Newsletter – 2003 Spring and Summer

The NLS And CATP Museums Assist Each Other

NLS and the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (CATPM) at Brandon, Manitoba, in recent months exchanged some very different WWII “artifacts.” At the September 2002 conference of the Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association (CAPA) held at the British Columbia Aviation Museum, Sidney, BC, NLS delegates and those of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (CATPM) at Brandon, Manitoba, discussed a possible trade, of WWII hangar doors for Yale wings. We were aware that one of the hangars at the former #19 SFTS, Vulcan, Alberta, was partially demolished and doors might be obtainable.

In late December, we were informed that the County of Vulcan had ordered a clean up of the site. NLS contacted the County and the waste services company doing the clean up of the site. Both were willing to give the Society time to remove the doors.

An expedition was staged to salvage the doors from one, 100-foot opening of this “double” hangar. Fortunately that portion of the hangar was still intact.

The unseasonably warm weather on the last two days of December assisted greatly in getting this job done. The Society hared the “Door Doctor,” Dave Gourley (he had installed the museum’s hangar doors in 2001) to help take the doors off and dismantle the tracks. Ten or so NLS volunteers showed up to help. Magwwod Motors forklift was borrowed, and Mullen Trucking was hired to place a semi-trailer on the site for loading of the doors. Later Mullen’s hauled the doors to Brandon.

The recovered doors will be used on the new shop building that CATPM plans to construct. The wartime hangar doors will help make that building conform in appearance with the WWII hangar that houses their museum.

The Yale wings will help the Society greatly with the restoration of the N.A. Yale to an airworthy status.

This is all that was left standing of the hangar being demolished at the former #19 SFTS at Vulcan when the NLS crew arrived to remove the doors Decmeber 30, 2002.

NLS President Dan Fox operates the “Magwood Motors” forklift to lower the hangar doors.
“Door Doctor” Dave Gourley and helper are doing the work up in the rafters.

Some of the Society’s volunteers who helped to remove WWII hangar doors.

CATPM director, John Robinson, and president, John McNarry, beside a set of N.A. Yale wings that they delivered to the NLS museum in March.


A special event featuring Nose Art on May 10 will start off a series of events planned for the spring and summer of 2003. The main event scheduled for August 16 commemorates the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Dam Busters raid.

There will be an event every month from May through August. A September event is also contemplated.

May 10/03 (11:00 am)
Ferguson Nose Art display dedicated.
Main speaker will be Clarence Simonsen, Airdrie, Alberta. F/O Ferguson’s widow and family will also be present. Light lunch at 12:00 pm.

May 17/03
A WWII airman will cut the ribbon to officially open the museum’s newly upgraded Dams Raid display on the actual anniversary day of this historic event of sixty years ago.

June 14-15/03
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Event.
A joint event with “Ultimate Trains,” a local business with garden railroad equipment on display. Also contributing to the day will be an antique car owners’ display.

July 19/03
A J Flying Ranch Annual Fly-In.
A fly-in of aircraft from several categories….. Flying Farmers, Antique aircraft, private owners, etc. Pancake breakfast served from 8 am to 10 am. Lunch served from 11 am to 1 pm.

August 16/03
Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the “Dam Busters” raid on the Ruhr Dams. the theme is a “Tribute to Terry Taerum.” Others who participated in this historic raid of WWII will also be recognized.

Coming Up – August 4, 2004
Society members will be climbing “Mount Bazalgette” to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of S/L Ian Willoughby Bazalgette’s heroic VC flight

Tribute To Terry Taerum (August 16, 2003)

During 2003 the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum will be commemorating the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Dams Raid. A new, multi-media museum display has been prepared and our corresponding website pages have been upgraded as well. We will be focusing on the contributions of Canadians to this historic effort, given that 29 of every 133 aircrew on the Dams raid were from Canada and thirteen of those did not return.

Our major event of the year, a “Tribute to Terry Taerum,” will be held on Saturday, August 16. Terry Taerum was born at Milo, Alberta, 70 km northeast of Nanton and went on to become W/C Guy Gibson’s navigator in the lead aircraft on the Dams Raid. the museum is the custodian of memorabilia related to F/O Taerum DFC. We are pleased that numerous members of the Taerum family will be attending. Family members of other dam Busters will be joining us as well as some N. 617 Squadron veterans.

The commemoration will take the form of a luncheon in the museum followed by various tributes to the Dam Busters. As part of the program we will be unveiling a commissioned painting by well-known aviation artist John Rutherford depicting P/O Taerum’s actions during the raid. Following the commemoration, fly-pasts of various vintage and modern aircraft will salute the Dam Busters.

A limited number of luncheon tickets will be available at a cost of $20. Further details are available on on this website. A letter will be sent out to members with information in June.

F/O Torger “Terry” Harlo Taerum.

Seven of the famous WWII “Dam Busters.”

F/Lt John Fraser Survivor Of The Dams Raid

F/Lt Fraser of Nanaimo, B.C. was the bomb-aimer aboard the second Lancaster to attack the Mohne Dam. After releasing his weapon, he parachuted from 300 feet just prior to his aircraft crashing. Subsequently he evaded the enemy for thirteen days, was captured and interrogated, and eventually sent to Stalag Luft III where he played a role in the “Great Escape.” After surviving the war he was tragically killed in an aircraft accident in 1962.
F/Lt Fraser’s wife Doris and his daughter Shere Lowe recently visited the museum and provided us with some very special memorabilia. His story, together with that of his pilot’s, will be featured in our new Dam Busters Display. The family will be participating in our special event honouring the Dam Busters on August 16.

Shere will be playing the Dam Busters March on the flute and F/Lt. Fraser’s grandson will be one of our speakers.

The Taerum Photo Album

Torger “Terry” Harlo Taerum’s mother accumulated many photos of her son from childhood and throughout his air force career. The album includes photos and news clippings of Terry’s wartime activities, especially as the navigator on Guy Gibson’s Lancaster. This very precious historic record is being restored from an accumulation of pages and materials and will be placed on display for the Dam Busters 60th anniversary event to be held August 16, 2003.

Carol Evans and Dave Birrell sort materials from the Taerum photo album in preparation for archiving.

A Cessna Crane Flys Again

One of the three Cessna Cranes acquired by Lloyd Drake of Lundbreck, Alberta, before his untimely death in the crash of an ultra-light aircraft, has flown again.

Lloyd Drake’s son, Loren, hired Alberta Aircraft Overhaul, Calgary, Alberta, to restore the aircraft. The initial work was done at the Drake farm at Lundbreck, Alberta. Greg Silcox, the company’s Quality Control Manager, assisted by two other AMEs, Lawrence Weston and Jai Wright, worked for several months restoring the aircraft to flyable condition. In December 2002, the Crane, now designated as CF-LED, was flown to Calgary where the final restoration will take place. Greg Silcox and West Jet pilot, Dave Lowing, were the pilots for this flight and the preceding taxi and flight trials at Lundbreck.

One of the two other Cessna Cranes that Lloyd Drake had acquired was donated to our museum by Lloyd’s widow, Elaine. This aircraft will eventually be restored as a static display with “runnable” engines. Lloyd had previously donated the third Cessna Crane from his collection to the Calgary Aero Space Museum.

Our Society contributed some parts for the restoration of CF-LED that were spares for our Crane project.

NNLS extends congratulations to Loren Drake and to Greg Silcox for their restoration efforts that have resulted in an airworthy Cessna Crane. We hope it might participate in the NLS July fly-in.

First taxi at Lundbreck farm where initial restoration took place.
[ Greg Silcox photo ]

First flight December 12, 2002.
[ Greg Silcox photo ]

Greg Silcox (R-background) has his first look at the Cessna Crane in storage at Lundbreck.

Building Expansion In 2005

The museum’s facility was constructed in 1991 and has been expanded twice since that time. Our collection now includes thirteen aircraft, most of which are displayed, in our 19,200 square foot hangar. The majority of our additional 7,000 square feet is used for the display of related artifacts, artwork, and interpretive information. A library and archives, restoration shop, parts storage area, and office complete the facility.

The Avro Anson, Cessna Crane, and Airspeed Oxford, that pertain directly to our museum themes, cannot all be displayed or assembled within our existing facility. Additional space is required for display and restoration of these aircraft. Two of the three aircraft are currently under restoration. As well, more space is required for additional smaller displays.
The museum has plans in place for a 64 ft. x 100 ft. building to be constructed on our leased property immediately north of the existing facility. This building would become a combined restoration shop and display area that would be connected to the existing museum. A contractor’s detailed estimate indicates the expansion will cost $258,833.

The Society would like to begin construction of the expansion in April, 2005. Indications are that the Province of Alberta will assist us in this venture through its Community Facilities Enhancement Program for funding in the amount of $125,000. Matching funding is required and thus far $50,000 has been donated towards the expansion fund. It is hoped to have the remainder in place by January 1, 2005.

Please keep in mind that donations to this project provide tax advantages and the donations will be matched by the province.

Manager’s Report

I sit at my computer composing this report on this fourth day of April, looking out the window at our “white” lawn. Is it really time for the “Spring” newsletter?

In my role as museum manager, I have done a number of things in the past few months on behalf of the museum and myself. I have completed two thirds of a series of courses through Museums Alberta which will give me a ‘Certificate in Museums Studies.’ This is a bonus for me and helps me to do my duties at the museum more professionally. Also on my agenda these last few months has been taking part in forums to try to form a Nanton Tourist group and a Regional Tourist group, in order to help all the local and regional attractions work together to save money in promotion and advertising. These forums will be a great help in trying to operate our museum using mainly donated funds and will also assist other small town museums and tourist attractions. I am happy to do my part.

As we continue to grow and thrive at the museum, I am ever grateful that we have such a terrific museum in Nanton and that I am able to work and volunteer here.

Lea Norman

Gun Turret Restoration

During the past few months Calgary volunteer Charlie Cobb has been busy nearly every Tuesday (work) night restoring the Bristol gun turret that is destined to go in the Blenheim bomber. As you can see from the photo below the turret is nearly complete, except for a few minor hydraulic fittings, painting it, and molding the Plexiglas for the cupola.

The unrestored turret, presently in the museum’s Blenheim bomber, will be replaced by the one Charlie has restored. This second turret will be restored as a display that visitors will be able to view directly. Some parts are missing for this second turret and will need to be obtained or reproduced by a machine shop.

The Society extends a grateful THANKS to Charlie Cobb for his efforts!

Volunteer Charlie Cobb stands beside the Bristol gun turret that he is restoring.

Canopy For The Lanc Mock-Up

Another project that has been on-going in the museum shop is the restoration of the forward cockpit canopy for the Lancaster mock-up cabin section. Two volunteers, Bill Houck and Russ Hall, both from High River, have been energetically working to get this completed so that it can be in place as a hands-on display, for the coming tourist season.

In the photo you can see that the frame work is painted and some of the flat Plexiglas panels have been cut to shape and temporarily installed.

When completed, the cockpit mock-up will have as many real components as are available. It will be available for visitors to access and they will be able to sit in a “real” Lancaster pilot’s seat. A special THANKS to Bill and Russ for their work in creating another “hands-on” display for the museum.

Lanc Restoration Update

The three-man Lanc restoration crew in the photo below, are presently working in the cockpit area, tracing and replacing the wiring from the instrumentation to the engines. Heading up the crew NLS director, AME John Phillips. Both Fred Hollowell (Calgary) and Merrill Honeyman (High River) are long-time members who have travelled to Nanton to work on museum projects for nearly 15 years.

Most of the wiring that pertains to engine #3 has been checked out. the crew presently has the pilot’s instrument panel out of the Lanc for checking and replacing instruments. The panel should be back in the aircraft shortly.

In January the propeller for the #3 engine was sent to Canadian Propeller Ltd. in Winnipeg. They are checking it over to make sure it is “runnable” (not making it airworthy). The Society felt, as a safety precaution, it was imperative that qualified personnel check this out before an engine start-up was attempted.

Another Lancaster upgrade presently under way is the restoration of the tail-plane components. The starboard elevator has been covered with fabric and the port elevator has been repaired and is now ready for covering.

New volunteer, Bud Lavallee, has upholstered the wireless operator’s seat and helped with rib stitching the starboard elevator. Bud has offered to do other upholstery for the museum.

Lanc restoration crew, (L-R) Fred Hollowell, John Phillips, and Merrill Honeyman.

The Lanc’s No. 3 engine minus the propeller.

Fred Hollowell and Merrill Honeyman holding a carburetor for Merlin No. 3.

NLS Publications

Two in-house publications, authored by NLS director, Dave Birrell, have recently been upgraded and reprinted. These are; “The Nanton Lancaster Air Museum,” a fifty page (8.5×11″) book that summarizes the history told at the museum as well as chronicling the development of the museum. The second book, “FM-159 – The Lucky Lancaster,” is the story of our Lancaster.

Both titles, as well as “BAZ,” the Biography of S/L Ian Bazalgette VC” are available by contacting the museum.

North American Yale

Having two AMEs on our board of directors that also volunteer in the shop has made a lot of things happen that might otherwise still be left waiting.

Due to the volunteer efforts of AME Greg Morrison, assisted by AME John Phillips, and volunteer Bob Long, the rear section of the North American Yale is now restored to airworthy status and only awaits painting. As reported in the Fall/Winter 2002 newsletter, our good friend Marcus Stephenson, Calgary, Alberta, has donated a restored forward tubing fuselage section. Two major components are now completed.

The next component to be restored is the wing center-section, which is now in the museum shop. The first step for the restoration of this item is the building of a jig. The jig is needed to make sure that in the de-skinning and replacement of other parts everything remains straight and true. Hopefully this center-section will be restored over the next year.

While the museum’s lone airworthy restoration project is well under way, there is still a long way to go before the Yale flies – but it’s going to happen!

Ten Thousand Names (Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial)

[ from F/L Karl Aalborg to F/O John Zywina ]
The bombing offensive carried out by Britain, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries during the Second World War has been described as the most grueling and continuous operation of war ever carried out. The first Canadian to be killed was Sgt. Albert S. Prince who was shot down while attacking an enemy battleship on Sept. 4, 1939. F/L William Gavin and crew were the last casualties, when their Lancaster crashed on April 30, 1945.

Throughout the five years and eight months of war, Canadians played a critical and significant role in this huge effort that eventually contributed to victory. Ten thousand Canadians were killed serving in Bomber Command.

The Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum is the only facility in Canada whose primary goal is to honour those who served with Bomber Command. to this end, the museum is in the process of creating a memorial at the museum that will list the names of every Canadian who was killed while serving with Bomber Command.

The cost of the memorial is estimated to be $10,000 and the museum is seeking contributions to support us in our efforts. If you would like to assist with this initiative, please mention the “Ten Thousand Names” project when you donate to the Society.

Beech 18 Expeditor Project

Seen in the photo below is the Beech 18’s second engine that has been completely dismantled and restored to “running” condition over the last two years. Standing with it are AME Greg Morrison (L) and Bob Long, who teamed up on this project after completing the Yale rear fuselage restoration last fall.

Both engines are still in need of usable carburetors, magnetos, and generators. Anyone reading this newsletter who knows where such items might be obtained please contact the museum curator.

Gordon Neu and Bob Long move the restored P&W engine out of the shop. It will be mounted on the museum’s Beech 18 Expeditor.


The museum website is becoming a vast source of historical information regarding Bomber Command and the BCATP as well as a way of presenting the story of our museum.
Recent additions to the site include a detailed summary of the history of our Lancaster with numerous photos of it at various points in its career, upgraded Dam Busters information, a section on the museum’s nose art collection, and numerous additions to the “Chronicles” section.

Current news, including information on upcoming special events as available as are archived newsletters. As well as providing information to visitors, the website has been responsible for numerous contacts which aid in the development of the museum. Visitation continues to grow at a remarkable rate.

The website is ably managed by one of our volunteers. Lexicom Internet Services is our corporate sponsor.

A “Wimpy” Display For NLS

Long-time friend of the Society, Winston Parker, stopped in at the museum on shop night, April 8, to show us the framed print featuring the Wellington bomber and information about this well thought of WWII twin-engined bomber which was affectionately nicknamed the “Wimpy.”

Winston, a WWII pilot and a former POW, rightly thinks the museum should have a “Wimpy” display. the story of this well thought of bomber needs to be told. The Wellington served in nearly all theatres of WWII and was still in service when the war ended.

Artifacts pertaining to this aircraft that could be used to make such a display would be very much appreciated additions to the museum. If any members or readers of this newsletter know where we might obtain such artifacts and/or memorabilia, we would definitely work up a display in the museum commemorating the Wimpy.

A piece of a wartime “Wimpy” would be the ultimate artifact!

Winston Parker holds a Wellington print.

Anson Project Update

Anyone who has been a regular visitor at the museum may see very little apparent progress. However, behind the scenes, Rob Pedersen and Harry Volk have been very busy on work nights. they have been fabricating Anson floors and getting a myriad of parts cleaned and painted for eventual installation on the Anson.

The next few months should see installation of fuselage formers and longerons as well as the floors that are nearing completion. Once this has been done many of the small parts that have been restored can be installed.

one of our more recent volunteers, Gordon Neu, (High River) has taken a Jacobs engine home to his own workshop to restore to runnable condition. That is indeed progress. Gordon, a retired (he says “just tired”) heavy duty mechanic has always been intrigued with radial engines. He now has the opportunity of dismantling and rebuilding a Jacobs engine for installation on the museum’s Anson. What a boost for the museum!

The Anson does have one “runnable” engine installed on its airframe. This is on loan from two local enthusiasts, Alvin Berger and Peter Macklin, who restored it a few years back for their own Anson project. Their project is presently on a “back burner.”

Harry Volk checks a blueprint of one of the floor sections in the Anson for placement of fittings.

BCATP Presentation

Dan Fox (L) being presented with framed documentation and photos of the historyof the High River, Alberta, airport by Bob Henderson.Bob was the coordinator of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) 60th anniversary commitee,which, in 2002, placed a monument, in the town of High River, commemorating the WWII training base.At that time, your Society assisted in placing a Commemorative Plaque, at the former entrance to the base.

The framed history, being presented to Dan Fox, includes two photos of the High River airfield,one taken in the 1920s and the other when it became a WWII training base.
The Society extends a special THANKS to Bob Henderson and the High River BCATP Commemoration Commitee for adding this historical reference to our museum

Late Breaking News (Mini Event For May 17, 2003)

The new Dam Busters display will be officially opened on May 17, 2003 at 11:00 a.m. The Society hopes to have a former WWII airman to do the honours.

The new display is much more extensive than the previous one and will include information and memorabilia of several Canadian airmen who participated in the historic Dams Raid.
Every one is welcome.!

Jim Wiersma, volunteer extraordinaire, is seen here making a new display board. In April, Jim and his wife Pauline have delivered items to Airdrie, picked up donated chairs in Calgary, and tended day to day chores at the museum. Besides this he is active in his church, the Legion, etc., etc. We Salute You Jim and Pauline!!

Letters Received

In February my wife Claire answered the phone at our home in Nanton and a voice from the past said “Hello, I’m Jack Munday.”Claire found herself shouting “Where are you?”, thinking he was nearby in our town. She knew who it was as she has heard the names of all my old Air Force crew members and had met the Canadian fellows many times over the years.
“I’m calling from England; from Lowestoft near Norwich, northeast of London!” I (Joe) heard all the shouting and commotion and came out to watch – didn’t get on to the extension until I began to hear what was going on.Finally I heard the familiar voice of my youngest crew member, our engineer, who admits he lied about his age to get into the RAF. talk about excitement for all of us.

Jack has been lost to us for 57 years despite our inquiries to find him. When the Crew broke up in the summer of 1945,once the hostilities were over, all of us realized that we now had to move into a new phase of our lives.Addresses get lost once the contact is broken.
My old buddy is a long time retiree. It was his daughter’s husband who was “surfing the net” and found the Nanton Lancaster Society website. On the site were several short stories by Joe English and this is what alerted Jack who said, “that’s my old skipper, Joe!”
The wonderful world of computers has got us together, though half a world apart.
Jack had a new, neat little BSA motorbike in ’45. Thanks to modern technology, a scanned picture arrived showing himself astride an impressive BMW touring bike. My boy has done well, eh!


February 17, 2003

Over the moon to have found your website and Joe English! Maybe I’ll pay you a visit in person one day!

Yours sincerely,

Jack Munday
Lowestoft, Suffolk, U.K.

Editor: We understand that Jack will definitely visit here in the near future.

In Memorium For

* Kenneth William Brown *
CGM, CD and Bar. Squadron Leader RCAF (Ret.) of White Rock, B.C. – passed away December 23, 2002.

He was born August 20, 1920, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Ken is survived by his loving wife Beryl of 57 years. Children: Terry (Rosemary), Mason (Marg), David (Betty), Brock (Jeannie) and Leslie (Laird). As well as a brother and sister, 13 grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Ken was well known for his role as a member of the famous 617 Dam Busters Squadron.
Ken Brown had attended several NLS functions over the years. He was the main speaker at the Society’s Dam Busters 50th anniversary event in 1993, which commemorated that famous WWII raid. He will long be remembered by his friends here at Nanton.

* John Dougal *
Brooks, Alberta. Passed away November 20/02 – former bomb-aimer – flew 33 ops in Lancasters with 460 Sqdn.Long time member and supporter of NLS.

* Frederick James Ault *
London Ontario. Deceased January 30/03. Spent 3 1/2 years overseas during WWII with the RCAF. NLS Lifetime Member.

* Cecil Law *
Lacombe, Alberta, passed away June 16/02. Long time member and supporter of NLS.

* Richard Reid *
Mississauga, Ontario. Deceased November 25/02. Lifetime Member of NLS.

* Olive Allen *
Nanton, Alberta, passed away March 2003. Was a Lifetime Member of NLS.

* Tom Hornecker *
Nanton, Alberta. Passed away in 2002. Long-time supporter of the NLS museum.

* Walter James “Jim” Watt *
Nanton, Alberta. Passed away January 2003. Supporter of the NLS museum.

* Wilma Overn *
Nanton, Alberta. Passed away April 2003. Long-time supporter of the NLS museum.

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

Copyright 2010, Nanton Lancaster Society