Newsletter – 2005 Spring and Summer

Expansion Plan Underway

Initial plans are now in the works for a much needed expansion of the museum building. After several meetings with Civil Engineer Ron Switzer, a decision was made to add to the existing structure, rather than build a separate building for display and assembly of aircraft.

The addition will be to the north side of the museum, adjacent to the existing shop and will add about 9,000 square feet to the museum. This space will allow the Avro Anson, Cessna Crane, N. A. Yale, etc., now under restoration to be assembled and displayed.

Funding for this addition is underway, with about half the estimated $350,000, needed for the first phase, already in place. It had been hoped these funds could be used for matching a Alberta Facility Enhancement Grant. Unfortunately, Nanton’s inclusion in a different provincial constituency where other community projects are already accessing this grant, monies are not available at this time. We are in the process of looking for funding help from other sources, such as the corporate world, Royal Canadian legions, and service clubs.

A to-scale view showing how the space may be used in the future when the Anson, Oxford and Yale are restored.

A drawing of the museum with the proposed addition.

Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial

by Dave Birrell

As this newsletter goes to press, only a few details remain to be finalized prior to the building of Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial. After much work and the cooperation of numerous organizations and individuals, the list of 10,643 names is now finalized. One of the five 4’x8′ slabs of three inch thick polished granite is expected to arrive any day, and when it does, we will begin by engraving the name of F/L Karl Aalborg. It will take several weeks before the name of F/O James Zunti is engraved. We feel this will be a most impressive tribute to the Canadians who lost their lives serving with Bomber Command.

The 41′ long memorial and its surrounding six-foot sidewalk will be placed parallel to the main sidewalk that leads to the entrance to the museum. Other sidewalks will connect our existing sidewalks with the memorial. To accommodate the memorial, the Bruce Warren Memorial Garden and the flagpoles on our front lawn will be relocated. The concrete base for the memorial and the sidewalks will be placed during May and the Memorial will be erected in early July.

We have been very pleased with the support provided for this project by a number of corporations, Legion branches, and individuals. As an example, Burnco Rock Products will be providing the necessary concrete at a very substantial discount. Additional donations are still anticipated and required. A complete list of donators will be published in our fall newsletter and engraved on a plaque to be attached to the memorial.

As visitors approach the museum by walking along the wall with its 10,643 names, it is our hope that each and every one of them will begin to appreciate the sacrifices made by those who served with Bomber Command, even before they enter the museum.

Above is an artist’s rendition of the Memorial Wall.

Merlin Engine To Run

As reported in the Fall newsletter, the inner starboard Merlin engine from Lancaster FM159 has been in the shop since last November. Over the winter months the cylinder heads, valve rocker arms, etc., have been reinstalled and the engine is now back together. It should be back on the Lanc by the middle of May as predicted. At that time all the connections such as fuel lines, wiring, and controls, will have to be reattached and checked.

A trial run-up will likely be undertaken in late June or early July. This will be a prelude to it being started and run-up, as scheduled, at the Society’s main annual event on Saturday, August 20, 2005.

Starting this engine will be a major event for the museum. This will be the first time an engine has been fired up and run on Lancaster FM159 since 1960 when it was flown from Fort Macleod to the wartime, SFTS base near Vulcan, to be scrapped! It of course, was not scrapped due to a “last minute” purchase by three Nantonites as a tourist attraction!
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.

The Merlin Engine Crew. L – R: John Phillips, Greg Morrison, Fred Hollowell, and Merrill Honeyman. This photo of the Merlin and crew was taken in mid-April. The crew hopes to have the engine installed on the Lancaster in early May.

Above is a last minute photo taken on May 3, 2005 in which the #3 Merlin is about to be run on its stand in the shop. A moment later it belched smoke and flame and ran for about half a minute! This was a final test to make sure the valve and magneto timing were correct before reistallation on the Lancaster. As the engine had no coolant, the enngine was immediately shut down after proving it would run.

On The Road Again

Each summer we attempt to have the museum’s “Traveling Display” become part of a number of aviation related events in order to promote the museum and to make the history of Bomber Command and the BCATP part of these events.

We’ve spruced up our display and this year we hope to attend the Saskatchewan Air Show (July 9, 10), Nanton Lancaster Air Museum Fly-In (July 16), Reynold’s Museum’s Aviation Days (Wetaskiwin) (July 17), Lethbridge Air Show (July 30,31), and Comox Armed Forces Day (August 7). We’ll likely be other places as well so watch for our “Traveling Display.”

Some of the upgraded components of the traveling display and the movable cabinet
in which they are now stored. The cabinet was made by volunteer, Malcom Stick, a retired sea captain, THANKS, Malcoml!

Relic’s Crew

Many of our members will undoubtedly be familiar with The Beachcombers, CBC Television’s popular show that ran for 19 seasons, was shown in 37 countries and translated into five languages. What you may not know is that Robert Clothier, who played “Relic,” was a 408 Squadron Halifax pilot with the RCAF during WWII. The photo (below) of his crew is one of the best we’ve seen and a large-scale enlargement is now featured in the museum. The photo will also appear on the centre panel of Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial.

“Relic’s” 408 Squadron Crew, L-R: FlO L. Corbeil -Bomb Aimer; Sgt J. McCart -Flight Engineer; F/Lt B. Austen -Wireless Operator; F/O S. DeZorzi -Navigator; FlLt Robert Clothier -Pilot; Ft/Lt T. Murdoch -Mid-Upper Gunner; F/O B. Fitzgerald -Rear Gunner.

NLS Annual Main Event August 20, 2005

The Dedication of Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial
and Running of the Starboard Inner Merlin Engine on FM-159.

The dedication of Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial will be held adjacent to the newly constructed memorial on the front lawn of the museum. Everyone is welcome to attend and there will be no charge. A special section of reserved seating will be held for veterans and other seniors. The Lancaster will be placed behind the memorial as a backdrop for the ceremonies. The dedication event will include music, aircraft fly-past, and the starting of the museum’s Lancaster starboard-inner Merlin engine.

As this will be an outdoor event, there will not be a luncheon associated with it and no tickets will be sold.

In early July, members will receive a letter advising them as to details of the dedication. You may also wish to visit our website at to keep up to date with plans for August 20.

Sixth Annual Fly-In

July 16, 2005, is the date of the Society’s annual fly-in, which will be held at the AJ Flying Ranch, seven miles north of Nanton.

The Nanton and District Lions Club will be serving a pancake and bacon breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The charge will be $5 for all you can eat! Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron #185 will be cooking up hamburgers at noon.

Weather being cooperative, the Society hopes to see an increase in attendance over last year’s 74 aircraft that attended. It is hoped to have several vintage aircraft and some “warbirds” on hand in addition to ultra-lights, home builts, as well as the usual factory built Cessnas, Pipers, etc.

All pertinent information about this fly-in will be posted on the museum website, The fly-in is open anyone interested. Come and enjoy!

Clark Seaborn’s Fokker Super Universal attended the 2004 fly-in.

The Red Deer Lancaster

Lancaster KB885 was built at the Victory Aircraft Plant at Malton, Ontario. It served with No. 434 and No. 420 squadrons. Following the war it was placed in long-term storage at what was formerly #37 Service Flying Training School in Calgary. In 1947, the RCAF struck KB885 off strength and sold it to C.R. “Charlie” Parker of Red Deer, Alberta for $275. The aircraft was flown to Penhold, formerly the site of #36 SFTS.

Charlie saw his new Lancaster as a potential magnet to draw customers to his service station on Highway #2, south of Red Deer. His daughter Lois Gilmour recalled, “Dad was always full of ideas that were different. He could fix or build almost anything, really a great inventor of machinery, etc., and loved cars and planes. I’m sure people around here wondered about him, but they were in awe when he set his plan in motion.” Mr. Parker towed his new bomber from the Penhold base along country roads and across farm fields to his “Bomber Service” gas station.

The Lancaster’s undercarriage was set on concrete supports and steps were constructed so that visitors could view the interior as part of a 25 cent tour. Lois Gilmour recalls how much fun it was to work at the gas station and give tours through the Lancaster.

Walter Mielke purchased “Bomber Service” in 1954. Two years later, the Troutdale Airmotive Co. of Troutdale, Oregon, purchased the Lancaster for $6000, planning to convert it into a fire-fighting water bomber.

Preparations then began to make the Lancaster airworthy and ferry KB885 to the U.S. The weather was good in the fall of 1956 as two air force mechanics from the Penhold base assisted with preparing the bomber for flight. New Rolls-Royce Merlin engines were fitted and run-up, elevators, ailerons, rudders, etc., were refurbished and a makeshift runway was bulldozed in a nearby field.

But a happy ending to the saga of KB885 was not to be. In January, 1957, pilot-mechanic E. Robinson taxied the Lancaster through the snow to her new runway. Just before take-off, hydraulic problems developed and while Robinson worked on the hydraulic system a fire ignited in the interior of the nose section. Before it was extinguished the entire nose section burned off. The bomber was towed back to the service station and later sold for scrap.

The once proud Lancaster bomber KB885 after the fire which destroyed the whole nose section just as it was due to take off for Oregon to be used for fighting fire!

Regarding the wartime nose and tail art carried by KB885, like all Lancasters of No 420 Squadron, it had the snowy owl painted on the outside of both tail fins. As well, PT-Y carried very distinctive nose art titled, “Hell Razor.” Clarence Simonsen believes that this design likely derived from artwork created by Walt Disney artists, one of three designs completed for United States Navy Carrier Air Group 81 in June 1944. Pilots of the aircraft carrier USS Akron known as VA-174 “Hell Razors” officially used the insignia.

Halifax Recovery Report

by Karl Kjarsgaard, Project Manager

Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) has gained more support for the Halifax Project in special spheres of influence in Canada.The Royal Canadian Legion was approached to endorse the project and pass on news of our special project to all their members and Legion branches across Canada. In early March an official letter from the Dominion President of the Legion, Mary Ann Burdett, was received endorsing our project. Further to this, “Legion Magazine” editors have advised me that an official announcement about the Halifax Project will be included in their May 2005 issue. Considering the national scope of their organization and its thousands of members, this is a very positive step for Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada). As project manager I have offered to speak to any Legion Branch across the country about recovering Halifax LW170.

In January, I spoke to the Air Cadet Squadron at Milton, Ontario, about the RCAF, the Halifax, and the project. The officers and cadets were most supportive and even made a contribution to our project fund. They suggested I approach the Air Cadet League of Canada headquarters in Ottawa to gain support for the Project. After positive communication with the executive director it was agreed that the Air Cadet League would endorse the project. All the squadrons and their cadets will be invited to support the Halifax Project. A fully bilingual invitation from Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) will be included on their official website. This is good news for our aims to include and educate the youth of today of the great heritage of the Halifax in the history of Canada and her Allies.

Halifax LW170 after ditching.

As of April 25/05 Karl Kjarsgaard reported he was to meet with officials
of a company prensently doing a sonar scan near the area.In April, I will be speaking to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapter in Montreal about the project. In addition the Air Force Association (Western Canada) is having their AGM on April 29/30 in Kelowna, B.C. Their executive has invited me to be the guest speaker at their dinner. I will do my best to gain support for our special project.

On the U.S. front, Reverend Bob Bluford of Richmond, Virginia, (a B-24 Liberator pilot with the USAAF) whose friend Mel Compton flew LW170 in combat, is 110% behind this project. He wants to make sure those 700+ Americans killed-in-action in the RCAF are not forgotten. We will be meeting later in April with influential people in Richmond and Washington, D.C. to rally support for the Halifax Project in the U.S. I also hope to meet with the new Canadian ambassador to the U.S.A., Frank McKenna, to gain his support in promoting the Halifax Project as a possible joint historic project to celebrate the victory and remember the sacrifice of RCAF warriors of Canada and the U.S.A.

From the members and supporters of Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) we have received good support in the form of membership fees and donations for our project and activities. 57 Rescue (Canada) is now a registered charity. This is an essential development for our fundraising campaign. We have and will be submitting proposals to several corporations and foundations for the critical funding needed for the sonar survey to locate Halifax LW170. This is in the order of $150,000 to $175,000, subject to currency fluctuations which are a main concern right now. Your membership renewals and donations will revitalize our project progress.

I apologize for the overall slow progress in going after RCAF Halifax LW170, but I hope you will remain determined with me. There are several proposals from our group being presented to foundations, corporations, and powerful philanthropic people at this time. We will continue to apply and lobby for one of these special groups or people to find the funds we need to go after Halifax LW170. She is a true international aviation treasure and the focus of our honourable quest.

The Society and the Halifax

For the record, the Nanton Lancaster Society is fully behind the recovery of Halifax LW170. Many NLS members are also members of 57 Rescue (Canada) and have contributed to the project. The Societyâs agreement with Karl Kjarsgaard is to accept the Halifax for restoration and display in itâs museum, when it is recovered. We are not involved in the funding or the recovery effort. Karl explicitly insisted that the raising of funds and the recovery operation was his responsibility. He knows, the limited funds received by our museum, are needed for present restorations and to maintain the museum.

Upon delivery to Nanton of Halifax LW170, Karl also indicated he would be active in fundraising for a building to house it where it can be restored and displayed. It was also agreed that Karl will head up the restoration of this special wartime bomber once it is recovered and delivered to Nanton.

When LW170 becomes part of our collection, the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum will have to think seriously about a name change. the Bomber Command Museum of Canada would seem appropriate! The museum’s main theme is already Bomber Command. Our BCATP aircraft, are still appropriate, having trained the bomber crews.

Next Generation Volunteers

Anthony Provost and Tony Kirbystanding beside the new engine mount fort the display merlin.
They have just finished painting the mount, which is standing on end. The mount is made mainly from engine sub-frame from a scrapped Lanc. Volunteer, Bob Long, welded it up.

Since last fall the museum shop has been happy to have two and sometimes three, 12 year old boys helping on Tuesday evenings after school. Anthony Provost was the first young fellow to come in after his mother asked if there might be a volunteer job for him. Anthony soon had some of his friends involved. At the time of this writing (mid April) there are two boys attending fairly regularly.

The boys have been given jobs helping adult volunteers, plus using the glass-bead machine to clean aircraft fittings for the Anson project, painting display cabinets, cleaning up the shop, etc. So far, these youngsters seem to be enjoying being part of the shop scene, even doing the menial tasks.

The Society hopes to involve them further in one of the on-going restoration projects in the near future.

Of Visitors & Things

The warm weather in February and March saw an increased number of visitors to the museum. Several school groups also scheduled visits to tour the museum and the Lancaster during this period.

On April 14 the crew of a Canadian Armed Forces helicopter from 408 Squadron, Edmonton, stopped in to visit. The three crew members were treated to a tour of the displays before flying on to Lethbridge for an overnight stay.

Also visiting in April were 32 members of Southern Alberta Woodworkers Society (SAWS), a woodworkers group with members in Calgary and southern Alberta. Your curator toured this group through the museum while stressing the museum’s need for volunteers with wood-working skills. He also pointed out several projects where such skills would be needed. Some of the projects mentioned were building the Anson wing spars, the fuselage formers and the wooden wing of the Cessna Crane. A project that wasn’t mentioned at the time was the Airspeed Oxford, which is not yet underway. However, in correspondence since with SAW’s newsletter editor, Bob Lee, we did mention the Oxford restoration. This aircraft with its 80% wood structure would be a great project for a group of wood- workers. Bob indicated he would place some info about this in the next SAW’s newsletter, even though he indicated the group was already busy with a couple of volunteer programs in the city of Calgary.

The Whitfield Family

Our most active, farthest away, volunteers are coming again. For the past 12 years, the Whitfield family have been spending two weeks each summer in Nanton, working on Lancaster FM159. That has to be a record in volunteerism!

Peter is flying out while Paul and Louise are driving out with their camp trailer. They will likely be here before this newsletter is posted. We anticipate that Paul will also be spending time working on FM159 as well as touring in the area.

Peter has been acquiring bits and pieces still needed for the restoration of Lancaster FM159. As well he has completed restoration of the Halifax instrument panel he stared about three years ago. Peter also had a Sarnia, Ontario, machine shop make a much needed tool for removing the Lancaster propeller domes. All these items will be transported to Nanton by Paul and Louise. The Hali panel is due to be added to the present Halifax display when delivered.

The Halifax instrument panel restored by Peter Whitfield and a Lanc propeller dome tool Peter had made in Sarnia Ontario.

1941 BCATP Truck Donated

A Dodge 1 1/2 ton truck was donated to the museum in 2004 by Dwayne Leech of Nanton, AB. It is pictured above as received. The lower inset photo shows the letters, RCAF C1H9-C42 that were painted on the driver-side door. The truck needs a front axle and a full set of tires, but otherwise it is complete and restorable. An axle is available locally. Does anyone know of a source of the original 20 inch military type tires used ?

The truck’s history is not known, but it is assumed to have been used on a base here in southern Alberta. The Society will be looking into the possibility of a government grant to help restore this vintage vehicle.

Our belated THANKS to Dwayne Welsh for donating this wartime truck.

Letters on door.

1941 Dodge truck.

Museum Manager’s Report

It is spring and a new year and lots of new things are going to be happening at the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum! You will have read about the events of 2005 in other parts of this newsletter. It is a great new year for me personally as well as I have at last completed all eight courses toward a “Certificate in Museum Studies.” I travelled to Vegreville for the “Museum Governance” course in March and once I pass the assignment for that course, I will be eligible to receive my certificate!

One very important part of any Museums Alberta course or workshop is the networking with other museum staff and seeing their museums. The Vegreville museum is a terrific place to visit and I was intrigued with the triangular display cabinets they have there. Photos were taken and some of our shop volunteers and directors have seen them and are very interested in building something like Vegreville’s cases so we would be able to utilize our display wing space much better.

NLS has many very interesting items in its collection that are not currently displayed well, so this would be a very good idea for us to implement. We are constantly trying to change displays to add to the interest of repeat visitors as well as those who are visiting us for the first time. We are looking forward to a great year and hope to see lots of you at our 2005 events!

Dicimus (we lead),   Lea Norman

An American Air Gunner

Tom Withers, an American air gunner of an RCAF Halifax, expressed the following sentiments in a letter to his parents in Roseland, Virginia, on January 10, 1941:

… to say goodbye to you was not an easy thing for me to do. However, I believe you both will understand that I could not well do anything else since everything that I, as well as both of you, believe in is now in a very precarious position. My training, inclinations, and whatever abilities I may have seem best suited for the choice that I have made. And there is no question of serving Canada to the neglect of my mother country. He who serves Great Britain or any of its Dominions also serves the U.S. and vice versa. Our differences are in arbitrary boundary lines only.”.. Love Tom.

On July 27,1942 Tom’s Halifax W1230 of 405 Squadron, RCAF, was shot down over Germany. He now rests with his Canadian crew in the Allied War Cemetery in Kiel, Germany.
Thomas Austin Withers’ name is NOT on the Virginia State Memorial. However, his name will be inscribed on the Nanton Lancaster Society Memorial Wall that will be constructed this summer, adjacent to our museum. Of the approximately 10,600 names of Canadian Bomber Command casualties commemorated thereon, several hundred are American volunteers, like F/S (AG) Thomas Austin Withers, RCAF.

Credit to Air Canada 767 pilot, Capt. Karl Kjarsgaard for researching this wartime story.

Tribute To The Warren Twins

The replica Spitfire is now in “flying” position above and just behind the Lancaster in the museum hangar. To be seen on either side of the Spit’s fuselage are the squadron letters of the two Spitfires, flown during WWII, at Dieppe, by the Nanton-born twins, Douglas and Bruce Warren.

The twin brothers both served after the war as well. In 1952, Bruce was tragically killed while testing a prototype CF100 fighter. Douglas (Duke) had a full career in the RCAF and is now retired in Comox, British Columbia. Duke has been a friend and supporter of the NLS museum since its inception back in 1986.

Spitfire with different squadron letters on each side, as flown by the Warren twins.

NLS Restorer Of Many Things

Charlie Cobb is one of our dedicated Calgary volunteers who has been driving out every Tuesday for several years to work in the shop. Charlie is willing to work on any project. He has done everything from restoring intricate bombsights to helping mold Plexiglas. He was involved with restoration of the Bristol Blenheim bomber in 2000 and the Lancaster rear turret last year.

Probably Charlie’s most ambitious accomplishment is the restoration of two Bristol gun turrets. One is soon to be installed in the Blenheim. The other is an individual display (unveiled in 2004) which has the potential to be “runnable.”

Charlie is presently overhauling a T-1 bombsight, the type used in Lancasters. To Charlie Cobb, our GRATEFUL THANKS!

Charlie Cobb here with the Norden Bombsight he has recently restored.

Lanc Elevators Restored

Gordon Neu is making one of the last access covers for the second Lancaster elevator to be restored.

Both elevators will be reinstalled on the Lancaster sometime this summer. They will be painted prior to installation by our long-time volunteer, Maurice Galli, from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. Maurice is an oilfield equipment painting contactor. He will be in the Nanton area sometime in May to paint the elevators in their camouflage top and black undersurface.
We won’t attempt to list the names of all the volunteers who helped with this project, as nearly every shop volunteer has had something to do with getting them to this stage. A grateful THANKS to all the volunteers who made this happen!

While many volunteers have worked at restoring the Lancaster elevators over the past several years, Gordon Neu has been there through the fabric application, the rib stitching phase, and has made all the inspection covers for both elevators. Making the inspection covers was a very time consuming part of restoring the elevators. Each elevator has some 10 different aluminium inspection covers, each with their associated metal receiver plates that had to be cemented into the fabric covering. Gordon’s panels look like factory made panels and they are only one example of the exacting work he has done on these control surfaces.

The two Lancaster elevators sit on stands awaiting the final painting.These two contol surfaces have been under restoration over the past three or more years.Painting and installation will complete these important components.

Member Profile -Fred Hollowell

Fred Hollowell has been traveling to Nanton, from Calgary, to volunteer for nearly as long as the NLS has existed.

In July of 1987, Fred one of a team of volunteers that recovered a derelict Avro Anson from the Markle farm near Stavely, Alberta. His report on this adventure was printed in the Fall 1987 NLS newsletter.

Fred has been a shop volunteer ever since 1988 when Mrs. McGowan “loaned” the Society the vacant shop on her acreage at the edge of the town of Nanton. That year he was instrumental in having his employer, Shell Canada, donate a glass bead cabinet for cleaning parts. Another Calgary volunteer had an air compressor donated to operate it.

Over the years Fred has been part of the on-going restorations, including a Jacobs engine, a towing tractor, and the Lancaster. For the last several years Fred has assisted with refurbishing the Lancaster cockpit, helping to replace wiring and controls, etc. More recently he has been part of the engine crew that has been working on Merlin engine #3 readying it to run at this year’s main event.

Fred Hollowell’s dedication is one of the reasons our museum has become a major player in preserving WWII aviation history. THANKS FRED!

The Anson Restoration

by Rob Pedersen

Well all those little pieces are finally starting to come together in the shape of an airplane. We now have completed the starboard and port windows located where the navigator sits, the rear port window across from the crew door and the 100 lbs bomb access panels. We were very lucky as one of the navigator windows had been stored inside and required only minor restoration. For each piece that had to be rebuilt using new materials, we were able to include some original Anson pieces.

One “adventure” that we have had is trying to find screws to match the original. When the Anson was originally assembled, the standard wood screw used was a brass screw with a slotted head. The most commonly used screws were #4’s in lengths of anywhere from 1/8″ to 2″ long. In keeping with our policy of using period fittings, we have been on a never-ending hunt for authentic wood screws. We have recently found a source in British Columbia, Pacific Fasteners Ltd., who can supply us with lengths of up to 1″ in the style we need. For screws longer than that it is necessary to remove them from the 50 year old wood and restore them when ever possible.

This summer should finally see the wood fuselage formers installed on the tubing frame.

Ode To An Anson

-by Andy (#7 SFTS, Fort Macleod)

Oh, the Crane may fly much faster,
Inside she may be neat,
But to me the draughty Anson
Is very hard to beat.

Her plywood may be warping,
Her window glass may crack,
But when you start out in an Anson
You know that youâll come back.

She may be a flying greenhouse,
With her windows all around,
But in that draughty Anson
You’re as safe as on the ground.

She may creak and she may shudder,
As she comes out of a dive,
But if her pilot knows his stuff
She’ll bring him back alive.

Her landing gear is sturdy,
It will stand for quite a drop,
If you doubt it, watch your students
Bring her in, and let her flop.

Fifteen, twenty, twenty-five,
She doesn’t care a jot,
All in all, our Anson
Will stand for quite a lot.

The wind may make her weather-cock-
That’s nothing to these craft,
For when you fly an Anson
You never mind a draft.

You can keep your Moth and Battle,
Your Harvard and your Crane,
Give me the good old Anson
In which our pilots train.

When she comes in with a panel,
All split from front to rear,
And the rigger starts to fix it-
They don’t need a lot of gear.

A chisel and some plywood,
Some brads and a pot of glue,
Quite a bit of elbow grease
And very soon theyâre through.

They wheel her back out to the line,
Her Cheetahs start to cough-
Our Anson knows thereâre lads to train
And she’s eager to be off.

April -Clean Up Day

The 279 Squadron from Elk Valley, B.C., arrived April 23 to help clean the museum, as they have done for several years now. This year was much more eventful for everyone. It was the first time a number of the aircraft and other displays were moved out of the museum hangar to facilitate cleaning. Re-positioning aircraft to give the museum a new look, added to the chores.

Anything on wheels or casters was moved out.

Blenheim stil in the same place behind the Lanc.

The Cornell is now in a different location.

Harvard outside being washed by Cadets.

Fleet Fawn – now on display near the main hangar doors in front of the Lancaster.

Cadets sweeping the hangar floor.

Miscellaneous Photographs

This grade 10 group from Nanton’s J.T. Foster High School visited the museum on March 24 along with their teachers. This is an example of the Society’s working with local and other educational entities.

Painted lines are drawn for excavating the foundation of the memorial wall. (Editor: the “special effect” lines are a bit shaky.)

Out of the hanger on clean up day.

On display in a recently acquired showcase is the special suitcase used by WWII nose artist, Gearge Oliver. A short article about George’s nose art and the suitcase was mentioned in the Fall 2004 newsletter. This article can be found in that newsletter on the NLS website.

Our good friend, Karl Bazin, Swift Current, Saskatchewan, had his father-in-law, Kelly,
drop off a small trtailer load of airplane parts on April 23. These Anson and Oxford parts he had acquired over the last few years. Along with these was a photo copier donated from Karl’s law firm of MacBean-Tessum, in Swift Current, SK. Our grateful THANKS to Karl Bazin and MacBean-Tessum!

The newly restored Bristol gun turret waiting installation in the Barry Davideson Blenheim.

Pictured above are several new “sign stands.” These were a winter project carried out in the museum shop by Calgary volunteer, John Maze. He made up and fitted all the metal and wood components.Local volunteer Bob Long did the necessary welding.

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.

Ivor Dunham,
Vancouver Island, B.C.
(I’m an immigrant from England 1957.) One of the best archives I have ever seen about the Allied Bombers. I still remember as a youngster hearing the BBC announcements about the number of missing aircraft. It needed very brave men to crew those planes, raid after raid. Your memorial is most appropriate. Hope I can visit physically one day.

Ross O,
Vallely, New Zealand.
I would like to pass on to ALL involved in FM-159’s survival and restoration, my respect and admiration for your fine aircraft and excellent website. I am presently reading “Pathfinder Force” by Gordon Musgrove and I’m awed by the service of men like Ian Bazalgette and those of Bomber Command. Many Thanks !

J. Brackenbury,
Lincolnshire, England.
Found your site by accident, great site and very interesting. I live on the site of RAF Binbrook, home of G-George, now in Australia. Keep up the good work on your Lanc. Will pay your site more visits.

Bob Penner,
St. Albert, Alberta.
Just want to say you have a top-notch site. I became a Lanc person from the time spent with 408 Sqdn., either in or support of 408, in Rockcliffe, Uplands, and Rivers from 59 to 70. If possible I would like “Shorty Hazelton’s” e-mail address as I got to know him in Rockcliffe. Passed by your Lanc a “few” years ago, like when it was parked along side the hwy. We hope to get to the museum next summer. Membership application in the mail. Keep up the good work!

Jack Webster,
Norwich, England.
Thanks to your web site and divine providence, I have contacted the son of my late Skipper, Keith Ellwood. His son logged on to your site by mistake.

Our museum manager suggested the following note might be of interest to NLS members, even though it is dated October 2004.
It is typical of letters and e-mail received from many visitors.

Brian Dunlop,
My wife Nancy and I visited your magnificent facility last Tuesday (September 31/04) on our way from Medicine Hat to Calgary and our flight home. We had been visiting the “kids” in “the Hat.” My son-in-law flew the UK army helicopter to your open day a year ago from RAF Suffield, AB. His new CO made it too difficult for him to get there this year, so they sent an NCO gunner. Next year may be different as they will again have a new CO.
I was amazed at the extent of your collection and had expected the Lancaster and some parts of another one or two, so you can imagine my surprise at all that you have. The Cornell looks like a good project for a flying restoration. The Anson bought back memories as I had flown a later model in the UK many years ago. I also saw the Anson at Greenwood, N.S. One of the restorers there was an apprentice in the UK about the same time as I was. I was on Yorks and he was on DC-3s.
The Lancaster is outstanding and a credit to you and it is just a pity that a large infusion of money could not be found to make it fly, although the locals may have doubts about it going down Route 2. The Bolingbroke against a farm fence on our way out of town got our attention as well.
I just wish I lived nearer and could spend time with you and do some work. The next time we come by it will not be at 4:10 pm with a closing time of 5 pm. This time we were rather late as we had driven from Med’ Hat to Lethbridge to meet with a flying friend from Idaho whom we had not seen for some time. Such is the small world of aviation.
Once again thank you for putting together such a wonderful collection and we will definitely be back.

In Memorium

Kenneth V. Fraser,
Kanata, Ontario.
Passed away in 2004.

Julia Couch,
Nelson, B.C.
Passed on October 2004. Long-time member of NLS.

W.G. Aldridge,
Coulsdon, Surry, UK.
Deceased December 6, 2004. WWII bomb aimer.

Denis H. Wood-Samman,
Calgary, Alberta.
Passed away December 2004. Member NLS.

Edward R. Roberts,
Calgary, Alberta.
Deceased December 2004. WWII aircrew, NLS member.

John Fox,
Nanton, Alberta.
Deceased December 13, 2004. Dedicated NLS volunteer.

Don Mallory,
Vulcan, Alberta.
Passed away January 6, 2005. Long-time member of NLS.

Syd Duthie,
Nanton, Alberta.
Passed on March 12, 2005. Long-time NLS member and dedicated volunteer.

James D. Laidlaw,
Nanton, Alberta.
Deceased April 2005. Founding member of NLS.

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

President’s Comments

As I enter into my eighteenth year as your president, the museum continues its mandate of honouring our Bomber Command veterans and those that paid the ultimate sacrifice. In keeping with this mandate, one of our most ambitious projects to date will be unveiled on August 20, the “Bomber Command Memorial Wall.” We now have identified nearly 10,600 names of those who died while serving Canada in WWII. Some of these were, of course, enrolled with the RAF while others were actually from other countries such as the United States, etc.

It is indeed amazing the scope and magnitude of Bomber Command and how many lives it touched. No city or town in Canada did not have at least one young man or woman involved in the BCATP or serving overseas with an active or training squadron. Thousands more were enlisted to build the Ansons, Harvards, Lancasters and other war equipment required.

Seldom have Canadians rallied behind a cause as they did from 1939-1945. Perhaps a more modern equivalent, on a smaller scale, would be the Terry Fox Run, which united our country magnificently. I am confident that if our nation were truly threatened again, you would see Canadians rallying for the common good and defending those freedoms bought at such a high cost over sixty years ago. Let us hope we never see that day again.

Dan Fox

Curator / Editor’s Desk

As most of our readers will already know, the Nanton Lancaster Society’s motto, Press On Regardless, was also the motto of the wartime Pathfinder squadrons. Since the Society was formed in 1986, we have built our museum using this philosophy.

The original building, was a “bare bones” hangar desperately needed to preserve the old Lancaster.

In 1991, when we had raised enough funds to put up the “shell” of this building, construction was started, even though we had no idea where or when additional funds would be found to complete the interior. This proved to be a positive move. It showed that we were actually doing something about preserving the WWII Lancaster bomber. People suddenly realized NLS was doing what it had set out to do!

The word spread, “This outfit is indeed serious!” More donations came in. Additional monies poured into the building fund, materials were donated for the proposed “lean-tos” that would house the small artifacts and become a small restoration shop. Local tradesmen donated labour, and on it went. Burnco Concrete Ltd, a regional ready-mix company, donated concrete for the floors in both 20′ x 100′ lean-tos! The following year Lafarge Building Products of Canada donated ALL the concrete for the hangar floor! And other contributions followed.

Why all this reminiscing? Well, we are at it again! We are pressing on towards a 9000 square foot addition to the present building, that will serve as a combined display and restoration area.

Again, additional space is drastically needed! The present shop is barely adequate for working on engines and the smaller components of the eleven aircraft in the museum that are needing extensive restoration. This addition will enable us to assemble and display aircraft which have wingspans ranging from 42′ to 56′. And, like in the past, we are doing this one step at a time: Phase I, the basic building shell.

Total estimated cost of Phase One is $350,000, As this newsletter goes to press, we have about half of the required funds to complete this first building stage. At this time an upcoming “casino” is the only foreseeable source of additional funds for this project. Can you help? Do you know of a company that might help? Please let us know because we are about to Press On Regardless!

Bob Evans