Halifax Bomber Recovery Proposed
Halifax LW170 as it was last seen after ditching.
A Halifax bomber at a British airfield during WWII,mBeing loaded up with bombs. It is not a well known fact, but most Canadians flew in Halifax bombers while serving with Bomber Command.
It was well liked by it’s crews.To raise a WWII Halifax bomber from the cold depths of the Atlantic and transport it to the NLS Air Museum seems impossible; some would call it a “pipe dream.” Karl Kjarsgaard, a good friend of the museum and a Air Canada, Boeing 767 pilot, says “this is do-able.”
Karl is not new to the world of under-water recovery of WWII vintage aircraft. CFB Trenton, Ontario, is presently restoring the Halifax bomber that Karl and his group recovered from the depths of a Norwegian lake. He was also a main participant in arranging for the recovery of the remains of a Halifax from a Belgian bog, that found the remains of three airmen who had been interred with the aircraft when it crashed during WWII.
The latest recovery effort is to find and lift Halifax LW170, which was attached to 6 Group, Canada’s section of Bomber Command. 6 Group was commanded by Canadians and crewed by RCAF personnel. LW170 had flown 28 operations with mainly Canadian crews, and was on a meteorological flight near the Hebrides when it was ditched due to a major fuel leak. The crew was rescued and the aircraft floated for several hours before it sank in an estimated 1.6 kilometres of water. As the project leader Karl says, “This is a historic aircraft that was flown by Canadians, with battle history-Canadian history!” He has located some of the former aircrew (and/or families) who flew in LW170 and hopes to involve them in future ceremonies when the Halifax is delivered to the Nanton Air Museum.
Karl is presently attempting to raise funds for a sophisticated (sonar) search this coming summer which will cost about $130,000. He estimates that the total project will cost in the neighborhood of $600,000. A nearly full page article in the March 8/04 Calgary Herald by columnist David Bly, alerted readers of this need.
Another article was printed in the Richmond, Virginia, Times-Dispatch newspaper on March 14/04. This was a result of Karl Kjarsgaard’s visit with the family of a former American aircrew member who flew in Halifax LW170. This article also enlarged on the recovery project and its funding needs.
When Karl first approached the Nanton Lancaster Society with this project, the board of directors did agree to accept the Halifax once it was recovered. At that time it seemed a bit like a wishful dream. With the recent publicity, the project has now become a reality. Knowing Karl Kjarsgaard’s dedication to similar projects in the past, we now realize- this is really going to happen! The condition of the WWII bomber when found will be the only determining factor as to whether the project goes ahead. Our instincts say it’s going to happen – a Halifax in the NLS Air Museum in Nanton, Alberta!
Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial “Ten Thousand Names”
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 waged. The first Canadian to be killed was Sgt. Albert S. Prince, the pilot of a twin-engine Blenheim Bomber that was shot down while attacking an enemy battleship the day after war was declared. Almost six years later, F/S William Holowaty was killed while aboard a Lancaster Bomber returning to Canada. Throughout these six long years, Canadians played a critical role in this huge effort that made a significant contribution to victory.
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 creating a memorial that will list the name of every Canadian who was killed while serving with Bomber Command. We hope that the memorial with the 10,347 engraved names will be unveiled at a special event during August 2005, the year that will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
The memorial will be made of five panels of 3″ thick, polished, black granite. Four of these (8 feet wide and 3 feet high) will each have about 1,300 names engraved on each side. The central panel (6′ high and 3′ wide) will include the name and purpose of the memorial and will include various crests. With a total length of 41feet, the Memorial will be placed on the front lawn of the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum with a concrete walkway surrounding it.
The 10,347 engraved names will include Canadians from every part of the country.The memorial will clearly be national in significance.
The cost of Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial will be $40,000 and the Society is seeking contributions to support this effort.
An artists concept of what the Memorial Wall will look like when completed.
Proposed Memorial centrepiece.
Salute To The Airgunners – Tribute to Peter Engbrecht and Gordon Gillanders
Peter Engbrecht CGM, CD on aircraft.
[ Photo courtesy of the Commonwealth Air Training Museum, at Brandon, Manitoba ]
The gun turret of a Bomber Command aircraft during World War II was the coldest, loneliest place in the sky and one of the most dangerous. 20,000 air gunners’ lost their lives. This summer our special event will focus on the contribution of the air gunners to the successes of Bomber Command. The completion of the restoration of our Bristol Blenheim turret will complement the three Fraser-Nash Lancaster turrets and the Martin 250 currently on display. This impressive collection of five gun turrets will be the backdrop to our salute to the individuals who manned them in the cold, dark, and dangerous skies sixty years ago.
We are hoping that as many ex-air gunners as possible will be joining us on August 14th, 2004 to be honoured on behalf of the tens of thousands of their comrades who fought inthe night skies over enemy territory.
As part of this event we will be focusing on F/Sgt. Peter Engbrecht CGM, a Canadian mid-upper gunner who shot down at least 5 1/2 enemy fighters and was the only Canadian “Ace” during the Second World War who was not a fighter pilot. The rear gunner on the aircraft was F/Sgt. Gordon Gillanders DFM who is credited with 3 1/2 enemy aircraft. During their second operation, the aircraft was attacked fourteen times by German night-fighters in a running battle from the target back to the English coast. Sgt. Engbrecht shot down two enemy aircraft that night, the second with only one of his four guns in operation. For these and other actions he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, one of only eight presented to Canadians during the war. We are pleased that members of both the Engbrecht and Gillanders families will be joining us on August 14th.
We will also be remembering F/L Douglas Cameron DFM, the rear gunner on S/L Ian Bazalgette’s crew. The Nanton Lancaster is dedicated to Bazalgette, the only Albertan to be awarded the VC during WW II. F/L Cameron completed four tours of operations totaling 122 operations and twice baled out of aircraft flown by pilots who would posthumously be awarded the Victoria Cross. Charles Bazalgette, Ian’s nephew will be joining us on August 14th.
Our “Salute to the Air Gunners” will take the form of a luncheon in the museum followed by various tributes to the air gunners. As part of the program we will be unveiling a commissioned painting by well-known aviation artist John Rutherford depicting Sgt. Engbrecht’s actions that resulted in his being awarded the CGM.
Following the ceremonies fly-pasts of various vintage and modern aircraft will salute the air gunners.
SUMMER 2004 EVENTS
June 20 – Father’s Day – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles –
2nd annual event sponsored by the Society along with “Ultimate Trains,” a local garden railway distributor. Also contributing again this year will be the Nanton Antique Car group.
July 24 – Fly-in to AJ Flying Ranch –
Fifth annual – 63 aircraft attended in 2003. A fly-in of aircraft from several categories, Flying Farmers, Antique Aircraft groups, and private owners. This year it is hoped to have several flying War-Birds in attendance. Pancake breakfast served, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Lunch -11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 31 – Sixtieth Anniversary of the Sinking of the battleship Tirpitz –
By Lancasters of 9 and 617 Squadrons RAF. The family of Douglas Tweddle, one of the crewmembers on this operation, will be on hand to present a copy of his log book and a special print.
August 04 – Expedition to climb Mount Bazalgette –
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of S/L Ian Bazalgette’s VC flight. Contact the Society office for information.
August 14 – “Salute to the Air Gunners.” The Society’s main summer event –
We expect a number of WWII veteran air gunners to attend and the museum will have several “operational” gun turrets on display, as well as memorabilia. A notice will go out in June to members regarding program, accommodations, luncheon costs, etc.
Rocky Mountain House Air Show – September 12, 2004
Scheduled to perform are several civilian and military pilots in a variety of aircraft. Some of the pilots and their airplanes are:
Kent Pietch – Interstate Cadet
Jim Hrymack – Pitts S2B
Jerry Strzyz – Sukhoi 26
Kevin Hopkins – Yak 55
Ken Fowler – Harman Rocket
Canadian Military pilots will be flying such aircraft as; Tutor, T33, F18, Buffalo, and Cormorant. U.S. pilots with B52, C17, depending on international event status. F117, B1, (U.S. aircraft will be confirmed or denied just before show.)
The Nanton Lancaster Society would like to take this opportunity to thank Museums Alberta and our provincial government for a grant enabling us to upgrade the lighting in our main display gallery.
Our former fluorescent lighting did not have enough UV protection for our valuable artifacts and was not energy efficient. With the help of the grant from Museums Alberta, electronic ballasts were installed, resulting in much more energy efficient lighting. With the UV protective sleeves installed our artifacts are protected. Without the grant, we would not have been able to do this project in such a timely manner.
Museum Expansion Planned
Now underway is planning and fund raising for a separate restoration and display building. This building is long overdue and is vitally needed to help keep our shop volunteers interested. Needed is a building with enough space to assemble aircraft with wing spans of up to 60 feet, such as the Avro Anson Mk. II (56′), Yale (52′), Cessna Crane (42′), and Airspeed Oxford (53′). Also space will be created in which to build the one-piece Anson wing, or to build it in three pieces as some other museums have done.
Recent measuring indicates that it is possible to situate a 70′ x 100′ building on the lot, which would be an adequate size. Further investigation is now under way in how to situate this building. Also, it needs to be tied into the museum via an “above ground tunnel” allowing visitors to view the aircraft being restored and assembled as well as additional displays.
Our MLA had indicated that we are eligible for a Facilities Enhancement Grant of up to $125,000 which we would be required to match. To date we have approximately $85,000 on hand for this purpose.
Members who would like to help with the funding of this badly needed building can contact the NLS Museum office for information about tax receipts, etc.
FM159 Visits Bermuda
by Bernie “Shorty” Hazelton CWO (Ret’d)
In January 1955, during my tour as a flight engineer with No. 404 (MR) Squadron at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, our crew was asked to do an anti-submarine patrol to the south of Nova Scotia with an overnight stay in Bermuda. The captain was R/L Lawrence but I fail to remember any of the rest of the crew. We were assigned FM159 and after our patrol our radio-operator contacted Bermuda on HF and was told that because of excessive crosswinds in Bermuda the field was closed and suggested that fuel permitting we should return to Greenwood, as nothing had landed in Bermuda all day.
We had been airborne for over seven hours. After a discussion between the navigator and myself it was determined that, yes, we did indeed have enough fuel to return to Greenwood, but with the whole crew looking forward to an overnight in Bermuda, the reply to the message stated that we could make it back to Greenwood but we would be very tight on fuel.
We were then advised that we could land at Bermuda at our own discretion, so off we went to Bermuda. We did indeed have quite a ride on final and the crosswind did make it quite an interesting approach but all turned out well as FM159 rolled to a stop.
The Officers Club, which was situated in a location that overlooked the runway, offered an ideal viewing area to watch incoming aircraft, and as we were the only aircraft in on that day we had a full audience to critique the landing.
Our crew, on entering the club was met by a USAF major who inquired as to who was flying that Lancaster and was she quite a handful on final? Our captain answered with a nonchalant reply, “No, not too bad.” The major’s comment was, “She shouldn’t have been. You had every damn pilot in here helping you.”
That They Died Not In Vain
Willie was the mid-upper gunner of a Lancaster on 103 Squadron. On 12 December, 1944, he was on the way home from Essen on his ninth trip. What follows is a story of raw courage and ultimate sacrifice. Willie did not want his name used with the published story.
We had dropped steadily from our bombing altitude of around 17,000, when we felt the sudden jolt. The Skipper came over the intercom, “What’s that?” I looked out of my turret and saw a 5-inch hole in the right wing, petrol pouring out of it. I reported this to the Skipper and he feathered the engine nearest to where the hole was. However, almost at once flames broke out and the plane was on fire.
“Abandon Aircraft, Abandon Aircraft,” was the last call sent out over the intercom. I sat frozen for a few seconds; not with fear, but thinking, “This can’t be happening – not to us! Where’s my chute?” and “Which door would be best?” Then climbing down from my turret in the darkness, the plane started to bounce and twist around something awful. I found my chute where I had stored it and headed to the rear escape door; but the handle of the door was missing.
Rather than waste time looking for the handle, I headed for the front escape hatch. Not a soul was in sight and everything I touched along the fuselage was hot. When I finally reached the cockpit, there was Eddy, our rear gunner, talking to the pilot. But Eddy did not have a parachute on. He was my best pal, only 19 years old. We were the only Canadians in the crew. When I asked him where his chute was, his answer was to fling out his arms indicating it had opened in the plane. It was no longer of any use in a jump situation.
Having learned how to handle a wounded man on one parachute, I pleaded with Eddy to jump with me, using just my parachute. All he would say was “No, No! The Skipper is going to land the plane okay.” No matter how much I begged, he refused to come with me. I asked the Skipper what I should do, and he said, “We’re down to 5000 feet now. Jump Willie! That’s an order! Jump!”
I stepped to the front of the plane and into the nose. Looking back, there was my pal Eddie and the Skipper. For a second or two I froze. I thought to myself “I can’t leave them; what can I do?” Then the Skipper’s words, “That’s an order,” went through my mind.
I fell through the opening and into the cold night. I don’t remember pulling the ripcord, but I must have as I had the D-ring in my hands. So I dropped it. Then I saw the flaming airplane spiralling down and burning in the distance. I knew right then that Eddie and the Skipper had perished.
I must have tied my harness on very loosely as it seems I could have fallen out of it on either side. I still had on both flying boots as they were fastened to my electric suit. I began to smell the land as I got lower, and with a jerk, I was hung up onto the branch of a tree. Then I fell again, this time onto the ground below. Feeling around, I found nothing broken.
So that I would not be found by the Germans, I dragged my parachute, through the rain and mud, over to a large toppled tree that was lying nearby. Crawling underneath this tree, I wrapped myself up in the parachute to wait out the search. I stayed there for a day, listening to the searchers looking, unsuccessfully, for me. Then the next evening, with the search over, I was on the loose for 10 days before I was captured.
I still look back, and grieve, that I had to leave my pals, but I’ve never been able to change what happened. However, I do proudly wear my ruby-eyed Caterpillar, for without it, these past 60 years would not have been. Thank you Leslie Irvin!”
This true story of heroism and sacrifice does not use “Willie’s” real name. Willie’s memories of his jump, and the deaths of his friends, are still too vivid, even after 59 years. After the war, Willie had a successful career in the construction industry in Calgary, Alberta. The four other crew members of Willie’s Lancaster survived as POWs, after parachuting from the aircraft. The story was contributed by one of “Willie’s” friends, another “Caterpillar.”
Leslie Irvin -Parachutes
In 1919, Leslie Irvin, a 24-year-old stunt man from California, demonstrated the first “free drop” parachute. He had made the chute himself on a borrowed sewing machine. Flying safety experts were so impressed that the U.S. Air Force and the British RAF promptly adopted the parachute as standard equipment. Irvin then opened factories in the U.S.A. and in England. The Irvin Company started the Caterpillar Club and the practice of awarding the gold Caterpillar Pin in 1922 because each life saved was the result of Irvin’s invention, symbolizing his dedication to safety in the air.
Lancaster Rear Turret
The Frazer/Nash rear turret from Lanc FM159 is now in the shop for cosmetic restoration. The intention is to repair the canopy frame and install the side Plexiglas before reinstalling it on the aircraft. While it is missing the gun mounts, we may be able to fabricate these and add four replica guns to complete it as a static display.
Does anyone out there know where we might find gun mounts and hand controls for this turret type? If so, please let us know.
North American Yale
The photos below will give the reader some idea as to the restoration effort now being concentrated on the Yale wing-center section. Note the jig which was built up last fall to hold the assembly rigid. Parts are removed for either repair or to expose other components needing repair or closer inspection for airworthy certification. Most of the work is being done by AME Greg Morrison and helper Bob Long (local Mobil Oil Co. manager). Restoring the Yale to airworthy status would not be feasible but for the volunteer work by Greg and Bob.
At this time we have no estimated time-line when this restoration will be completed. Some parts will need to be sent out to a certified aircraft metal working shop for forming. However, it is hoped that by this time next year this will be completed and restoration of one of the outboard wings will be underway.
Yale centre-section in the jig, with Bob Long (behind) and Greg Morrison in front making a repair.
Lanc Elevator Fabric
AME Greg Morrison gives a lesson in covering the Lancaster port elevator with fabric.
Brian Hind and Gordon Neu (in the forground) watch and learn.
The photo below shows progress has been made in restoring the Lancaster’s elevators. These two control surfaces should be back on the aircraft this summer. Under the direction of AME Greg Morrison, Bill Hauck and Gordon Neu, both from High River, have the port elevator in the last stages of restoration.
The fabric on the starboard elevator was competed during 2003 and awaits only the last application of “dope” and paint. Both elevators will have the final dope applied and be painted just prior to being reinstalled on the Lancaster. Still to be overhauled are the trim tabs for both elevators.
Renewing these control surfaces is just one more step in the on-going restoration of Lancaster FM159 to its original wartime configuration. Other volunteers are working toward having the first Merlin engine running in 2005.
Fabric ready to be shrunk and then rib stitched Starboard elevator in the background is completed and awaiting final coat of “dope” and paint.
Greg (R) giving a lesson in tying rib stitch knots to Bill Hauck and Gordon Neu. Port elevator in foreground with fabric shrunk and doped, ready for the monotonous rib stitching to be completed. New volunteers, Cindy and Jim Wright, are now helping with rib stitching as well!
Merlin Engine To Run In 2005
The Lancaster restoration crew, pictured above, have spent the better part of the past year and a half working toward having the #3 Merlin engine running. They have traced and renewed all the wiring for both inboard engines and are presently checking and replacing the old fuel lines that connect to the #3 engine.
The goal is to have this engine ready to run for the Society’s annual August 2005 event. This “bringing to life” of one of Lancaster FM159’s Merlin engines, will be well advertised to the public. We are expecting a large attendance. This will be the first running of an engine on the old bomber since 1960, when it was flown from Fort MacLeod, to the BCATP base at Vulcan to be scrapped. Its purchase at that time for a tourist attraction at Nanton, was the start of the museum we have today.
The Lancaster restoration crew, (L to R) consisting of volunteers;
AME Greg Morrison, AME John Phillips, Merrill Honeyman, and Fred Hollowell.
Through the efforts of our volunteer webmaster, and the cooperation of Lexi.net, our corporate sponsor, the museum’s website continues to develop and provide an incredible link with people around the world. The most significant recent addition is, “Canada’s Bomber Command Virtual Memorial,” based on a database that contains the names of all the Canadians killed while serving with Bomber Command. Individual names may be looked up as well as lists of all those killed with a particular squadron. Another feature is that, for example, entering “M” will return a list of all the names beginning with the letter “M.” Please try it out and let us know what you think.
Other developments include a section on the air gunners and their turrets in anticipation of this summer’s special event, an upgrade of our Tirpitz information, and a series of stories related to our Lancaster’s service with the RCAF during the 1950s. As well, our major art collections are now available for viewing through the website. Visit our “Barry Davidson” chronicle and view Barry’s incredible logbook kept during his time at Stalug Luft III. Our Dambusters section continues to be popular and we are pleased to announce that we will be providing an Internet presence for the North American branch of the 617 Squadron Association.
With the help of Lexi.net, our museum began to develop a website before most of us knew what they were. Our policy is to present the history of Bomber Command and the BCATP through the Internet as well to visitors who are able to visit us in Nanton.
Member Profile -Maurice galli (Volunteer)
This is a new column which we hope to continue in future newsletters.
Over the years Maurice Galli has been the “superman” we needed on several occasions. Our first recollection of Maurice was seeing him in an air-delivery mask, sandblasting the tubular frame of the museum’s Anson in 1991. He also primed and painted this first major component of the Anson project. He has had a hand in many museum projects, generally sandblasting or painting.
In the spring of 2000, Maurice offered to paint the Bristol Blenheim which was scheduled for unveiling in August of that year. A three day job! He cleaned, primed, masked, and painted the aircraft. The local Ready-Mix shop building was rented for use as an improvised paint shop, to which we moved the aircraft. Painting included the camouflage on the upper surface of the wings and the fuselage, lots of masking! The only expenses were for the paint and materials; Maurice’s labor was free-gratis!
In the winter of 2003, he trucked the parts and pieces of a 5/8 scale Spitfire to his home in Rocky Mountain House and assembled the fiberglass parts and made missing components, to complete the static aircraft. It became part of a parade float in “Rocky” last year and will be delivered to our museum this spring.
Our hats are off to this extraordinary member volunteer! THANKS! MAURICE!
Maurice Galli and the “mini” Spitfire that he assembled for the NLS Museum.
Museum Manager’s Report
It is indeed ‘spring’ in Nanton and with it comes new and exciting things happening at the museum. We continue to develop new and interesting displays. We have many and varied events coming up this year as well.
There are many things to look forward to, including the building of a much needed Restoration Hangar. This will make it much more efficient for our many dedicated “Shop” volunteers to complete their restoration projects. Our renovated gift/souvenir area is nearing completion and will be more spacious, with a better layout, so we can offer more merchandise, making it easier for our visitors to shop.
Our dedicated ‘Greeting’ volunteers continue to man the entry kiosk. Their friendly faces will be there agoin this year should you get the opportunity to visit.
My duties as manager continue to be varied and of the utmost interest. I hope to remain with this museum for many years to come. The enthusiasm and dedication of our many volunteers and directors is second to none and gives one an overwhelming feeling that Nanton is really a very fantastic place to live.
Dicimus (we lead),
After several years and a few false starts, the Society finally got around to forming acrylics for gun turret canopies, and Blenheim “greenhouse” nose sections, etc.
AME Ron Jackson donated a specially made oven for the purpose of form molding acrylics. Also on hand are several molds for forming Blenheim canopy sections. These are on loan from the British Columbia Aviation Museum at Sidney, B.C.
The curator had promised for so many years to make use of the these items, that president Dan Fox was sure it would never happen. In fact he suggested on numerous occasions that the “monstrosity” of an oven might as well be removed from the museum.
The molding process took a few attempts to develop a technique that produced acceptable pieces. We will now mold Blenheim canopy pieces for ourselves and the Canadian Museum of Flight, at Langley, BC; and Lancaster cabin windows for the RCAF Museum at Greenwood, N.S. We are making additional molds for some of these pieces, which is a time consuming process.
Guess who was one of the main helpers when molding started – of course, it was our very active president Dan Fox! See photo below.
The oven for heating Plexiglas.
Dan Fox shows off one of the first molded pieces for the Bristol turret – canopy. It’s still cooling off!
This photo shows how it’s not a one-man job to get the heated acrylic on the mold and pressed into place. We’ve learned a few things since these photos were taken.
The freshly molded “glass” being fitted to the Bristol turret. John Maze assists Charlie Cobb in this endevour.
Bristol Turret Update
The restoration of the museum’s extra Bristol turret is well along and should be on display with a completed canopy in place, by the end of April. It is mounted on a frame work with casters for easy moving. Charlie Cobb is in charge of this project, having done most of the work thus far with some intermittent help from other volunteers. One of the Society’s newest volunteers, John Maze, who like Charlie, is from Calgary, is presently helping with this project. John has recently dismantled a hydraulic power-pack from a vintage aircraft, which they hope can be converted to actually run this turret. Sorry, not the guns folks! Hopefully rotation of the turret and gun laying will be the end result of their labors.
In addition to the Bristol turret, there is the Lancaster rear turret, which is completely restored and operational (the guns are deactivated!) The Lancaster’s mid-upper turret, presently mounted on the “mock-up” training cart, will also be up-graded. It was partially overhauled when rented to the movie company that produced the 1991 movie, “Map of the Human Heart.” Plans are to have some of these turrets at least semi-operational for the August 14, 2004, “Salute to WWII Air Gunners.”
Those attending the August event can anticipate some special “turret action!”
Charie Cobb (L) and John Maze with the restored Bristol gun turret.
Alvin Berger and Albert Fox work on parts for the Lanc rear turret.
The Anson Restoration
by Rob Pedersen
Your Anson team has been very busy getting ready for the warmer weather where working in the hangar won’t require the use of a winter parka and long johns.
Harry Volk has nearly completed restoring the Ansonâs main crew door and the rear turret door. The last of the fuselage formers are currently being put together by Charles Logie and his brother Hugh has been working on researching the side window frames and rail.
With the onset of spring the Anson team will soon be back in the hanger where all the fruits of our winter labour will be mounted on the airframe for public display.
The main access door is finished and ready for painting and installation of hardware.
Most of the door is original with the outside plywood replaced.
One of the guidelines in restoring of Annie is to retain as much of the original wood
that is still usabe and/or repairable.
The Anson Crew in front of Annie. From L to R, Charles Logie, Hugh Logie, Harry Volk, and project leader Rob Pedersen.
The old and the new – interior door that closes off the air gunners area in the fuselage,
held by Harry Volk and Rob Pedersen.
Halifax instrument panel being built-up by NLS member Peter Whitfield, Sarnia, Ontario.
Electrician Al Wittich installs one of the low energy fluorescent tubes in a fixture in the museum’s front gallery. These tubes are encased in a special plastic sleeve, which reduces the ultra-violet rays.
Someone thought the Society needed a mascot. Calgary volunteer Charlie Cobb brought him in. There being some likeness, the gorilla was dubbed “charlie with a small c.” No confusion around here! Above, President Dan Fox tries to keep “charlie with a small c” from falling out of his chair. Note the beer can! When you visit the museum, be aware that “charlie” could be sitting ni the cockpit of one of the airplanes or in one of the WWII trucks! And please, don’t get him started on the booze!
Lancaster FM159 as it appeared when first towed to Nanton in 1960. There appears to be a vintage car club visiting the engine-less wartime bomber. [ Photo credits: Barry Jones and Ken Eld. ]
This picture was taken in 1991, the day before Lancaster FM159 was moved inside the new museum hangar. It had rained after volunteers had taken it down from the pedestals, on which it had been mounted for thirty years, in preparation for moving it the next day.
Photos of some of the Museum’s Volunteers.
Don & Hazel Callahan
Edna Norman – Georgie McWilliams
Baldur & Aimee Johnson
Keith & Pat Phillips
Pat Melvin & Ethel Caldwell
Bert & Dorothy White
Above are fifteen NLS shop volunteers, who were on hand Tuesday, March 30, 2004.
(L to R) Kneeling in front are; Harry Volk, Bob Long, Hugh Logie. Standing; Gordon Neu, Bill Houck, Fred Hollowell, John Phillips, Cindy Wright, Charlie Cobb, Rob Pedersen, Charlie Logie, and Bob Evans. The photo was taken by Volunteer Dave Birrell.
Letters and e-mail addressed to the Society have in some cases been edited.
We try to make sure the intent of the message is left intact.
Hi Guys: I came across your website by accident. Years ago I lived in Lethbridge and used to always stop and pay homage to the old Queen of Heavies by the side of the highway. I always felt sorry that she was in such poor condition. I’m living back home in England again now and I’m sitting in my office surrounded by pictures of Spits, Hurricanes and Lancs, surfing when I should be working. Anyway, seeing how she’s been fixed up and looked after has brought a tear to my eye (don’t tell anyone), so I just wanted to say how delighted I am to see how you have progressed in Nanton. Maybe one day I’ll get back there and I’ll drop in.
To NLSAM Curator: I am the current President of the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association (CH2A), located in Windsor, Ontario. I’ve heard so many good things about the Nanton Lancaster Museum that I felt I should take a moment and introduce myself. At this point in time we are working with the City of Windsor, within committee, to come to a decision as to a permanent home for our Windsor Lancaster. I was hoping that we could stay in touch and learn from your success, as to the best way to proceed. Our Windsor Lancaster Group, a sub group of the CH2A, has logged over 7000 hours of restoration, and preservationwork on FM 212. Maybe it would be in our mutual interest to assist each other whenever possible.
NLS Curator’s Note:
We have been corresponding with Michael over the past several weeks, passing on information that may assist CH2A in their efforts to create a museum and save a Lancaster that surely needs to be housed from the weather. We wish them luck in their endeavors.
Dear Curator: I read with interest the story in the Edmonton Journal this past Monday about the raising of a “Halifax” bomber. The amount of $130,000 is needed to locate the plane and there is a figure of $600,000 required to raise and bring the plane to Nanton. There is no mention of where a person could send some funds to help in this endeavor. If you have any information would you please let me know. As I close, I would like you to know that I spent a Sunday last year going through your museum. Let me say that your museum is by far the best that I have seen in all of Western Canada. Keep up the good work. Thanking you, Lew Thoreson, Edmonton, Alberta.
Donations of funds toward the recovery of Halifax LW170 can be sent to the Nanton Lancsater Society.
The following from a magazine clipping recently received in the mail
My father-in-law was a wireless operator on aircraft that were ferried from Canada to Britain during World War II. During a recent visit to Nanton, Alta., our family went to the air museum there, where visitors can explore a restored Lancaster on display. When John entered the back door of the bomber, he banged his head on the interior bulkhead of the narrow fuselage. Rubbing his head, he wryly exclaimed, “It’s been 55 years since I’ve done that!”. Thanking You, Neil McKendrick, Calgary, Alberta
January 7, 2004, Wife of NLS President, Dan Fox. Barb will be missed greatly as a friend, and a loyal “behind the scenes” worker and supporter of the museum.
Ernest C. Gent,
Passed away August 27, 2003, a Lifetime member.
J. Ken Sorko,
Passed away November 12, 2003, a Lifetime member.
High River, Alberta.
Went to his reward December, 2003. Square Footer member and NLS supporter.
T. Layton Arnold,
Died December, 2003. A Square Footer member.
Harold C. Smith,
Passed away on March 1, 2004. Harold was a long time member of NLS. He had donated many of his WWII effects to the museum.
March 16, 2004. Long-time resident of Nanton as well as supporter and volunteer at the museum.
The Nanton Lancaster Society extends deepest sympathy
to the families and friends of these former members and supporters.
May God Bless.
Once a volunteer organization exists for a number of years, it usually reaches a point where it either stops growing and rests on its laurels or keeps expanding and striving for higher goals. The danger of adopting the former philosophy is that it can lead to the demise of that organization. The Nanton Lancaster Society has no intention of joining the ranks of the dinosaurs.
This spring we are embarking on several ambitious projects related to our primary goal of honoring those associated with Bomber Command. As alluded to in our last newsletter, the Lancaster restoration continues as quickly as our volunteers can make it happen. In addition, planning and fund-raising for our new restoration and display hangar is well underway.
We are also very excited about our “Memorial Wall” project, honoring the 10,347 young Canadian men who gave their lives in the service of Bomber Command during WWII. Our local Legion has started the ball rolling with a $5,000 donation, and we plan to dedicate the “wall” in the summer of 2005.
Another interesting development is the possible recovery of Halifax LW170, which was ditched off the Irish coast in 1945. If this aircraft can be brought to the surface, it is destined to become another major exhibit in the museum, complementing our Lanc.
With our excellent “track record” and network of friends and supporters around the world, the future does indeed look bright. We are continually striving to improve the museum, and with your help, it will become even better.
Curator / Editor’s Desk
Members will receive this newsletter, about the time my wife Carol and I fly to Europe for a holiday. I hope to visit the museum that is restoring Lancaster NX664 at Le Bourget, just outside Paris.
Meanwhile, the museum is teeming with activity to complete new displays for the coming tourist season as well as planning the many summer activities, listed on page 5 of this newsletter. We hope to make the annual events even more memorable than in past years. We are inviting the owners of several Warbirds to our annual Fly-In at the A.J Flying Ranch on July 24/04. There will be some very special guests at our other summer events as well. We are sure you will want to attend as many events as possible to see for yourself what is going on at the museum.
Two major projects are now underway – funding and construction of the Memorial Wall and a separate assembly / display building for our larger aircraft.
We appreciate the support of Royal Canadian Legion #80 and their donation which kick-started the funding for the Memorial Wall. Hopefully other Legions across the country will also support this one-of-a-kind memorial dedicated to the memory of the 10,000 RCAF airmen who gave their lives while serving with WWII Bomber Command.
The funding for the assembly / display building is also underway as mentioned on page 6. The estimated cost for the “bare-bones” structure is $250,000.
I have high hopes the basic building can be up this fall with heating and lighting installed next year. I can’t stress enough the need for this building to complete the assembly of the five aircraft with wing spans of nearly 60 feet. We presently have some 16 regular shop volunteers. These great guys are doing an excellent job in the present limited space. For these volunteers to proceed with restoration and assembly and for us to display the larger aircraft, this new building will be indeed welcome.
Then there is Karl Kjarsgaard’s Halifax recovery project! I fully expect our good friend Karl to get this done if the aircraft is still intact! Then we will be into a whole new phase of our development of an air museum in the small town of Nanton! At that point we will have outgrown our present buildings. However, Karl has indicated that when the Halifax is recovered and delivered monies can be found for housing this great aircraft and its counterpart, the Lancaster. Irregardless, we have a world class museum in the making, no matter what!