Cornell as well as the propeller. The Cornell is now complete and is a much enhanced exhibit.

Paul and Peter Whitfield are planning to return next May for another week and have challenged the curator to find them more work!

The willingness of people like the Whitfields and Harold Branton to come such a distance to work on the Lanc, etc., is a good example that the Nanton Air Museum is a national (if not international) project.

Oxford Project

Through the courtesy of George Ryning and the Calgary Aero Space Museum, the NLS was given the remains of three, twin engined Airspeed Oxfords. These had to be retrieved from near Cabri, Sask.

Another Oxford had been given to the Society by Cameron Halverson, of Swift Current, Sask.

Arrangements were made for MULLEN Trucking to pick up the three Cabri Oxfords on a back-haul. On October 8, Bob Evans and Ken Matthews travelled to Swift Current and picked up the Halverson Oxford. Larry Oakman, a son of Ernie and Agnes Oakman, brought his loader over (nine miles) and spent two hours helping load the remains. THANKS LARRY!

The next afternoon Bob and Ken met the MULLEN truck at Cabri and helped load it. The owner – donator, Terry Widdifield, used his tractor to place the Oxford centre- sections on the 45 foot trailer.

The trip back was uneventful and the artifacts were unloaded the next morning by Pres. Dan Fox and MAGWOOD MOTORS forklift. THANKS to MULLEN Trucking, MAGWOOD Motors, and Terry Widdifield, Cabri, Sask.

On the Road Again

by Rob Pedersen

The Nanton Lancaster Society’s Travelling Display once again had a very successful year. We travelled to Namao, High River and Lethbridge. I would like to thank all the volunteers for their help. This year the display crew consisted of Terry MacDonald, Paula, Andrea, and Lawrence Lawson, garth Hurl, Dave Birrell and Pat, Krysta, and Rob Pedersen. While most airshows went on without any problems, Namao was the one trip that almost wasn’t. After losing the block heater from our truck, the forward window from the motorhome and a typical spring blizzard, it took the crew’s dedication and commitment to our motto “Press on Regardless” to reach Namao. A special thank you goes out to John and Nancy DeVries of Aldersyde who took in our crew during the wait for a tow truck, serving them lunch and hot coffee. Our next show is to be the Calgary Hobby Show. Hope to see you there.

If anyone is interested in becoming a member of the display team contact Rob Pedersen at 272-1741.

Calgary Chapter News

The Calgary Chapter has been restoring the mid-upper Frazer Nash gun turret and is now assembling the pieces which look like brand new. This turret will be fully operable when finished. This should be completed by the year end.

uentin Snow ‘Nine Trips To Berlin’ Photo

Member Quentin Snow of Australia has forwarded a photo of his crew exiting their Lancaster following the 30th, and last, operation of their tour and their ninth raid on Berlin. We appreciate the donation of this photo and the accompanying information. This photo is now on display in the museum.

Late Note

The ride in Charlie money’s Harvard (donated) was wn by Mrs. Schatz of the Turner Valley, AB, Legion. the ride has yet to take place and will be reported in the spring newsletter.

From the Desk of the President

Now that our beautiful museum has been “officially” opened, you may think that we can now rest on our laurels and take it easy for awhile. I wish this were true, but what we have created is a living, breathing, entity with an impetus of its own! All you have to do to experience this feeling of being “carried onward” is spend a day doing museum related activities – listen to a WWII veteran tell his or her personal story; work with a group of volunteers on a project like assembling an artifact or pouring a concrete floor; read a letter from a society member 5000 miles away giving us words (and sometimes dollars) of support. These are only a few examples of what happens every day.

On a more sombre note, I must broach a subject that may enable the Society to continue its efforts of completing and expanding the museum in the future. Several of our membership have expressed interest in leaving a legacy for future generations. I am referring, of course, to the mention of the Nanton Lancaster Society in their wills. If we all promised a portion of our estates for the preservation of Bomber Command and BCATP artifacts as well as records of those who participated, your museum would be able to even better represent your wishes. Please give this idea your serious consideration.

      Dan Fox

Curator / Editor’s Words

As you will have noted in reading through this newsletter a lot has happened during the summer.

Many artifacts have been received (donations and loaned) that will further enhance and expand our museum. Many of these are presently in storage but it is hoped that by next season many of these will be on display.

Some of these artifacts now on hand, due to the generosity and support of many members and supporters are: a five cylinder Genet Major engine; BCATP base radio; radio testing equipment; another Mk. VII bombsight; the Vulcan BCATP blackboard, WAAF uniforms; another Merlin engine from a Mustang; and dozens of other memorabilia of the war era.

With the concrete floor in place for next year, it will be possible to add many more displays and some tentative changes err already being planned.

One major step in the Anson restoration came about recently when the basic tubing frame was sandblasted and prime painted. This project can now get under way in ernest.

While the completion of the restoration shop is a bit behind, it should be operational by mid-December. The new year should see several projects being worked on. Some of the smaller artifacts to be restored should be ready for display next summer. Also the towing tractor that has been under restoration for some time will be in the museum next year.

The worldwide support for our reservation efforts is most gratifying to those of us here on site. This support is spurring us on to do more and better things in the coming year.