The 'Halibag' NewsletterAutumn 2001
It has been a very productive summer. We've had over 1000 Air Cadetsvisit and hundreds of enthusiastic visitors. We are entering our seventh year on this project, and are over the hardest part. We suggested earlier that this is a ten year project. It's gonna be close.
In our last issue we showed the remnants of the cockpit as a pile of debris; a lot of work has taken place since then. The pilot's chassis, including the pilot's seat, is 90% complete and we have a good start on the entire cockpit/front fuselage.
Rod Clark spent his holidays in England photographing both areas of the Halifax at Yorkshire Air Museum and W1048 at Hendon. Several hundred photos were taken to supplement the drawings that we have. There is still a lot of mystery in what some of the finer details are, but the crew is resolving these problems one at a time.
The pilot's seat cushion was totally restored with a new back cushion made by an upholsterer. We do have a seat cushion that has not been restored; we're not sure of what to do now.
The story is that F/O Doug Hawkes of Calgary Alberta liberated two cushions from a Halifax and brought them home to Canada. His Mother sewed new covers for them and they were used at their Hunting Lodge for many years. Doug has donated one of these cushions to us. Our dilemma is that Doug's Mother . . .who sewed these covers . . .was Lillian Gish, one of Canada's most famous Silent Movie Stars. We think we'll leave it as it is, with a suitable plaque.
Nose-Glass Section is still at Yorkshire Air Museum awaiting the installation of new plexiglass. As you may remember, we were not having much luck in moulding the plexiglass sections and YAM had found a Contractor that would manufacture the plexiglass for their nose. They would make a second set for us. Last year 415 Maritime Patrol Squadron from Greenwood Nova Scotia were kind enough to deliverour Nose Frame Section to the Yorkshire Air Museum. This year they are again going to the Uk for exercises and have offered to bring the completed section home. This would be great but I have not been able to establish the progress on the work.
Most of the instruments were lost in the ditching or did not survive 50 years of immersion. We were fortunate to be able to purchase most of them from a company in England that had tons of them left-over from the war. However, the instruments were manufactured using radium dials . ..the kind that glow in the dark . . .and do not meet the Radiation Safety Standards of today. They are all presently sealed in metal barrels awaiting final installation. They will be installed in the aircraft but the general public will not be allowed access to this area.
We have a complete transmitter and receiver set. . .the 1154TX and the 1155RX. They are serviceable and were donated by Al Deon.
We have recently found a Gee set . . .it is nowon display in the RCAF Memorial Museum until needed by the team. Rescue57 found this set . . .and a lot of other equipment. We don't know how they do it . . .and we don't ask!
In addition to all of these items, we have a number of sets of Radio Operators Morse Keys, a number of compasses, Bubble Sextants and mant miscellanous electrical switches, lamps, and other gadgets. Any surplus items will be used for trading purposes . . .to exchange for items we don't have. Like an H2S Radar or a Radio Compass.
The Bristol Hercules engine that we received in trade from the Western Canada Air Museum, is on it's way to Trenton at this time.
George Elliot of WCAM has a transport company delivering two Howard Aircraft to Toledo Ohio and our engine is hitching a ride. We will have to pay for shipping from Toledo to Trenton.
The engine is a time expired power plant from a Bristol Freighter aircraft. While not identical to our engines, it's close and may have some useable components. Rescue 57 in Scotland, have strong leads on engine gear-boxes, shafts and propeller blades. They are presently in a farm building in the area of Arnhem, Holland. The farmer will donate them to us but has asked that they not be removed until his crops have been harvested. The photos we have show at least three propeller blades, a gear case and shaft. We are advised that there may be more.
Cees Van Der Leeuw and Jaap Hinderink will travelto Arnhem to inspect and identify the items. We hope that they are in usable condition . . .we're desperate for these parts. Cees and Jaap live over 500Kms from Arnhem. We appreciate their time and effort.
The port end of this section was lost in the ditching. (Six feet of stabilizer and the entire fin and rudder were lost). Both fin and rudders are complete; the tailplane 75% done. It is huge .. .30 feet long, or more correctly . . .wide. When it is in place it will give the aircraft a whole new dimension.
We have enjoyed a remarkable summer. A lot of progress in the restoration and many special guests and visitors. The Museum and Restoration Volunteers have worked hard and well over this season. We've even had a few parties together to celebrate. The highlights of all this is still the process of meeting, knowing and sharing War Stories with YOU WHO SERVED WITH THE HALIFAX.
The 'Halibag' Newsletter is produced to try to keep members of the Halifax groups and other interested parties in touch with the progresson of the project.
The views expressed in these newsletter are those of the author(s) and may not necessarily reflect the views of the RCAF Memorial Museum, the Halifax Aircraft Association or the Halifax Restoration Team. Material for inclusion in future issues may be e-mailed to Bill Tytula
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