Newsletter – 2001 Spring and Summer

2001 Special Event Will Salute The Lancaster

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first flight of the Lancaster. With this in mind the Society will “return to its roots” and focus on this very special aircraft at our annual summer event to be held August 18, 2001. The planning of special displays, presentations and guest speakers is currently under way as we focus on the Lancaster’s design, construction, wartime operation, post-war history, and the restoration and preservation of this remarkable aircraft.
Details of the day’s agenda and ticket costs for the informal dinner will be forwarded to all members in June.

The Bazalgette Lancaster F2-T (FM-159) will be the central attraction August 18, 2001.
The first Lanc flew 60 years ago.

Women At War Display (Official Opening May 26, 2001

The year 2001 marks the 60th anniversary of the forming of the Women’s Division of the RCAF. During WWII some 17,000 Canadian women volunteered and served in 65 non-combatant trades with the RCAF. British women were already involved in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAFs) beginning with service in WWI. Women served in many other ways. The success and accomplishments of these women is the focus of the Women at War exhibit.

We extend an invitation to all to join the Society in commemorating the women veterans of the RCAF- WDs, the WAAFs, Airforce Nurses, and others. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m.,Saturday, May 26/01. Guest speakers will include, WD Lynn Wallace, WAAF Cecilia Douglas, and Lancaster Pilot Joe English.

Also on the program is a presentation of the Nanton Lancaster Society’s educational programming plan. A plaque honouring the women veterans will be unveiled.

An informal luncheon with entertainment by Brenda Moore will be held in the Nanton Community Hall at 12:00 p.m. Luncheon tickets are $10 each and are available by contacting Lea Norman at the museum, Cecilia Douglas at 403-207-9103 or Margaret Smith at 403-274-6873.

The Bruce Warren Memorial

Spring will be even more special at the museum this year. The Bruce Warren Memorial Garden that was prepared and planted last fall by Jim and Pauline Wiersma will be an attractive addition.

One of Nanton’s Warren twins, Bruce, was killed 50 years ago while testing the prototype CF-100 following an oxygen system malfunction. A special ceremony will be held this summer to dedicate the garden to Bruce Warren’s memory. A full report will be found in the fall newsletter.

Second Annual Fly-In (Saturday, July 21, 2001)

Bomber Command Association, Nanton Squadron #6, in conjunction with Nanton Lancaster Air Museum, is co-sponsoring our second Annual Invitational Fly-In on Saturday, July 21, at the A J Flying Ranch. Our event last year was a great success in spite of an early morning storm.

The mile-long east-west paved airstrip is four miles east of Cayley, Alberta: G.P.S. coordinates are N50-27-32 and W113-45-46. We anticipate over 60 aircraft from flying clubs and associations across Alberta. We invite all to come and enjoy meeting friendly pilots and have a close-up look at a wide variety of flying machines. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for a nominal fee.

Nanton Squadron #6 supports many endeavours of the Lancaster Museum and welcomes new members. Contact Sqdn. Comdr. Tink Robinson (403-646-5519) or Sect. Bob Braid (403-646-2878) if you wish more information about Squadron activities.

Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum Foundation

With the intention of helping to provide stable operating funds for the museum, the Society has established the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum Foundation.

Money donated to the Foundation will be placed in stable long-term investments. The interest from these investments will provide continuing operating revenues for the museum in the future. Members wanting to see their donation used for the long-term viability of the museum may ask that it be directed to the Foundation.

A special board with plaques carrying the names of Foundation supporters has been built to compliment those that now exist for wing-commander club, lifetime, square-footer, and corporate members.

Anson Report

Progress is being made on the Anson Mk.II which has been on hold for some time. On Tuesday work nights, Harry Volk and John Green have teamed up to complete the three centre fuselage floors and gone on to cutting out the fuselage formers. Harry has been making templates for the formers from the drawings on hand.

Project leader Rob Pedersen has now moved to Nanton from High River and when settled in will also be part of the crew on Tuesday work nights. Rob, his daughter Krista, friend Vicki, and Vicki’s son and daughter, have been working intermittently on other days of the week. They have restored several smaller components of the Anson over the past few months.
In the next few years we expect an Anson to arise from the multitude ofcomponents now being restored.

Harry Volk and John Green restoring the floors for the Anson Mk.II. Harry is a new resident of Nanton and has formerly volunteered at the Calgary Aero Space Museum and at the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island.

Anson floor frames under construction

Cessna Crane

The Cessna Crane is a military version of the Cessna T-50, designed as a five-seat, light transport commercial aircraft, first flown in 1939. the Crane began service as an advanced, twin-engined trainer with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941.

This aircraft designated as AT-17 and UC-78 was also used by the United States Army Air Force. In the U.S.A. it acquired the nickname “Bamboo Bomber” because of the aircraft’s largely wood construction.

At the beginning of the second World War, the British-built Airspeed Oxford and Avro Anson Mk.I were the only twin-engined trainers available for service with the British commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) in Canada. Originally the American-built Cessna Crane was intended to serve only a mnor role (initially 180 were ordered in 1940) until the Canadian built Avro Anson Mk.IIs were available in greater numbers. However, by January of 1941, 644 Cranes had been taken on strength by the RCAF. A total of 820 Cranes saw service with the BCATP and the RCAF up until 1947.

Cessna Crane in flight

The NLS Crane

This aircraft was registered to E.A. Mahood of Westview, BC., in 1952-3 with the Canadian registration of CF-HGM. Other than for this period of time, its history is unknown. In 1995 the late Lloyd Drake of Lundbreck, Alberta, found it stored in the USA and purchased it as a restoration project, thus returning it to Canada. It was donated to the Society by Mrs. Elaine Brake last year.

This Crane’s serial No. 3760 indicates that this aircraft is a model UC-78, so it was not likely used in Canada during the war. UC-78 Serial numbers 3601 to 4031 were built from 7/13/42 to 3/26/43 and went to the United States Army Air Force, Even so, #3760 is representative of the Cranes which did serve in the BCATP.

The aircraft is displayed in the condition it was acquired and awaits restoration.

The unrestored fuselage of Crane #3760

Gordon Jones (60 Years Later – Flying A Tiger Moth)

In 1941 at the age of 18 Gordon Jones of Saskatoon, Sask. joined the RCAF. He completed elementary flying training in Tiger Moths at High River, AB., and service flying training on Ansons at Fort Macleod, AB. He received his wings in December 1941 at Fort Macleod. In January 1942 he was sent to Trenton, Ont., for a two month instructor’s course. Gordon returned to High River on an extended “leave of absence” to instruct at the civilian operated #5 EFTS. Eight months later when the base was turned overto the RCAF, he continued on as a BCATP flight instructor. In November 1944 when #5 EFTS closed Gordon transferred to Hagersville, Ontario where he instructed in Harvard’s until the war ended.

In 1994 Gordon purchased the restored, airworthy Tiger Moth #1214 which coincidentally had been used for night flying instruction at High River. His log book shows wartime entries where he had flown it ten times. Of the nearly 100 Tiger Moths stationed at High River, #1214 was one of 16 that was equipped for night flying by 1942.

The “fly-past” at the Society’s August 18, 2001, event, will see Gordon Jones flying his former BCATP, trainer, marking 60 years since his first flight in a Tiger Moth. This remarkable combination of man and machine have been part of many NLS fly-past’s in recent years.
Gordon and his wife Linora, whom he married in 1944, have five children. After retiring from many years of farming in the High River area they spent six years operating a charter flight service and flight training school at the High River airport. Gordon has played an active role in his community spending 15 years as a Foothills M.D. councilor and 33 years as a Rotarian. He is also a member of the International Flying Farmerâs and a long time supporter of the Nanton Air Museum.

Gordon Jones flying his Tiger Moth

New Engine Displays

Three engines, two of which were donated to the museum last year, have been cleaned, painted, and are now on display. Included are a Kinner B-5, a six cylinder de Havilland Gipsy Queen, and a twelve cylinder Allison V-1710.

All the engines exhibited in the museum have had their signage upgraded giving the visitor better information about their use and the aircraft they powered.

The Kinner B-5 engine pictured here was donated to the museum by Mrs. Dora Petersen, Calgary, AB. It came complete with all accessories and mounted on a stand. It is hoped this engine will be ready to run as an extra attraction during the Society’s annual August event.

As this newsletter goes to press the Kinner is being prepared for display by volunteer
“Buck” Koral of High River, with assistance from other shop volunteers.

The above engine is a de Havilland Gipsy Queen. It was used on several aircraft including the D.H. Dragon Rapide, the D. H. Dove and others. It was originally labeled the Gipsy Six, but the RAF referred to it as the “Queen.” This engine was made ready for display by volunteer Jack Craig.

The 12 cylinder Allison V-1710 engine pictured here was donated by Milt and Bonnie Ulle, Foremost, AB. This engine type was used in several WWII aircraft. The display engine is the port engine from a P-38. “Buck” Koral assisted by other volunteers worked on this display.

Blenheim L-WV Touch-Ups

When the museum’s Blenheim was unveiled in August 2000, some components were still missing. The upper cowlings were not in place nor were the ailerons and starboard elevator. Some of the Plexiglas was yet to be installed.

Over winter the elevator was restored and covered with fabric. The ailerons are presently under restoration.

To date we are still searching for original upper cowling sections and engine nacelles components (in any condition). Acquiring such would certainly speed up the process of getting the engines totally enclosed. If these items are not found in the near future, work will go ahead on making them from scratch. Once all the above items are restored and/or made, they will be painted and installed.

The remaining Plexiglas to complete the cockpit canopy will be formed shortly. Charley Cobb, one of our Calgary volunteers, has restored and installed odds and ends like the pivot head and the antenna mast.

This summer should see the missing parts of the Blenheim in place and this project entirely completed as a static display.

The Barry Davidson Memorial Blenheim

Treasurer’s Report

Our Society continues to operate within a stable financial framework that strikes a balance between minimizing operating costs, presenting the history in a dynamic and interesting way, and developing the museum in a manner that is sustainable into the future.
From time-to-time the question of continuing on an “Admission by Donation” basis is discussed. Our policy has always been, and continues to be, that we want to make the history available to everyone who wishes to see it no matter what they are able to, or choose to, contribute. However, at the same time we attempt to make all our visitors aware that it is only through donations that we have been able to develop and operate the facility.
Our members are the backbone of the Society and we encourage you to renew your membership and encourage friends to join. As our new entrance signs point out, members of the Society are not expected to donate at the door. Please advise our staff if you are a member when you visit.

Museum Manager (by Lea Norman)

On September 1, 2000, I was employed as “half-time” Museum Manager. Previous to that I had worked at the museum part-time doing administrative work, attending monthly meetings, etc., since November 1997. Becoming”Museum Manager” was, from my point of view, my “dream” job!

With several of my family members having served in the Canadian Military during and after the war and having also worked for the military in Edmonton, my interest in the museum and its focus on WWII history was a “built-in.”

During the past three years my interest in everything about the museum has grown and because of this, the half-time paid position has become “full-time” with my additional volunteer hours.

I am eternally grateful to the Society for the opportunity and privilege of being part of this great effort.

Lea Norman in the museum office – she is the Society’s first “full time – part time” employee

Halifax Bomb Bay Door

Pictured above is a Halifax bomb bay door that was given to NLS by “57 Rescue,” a Scottish , aircraft recovery group that investigates WWII crash sites. Transportation from Scotland was courtesy of No. 415 Squadron Greenwood, N.S. NLS extends a grateful THANKS to 57 RESCUE and 415 Sqdrn. for the Halifax bomb bay door.

North American Yale

Yale # 3404 will be the summer project for the NLS shop if, as in the past, NLS obtains a student employment grant for hiring first year AME students from the two-year AME program at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

The Yale project was placed on a “back burner” over the last two years, while efforts were concentrated on the restoration of the Blenheim bomber. With the Blenheim now in the final stages of restoration, the Yale will become this summerâs project for the AME students. As first year AME students are fresh from their sheet metal instruction, the wing restoration will be concentrated on first.

Marcus Stephenson, Calgary, a good friend of the Society has in the last two years restored the Yale’s engine mount and fuselage forward tubing section. The fuselage can now be assembled on its undercarriage, while awaiting restoration of the wings.

Restoration of N. A. Yale #3404 will commence this summer. When completed it will look like the one pictured above.

Lancaster Restoration

The ongoing restoration of the Lancaster continues. Over the winter Don Ellis, a new member/volunteer, restored the flight engineer’s seat and is in the process of installing the proper Plexiglas nose “bubble.” The bubble that was previously on the aircraft was an extra one made for the museum’s Lancaster cabin section mock-up (from the movie, Map of the Human Heart). This bubble was not molded for proper mounting on the “real” Lancaster.
The proper nose bubble was made for NLS in a joint effort with the Calgary Aero Space Museum (CASM) a few years ago.

Volunteer John Phillips, from High River, AB, has taken on the job of coordinating the restoration of the Lancaster to a state where the engines are runnable and the aircraft is taxiable. John, is a retired AME. He also has pilot licenses for both helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. Under his direction, a group of our volunteers will commence installing new wiring in the cockpit and engine locations on the “old bird” this summer. Installation of the restored navigator’s table in the cockpit is planned as well.

Several more upgrades of the Lanc will happen in the next few months. The Whitfield family from Sarnia, Ontario, are expected to spend two weeks in June working on FM-159. This will be the eighth year that the Whitfields, Paul, Louise and son Peter have worked at restoring the Lanc! They plan to install the Plexiglas in the front gun turret and continue working toward getting the engines “runnable.”

Lancaster FM-159 is in the process of having a new nose bubble installed. The photo shows volunteer Don Ellis in the process of fitting  and installing the specially-made bubble

Glen White from Perth, Australia, stands with NLS President Dan Fox
under the nose of Lancaster F2-T. Glen volunteers with the Air Force Assoc. Museum in Perth and works on their Lancaster. He visited the NLS museum in February.

John Green built the 14 sign stands shown above standing in the museum shop. Dave Birrell made up the new display signage for them. Material cost was very minimal as John made use of worn disks from a farm implement and scrap pipe. More improvements to our signage is planned. This is just one example of recent upgrading of displays in the museum.

New signage is now in place beside both the north and south bound lanes of Hwy 2.
Local sign painter, Brenda McMasters, made the large signs. The smaller “flip” signs indicate either, “Open Weekends (winter months) or “Open Daily” (May 1 to October 31,) were made, painted, and installed by NLS volunteer Jim Wiersma. A grant obtained by the Town of Nanton and local Chamber of commerce funded the special sign mounting structures for these and other town signage.

In Memorium

Charles (Chuck) Godfrey DFC of Bridgnorth, Shropshire

passed away March 2001.

Chuck was the navigator on the crew of Lancaster F2-T piloted by S/L Ian W. Bazalgette VC, on its ill-fated August 4, 1944, operation where “Baz” lost his life attempting to save two wounded crew members. Chuck made it back to England and served again until the war ended.
The Nanton Lancaster Society has lost a good friend with the passing of Chuck Godfrey. He will be missed greatly by all the members who met him. Chuck had attended two Society functions in Nanton, in 1989 and again in 1992.
The Society wishes to extend deepest sympathy and God’s blessings to his family and friends.

* Duncan M. Murray DFM *
Born June 1, 1914, Campbell Town, Scotland, Duncan passed away November 2000. He enlisted in the RCAF in 1942. He went overseas as an air gunner and flew a tour of operations in Lancasters with 44 Rhodesia Squadron RAF. Duncan was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). He was a long time member of our Society and of the Delbume/Ardley Legion Branch #142.

* Harry Dwelle *
of Nanton, AB, a long-time member, volunteer, and friend of the Lancaster Society passed away in December 2000. Harry had a long-time association with Lancaster FM-159, having helped in many ways to preserve it over the 31 years it was outside and then as a volunteer in the museum greeting visitors. He was also an active Royal Canadion Legion member.

* Leo Richer *         Windemere, BC.
* Edna Yonda *       Nanton, AB.
* Donald Brandell * Edmonton, AB.
* Keith Boyes *        Kamloops, BC.

The Nanton Lancaster Society and all its members extend deepest sympathy  to the families and friends of these former members. May God bless them.