Leon Evans, chief pilot for the Canadian Warplane Museum in Hamilton, Ontario presented to us this month on the flight of thier operational Lancaster bomber to the UK.
We saw a short video clip from the Rick Mercer TV show of him flying with the Lancaster Bomber over the Niagara area and then Andy Redman introduced Leon Evans who gave an excellent presentation of the Lancaster’s 2014 trip to England to take part in air shows with the only other flight-worthy Lancaster.
Evans, a graduate of St. Catharines Collegiate, is chief pilot at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Mount Hope. He pointed out that the mandate for the museum is to acquire, document, preserve and maintain a complete collection of air-craft that were flown by Canadians and the Canadian military from the start of World War II till the present.
Evans, who spent 33 years with Air Canada, said that the Heritage Museum acquired the Lancaster Bomber in 1977 when it was mounted on display at the Royal Canadian Legion in Goderich. Restoration started the following year and the plane finally had its first flight in September of 1988.
Leon said the bomber was dedicated to the memory of Andy Mynarski, the last Victoria Cross winner of World War II, who died while trying to assist the tail gunner after their Lancaster was shot down in 1944.
Leon said that a total of 7,377 Lancaster bomb-ers were built during WW II and over 60 per cent of them were shot down. However 30 of the planes exceeded 100 missions.
He described some of the preparations and fund-raising required to be able to make the long flight to the United Kingdom in 2014. The Canadian Lancaster, nicknamed VERA because of the flight initials VRA, teamed up with the other Lancaster bomber for a tour of various air shows during a seven-week tour.
Evans said the two craft and their crews were warmly welcomed on all their stops during the tour.
The trip was not without incident as an engine had to be replaced prior to the return home and potential bad weather made for a tricky landing in a refueling stop in Iceland.
Our guest speaker in December will be Ridley College head-master Ed Kidd who will discuss Ridley and the Niagara Community. We will also have our traditional Christmas Carol sing-a-long with Bob Henderson and John Butler.