Newsletter – 1994 Fall & Winter

The Museum has a “Canuck”

Your Museum has acquired a CF-100 “Canuck” jet fighter as a gate guardian. The Society had its name on a list with the Department of National Defence (DND) for a CF-100 to place in front of the museum. In August we were notified tha CF-100, #18152, on display since 1981 at the entrance to the Canadian Forces Base (CFB), Suffield, Alberta, was available. It is now on display outside at our museum, another tribute to Canada’s aviation history and an “eye catcher” which will encourage those passing by to stop and visit the museum.

As Suffield is primarily an army base and due to the extensive work needed to upgrade #18152, the Base Commander decided the aircraft should be displayed elsewhere.

When contacted by CFB Suffield and DND officials, your Society president and secretary/treasurer visited the base to determine what would be involved in moving the Canuck. They assured officials that if it was made available to our museum, we would move it within two weeks.

The actual moving was completed in just five days! This was due to arrangements made with our good corporate friend, Mullen Trucking, Alderside, AB, and Eldon Lyall, of L&W Trucking, Nanton, AB. Mullen also donated half of the charges for hauling the fuselage and arranged for the cranes needed to load and unload the aircraft. Eldon donated the hauling of the wings and Nanton Turbo provided the fuel for his truck.

Volunteers journeyed to the Suffield base to remove wings, etc. Base personnel assisted and your volunteers would not have had the aircraft ready on time without their help. One wing came off in three hours. The other took a day and a half and involved finally cutting off an attach bolt with an arc welder. It had been welded to the wing bracket when the aircraft had been mounted. In the process, a bird’s nest inside the empty engine nacelle caught fire, creating some momentary excitement. A fire extinguisher was at hand.

The CF-100 was unloaded on the curator’s acreage for reassembly, cleaning, and painting. It will be on display at the museum by Nov.5/94.

There isn’t room here to list all those involved in getting the aircraft ready and mounted. However, your Society extends a GRATEFUL THANKS to all those who helped in any way!

Another Great Day (Salute to the Pathfinders)

Many members were able to join us July 31/94 when the Society hosted another successful special event. Our “Salute to the Pathfinders” Day focussed on the Pathfinder Squadrons and in particular the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Bazalgette Victoria Cross flight. (Our Lancaster is dedicated to Alberta-born Ian Bazalgette VC.)

Our Pathfinders Luncheon was sold out and we were sorry to have to turn people away. Those present enjoyed guest speaker Reg Lane, a wartime commanding officer of 405 Squadron, who was introduced by Keith Sheppard representing the Bomber Command Association of Canada.

Following the banquet and a concert featuring the King’s Own Calgary Regimental Band, all eyes turned skyward as three sky-divers jumped from an aircraft provided courtesy of the High River Flight Centre. The jumpers carried the red, green, and yellow colours used by the Pathfinder Squadrons. Two additional jumpers followed, one carrying an RCAF flag which was presented to NLS President Dan Fox. The skydivers appeared courtesy of Activities Unlimited.

Presentations of model Lancasters with appropriate markings were then made to members of the Bazalgette family who were in attendance and to the family of Glen Ransom, a Nanton native who was killed flying a Pathfinder Squadron Lancaster.

The highlight of the afternoon was the unveiling of a painting commissioned by the Society. We were pleased that the artist, John Rutherford, and his wife Mable joined us for the day. The painting depicts a raid led by the Canadian Pathfinder Squadron #405, on the railway yards at Montzen, Belgium, in April, 1944. Our special guest, Reg Lane DSO DFC & Bar, was the Master Bomber on this raid which was successful but at a heavy cost in Canadian aircraft and aircrew. Mr. Lane’s aircraft is one of those portrayed in the painting. We were honoured that he could be with us for the day to unveil this special painting which is dedicated to all the Pathfinders.

An appropriate and thrilling conclusion to the day was a flypast of two Tutor jets, from CFB Moose Jaw, Sask., led by Nanton native Capt. Dan Robinson.

Your Society’s Long Term Goals

The Nanton Lancaster Society always had ambitious goals. When we were incorporated in 1986 the idea of an air museum with the Lancaster as the centrepiece was thought to be “pie in the sky” by many. We have to date attained many of these earlier goals and now have a new set which we hope to see realized over the next several years.
These are presented to you, our members and supporters, for your information and in the hope that some of you might think of ways to assist us.

We now have a very large collection of parts, artifacts, equipment, etc., which is currently stored on private property and in the museum building itself. This is not an ideal situation and we have plans for a large, (metal?) storage building. The Town of Nanton has provided us with property for the building. $30,000 is required to purchase and erect the building.

When the Lanc was placed in the building, the east wall was covered with metal sheeting. However all the sturctural components are in place to allow the entire wall to be replaced with additional overhead doors. This would enable the Lanc to be rolled out for special events and eventually engine run-ups, and for other winged aircraft to be placed in the building. The larger door on the highway side would also encourage travellers passing the museum to stop to visit. The estimated cost for this improvement is $25,000.

We currently have more aircraft and displays than we can accommodate easily in the present facilities. Arrangements are being made to remove some privately owned displays and to loan the Viking to a neighbouring museum. We are presently working on the restoration of aircraft which, when they acquire wings, will require considerably more space. Our small artifact display area, where most of our display cases, aviation art, videos, etc., are displayed, is filled to capacity while additional artifacts and displays are continually becoming available. The estimate for a 7200 square foot addition to the main hanger is $200,000.
These additional goals are major items to be sure, but given our past support and accomplishments they are certainly not out of reach. Please let us know if you have any ideas as to how our momentum can be maintained and the museum developed further.

Trevor (Tom) Malloy Bazalgette’s Rear Gunner

by Terry MacDonald

On August 20, I had the pleasure of meeting Tom Malloy. During S/L Ian Bazalgette VC’s first tour, Tom was Ian’s rear gunner, flying in Wellingtons and Lancaster.

Tom and his son-in-law Alan toured the museum and the Lancaster. During their visit Tom climbed into the Lanc mock-up in which our operational rear turret is mounted. He was very pleased to have his photograph taken in his old position.

In a recent letter Tom stated, “It is remarkable really that such a small place as Nanton has managed to collect so much memorabilia of those war days as well as a complete Lancaster. The museum is well laid out too.”

Terry MacDonald lives in Calgary and is a historian for the Society. Her research is mainly about Victoria Cross recipient.

Douglas Cameron, DFM, MD

F/L Douglas Cameron DFM MD, who flew as crew with three Victoria Cross winners, passed away on 16 Feb. 1994 in Scotland.

Cameron flew an extraordinary 122 missions on four tours of operations with the Royal Air Force. On his third tour, he flew with P/O Rawdon Middleton (Royal Australian Air Force attached to the RAF) as a mid-upper gunner. Middleton was postumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during a raid on Turin, Italy, 28 Nov. 1942. Cameron baled out and was aworded the Distinguished Flying Medal for this operation. He then went to 20 OTU, at Lossiemouth, Scotland, as gunnery leader. Here he flew with S/L Robert Palmer, who later received the VC.

He was then transferred to Milltown where he met S/L Ian Bazalgette, a Canadian born pilot flying with the RAF, who would later postumously receive the V.C. Bazalgette convinced Cameron to fly another tour as his rear gunner and the crew went to 635 Sqd, Pathfinder Force. The VC action took place on 4 Aug. 1944. During a target marking mission at Trossy-St. Makimin, France, Bazalgette’s Lancaster was crippled and set ablaze by anti-aircraft fire and he attempted to crash land it to save two wounded crewmen.

The aircraft exploded on touchdown, killing all three. Cameron had baled out along with three others of the crew. He evaded capture, joined the Marquis and operated with them until he was liberated by the British Army.

After the war Cameron joined the Royal Observer Corps, then went back to his native Scotland to become a gamekeeper.

Andy Kindret Paintings

During the summer our museum was honoured to display 20 paintings rendered by former A/G Andy Kindret, of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Andy became a POW after he baled out of a 419 Sqd. Lancaster in 1943.

Andy became a commercial artist after the war and retired as chief commercial artist at CKY-TV in Winnipeg. During retirement he painted the aircraft he had been so familiar with in his training and operational days with the Air Force in WWII. Featured in the training aircraft display are Cornell, Tiger Moth, Anson, Cessna Crane, Harvard, etc. In the Bomber display, Wellington, Mosquito, Halifax, Lancaster, Whitley, Blenheim, etc.

The paintings are on loan from Andy’s widow, Mrs. Cecilia Kindret, and were dilivered to our museum by her son, Ron Kindret, Calgary, AB. Our THANKS to the Kindret family for this exeptional display.

Lancaster Crew Position Displays Being Completed

One of the first projects completed by the Society involved the construction of four cabinets in which to display instrument panels and other equipment, photographs, and information related to Lancaster pilots, navigators, bomb-aimers, and wireless operators. It was realized at the time that similar displays regarding flight engineers and air gunners were necessary.

We are now in the process of completing these displays which, of course, relate to crew positions in all of the aircraft flown by Bomber Command. A cabinet featuring a Lancaster flight engineer’s panel as well as other relevant equipment is now in the museum. An air gunner’s display is nearly ready.

If any of our members have equipment and or material which they feel might be suitable for any of our crew position displays and would like to donate or loan it to the museum, we would be most interested.

Book Collection Donated

Mrs. Wilhelmina Brown, Lethbridge, Alberta, donated 140+ aviation books to the museum’s library from her late husband Robert J. (Jock) Brown’s collection. The Brown family also donated other artifacts.

This collection of books has dramatically increased the available reading material now on our library shelves.

“Jock” Brown was a pilot in the RAF during WWII and, judging from the donated books, an aviation history enthusiast. The nunmber of books on the subject of aviation during WWI and II, that he accumulated over time, are a small library by themselves.

The NLS extends a grateful THANKS to Mrs. Brown and family for choosing our museum to preserve Jock’s books and effects.

Neil McClain’s Harvard

Local vintage aircraft collector and friend of the Society, Neil McClain, has loaned the museum a Harvard aircraft. The present exhibit consists of a fuselage sitting on the main undercarriage. Neil intends to add other components to this as he accumulates them and as time permits.

Neil, over the years, has owned a large number of vintage aircraft, including P-51’s, Cessna Crane, Cornell, T-33 jet fighters, and other Harvards. He is presently restoring a Sea Fury. Several other items on loan from Neil can be seen in the museum. These include a Packard Rolls Royce Merlin engine for a Mustang. The Society would like to extend a THANK YOU to Neil McClain for his interest and for helping expand our artifact displays.

Link Trainer Table Donated

A display cabinet, a Link Trainer table complete with “crab,” and other Link parts were recently donated to the museum by Bob Edmunson, Medicine Hat, Alberta. It is now on display with the Link Trainer (on loan from the Calgary Aero Space Museum) making this static display reasonably complete. A big THANK YOU goes out to Bob for his help in upgrading the Link display and for his other donations.

The Society hopes eventually to have an operational Link Trainer in addition to the present static one.

The Alberta Aviation Museum and the Viking

Due to our museum space filling up and because the Vickers Viking (replica) does not fit into the two major themes of the museum, the Society has decided to loan it long term to the Alberta Aviation Museum (AAM) Edmonton, Alberta.

The AAM has been very co-operative in passing on items that fit into our themes. One such item was the Lancaster front turret (mentioned on page 11 of our spring newsletter). More recent items received are some miscellaneous parts for a Yale, etc. We hope in the future to continue to help AAM with items that are surplus to our museum.

Also there is a need to mention that our museum was included in the “passport” to Alberta Aviation Museums program. NLS would like to thank Bill Cottrell and our other friends at AAM for making us a part of this publicity effort for Alberta aviation museums.

Don O’Hearne “Vintage Aircraft Restorers”

The Western Development Museum in Moose Jaw, Sask., has an aviation display second to none. Along with a Harvard, Tiger Moth, Cessna Crane, Norseman, and several other vintage aircraft, the museum now boasts a Anson MK.I. Don O’Hearne and his Vintage Aircraft Restorers (VAR) have done a tremendous job of bringing these artifacts back to life.

The restored Anson Mk.I is without doubt the crowning achievement of this dedicated group. It is displayed in the camouflage colours of the prewar bomber that its type were, before they were relegated to a training role at the start of WWII.

Don O’Hearne is more than just a friend of our museum. Over the past several years he has passed on to us such items as Jacobs engine and Anson parts, Link Trainer parts, Cessna Crane spar pieces, etc. We have tried to return these favours by supplying an Anson Pitot tube and panel gauges.

Don and other VAR members visited our museum this summer and examined our Cornell in particular. They are presently working on yet another project, two Cornells, one for their museum and one for the donor. They lack the outboard wing sections and empennage, so Don and others have been to Nanton twice, photographing and taking measurements of our PT-26 (#14424) to help make drawings.

One wing is now in Moose Jaw, loaned for on-site measurements. VAR volunteers, James Chambers and Roger Mackin, arrived on October 20 to transport the starboard wing to Western Development museum. Don O’Hearne and VAR will make drawings from it. Before returning the wing they will be repairing and restoring it. NLS is pleased to be able to help.

1994 Airshows

The travelling display has had another terrific year. We only attended two major airshows this year but they were definitely worth it.

The Namao Airshow was the first one attended, which was very special as it was Namoa’s last. Thanks to everyone for making this a very memorable event. The weather did not co-operate the first day, it poured all Friday while we were setting up. Saturday afternoon it was pouring again which filled the hangers with people. Even in the rain the show still went on with everyone performing their low shows. On Sunday Mother Nature smiled!

Our second air show was at Lethbridge. This was their first two-day show, which did very well. Unfortunately Pat and I were unable to attend this airshow as she was in the hospital undergoing a kidney transplant. See you in 1995!

Calgary Aero Space Helps

Since the Nanton Lancaster Society was formed in 1986, the Calgary Aero Space Museum (CASM) has been a friend and helper in many ways.

When we were situated in the small tourist information building, CASM loaned us several displays, including a Link Trainer, Merlin engine, Orenda jet engine, and a Nene engine. They also gave us many parts for Anson Mk.II and Cessna Crane aircraft. We have tried to help their museum with parts from our Anson collection, etc.

George Ryning, a CASM volunteer, has supplied NLS with Anson drawings and technical information for this project. Leo Smith, another CASM volunteer, this year alone has helped us obtain both an Astrodome bubble and a nose bubble for our Lancaster. CASM had these made for themselves and duplicates for our Lanc (our cost – materials). Their surplus show cases came our way also.

Our Society extends a grateful THANK YOU to our friends at CASM for all their past help.

New in the “Dams” Display

W/O Alden (Al) P. Cottam was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and raised in Jasper. In 1941, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, qualifying as a “Wireless/Air-gunner” at Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Mossbank, Saskatchewan.

As the wireless operator with S/L Henry Maudslay, W/O Cottam flew with 617 Sqd to the Ruhr Dams on the night of 16/17 May, 1943. Their aircraft had been damaged prior to its arrival at the Eder Dam. They were the second to attack. However their bomb hit the parapet of the dam exploding near their Lancaster which crashed killing all aboard.

The display, including W/O Cottam’s logbok, was donated to the museum by his sister, Mrs. L. Yeoman of Edmonton, Alberta.

The Nanton Lancaster Society is pleased to display this memorial as part of the “Dams Raid” exhibit. We extend ad grateful THANKS to Mrs. L. Yeoman for choosing our museum to thus honour her brother.

Anson Update

We can now sit back and see just how far our summer projects have taken us. Annie has definitely come a long way. She now has landing gear, a partial spar and two Jacobs engines. If you close your eyes you can almost hear her whispering, “Maybe I can fly again?”

This restoration is partially financed by a grant from the Alberta Museums Association through lottery funds. Credit for most of the work this summer goes to our summer AME students Randy Wynia and Greg Morrison. They worked very hard at reconstructing the old spars (centre portion only) that Annie now sits on. They had to battle huge “maneating” mosquitos out at Bob’s farm while removing the chosen spars from their derelict frames. They had to carefully strip the covering off, remove any rotten wood and splice good wood back in place.

It was interesting to see the original inspection dates still listed inside of the spar. After sitting outside for over 50 years they looked as if they were written yesterday. Once all the new wood was in place the spars were ready to be painted and reinstalled on Annie. Greg and Randy were also responsible for disassembling, stripping, priming, painting and reinstalling Annie’s landing gear and mounting engines.

The latest development with the Anson restoration is the acquisition of a wooden nose from Terry Frazer of Oxbow, Sask. This nose section is in excellent condition except for a small portion at the rear which can be easily repaired. We wish to THANK Terry for adding tremendously to this project.

Until next time, keep ’em flying.

Fleet Fawn Restoration

One of the NLS shop projects that saw some progress was the Fleet Fawn 7C. All the wings were totally dismantled by volunteers Charles and Hugh Logie and two SAIT students, Greg Morrison and Randy Wynia, who were hired for the summer under a government student employment grant.

The two lower wings are now ready to be reassembled and the top wing has the spars cleaned up and finished with spar varnish, waiting for completion of the new ribs. These ribs are well along, with the rib cap-strips all having been formed by Greg and Randy. The rib bridging is on hand in bulk, needing only to be cut to length. Still to be formed are the lower rib caps. It is hoped that our volunteers will be available again soon.

Of course, Greg and Randy are now back in the second year AME course at SAIT. They have been coming on weekends, when homework is light. One lower wing is presently nearly back together, so progress is being made. While we are a bit behind the Fleet should have “skeleton” wings by next spring.

Our THANKS go to the Lethbridge Foundation, Lethbridge, Alberta, supporters of the Fleet Fawn restoration project.

50th Anniversary – Sinking of the Tirpitz (November 12)

On November 12, 1994, our museum will unveil a display portraying the sinking of the German battleship, the Tirpitz. This battleship was the sister ship of the famed “Bismarck” and it preyed on shipping that was delivering war materials to Russia from the U.S.A. It was considered such a threat that several attempts were made throughout the war to destroy it. The more successful raids were made by Lancasters.

The final raid was made by 29 Lancasters, specially fitted for long range, flying out of Lossiemouth, Scotland. They carried the 12400 pound “Tallboy” bomb, which was designed to penetrate the thick armour plate of the Tirpitz.

The new display will be unveiled at 1:30 p.m. November 12 by Dr. Maggie Tweedle, daughter of F/O Douglas Tweedle (RAF), one of the Lancaster pilots who participated in the final attack. We also hope to have others on hand who were a part of this operation.

Don Miler Donation

Over the last couple of years your curator has communicated with Square Footer member Don Miller of Cranbrook, B.C. He was the navigator with the first “all Canadian crew” of WWII (434 Sqd.) and had made 37 operations when he contracted polio. After being hospitalized for many weeks he was shipped home, with all his military equipment.

Don has now donated all of this gear to our museum. Included among these artifacts are such items as a flying helmet complete with goggles, all flight clothing including “escape boots,” gloves, etc. Also included with the donation are several ops maps, navigator’s tools, and most unique, a Smith & Wesson revolver. This latter item has a unique history, in so much as it was a U.S.A., “Lend Lease” item and Don had much red tape to clear up before he could register it after the war ended. This artifact will go on display next year once the legalities are complied with. It will be made permanently non-functioning.

Don Miller has had to live with the effects of having had polio. He spent the first 25 years on crutches and has been confined to a wheel chair since. He has, in spite of this handicap, supported his family as a certified accountand and is now retired.

Our Society wishes to extend a most grateful THANKS ot Don Miller for his donations and for choosing our museum to display his WWII artifacts and memorabilia. Thanks also for his support as a Square Footer

Montana Antique Aircraft

As mentioned in our Spring newsletter, the Montana Antique Aircraft Assoc. was scheduled to fly in to NLS Flight Director John Green’s airstrip near Nanton. They did indeed arrive and were one of hte most pleasant groups we have had in the museum.

The Nanton Lions Club served up a beef-on-a-bun midday meal for these flyers who were enroute for an over night stop at Airdrie, AB and later to points farther north.

They flew over Nanton at intervals as they left for Airdrie in the afternoon. Many Town residents drove out to view the fantastic display of airplanes of yester-year!

Montana Antique Aircraft Assoc, pilots, you are all welcome at our museum and to the Nanton community anytime! THANKS for the flypast!

The Treasurer’s Desk

Many members will find an insert included with the newsletter requesting membership renewals for 1995. Members purchasing “square Footer” memberships ($100) receive a five year membership and those who purchased a “square-foot” when the program began in 1990 will also find an insert, as their memberships will soon expire. We hope all members will renew as our membership base is most important to the Society, financially and in many other ways.

We have a number of members who are converting their Square-Footer memberships to Lifetime memberships by making a number of payments. If you wish to support the Society in this way, we will certainly accommodate whatever arrangements you wish to make.

The Society receives some limited support from governments to hire summer students and assistance through looter funds for some specific projects. However, it is private donations which provide our operating funds and the money required to develop our displays and complete restoration projects on the Lancaster and other aircraft.

Unexpected opportunities, such as our CF-100 acquisition, have significant costs associated with them. This display will certainly pay off in the long term by attracting visitors to the museum.

Please help us if you can; official tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 or more.

President’s Report

We cannot claim like some other museums, that our premiere attraction is 200,000,000 years old. It is only 50 years of age. However, this puts it in the period when human beings created it, flew in it, and, of course, died in it. the unique characteristic of our main attraction and theme “Bomber Command,” is that a great many of the young men and women who took part in that history making epoch are with us today to share their memories

I have listened to so many stories told from the heart, as evidenced by the brave attempts to hold back the teary eyes. When Grandad is pouting out to his grandson where he sat in that “big black bomber, ” history comes alive. When hundreds of kids each year, climb into our old Anson, and suddenly become brave pilots over Germany, Grandad’s stories take on a new relevance.

Yes, life in our museum takes many forms. Be it the senior volunteer who runs the museum, or the young energetic person donating their talents to restoring an aircraft, it all breaths life into that dormant entity called an air museum.

You never know who is going to walk through the front door. This summer I had the pleasure of touring a variety of supportive and interesting people. they ranged from former members of the Dutch underground to German survivors of Allied Bombing; from an exuberant class of Grade three students to an author searching for a WWII book on BCATP airfields, from a British General to a war widow who insisted on donating her late husband’s uniform.

Believe me, we are creating together something that breathes life into the community and everyone involved with it. At times we wish we had the money to “create life” through a computer gave or simulation of a “bombing op,” but that is not what is important. The important thing is to remember why we devoted our energies to saving an old airplane — so succeeding generations can get a feel for the lives of those who flew, built and maintained them.

Dan Fox

Editor’s Desk

You may have noted that this newsletter has been formatted with a new program. We hope you find it easier to read. There have been other changes this past summer as well. A Harvard fuselage (on loan) now graces the hangar part of the museum, as does a Link Trainer table. In the small artifact area many new displays can now be seen. the Andy Kindret paintings make a remarkable addition.

The shop has had its busiest summer yet. With the two SAIT Aircraft Mechanic students, Greg and Randy employed over summer, a lot has been accomplished. The Anson now sits on its wheels and the engines are mounted (looks a bit like an airplane) and the Fleet wings are now ready for reassembly. Greg and Randy helped out greatly.

Our Society appreciates the continuing support of the Alberta Museums Association. Many of our current projects such as the Interpretive signage, Anson Cockpit, and the upcoming Lancaster undercarriage display, are supported by looter funds from the AMA Project Grants Program. Our THANKS to the AMA for their continuing help in upgrading our displays.

Our tour guides did an exceptional job this past tourist season of looking after visitors and imparting information about our artifacts. They managed to make the museum come alive as they and our volunteers emphasized that this museum is also about human beings

It is increasingly evident that we are going to need more room in the near future. There is room to lengthen the building by 60 feet. An estimate for such an expansion (7200 square feet) indicates a cost of $200,000. We must soon address this issue. IS there a philanthropist out there who might start the ball rolling by partially funding this project?

The Town of Nanton has given us an industrial lot to place a storage building on, for artifacts now stored outside. Again funds are needed.

That our museum will continue to grow is a certainty and with it will com the funding. We only have to look to the immediate past, just a little over three years ago the “Lanc” was still outside and a museum building seemed remote.