The 'Halibag' NewsletterDecember '99
PROJECT MANAGER’S "END OF THE CENTURY" REPORT
We have come to the end of a very exciting year…and…a very exciting century.
These are some of the things that have happened in 1999.
I recently drafted and submitted a brief Annual Report to the board of directors of the Halifax Aircraft Association. It summarized most of the events that had taken place and the progress made in the restoration. They intend to append the report to their Annual Newsletter. Most of you will see it there. This gives us the opportunity to dedicate this newsletter to the more personal and memorable events. Happenings that make all of us on this team feel good at the end of the day.
Center Wing/Centre Fuselage . . . This section is near completion. Here are the people behind it.
George Rosskopf the prime mover of this section for the past several years, left us in October. We thank him for a job well done.
Tom Mann, a retired DeHavilland engineer and Guy Cuerrier have taken over and are doing a fabulous job. They have been getting a lot of help.
George Woods Baker from Santa Monica, California wrote us a thank you letter recently. It read…." This letter is long overdue. I have been meaning to write to thank you for the opportunity to do my part and contribute a few hours work on the Halifax earlier this month." This gentleman arrived, worked three days on this section with Guy, then left.
In a similar manner, John Cooper of Sault Saint Marie, arrives each July for a week of work on the Halli. He is a shop instructor at a Technical College most of the year.
Before we attach the centre wing to the Rear Fuselage, the upper portion must be put in place and fitted. This is the well-known covered wagon bit. We are expecting to get on it after xmas but a crew emerged from nowhere. It is well under way now. Here is how it is happening.
Ron Pennington, Duncan Banks, Bill LaBrash and Bruce Moase started this off.
-Ron has been a team member part-time, as our drawing and spec coordinator but has joined us now full-time. But he now insists on being a metal-worker and airframe wizard.
-Duncan Banks is a Paramedic in Ottawa. He drives to Trenton on days that he can manage, works that say then drives back to Ottawa.
-Bill Labrash is an instructor at the Warkworth Pennitentary. He works with us on Saturdays.
-Bruce Moase, a retired Chief Warrant Officer and Search and Rescue Specialist, joined the team several weeks ago. While it is a great leap from parachuting to rivitting, he is doing well.
We did not over-manage this part of the project…it just seemed to happen.
Radio Headset/Microphone connectors and other parts.
Several weeks ago I received an email from Bill and Elsie McKnight of Lower Millstream, New Brunswick. They had several headset/mic connectors and wondered if we could use them. We said Yes…they arrived yesterday.
Earlier in the summer, we received a similar parcel from the other side of Canada. The parcel contained an 1155 RADIO RECEIVER and other electronic bits. The packing note simply said it was from Frank Bosworth, Victoria B.C.
Retired RCAF/CAF Aeronautial Engineering Officers Annual Mess Dinner.
On November 17, our group of old retired AERE (Engineering Officers) held a formal Mess Dinner in the RCAF Mess,Ottawa. Ninety three of us attended this year. While some are fully retired most still work in Civil and Corporate Aviation. This is a scrounger’s heaven…to have all of these potential victims concentrated in one room for a whole evening. All are aware of the Hali Restoration and many have offered support.
The senior member of our group, Bert Massiah joined the RCAF in 1929. Over that period of time he reached the rank of Wing Commander retiring in 1960. He has been a member of the
RCAF Mess Ottawa, since 1943. While there was a lot of RCAF history in that room that night…there were a lot of War Stories after the dinner. I didn’t get away until three in the morning…I was grounded by my own wife and daughters.
Lancaster FM104 Toronto Lakeshore
Volunteers from the Toronto Aerospace and Aviation Museum have successfully disassembled and transported the Lanc to the Downsview Museum site. They will soon be restoring it there. We have many surplus instruments, radio and electrical items that will help them. They have a lot of aircraft general hardware such as nuts, bolts, rivets. A little bit of horse trading here is inevitable.
Hakon Lokken-Journalist, Hamar Norway
Hakon visited the restoration project mid-September. On his return to Norway he authored a full-page story on the restoration entitled…Canadian Halifax – Half Way There. The article of course was written in Norwegian. However, we have a lot of Danish friends and it did not take long to…break the code.
We have many friends in Hamar and the rest of Norway. The story should let the know that NA337 is beginning to look like her old self and will soon have a new home.
Quintessentially Quinte – An Audio Portrait of the Bay of Quinte
Don Edwards, Ashcroft Audio Publishing, recently created an audio cassette on the Bay of Quinte Region. Since we are prominent part of "Quinte", approximately 10 minutes of this tape includes interviews with us. Portions of this tape were broadcast yesterday over local radio stations. The tapes and the broadcast will help publicize our project and we thank both Don and CJBQ for that.
Mrs Ide Corker
In early September, the association received a letter from this lady. Ide is 75 years of age but states that she was 21 on the 25 April,,1945, the day after our Halifax ditched in Lake Mjosa. Her husband, F/L Alec
Turnbull was the pilot. She also states that she was unaware of the recovery and restoration of this aircraft until a local paper carried a photo of Alec along with a story of the events. Ide also states that she would like to visit Trenton and the Halifax if her health allows. We would be honoured and pleased if she would.
It’s a Small World
On 2nd of December John Wright of the Halifax Aircraft Association, visited us and showed a friend, Rosallee, around the project. In the back of the shop they ran into Maurice Ducarme, one of our sheet metal volunteers. It turns out that Rosallee was a Refueling Tender Operator at Aylmer Ontario when John Wright and Maurice were airmen at St Thomas, a station only a few miles from Aylmer. However, it seems all of these people were there too early as Aylmer was the only station in Canada to have Halifaxes. It had four that were used in training Flight Engineers. The schooling part was done at St Thomas.
Of interest, you may remember that rumour had it that the 4 Hallis were buried at Aylmer. We had friends at Bell Telephone survey the site with their super-sensitive metal detectors. They found none . . . .we later discovered that they were sold as scrap.
On 1st December, four of us loaded a van with moulds, metal and samples and headed to Toronto to the Boeing plant at Pearson International Airport. As many are aware, we have had a lot of trouble fabricating the leading edge sections of the vertical stabilizers. The metal needed to be formed by pressing over a mould. We have no such equipment. But on this day Boeing would allow us the use of their 500 Ton Press. Our moulds were not built well enough to properly form these edges. We were disappointed.
The Boeing employees took us to their mould shops, showed us what they would do to ensure proper forming. They even gave us materials to surface our moulds. We will be back in a week to try again.
The spooky part of this adventure was that all of us were through these facilities many years age. The old
press we were using was the one that was used in the manufacture of the Lancaster. Old Victory Aircraft
signs could still be seen on some walls. We were thankful to have had an opportunity to see this historical site one more time. We hear it may not be there for long.
You Who Served with the Halifax Bomber
When things began to happen in mid 95, individuals that flew or maintained the Halifax, would tell of their memories and experiences. I would spend many an evening writing the daily journal to record as much of this as possible. It became too large…so we created a simple form labelled…You Who Served with the Halifax Bomber and asked each of you to fill in as much of your particulars as you could and mail them back to us. We now have approximately 400. These are now sorted into Squadrons and displayed that way. They break down in RAF,RCAF(400 series) and Australian squadrons. I would like to create a register of all of these people, with names, addresses, and phone numbers and make them available to any of you that would want it. It will probably happen early in the new year if I can find someone that types with all ten fingers.
What’s in the Future
The RCAF Memorial museum is getting serious with regard to raising funds for the new addition to house the Halifax. We could have a new home in less than 3 years. Restoration activities are being speeded up to match that date. We will probably visit the UK early in the new year to view some parts and components and to visit the Yorkshire Air Museum.
The cockpit or front fuselage is a major concern along with the starboard intermediate wing section. This last piece was damaged severely by fire. It would probably be better to save it as an artifact and find a replacement section. We already have leads on this. As usual, our biggest problem is space, or lack of it.
The bottom line is that the Restoration is proceeding better than we ever dreamed possible; more people are helping and the rewards are many. What can or must be said at this time is that this success is predominantly due to the efforts of many ordinary people.
Once again, space is becoming a problem so………
On behalf of the Halifax Restoration Team, may I wish each of you the best in the New Year and the New Century.
The 'Halibag' Newsletter is produced to try to keep members of the Halifax groups and other interested parties in touch with the progress on 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.
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