Newsletter – 2002 Fall and Winter

NLS Members Receive Medal

On Saturday, October 26, a ceremony was held at the Mewata Armories in Calgary, where Nanton residents, Joe English and Sid Duthie, along with other WWII veterans received a “Thank You Canada” medal. This medal was given in recognition to Canadians who were involved in the liberation of Holland in 1945. Dutch Consul, Irene Bakker, presented the medals on behalf of the people of Holland.

Medal recipient, ex-Lancaster pilot, Joe English, participated in the last “bombing” operation of WWII which was dubbed “Operation Manna.” this entailed the dropping of food to the starving Dutch people as the war was ending. When notified that he was to receive the medal, Joe English’s reaction was, “I was really surprised – I’m actually picking up the medal for my crew.”

the other medal recipient, Sid Duthie, a long-time NLS member and volunteer was with the Canadian army when Holland was liberated from the Nazis.

The Society extends congratulations to Joe English and Sid Duthie upon their receiving this honour!

Joe English with medal.

Salute To The BCATP

This summer’s special event focused on the opening of our new British Commonwealth Air Training Plan display that includes a special emphasis on No. 5 EFTS at High river. Our wonderful model of the base, created by Larry and Debra Kunz, was unveiled by members of Jock Palmer’s family. Jock was one of the original instructors at the #5 EFTS and went on to serve as Chief Flying Instructor and commanding officer at the base. He was awarded the AFC for his efforts. Our commissioned painting by John Rutherford depicts the arrival of the first two Cornells at the base in October, 1942. It was unveiled by Dan Fox and former No. 5 flying instructor Gordon Jones. Featured also was the colour movie made by Owen Fauvel when he instructed there, that provides a great record of the station.

Owen was one of several special guests who spoke to a capacity crowd under the wing of the Lancaster. Others included Ted Barris, author of “Behind the Glory,” Gordon Jones, a former flight instructor at No. 5 who continues to fly his Tiger Moth, and Capt. Ray Hansford who is currently involved with the NATO Flight Training Program at Moose Jaw.

Capt. Hansford had flown to Nanton in a Harvard II, one of the aircraft currently being used for flight training, and he provided a beautiful demonstration as part of the fly-past to salute the BCATP. Other participants were Byron Reynolds, who led a trio of World War II Harvards, Alex Bahlsen in his Boeing Stearman, John Phillips with his Chipmunk, and Gordon Jones’ Tiger Moth flown by Mark Whitfield.

Following the dinner, Ted Barris spoke on Canada’s contribution to the Allied effort in the Korean War and Capt. Hansford provided details of the very successful NATO Flight Training Program in place at Moose Jaw and Cold Lake.

The following day the museum participated in the placing of a permanent memorial at the site of No. 5 EFTS.

Capt. Ray Hansford tells of his air force experiences and about the Canadian Forces new Harvard II primary training aircraft. Ray has served with the RCAF, RAF, and RNZAF and has many hours instructing in a variety of military aircraft.

Owen Fauvel, former WWII instructor at #5 EFTS, stands beside a TV monitor in the museum. Showing on the monitor is a scene from the wartime movie film (now converted to video) he made in 1944 of the operations at #5 EFTS.

Al Lyon, director of the Alberta Aviation Museums Association, Edmonton, presents a banner from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Government of Canada, to Dan Fox. This is to be shared by all the Alberta aviation museums. Al took the banner back afterwards to officially present it to eath of these museums, situated at Calgary, Wetaskiwin, and Edmonton. The NLS will get to display it at a later date.

Visitors attending the August 24 event examine the model of #5 EFTS after it had been unveiled by members of Jock Palmer’s family.

The three Hrvards from Westaskiwin fly past in formation led by Byron Reynolds.

Gordon Jones’ Tiger Moth.

Alex Bahlsen’s Stearman.

John Philips’ Chipmunk.

Harvard II flown by Capt. Ray Hansford.

The Canadian Forces helicopter which attended the August 24 event was flown in by a 408 squadron crew from Edmonton.

Fall Cleanup

Cadets and their leaders from the Elk Valley Cadet Squadron travelled to Nanton to help with the Society’s Fall cleanup day. This group has been here several times before, for both spring and fall cleanups at the museum.

Clean-up this time was not in the museum but at the storage yard on curator Bob Evans’ acreage. Assisting the cadets were a number of local Society members.

Much progress was made in clearing the area. A large dumpster was filled with unusable materials while another trailer was filled with scrap metal. Another such cleanup will be organized for next year.

The Society extends a GRATEFUL THANKS to the Elk Valley Cadets and to Ron Mueller, Champion Alberta, who generously donated the use of his enclosed trailer for transporting scrap aluminum. Ron took the load to Calgary, sold the metal, and gave the proceeds to NLS.
THANKS also to Aldo Raffin for using his large front-end loader tractor to compact the materials in the dumpster so that a tarp could be installed.

Financial Report

On October 28, the Society presented the Town of Nanton with a cheque in the amount of $8000. This payment was the final installment on a $40,000 interest-free loan, arranged in 1996 to assist with the funding of the major expansion of the museum building, that took place in 1997.

With this taken care of, the Society’s directors are looking ahead to future projects. One is the paving of the area to the east of the museum. This will enable the Lancaster and other aircraft to be rolled out onto a hard surface for outdoor display and engine run-ups as well as providing additional paved parking for our visitors. The second major project is the building expansion to the north that will eventually house three additional aircraft and other museum displays and facilities.

Our 26,000 square foot building and everything in it has been largely paid for by individual donations. If we are to continue to progress we will require the on-going support of our members and visitors. Please remember that individual donations provide the opportunity for matching funds through lottery-supported government programs.

We encourage you to assist by supporting the Society financially as best you can. This year donators of $100 or more will receive a copy of “FM159 -The Lucky Lancaster.” This recent publication by the Society tells the story of the aircraft that started the most successful venture that became the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum.

Dave Birrell

Manager’s Report

It is now two years since I became, first part-time, now full-time Manager of the museum. Wow, how time flies! I am kept very busy doing all aspects of keeping the museum running smoothly for the directors, volunteers and visitors. It is a challenge trying to keep on top of all the paper work involved, with accounting, collections and administrative work.
However, I still have to say that this is the most rewarding and enjoyable position I have ever had the privilege to be employed in. Being involved daily with the directors, volunteers and visitors continually brings about many new experiences and learning opportunities. I am now entering my sixth year of involvement with the museum and still enjoy every minute of every day. Having the opportunity to get involved in air shows, fly-ins, and taking flights in unique aircraft is the highlight of my life.

Per Ardua Ad Astra

Lea Norman

Lea Norman in the front cockpit of Alex Bahlsen’s Stearman at the Society’s July 13 Fly-In.
Alex spent several hours taking people for rides in his vintage bi-plane.

North American Yale

Restoration of the museum’s North American Yale has progressed tremendously over the last year. As we mentioned in our Spring newsletter, the rear fuselage had been under restoration in the museum shop over winter. This has been completed except for installation of flare tube opening hardware.

What has brought the project along greatly is the airworthy restoration of the front tubular fuselage section by the Society’s good friend Marcus Stephenson, owner of Allwood Furniture, Calgary, Alberta. Marcus had this component x-rayed and repaired by an AME friend in Calgary. He then painted it himself and delivered it to the museum! All this at no cost to the Society. Marcus is also restoring his own N.A. Yale to flying condition. The Society has helped him with parts and will help again whenever possible.

The Society extends a GRATEFUL THANKS to Marcus Stephenson for his help in making this project viable. The restoration of the Yale with his assistance will be the first airworthy restoration of an aircraft by the NLS museum.

The next component that will be restored in the museum shop over winter is the wing centre-section. Again it will be restored to airworthy condition. The team of AME Greg Morrison, volunteer Bob Long, an AME John Philips will be doing the work.

The Society is looking for additional components, in particular a Wright 975 engine and a restorable set of wings. The two wings now on hand are not in great shape and would require great effort to restore. If anyone reading this knows where wo might obtain a restorable set of wings and/or other items, please contact the curator at the museum.

The Society’s friend and mentor, Marcus Stephenson is seen here beside the Yale fuselage frame that he had restored to airworthy status for the museum. Seen in the background is the Yale’s rear fuselage in its jig. It has also been restored as airworthy by volunteer AME Greg Morrison,assisted by AME John Philips and volunteer Bob Long. It is nearly ready for painting which Marcus has offered to do!

Anson Project Update

Progress is being made in the restoration of “Annie” even though the visitor may not yet see an actual improvement to the airframe exhibited. One upgrade to the fuselage is the temporary installation of the wood formers. In addition to this the floor that will be mounted between the wing centre-section spars is nearing completion. This work is being done by Anson restoration team members Harry Volk and Rob Pedersen. The team lost member Jack Hicks, who has moved back to Regina. Jack’s enthusiasm and energy is sorely missed. The Society wishes Jack and his wife all the best in their new home.

Presently on display along with “Annie’s” fuselage is a Jacobs engine display showing the history of this engine. This display was made up by member Doug Holt, of Coaldale, Alberta. The Society had given Doug a derelict Jacobs L6 engine to restore and mount. This engine will be returned for display along with the other engines in the museum’s collection.

Harry Volk and Rob Pedersen assembling another Anson floor. Jack Hicks is working on another project in the background. Jack is no longer with us having moved to Regina, Saskatchewan.

Halifax Instrument Panel

Long-time NLS members, Peter and Paul Whitfield of Sarnia, Ontario, are presently constructing a main instrument panel for a Halifax bomber for eventual display in the museum. While the panel itself will be a new fabrication, the instruments and controls will be authentic. Many of the instruments were the same as those in the Lancaster and can still be obtained. When completed, this panel will add another dimension to the museum’s present Halifax display.

Society members who have been with us some time will remember Paul and Peter as the father/son team who have traveled to Nanton, over the past 10 years, to spend two weeks working on Lancaster FM 159. They have over the years replaced the broken Plexiglas in the cockpit canopy, restored the front gun turret, traced wiring, and worked toward the eventual running of the Lancaster’s engines.

CAPA Conference

The most successful CAPA conference to date was held October 25 to 27, at the British Columbia Air Museum, in Sydney, B.C. It was attended by 74 delegates from 26 air museums across Canada. NLS was represented by president Dan Fox, treasurer Dave Birrell, curator bob Evans, and director Bob Long.

Unfortunately plans to fly into Comox, on Thursday to visit the Comox Military Museum, and a bus trip to Sprout Lake to see the Martin Mars water bombers were scrapped due to Comox being fogged in all day. After a five hour delay waiting for weather to clear at Comox the Calgary “WestJet” flight flew directly to Victoria airport with many disappointed delegates.
The opportunity to rub shoulders with our contemporaries from other parts of Canada is probably the most beneficial part of these get-togethers. Helping each other with parts, information, etc., has benefited nearly every museum. Also having the conference in a different location each year lets everyone see first hand what other museums are doing.
Your Society delegates definitely came home with some new ideas and with a potential trade involving a set of restorable wings for the Yale project. The B.C. Aviation Museum’s Anson project was another item of interest. The wing for this is being built in three pieces to facilitate ease of construction. Ideas were gleaned for future displays such as a model which visually demonstrates how a radial engine works.

NLS delegates extend a special THANKS to BCAM president Stan Henderson and his group for their hospitality and for hosting a great convention!

Some of the 74 CAPA delegates. Dan Fox and Dave Birrell in foreground.

Vulunteer Donates Kiosk

Society volunteer Walter Montgomery, who is 80 years young, almost single-handedly built the kiosk seen in the photo below. In addition to the much needed kiosk he also built and donated the gift shop display walls and racks that can be seen in the background.
The Society extends a very grateful THANKS to Walter Montgomery for this great addition to the museum and for his continuing interest!

D.R. Compass Delivered

In February 2002 through the efforts of member Peter Whitfield the Society purchased a D.R. compass in England. As conventional transportation was cost prohibitive, we contacted our good friend Air Canada Captain Karl Kjarsgaard. Once again Karl agreed to help us out by picking up the compass on his next scheduled flight to London.
The compass arrived in Canada via the cockpit of a Boeing 767 after much questioning and explanations at airport security. One of Karl’s comments was “not once did we need to use it for navigation!”

A grateful THANKS to Karl for delivering the compass and for his continued interest in our efforts.

Airline Captain Karl Kjarsgaard delivering the DR compass purchased in England.

The “Rocky” Air Show

On September, 15, the Lancaster Air Museum was well represented at an excellent, well attended fly-in and air show in Rocky Mountain House. We have a special relationship with the Rocky Flying Club through Mourice Galli who has volunteered his painting and other talents to the museum for a number of years. Maurice was the key to an arrangement whereby a T-33 Silver Star, acquired by the Society, is now on display at the entrance to the “Rocky” airport.

Prior to the airshow, the T-33 was officially placed on display with the unveiling of a plaque that recognized the cooperation of the Rocky Flying Club and the Nanton Lancaster Society.
The airshow featured three armed forces CF-18s and other military and civilian aircraft. Alex Bahlsen arranged for museum manager Lea norman and others to be flown to the airshow aboard his Aerostar. Alex also participated in the airshow by flying up in his Stearman that carries the “Nanton Lancaster Air Museum’s” name. THANKS ALEX!

T-33 and Rocky Mountain House group.

Plaque credits NLS for helping the Rocky group with the T-33 project.

The photo above shows the exterior of the museum’s new entryway. This 480 square foot expansion makes more room for large groups visiting the museum as well as additional space for wall and floor displays.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology AME student, Jon Reid, hired under a grant program, spent two months this summer working in the museum shop. Jon accomplished many tasks around the musum while working on the Lancaster, Blenheim, Cessna Crane, Beech Expeditor and Harvard.

The photo below shows the latest reproduction of nose art that was on display in the museum for the August event.This is the work of Clarence Simonsen, of Airdrie, Alberta.Clarence is one of the world’s authorities on nose art and has recently published a book based on his 35 yearsof research into this art form which probably saw its peak during WWII.He is an accomplished artist having reproduced nose art from photos of aircraftthat were lot during the war or destroyed afterwards.Visitors to the NLS museum can look forward to more of this art form being exhibited here in the future.THANKS to Cclarence fo adding this unique art to our museum.

Here Clarence is caught painting the finishing touches to the “Ell Cat” nose art
that now graces the starboard side of the Lancaster Cabin section mockup.

Letters Received

June 2, 2002
Dear Dave Birrell:
Just a note to let you know that I received your book, “FM159, The Lucky Lancaster,” and that I really appreciate being remembered as being one of those lucky enough to be part of the story of FM159. It brought back a lot of memories of those years at Comox with 407 Squadron. Years that I remember as the best of times in my Air Force career.
I thank you and the Society very much and hope to drop in at the Nanton Lancaster Museum sometime this summer.

Hank Strandlund

    Calgary, Alberta

In Memorium For

* George White *
of Nanton, Alberta, passed away on August 24, 2002, after a brief illness. George was one of the “triumvirate” who purchased Lancaster FM 159 and donated it to the town of Nanton. It was him who had the original idea that thissurplus bomber would make a great tourist attraction for the town.
George was a founding member of the Nanton Lancaster Society, a lifetime member, and its first president.He will be sorely missed by the group as he was involved right up to his passing.

* Jeannie Currie *
of Vancouver, B.C., wife and lifetime companion of long-time NLS member Don Currie, passed away October 23, 2002.

* Don Walkey *
of Lacombe, Alberta, who was a crew member on Lancaster FM-159 and one of the NLS’s earliest lifetime members, passed away in the summer.

* William Henry Grout *
of Murnaby, B.C., passed away May 1, 2002. He flew 39 operations with #75 Squadron (NZ) RAF as rear gunner.He was a Square Footer member.

The Nanton Lancaster Society extends deepest sympathy to the families and friends of these members.
May God Bless.

Copyright 2010, Nanton Lancaster Society