Newsletter – 2005 Fall and Winter

Dedication Of Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial

Some three thousand people attended the dedication of Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial on August 20, 2005. With laser etching on both sides of its forty foot length, the black granite wall’s 10,643 names include those of all the Canadians who were killed during World War II while serving with Bomber Command. Prior to the first column of names, an introduction summarizes the massive scale of the effort and the sacrifice. Following the names, a quotation pays tribute to all who served.

[ photo by Michelle Greysen ]

Engraved on the last panel are these words from a speech by Father J.P. Lardie, Chaplain of 419/428 Squadron, at the dedication of the RCAF Memorial at Middleton St. George, 15/6/85.
“Three thousand miles across a hunted ocean they came, wearing on the shoulder of their tunics the treasured name, “Canada,” telling the world their origin. Young men and women they were, some still in their teens, fashioned by their Maker to love, not to kill, but proud and earnest in their mission to stand, and if it had to be, to die, for their country and for freedom.

One day, when the history of the twentieth century is finally written, it will be recorded that when human society stood at the crossroads and civilization itself was under siege, the Royal Canadian Air Force was there to fill the breach and help give humanity the victory. And all those who had a part in it will have left to posterity a legacy of honour, of courage, and of valour that time can never despoil.”

During the dedication, Bill Graham, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, said of the men of Bomber Command, “They never faltered because they were proud, because they were courageous, and because they never forgot what they were fighting for. Ladies and gentlemen, we must never forget them and what they gave for us.” Referring to the Memorial, Mr. Graham said, “It brings pride in the achievement of those people, a recognition of the sacrifice they made, and at the same time serves as an inspiration for a new generation of Canadians that are going out into the world to do similar deeds in different circumstances, but needing the same qualities those people had which were courage, devotion, and professionalism.”

FM159’s reflection on a Wall panel.

Other speakers included Brig. General David Martin, Director of Air Force Development, Ted Menzies MP, Dave Coutts MLA, and John Blake, Mayor of Nanton. Art Smith OC DFC, spoke on behalf of the veterans, and Chris Koch, a Nanton native whose uncle’s name is on the Memorial, spoke on behalf of the families of those honoured. The Memorial was formally dedicated by Richard Conrad, Alberta & Northwest Territories, Legion Padre, assisted by the local Legion Padre, Walter Peach.

The ceremonies featured the Calgary Police Service Pipe Band and the impressive presence of the No. 4 Wing Cold Lake Honour Guard. Flypasts by No. 408 Squadron and Mark Eberle’s immaculate Expeditor were incorporated at appropriate points in the ceremony. Gordon Jones’ Tiger Moth and Alex Bahlsen’s Stearman provided additional flypasts following the dedication. Prior to and after the ceremonies a local group, the Bunch Grass Band, provided background music.

Following the dedication, the museum’s Lancaster’s starboard-inner Merlin engine was started and run-up to a huge round of applause.

There were many touching moments during the day as friends and relatives of those whose names are on the wall paid their respects. Photos were taken of particular names and, in some cases, photos and flowers were left below particular columns of names.
We’ve noticed that visitors to the museum invariably pause to have a close look at Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial as they enter and leave the museum. The dramatic presence of the 10,643 names only a short walk from examples of the aircraft they flew together with the artifacts and interpretive displays in the museum, is a unique combination, the like of which may not be found anywhere else.

We Shall Remember Them
Flowers and photos in Remembrance at the Memorial Wall.
These items were left at the base of the Wall on August 20 when it was dedicated.

Lanacaster FM-159 – Merlin Engine Runs – First Time In 45 Years

After two and a half years of dedicated work by the Society’s “engine crew” Lancaster FM159’s #3, Rolls Royce Merlin engine, was officially fired up in front of one of the largest crowds ever to attend the Society’s annual summer events. This was first time an engine had been run-up since the Lancaster was brought to Nanton in 1960.

The all volunteer “crew,” consisting of AME’s John Phillips and Greg Morrison, along with Fred Hollowell and Merrill Honeyman, had everything in order so the engine stared on the first turn!

Paul and Peter Whitfield had also worked on the Merlin on their thirteenth annual trip to Nanton in May, as well as the previous year. Their contributions helped ensure that the engine run would take place on schedule.

The engine crew, (L to R)
Fred Hollowell, Greg Morrison, John Phillips, and Merrill Honeyman., just after the first running of the #3 Merlin engine on July 20. If you look closely, they are all smiling, even though they knew that there would be more days of fine tuning in the month ahead, before the official run-up.

Of course, a lot of work was done in the three weeks before the “official” running of the engine. The engine was started several times which meant that each time the Lanc had to be rolled out of the hangar. This resulted in a streamlining of the sequences of opening the hangar doors and pushing the Lanc out with the Kubota tractor that was on loan for the summer.

The Propeller for the #3 Merlin is back from Winnipeg where it had been overhauled by the Canadian Propeller Co. Ltd. We extend our grateful THANKS to Maurice Wills and his overhaul crew for their great assistance.

The starboard #4 Merlin is the next engine scheduled to be made “run-able” It is estimated that this engine should be ready to run for the August event of 2007. Mark your calendars to see two Merlins running at the same time! Our Lancaster FM-159 is gradually coming to life again!

Dan Fox operates the forklift, borrowed from “Beauchamp Auto & Marine” to lift the overhauled prop for installation on the Merlin engine. John Phillips is seen helping to guide it onto the engine shaft.

[ photo by Ted Hackett ]

Former Snowbird CT-114-177 Tutor Aircraft Arrives At The NLS Museum

Your museum now owns CT114 Tutor aircraft, serial number 114-177. This aircraft was acquired from Crown Assets from a list of 14 available to Canadian aviation museums. Tutor 177 flew with the Snowbirds aerobatic team in the late ’70’s.

While a Tutor does not fit within the guidelines of our museum’s main theme of WWII Bomber Command, or the secondary theme of the BCATP, it will become a display honouring Major Dan Robinson, who grew up in Nanton, and who flew with the Snowbirds aerobatic team in 1996/1997. While Dan didn’t fly this particular Tutor, he did fly the #4 position on the team in which Tutor 177 had been flown at an earlier time.

Tutor being loaded at Mountainview, Ontario [ Peter Whitfield photo ]

Tutor 177 will be mounted on a pedestal as are the museum’s other two jet aircraft, the CF-100 and the T-33. It is planned to mount it, with signage, near the north bound lanes of #2 highway to alert tourists and others that the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum is located just ahead.

The major work in readying Tutor 177 for transport to Nanton was organized and accomplished by our long-time members and volunteers, the Whitfield family, from Sarnia, Ontario, and two friends. See Paul Whitfield’s article on the next page for a resume of how they accomplished the dismantling and loading of the aircraft on a truck supplied by Mullen Trucking Ltd. of Aldersyde, Alberta. That a Merlin will again be fired up on Lancaster FM159, is due to the dedicated efforts of four individuals who make up the Merlin Engine Crew.

Dan Fox unloads the Tutor 177 Fusalage in Nanton.

The Museum’s newly acquired CT-114-177 Tutor (center position) as it looked flying with the Snowbirds in late 1970’s.

Dismantling Tutor #177

by Paul Whitfield

Paul (L) and Peter Whitfield dismantling the Tutor-

Peter really believes in getting “right into the center of things!”After obtaining all the required clearances, the recovery team of NLS members, Peter and Paul Whitfield, along with Brad Fraser and Mike Berry, arrived at CFB Mountainview August 15th to dismantle Tutor 114177 for transport to Nanton, Alberta. DND had allowed three days for the dismantling and removal of Tutor 114177.

The team appreciated the excellent co-operation given by the engineers at Spar Aerospace with necessary jacks, tools and trestles and advice. Excellent progress was made on the first day and by Tuesday the 16th at 3 p.m., the Tutor was dismantled, loaded and ready for the long journey to Nanton.

Mountainview has quite a collection of aircraft in storage including T-33s and CF-5 fighters as well as Tutors. There were row upon row of T-33s and we were told that if you had $60,000 US, you could acquire a flyable T33, some of which were in excellent condition. Engineers travel down from Trenton regularly to ground run and taxi the T-33s.

To top off the trip to Mountainview, a visit was made to the Trenton Air Museum to check on the progress of the Halifax NA337 and look at Mike Berry’s Lancaster gun turret restoration project.


Visitation to the museum’s website continues to increase dramatically as the volume of our content grows. With over one thousand photos and close to three hundred fifty pages, the focus is clearly on content – presenting the story of Bomber Command and the BCATP in Alberta.

Some of the more recent additions you may wish to visit include a section on Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial, the Story of Father Lardie, a highly respected RCAF padre, an architect’s rendering and description of our proposed building expansion, a section on our recently acquired Tutor aircraft, and photos of our recently acquired 1:12 scale Halifax model. We also have information on all of the BCATP Schools in Alberta. The schools and their locations are all listed and links take you to photos, information, and stories related to each of the seventeen schools. If you can assist by providing additional material related to these schools please let us know. We’d like to become the source of information for the BCATP schools that operated in our province.

As well, we now have a search feature in place for our visitors interchange that now contains well over two thousand entries.

If you are curious as to how the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum came to be, spend some time browsing through our old newsletters. They are great records that are available on our website beginning with a real collector’s item, the first edition published in the Spring of 1987.

Karl Aalborg

by Dave Birrell

The first of the 10,643 names inscribed on Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial is that of Karl Aalborg. Some of the museum’s promotional material regarding the wall included the phrase, “Ten Thousand Names -from Karl Aalborg to John Zywina.” This caught the eye of Ken and Lorraine Taylor of Edmonton, Alberta, who are related to F/L Aalborg. They contacted the museum and have donated his logbook, crew photo, and RAF photograph.
Born in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, LAC Karl Aalborg trained as a bomb-aimer prior to being posted to No. 82 Operational Training Unit where he completed training aboard Wellington bombers with Sgt. Banks as his pilot. Following his OTU experience, F/Sgt. Aalborg was noted as “above average” as both a bomb-aimer and an air-gunner. Notes in his logbook refer to him as “very keen and very conscientious.” The crew then flew aboard four-engined Stirling aircraft at No. 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit. Aalborg’s crew was selected for training at the Pathfinder Force training unit. They were then assigned to No. 7 Squadron PFF in the RAF. Sgt. Banks’ crew were lost on their 37th sortie aboard Lancaster NE-126 (MG-R). Seventeen of 378 Lancasters were lost on this operation to Frankfurt on September 12/13, 1944.

Karl Aalborg’s story is the first, but just one of 10,643 that can be told based on the names on Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial.

A Halifax For The Museum

Over the years, the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum has often been advised that there were other heavy bombers, besides the Lancaster, serving with Bomber Command. Also, that the majority of operations flown by the Canadian Group #6 within the Command, were flown in the Handley-Page Halifax. The museum does have a display featuring the Halifax which includes a propeller blade and bomb door. One of our members, Peter Whitfield, has restored a Halifax pilot’s instrument panel that is now on display.

However, until a real Halifax aircraft comes along, our museum must rely on a beautiful 1:12 scale model built by Dr. Phil Black. Phil contacted the museum in the spring of 2005 and offered to donate his model to the museum. He seemed to appreciate our excitement that followed his offer and the fact that before long arrangements had been made to transport the model from his home in Surrey, British Columbia. Soon “Halifax MZ516” was on display in the lobby of the museum. We were pleased that Phil, who had visited the museum previously, felt that our facility was worthy of his very special model.

Phil Black’s Halifax model on display in the foyer of the museum, Hanging above the greeting kiosk.

The museum was delighted to welcome Phil when he arrived on August 20, 2005, for the Dedication of Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial and, we think, to check to be sure his Halifax was being well looked after.
While in Nanton, Phil described the building of his 1:12 scale model. “We built it up and I got great help from Bruce Guest. We tried to fly the thing with just the undercoating on it – grey paint. Rollie Martel was the pilot. He went up and down the runway three or four times to see if it would be okay. We said, ‘Let’s go!’ It flew twenty trips before it crashed. It flew like a dream. We dropped parachutes, flares, bombs and everything like that. The reason it crashed was because of the maintenance – I’m at fault. We picked up first prize in the static category at a Canada-wide competition, but then we flew it and it went down. I rebuilt it and we were going to fly it again but we decided, ‘No.’ We’d better put it on static display.”

Tragically Phil was killed when the private aircraft he was traveling in crashed while returning to the west coast. The Nanton Lancaster Air Museum enjoyed an all too brief but rewarding relationship with Dr. Phil Black. His model is not only a memorial to those who served in Halifax bombers during the war, but also to Phil himself. It is to be on permanent display in the museum.

Building Expansion News

Plans for the expansion of the museum building are now finalized.

You will note the artist’s rendering below as well as a final floor plan and a smaller cad drawing of the exterior. The artist’s view shows three aircraft, the Avro Anson, Cessna Crane, and the Yale as completed aircraft on display. These renderings are part of a promotional brochure that has been created to help promote funding of the addition which will create 11,200 square feet of new floor space.

The proposal is substantially larger than was reported in our 2005 Spring/Summer newsletter. The board of directors decided the addition then proposed was too small and we would in no time be confronted again with lack of space. What is proposed will create additional floor space, making it possible to proceed with the restoration of three larger aircraft that cannot be assembled in the present building, plus room for one more large aircraft. It will also make it possible to create individual shop areas for wood and metal work plus storage of materials. Construction will be such that the space above the shop areas will be reinforced for additional storage.

Funding on hand at present is at $170,000. The first phase will need about $450,000 without the mandatory sprinkler system which will be part of phase two.

If you can assist or know of a source of possible funds, please contact us.

A Wall In Nanton

Two good friends of the Nanton Lancaster Society, Father Harry Schmuck and Jim Blondeau, from Ottawa, Ontario, arrived the day before to attend the dedication of the Memorial Wall on August 20. Father Harry is a former WWII air gunner and Jim is a professional photographer and entertainer.

After hearing Father Harry telling about a friend whose name is in the Wall, Jim Blondeau composed a song about the Memorial. Once heard, the story and the song became a necessary addition to the dedication day’s schedule.

Jim Blondeau at the podium singing his newly composed song “The Wall At Nanton”
as other podium guests look on. Father Harry Schmuck stands at the right.

Father Harry told the following story: He was one of 100 young men posted in a gunnery school in Prince Edward Island in 1943. Everything was done in alphabetical order said Schmuck.

So he and his two new pals, Shulka and Siewert, did everything together, including being stationed together when sent to serve overseas.

One morning after a heavy night raid, said Schmuck, Shulka approached me and said “Did you hear about Siewert?”

That powerful raid took the life of Schmuck’s good friend.

“I stood before the Memorial Wall and I saw his name,” said Schmuck, “Siewert – Robert Lloyd – from Alberta. His young face of 60 years ago passed before my eyes, and I remember.”The Wall At Nanton
When I was a young man
I flew with my best friends
We took to the blue skies
And followed our captains
The times called for fighting
But we knew that our missions
Were standing for freedom
Again and again

There’s a wall in the town
of Nanton, Alberta
There’s a wall in the town
with the names
Of the men who have fallen
while fighting
For freedom
In our memories,
they’ll always remain

If they could look back
In a time travel moment
They’d be sitting again
in the planes
Dancing like eagles in the
winds of the starlight
Flying again and again.

Museum’s Cooperating

Below are pieces of the empennage of Lancaster FM118. These items were recently acquired from the BCATP Museum at Brandon, Manitoba.

Some local NLS members had a good chuckle when they arrived, courtesy of Mullen Trucking. We heard comments like “What in the world do you want with that junk!” While the parts are very derelict, some of the fittings are still quite useable and badly needed for our Lancaster.

This illustrates the kind of co-operation that exists between aviation museums across Canada today. THANKS to President John McNarry and everyone at CATPM for their assistance!

Summer Visitors

Alan Rumbelow, from England, pays a visit to an old friend, Cornell 14424, from his WWII training days at the EFTS, Bowden, Alberta. It was one of the aircraft he flew at that time.
Alan has been a member of the Nanton Lancaster Society for a long time. He has kept in touch with the museum over the years. He finally visited the museum in person this summer, when he stopped in Calgary on his way back from a reunion of BCATP trainees in Vancouver, B.C. He was accompanied by John Bailey, another WWII pilot who had attended the reunion.

Charles Collingwood and Judy Bennett are a real-life husband and wife team, who act in The Archers. This is the longest running soap opera in the UK, having been aired for over 50 years.

Charles is writing the story of his father’s WWII activities, for a British publication. His father was based in Fort Macleod during WWII where he was a flying instructor.

In tracing his father’s Canadian past, Charles and Judy had flown into New Brunswick (where Charles was born) on the first part of their trip, where the story begins. They were in Nanton looking for BCATP information. Leaving Nanton they were heading for Fort Macleod where they had prior contacts with info about the base when Charles’ father served there.

Curator Bob Evans stands with Charles Collingwood, and his wife Judy Bennett, two visitors from England, in front of Aunt Alma’s Kitchen, one of Nanton’s cafes.

Anson Project Update

Rob Pedersen is at work

making up a fusalage former for the Anson project.The Anson crew has been very busy, over the last year, “kitting” all of the formers and parts that will make her look like an airplane again. Your crew, Harry Volk, John Maze, Charles Logie, and myself have already installed her bomb bay access panels and lower window frames.

After reviewing many drawings and photos it was decided that these few parts are the basis that all other parts are either attached to or aligned with. By springtime it is our hope that “Annie” will have all of her formers, crew door, window frames and stringers, painted and installed. She’ll be ready to meet the public with a whole new look.

Since our hanger is not heated, it can be a little uncomfortable to work out there during the winter. To keep things soaring along, we’ll also be restoring the original cockpit floor. Hopefully by the next time you visit she’ll look a little bit more like her former self.

Sixth Annual Fly-In

The 2005 Fly-In at the A J Flying Ranch was literally “washed-out” as inclement weather held the day. In spite of that a crowd of about 70 persons drove in for the breakfast served as usual by the Nanton and District Lions Club.

A J Flying Ranch owner, Alex Bahlsen, did fly his helicopter for a few minutes between showers, to liven up an otherwise dismal morning. Two aircraft did finally arrive, an ultra-light from Granum, about 40 miles south, and a 3/4 size P-51 Mustang also braved the weather coming in from the close-by High River airport.

The first aircraft to fly in was this ultra-light which had bucked the northerly wind for about an hour to travel the 40 miles to the A J.

While it was a bit disappointing after the 2004 fly-in which was attended by 76 aircraft, everyone who stopped in had a hearty breakfast and a good visit with fellow aircraft enthusiasts. We’ll try again next year.

The second aircraft to brave the elements was this immaculate 3/4 scale P-51 Mustang which made a short hop from the nearby High River airport. As is evident in the photo, it was raining gas he arrived.

Museum Manager’s Musings

Of all the recent highlights in my museum life, two in particular stand out. The first was the construction of our beautiful Bomber Command Memorial Wall and its dedication ceremony on August 20, 2005. These ceremonies were very meaningful and heartfelt. The second highlight was my attendance at the Alberta Museums Association Conference in Edmonton in October, at which his Honour, Norman Kwong, Lt. Governor of Alberta, presented me with my “Certificate in Museum Studies.” In the last 2 1/2 years I have travelled to several different towns and cities to take eight courses to qualify for this certificate. Not only does this increase my own personal knowledge, but it benefits the museum.

These studies helped me with the implementation of two new ideas in Public Programming for our museum. During the past summer while we had students working at the museum as tour guides, I had two of them working on new program ideas, for use especially for school groups while they are visiting the museum. I also recruited three new volunteers to assist as tour guides while groups are visiting us. This is of benefit to our museum as each of these persons brings fresh ideas to the tours, which in turn makes them more enjoyable for the visitors, especially those who may be on a return visit.

With all the special events each year, we are extremely busy, but each day brings new enjoyment to my museum experience.

Usque ad finem (to the very end),
Lea Norman

Lt. Governor Norman Kwong (R) presents NLS Museum Manager, Lea Norman,
with her Certificate in Museum Studies, at the Alberta Museum Association conference in Edmonton.

Member Profile -Merrill Honeyman

Merrill is a master mechanic who has been employed at High River Chevrolet-Olds dealership for many years. Also, he has been traveling to Nanton to work on the Lancaster and other museum aircraft and vehicles for nearly two decades.

Most recently he has been a member of the Merlin engine restoration team. His expertise in electrical and electronics made him a good choice to get the wiring circuitry up and working so the #3 Merlin engine could be started from the cockpit.

Merrill was very involved in restoring the museum’s towing tractor, the Blenheim bomber, and he’s had a hand in just about every other project in the museum.

Merrill’s dedicated volunteering is one reason our museum has become one of the major attractions of its kind in Canada.


The Halifax LW-170 Project

Excerpts from the latest report from 57 RESCUE (CANADA) by Project Leader, Karl Kjarsgaard,
to members of that group. Anyone wishing to read the full report can access it on the website:

Progress Report #9

The Directors of Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada), including yours truly, have been very busy on several fronts in promoting the Halifax Project.

Fundraising is progressing well. In fact, author John Neal’s new book “Bless You, Brother Irvin,” all about exciting bail-outs using the parachute, has been printed and is for sale from John through this website, For every copy of “Bless You, Brother Irvin” sold, John Neal will be donating funds to the Halifax Project for recovery of LW170. This would make a great gift for a veteran or family member. Remember, every copy sold will add funds and support our project.

I am also pleased to announce that after much hard work, the painting of RCAF Halifax LW170 is ready to go to the printers. After much collaboration with artist Michael McCabe, a beautifully detailed painting of LW170, depicting her 26th op in July 1944, will soon be released for sale as a true collectorâs painting. Yours truly will be traveling from New Brunswick to B.C. with all 500 LW170 prints to have them personally signed by the artist and up to 12 men who actually flew LW170 in combat in the RCAF in 424 Squadron.

Air Canada Captain, Karl Kjarsgaard, addressing the crowd at the August 20 event. In the background is the Halifax wing panel with the roundel still visible, that Karl donated. This is the original aluminum skin from a wing of the Halifax being restored at Trenton, Ontario.
Karl was instrumental in the recovery of that Halifax bomber from a lake in Norway.

John Neal’s Book, entitled Bless You Brother Irvin is available through the 57 Rescue Canada website and also from the NLS Museusm’s gift shop priced at $19.95 plus S&H.

John Neal and I made a special trip to Red Deer, Alberta, for the annual convention of the Air Force Association on October 6th to 8th to promote the sales of “Bless You, Brother Irvin” and the painting of LW170. I was able to speak to their national assembly about our group and its objectives. I also spoke with the Chief of the Air Staff, General Lucas, about the Halifax Project.

Also, an avid supporter of our project is Laurie Haan, (RCAF ret.), an investments executive in Edmonton. I did meet with him and was able to discuss ways of gathering financial support in Western Canada for the location and recovery of RCAF Halifax LW170 to the Nanton Museum.

On the United States front we have had great initial support from quite a few Americans who have become members of our group. This included several American veterans who, in 1940-1941 over 7000 strong volunteered for the RCAF before Pearl Harbour, and fought for freedom. I visited the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., in the summer and gave a full briefing to our Canadian military attaches of our Halifax Project. I tried to stress the importance of this historic project to them and the significance to the American people. When I showed them the names and hometowns of over 700 U.S. citizens killed-in-action in the RCAF, the majority killed while in combat on the Halifax, they said they would try to help us in our quest.

I am pleased to announce at the November 11, Remembrance Day ceremony at the Canadian Embassy, family members of Tom Withers, an American with RCAF 405 Squadron, who was killed-in-action in 1942, were especially invited. Chris Charland and myself as Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) directors will travel to Washington, D.C. to be in attendance to further our cause. With all the press and VIPs invited, Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) will have a display to promote the Halifax Project. This is a great help in telling the story of those Americans who fought for Canada in the RCAF. This story has never been fully passed on to our American neighbours. We thank Ambassador Frank McKenna and his staff for this opportunity to raise support for our historic quest.

The photo above is of a limited edition print of a painting of Halifax LW170. Prints will be for sale ($150) as part of the fundraising for the recovery. 500 copies, will have the signatures of 10 or 12 former aircrew who actually flew in this aircraft during WWII. Another 300 unsigned copies will be available for $75. Check for deatails or contact the NLS museum.

The Long March Statuette

This miniature replica of the original statue that is displayed in the RAF Museum at Hendon, UK, now has a granite base and an acrylic cover donated by Winston Parker. Winston, a former POW who survived this WWII forced march, donated the statuette last year. He arranged with Chris Smith of Sunset Memorial & Stone (Calgary) to have the base and cover made.

The statue depicts a prisoner trudging through snow, pulling a sled with his few belongings, forced by German guards to leave one of the prison camps in the face of the advancing Russian troops in 1945. The long march in -20 degree temperatures, took place through what was then Czechoslovakia to just south of Berlin, where they were finally freed by Allied forces.

Our THANKS again to Winston for his generosity and continuing interest.

CAPA Conference 2005

The Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association (CAPA) is the voice of aviation museums across Canada. The annual conference of this organization was held in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, in October.

Attending as delegates from the Nanton Lancaster Society were Dan Fox, Dave Birrell, John Phillips, and Bob Evans. Some 60 delegates were in attendance from most of the 22 CAPA member museums. Relating with these delegates from other member museums and exchanging ideas is one of the advantages.

Many subjects were discussed at this annual meeting. One was to start planning for the 2009, 100th anniversary of flight in Canada. Plans are in the works for a spectacular, across-Canada celebration of this event with CAPA museums taking a leading role. NLS will be contributing.

Miscellaneous Photographs

Shown here, volunteers Gordon Neu (center) and John Maze (back to camera) have just removed the engine from “Big Blue,” the museum’s WWII, 60 CWT truck. This vehicle has not been run in recent years, as anti-freeze had been found in the oil due to a cracked engine block. A new engine block has been located to replace the original one.

Volunteer, Gordon Neu, a semi-retired heavy duty mechanic, has the engine at his home shop where he is presently overhauling it. With the engine overhauled, the truck, which is in excellent condition otherwise, can be used in parades and for demonstrations. Our THANKS to Gordon for taking on this restoration job.

Email Received

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.

Fred Carter,
Cambridge, Ontario.
Dear Sirs: Visited Nanton & Bomber Command Memorial this past Sunday, Oct. 2, on a beautiful sunny Alberta day. Emotional time as I found my brother’s name F/O RE CARTER 431 RCAF and three of his crew and that of my cousin F/O J.R. LATREMOUILLE 434 RCAF and his crew. Thanks to F/O Joe English RCAF of RAF 625 and his friend for all the help in the Air Museum. This place is impressive and makes you think you are back in 1944. Try to visit if you can. Thanks to all the supporters. Hope you do get the next Halifax Bomber. Keep up the good work and the excellent website.

Carolee Riley Fitz-Gerald,
Castlegar, B.C.
Dear NLS: My father F/O Virgil Lee Riley buried in Idum, Denmark with the rest of his crew in 1945, appear on your wall of Bomber Command remembrance. Thank you.

Eriz McVey,
Sonoma, California.
Guestbook entry: My Dad’s brother has his name on this wall and I am proud to add mine to the list of visitors.

Linda Payne,
White Rock, B.C.
To NLSAM: Thanks to your site I connected with a relative of my uncle’s crew. Found out what really happened to them and have now retrieved pieces of their Lancaster from Germany!

Terry Beck,
Calgary, Alberta.
Dear NLSAM: What a day you put on Saturday, August 22, 2005. Wonderful Memorial Wall. Congratulations. Great to hear and see that Rolls Royce Merlin V-12 run again. I remember Lancasters in the late 1940s as a child in Sask. We drove down in a 1958 RR Silver Cloud from Calgary whose owner’s father and uncle were Lancaster navigators during WWII.

Gerald & Alison Hankins,
Canmore, Alberta.
To NLSAM: It’s hard to find words that are adequate to express the praise and gratitude we owe to the Nanton Lancaster Society for what you have done to perpetuate the memory of the heroes of Bomber Command. My wife and I had the privilege of attending the superb ceremony last Saturday. (I was on Mosquitoes but had many buddies flying Halifaxs or Lancs.) Anyway, you folks are heroes too — of a different kind — for what you have done. We shook hands with Dan Fox and wish we could have done the same with the rest of you. God bless you all.

Clive Reddin,
Toronto, Ontario.
Dear NLS: Congratulations on getting an engine to run. Wait until you hear all 4 running! It’s a sight and sound like no other. You should be congratulated on accomplishing so much with so little to start with.

George Elliott, Chairman, CAPA,
Winnipeg, Manitoba.
To Dave Birrell: I want to congratulate you and the folks at Nanton for the very historical memorial honouring the 10,643 airmen who gave their lives for Canada. It is people like you who make sure that future generations know just what our servicemen did and at what cost.

Yvonne & Doug Waines,
Cochrane, Alberta.
To NLS: Wow, what a job your group did August 20, with the tribute. The emotional impact you have when you view the granite wall is unbelievable. It was the same feeling we had when we viewed the rows of crosses in Europe. When that breeze blew through, it really felt like it was the 10,643 spirits going through. Great Job! We were glad we took it in. Of course, the firing up of the Lancaster was great also.

London, Ontario.
Guestbook entry: My Great-Uncle Michael Cameron’s name is on the Memorial. Thank you! I am looking for information about his crew from the 6 Group Bomber Squadron. The Lancaster KB 993 crashed May 18, 1945. I am looking for family members of Anthony Clifford, Kenneth McIvor, David Fehrman, Clarence Halvorson and Leslie Hellekson. I am hoping to visit the Memorial very soon. Thanks! from a very proud niece.

The following words are from a hand written letter received by Society President Dan Fox,
from the Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of National Defence,
after he had attended the Society’s August 20, 2005, event.

Dear Dan,
Thank you very much for inviting me to the Air Museum event in Nanton. It was truly a great experience and I found what you have done at the museum to be really impressive. The size of the crowd at the event and their enthusiasm was a testimony to the thirst that Canadians have, to know more about this period of our history and to take pride in the accomplishments of those brave men and women who went to war and for the many who are forever memorialized in your town’s beautiful memorial wall.
Congratulations also to all who put so much effort into organizing the event. It went off like clockwork -a huge success.
Good luck with your future projects. And, again, thank you for including me in such a great event.

    • Sincerely,
    Bill Graham

In Memorium

Phil Black,
Surrey, B.C.
Supporter of the museum, donator of a large scale Halifax model. Deceased August 22, 2005.

Victor Leonhardt,
Westerose, Alberta.
Lifetime member. Long-time supporter of the Society. Passed away in 2005.

James L. Umscheid,
Milo, Alberta.
Lifetime Member – long time supporter. Passed away April 12, 2005.

James Love,
Calgary, Alberta.
Lifetime member. Wartime Navigator. Long-time friend of the NLS. Deceased in 2005.

J. King Perry,
Calgary, Alberta.
Square Footer member. Deceased 2004.

Tom Palmer,
Victoria, B.C.
Lifetime member passed away November 8, 2005. Tom was a long-time supporter.

Harvey Gottfried,
Port Hope, Ontario.
Lifetime member of NLS. Passed away in 2005. (Joe English crew member)

Rev. Dwight Powell,
Nanton, Alberta.
Passed on March 12, 2005. Lifetime Member. Passed on, Oct. 8/05.

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

President’s Comments

Wow! What a summer! Torrential rains (which washed out our annual Fly-In at the AJ Flying Ranch), trips to air shows (my wife and I attended the Comox Air show in August), plus constructing and dedicating the Bomber Command Memorial Wall. This major event attracted over 3000 visitors and had a grand finale consisting of the first public start-up of the #3 Merlin engine on our Lancaster!

As exciting as it was to watch and hear that marvellous engine come to life, our museum will always put people first over machines. The artifacts we restore are memorials to those brave young people who willingly served so we could be free.After we erected the Memorial Wall, many of us then fully realized the terrible cost of war. 10,643 Canadian names inscribed thereon are a testament to their sacrifice. After our event was over it was touching to watch visitors, young and old, looking for a particular name and leaving flowers, photos, etc., at the base of the memorial. We are gratified that the public appreciates our efforts to honour these courageous airmen.

The future looks promising for the Nanton Air Museum. Expansion plans are well underway. Our shop volunteers are increasing in number and getting involved in exciting projects such as preparing the Lancasterâs #4 Merlin for eventual start-up in the next year or so. Other new projects elsewhere are commented on in this newsletter. Visitors are coming through the door in increasing numbers being greeted by our loyal “front-end” volunteers, among whom are many new faces. I am looking forward to attending the Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association conference being held in Wetaskiwin this year. We will meet with delegates from other museums across Canada who share the same enthusiasm as we do for preserving this very important part of our country’s history. Hopefully future generations will share our passion and carry on what we have started.

Dan Fox

Curator / Editor’s Desk

With the year 2006 fast approaching, I thought I’d look at where we are nearly twenty years after being formed to look after Lancaster FM-159.

I, like the others who were involved in forming the Nanton Lancaster Society, initially had one basic objective, which was to preserve the old bomber. It was looking sad and needed a lot of TLC.

We concentrated on cleaning it up and making it an outdoor attraction for tourists traveling up and down #2 highway. During this process we learned more about the history of this WWII bomber. Former aircrew stopped to go up into the Lanc. They told stories – of wartime operations they had participated in – of friends who had given their lives in that terrible war – of an aircraft that had returned them safely from the hell of war.

Without many of us realizing, our focus was changing. It was not just the old bomber we were preserving but also the history of the individuals who had served in those bombers during the war. Today our focus is preserving the history of Bomber Command and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

Preserving the WWII aircraft and other artifacts in our collection is still very much part of our effort, as they are symbols of that history.

Preservation of the history that the Lancaster, Blenheim, Harvard, Cornell, and other museum aircraft represent, took a giant step forward this past year. The construction and dedication of the Memorial Wall enshrines the names of all those Canadians who perished while serving with these aircraft for freedom’s sake.

All this would not have happened without the continuing support of membership and the efforts of many dedicated volunteers, many of whom are no longer with us. To all of those past and present we owe a debt. May the present volunteers carry on to even greater things.

If you haven’t yet visited our museum and the Memorial Wall, make it a destination – bring a friend!

Bob Evans