The 'Halibag' NewsletterSpring 2001
Many of you will be aware that we have had a very productive winter.
My update written for the Halifax Aircraft Association Newsletter was printed and mailed recently. The Association mailed copies to their own members in normal fashion…but also sent copies to members of the Bomber Harris Trust; over 14,000 copies.
Jeff Jeffery, President of the HAA has been overwhelmed by the responses. The first three months of this year have been quiet and easy.
Here’s what happened since our last report.
Tail Turret and Guns
The project is now 80% complete. The plexiglass windows are in progress but are more difficult that expected. The remaining items are complete. Most are aware that we manufactured 13 Browning Machine Guns for this project. Since our last newsletter, one gun has been loaned to the Shearwater Aviation Museum and one corroded/rusted original has been put on display at 426 Squadron, #8 Wing Trenton. Another original, complete with case is in the custody of HAA in Toronto and will be a part of the display at the Toronto Aviation and Aircraft Museum show on May 4,5, and 6.
Herb Crosby, a member of our team and a notable Tail Gunner passed away in January.
Herb survived 63 missions over enemy territory.
We have dedicated this turret to Herb; a suitable plaque has been engraved. It will be known as the Crosby Turret.
Rear Bay/Rear Fuselage
The rear bay (last 16 feet) is complete and waiting for the main tail-plane (horizontal stabilizers) to be completed.
A steel jig has been created from this section to be used in the restoration of the tail-plane. Ian Jamison and Tom Whitaker have been working diligently on the next 28 feet (rear fuselage). It has been completely remanufactured including all skins, stringers and frames. This section was constructed from the Chicken Cop fuselage section we received from the Isle of Lewis. Only the steel from, #38 are original. The trap door and lining of the hole in the floor that was used to drop supplies is also complete. A crew entrance door is half way to completion. We were fortunate that the Chicken Coop came with this door. It was intact enough to copy.
And all of this done in only three years…it seemed forever.
Centre Wing/Centre Fuselage/Outer Wing
The centre wing section has been receiving leading edges. Guy Cuerrier, Harry Fry and keith Jennings have been labouring over the last few months restoring this entire section plus the two outer wings.
The structure is now 44 feet wide and is receiving engine mounts, undercarriage fittings and structure. It is nearly as wide as our building.
Most of the more solid structure from the starboard outer wing was salvaged and re-used. The large section of skin that was severely burned was removed as a single piece and will be given to the curator to integrate into a display. It is impressive to see so much burn damage and to know that the aircraft was still flying. It proves what so many have said; The Halifax was a Tough Old Bird!
Several weeks ago Paul Botting, Stew Thow, Ian Jamieson and Bill LaBrash were at work early Saturday morning extending the jigs to accommodate the cockpit/nose section. This heavy steel structure involved arc welding…Something we can’t do when the public is visiting. This section of cockpit was presented to the center wing and attached. It was then jigged and removed for rebuild. This assures us that it will mate neatly when it comes time to assemble it finally.
Rod Clarke has nearly completed the Pilot’s Chassis. This assembly includes the seat, controls, and rudder pedals and floor support structure. Rescue 57 has found a Brake Differential Unit (BDU) that will put the finishing touches to it. Rod, a Yorkshire man himself, will be visiting the UK this spring and will bring it home. Stu Thow has been working on the rebuild of the pilot’s seat. It is almost finished. All of this will be integrated into the cockpit in the next few weeks. The nose-glass section that is home to the Bomb Aimer will be mated to all of this to make the fuselage complete from tip-tail.
Our nose-glass is being made in England with the generous assistance of the Yorkshire Air Museum. We don’t know their progress on this yet; I have a number of volunteers that would like to go over…Just to check.
Dave Ablett and his crew have had a productive winter. This is where we are with this project; all four engine mounts are complete, all firewalls complete, two cowlings complete – two to be done, all exhaust stacks complete, 12 propeller blades manufactured but needs hubs, two porcupine tubes – need two more.
#2 Engine is being prepared for display at the Toronto Aviation and Aircraft Show in May. We will deliver it to Toronto but the display will be created and manned by volunteers for the HAA. Ian Foster of Rescue 57 has indicated in their Newsletter that they are looking for a Halli propeller hub for a display they are creating. He says it would not matter if is corroded. If anyone does offer them a Halli Hub in good condition…We’ll try to talk them out of it and give one of our corroded hubs in exchange.
We now have wheels, tires, undercarriage arches and most of the components to put all of this together. Deryck Brown, Terry James and the team of machinists have done a tremendous job.
This is probably the most noticeable change in the restoration.
Both Fin and Rudder are nearing completion…they are huge.
The starboard fin and rudder were restored; the port was lost in the ditching. A complete new fin and rudder set was made from scratch.
The horizontal stabilizer is 30 feet in span, made in two 15 foot sections. Both are jigged at this time. The starboard one is routine, however much of the port side was torn off and lost along with the fin and rudder and will require remanufacture. We expect most of this to be completed by summer. The Tail plane is so wide and high that it will not be installed until we move into the new facility.
Much has been accomplished in this last quarter. We have material, tech data, funding and a lot of very skilled manpower. We have had a lot of cooperation from the RCAF Museum, the Halifax Aircraft Association and many businesses and Service clubs on the outside. In the UK, Rescue 57 and Yorkshire Museum have been successful and helpful. Our biggest problem at this time is still…space.
But that too will come.
The container of Halifax items given to us by Rescue 57 finally arrived. A #46 Sqdrn C130 Hercules picked it up in Luechars, Scotland.
The package contained the an Elsan Bucket, a Gee Box, Bubble Sextant and a lot of Navigation tools. This material will be displayed in the RCAF Memorial Museum until such time as it will be installed in the aircraft. Our thanks to Rescue 57 for all of this.
The Toronto Aviation and Aircraft Museum will have a show at their site in Downsview on May 4-6. The Halifax Aircraft Association will have a display at this show. We will provide an engine and a number of smaller items.
John Turnbull, Roy Clark, Frank Turner and Al Deon visited several weeks ago looking for artifacts, poster and photographs for this event. The big item was the "transport" of the Engine form Trenton to Toronto. This was solved when Jim Bird offered the use of his Stock-car trailer.
I have just returned from a week of holiday in the Maritimes. Time was spent with friends at the Shearwater Naval Air Museum and the Greenwood Military Museum. Both are very acitve and are expanding. Shearwater is much engrossed in their main restoration…The Firefly…and are looking for Griffon Engine parts and manuals. Couldn’t help them. Greenwood has been busy expanding and restoring Lancaster 839. It looks great probably because I hadn’t seen it since I left #408 Sqdrn in 1963. We presented them with Browning machine Gun drawings and they will help us find a H2S Radar. Fair exchange.
Station Greenwood has been the centre for Maritime Patrol aircraft for many years. Lancasters were used in that role. Haifax’s did much Wartime Coastal and Maritime work.
Albert (Muff) Mills visited us in February. During the past year, Muff has been busy recreating bits of his wartime cartoon work…on original NA337 Halifax Skin Panels. His work is outstanding and will be on display soon.
I have been invited to address a local Lions Club. Art Chartand is the President of this branch…his father served
on Halifax’s. Turns out that he served as Wireless Operator on Eddies Nightmare…the Halli skippered by Jeff Jeffery, the President of the Halifax Aircraft Association. Jeff has offered to travel to Trenton and host the tour portion of this event.
Doug Hinton, an ex CF100 Canuck Pilot with #440 Squadron has written an article for the Smithsonian periodical, Air and Space. The story is primarily about the ditching and the recovery of NA337. I had the privilege of reviewing the draft; it was well done.
The restoration has been progressing well. The changes are noticeable and the project has provided a lot of us
with a Winter’s Challenge. It has been a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun.
We are including in this months Newsletter a copy of The Halifax Aircraft Association's Newsletter.
The great story of 2000 is the wonderful team effort by our Volunteer group. It is a most amazing story of a group of men who are so dedicated and so proud of the job they are doing. Perfection is their standard and their reward is to be able to show and tell visitors to the Shop about the Halifax they are restoring – rivet by rivet, bolt by bolt, and piece by piece.
We dedicate this Newsletter to this group of gentlemen and have included Bill Tytula’s Christmas "Halibag News" as part of it. And that’s not the end of the great story of volunteers.
"Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Bill Tytula, Restoration Manager"…Since we started the Restoration Project in 1995, Bill has also been the person responsible for maintaining the continuous supply of material required by the Volunteer group to do their work. Bill is in the shop every morning and has been since we started.
(We do allow him vacation time!) He and Paul Botting, our Crew Chief, decided what is needed and then Bill goes shopping. It is really amazing to look at the list of materials and tools and parts needed for the work involved. Bill makes sure that everything is available. Bill is not only a great shopper, but he is probably the best scrounger in the world. With his 34 years service in the Air Force ending up in Engineering and Maintenance and his 12 years with Field Aviation, Bill knows everyone in the business and knows who to call for special help and material. He has also developed a great rapport with other restoration groups such as the Yorkshire Air Museum, Nanton Lancaster Association and many morewhere he has developed a great trading network. Our thanks then to Bill for his great dedication.
It has been a busy year for all of us. John Wright, our Treasurer, has done a tremendous job of handling our finances and financial records. He also insures that receipts are issued for your donations.
We must also thank Fred Stephens (C.A...Retired) who does our Annual Financial Audit. Fred flew on 35 Squadron, was shot down and became a P.O.W. in Stalag-Luft 3 during the "Great Escape".
Over the year some of us have had the opportunity to speak to interested groups about our project. John Wright and I spoke to the International Police Association earlier this fall and received a donation of
$500.00. John Turnball escorted a group of members of the Fort York Branch of the Legion on a bus trip to Trenton. During the trip he showed our short video of the Recovery of NA337 and told our story. I had the opportunity to speak to the children of Kingsway College School on November 10th . I told them the story of my experiences in the Air Force and about the Halifax in Trenton. The Principal is going to arrange a visit to Trenton. During the question period after my talk, one of the young lads asked, "Sir, were you in World War I or World War II?" Do I look that old? We hope that by spreading the word, more and more people will want to become involved.
Ken Kee sent us greetings from the R.C.A.F. Memorial Museum. We hope you will think of what you might do to help their Fund Raising effort. If you have any thoughts as to who should be approached, please let us know and we will pass the word to Ken. He and his group are ready and willing to follow up. Their motto- Honour the Past by Supporting the Future.
I hope you find our Newsletter interesting and informative. I have said a lot about all the people involved but would be remiss (and in trouble) if I did not mention the many hours of great work that my wife, Elaine, does in handling all the correspondence and emails of your Association. Without her (my Adjutant) things would never get done. I should also mention our daughter, Margot, who maintains our computer Data Base.
It is time to close the book on another successful year.
On behalf of all those involved in this great Restoration Project, we would like to thank you, our Members, for your support.
We wish you and yours Good Health and Good Fortune for the year 2001.
F.E. "Jeff" Jeffery D. F.C.
President, The Halifax Aircraft Association
ANNUAL MEETING of the HALIFAX AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION
2001 ANNUAL MEETING
April 20, 2001 at 11:00 a.m.
Siskin Building, Trenton, Ontario
Please mark this date on your Calendar
Please note on the Membership/Donor Application form enclosed, the following statement: "The membership applicant, unless otherwise revoked in writing, appoints, the President or the Secretary to vote on his/her behalf at all meetings". This statement has been on this form since our inception and allows us to have a quorum represented at all our General Meetings so that we may carry on the business of the association in an orderly fashion.
If you have any items which you would like to have addressed at the meeting, please advise us. Please attend if you can. Your participation is important.
- Approval of the Minutes of April 2000 Annual Meeting
- The approval of Audited Financial Statements
- Election of the Board of Directors
- Appointment of the Auditor
- Restoration Report
- Other Business
Membership is now over 4000, including 535 Life Members. It is wonderful that our Membership continues to grow even though we sadly accept the loss of many of our old comrades through the ravages of time.
We are encouraged by the fact that the younger generation are carrying on and joining us to help preserve our great heritage. We ask for your continued support and thank those who have already donated for 2001.
In 1995 we were fortunate to be able to start our first mailing by having our membership form included in a mailing to 14,000 members of the Bomber Harris Trust. Without this help we would never have been able to get off the ground. This year we are including our Newsletter in their final mailing and we expect good results both for the Halifax Aircraft Association and also for the Expansion Project of the RCAF Memorial Museum.
Although we are carefully sorting our two lists electronically, you may receive two newsletters. If so we apologize, but don’t throw it away-pass it along to a friend.
Once again we have been subjects of some great newspaper stories. On August 13, 2000 the Toronto Sun published a 2 page story entitled "The Last Mission" written by Ian Robertson. Ian had visited the Museum personally and was so interested with the Halifax that he wrote the article. He actually interviewed Thomas Weightman and his wife by telephone. A great story and good P.R. for us. Another article written by Malcomb Dunlop published by the Mail Star – Chronicle Herald on November 11th told our story using as a headline "The Deadly Virgins". Part of his story was about the Nose Art on the Hallys with the call letters V – with such names as Venerable Virgin , Vicious Virgin, Victorious Virgin – sound familiar anyone? He also did some great interviews with Halibods and the Restoration group.
FROM COL. (RET’D) M. KEN KEE
CHAIRMAN BOARD OF DIRECTORS
R.C.A.F. MEMORIAL MUSEUM
Greetings from the R.C.A.F. Memorial Museum.
The Museum has had a great year. Seven more memorial cairns were placed in the Air Park, including the very beautiful memorial to 6 Bomber Group. We now have over 4700 Ad Astra stones in the Park and the annual Ad Astra dedication ceremony was better that ever with 1500 people attending. The Museum was also the recipient of a Commemorative Pennant approved by the Governor General in honour of the BCATP. Only two were awarded in Ontario, one to Borden as the birthplace of the Air Force and one to the Museum as its spiritual home. It was presented to the Museum at Queen’s Park by the Honourable Hiliary Weston who is the Patron of the Museum.
Bill Tytula, Paul Botting and the Volunteers of the Halifax Restoration Team never cease to amaze me. This amazement includes their expertise, their determination, their dedication and their comradery. We are truly fortunate to have them completing the Halifax. If you are in Trenton, drop in and have a coffee with them. You too will be amazed.
I wish to express appreciation to "Jeff" Jeffery and the Board of the Halifax Aircraft Association who do so much to keep the association alive and vibrant, and, I will not forget Elaine Jeffery who works so hard on our behalf and puts up with all of us.
Our Capital Fund Raising Campaign to raise the necessary finances for the Museum extension to house the Halifax is on-going. Unfortunately, it is going slowly. While smaller donations are coming in steadily, we have not yet received the major sponsor we badly need. We continue to work hard however and await replies from different proposals that have been made. We also have high hopes for upcoming Federal and Provincial infrastructure programs. In this context, the Honourable Lincoln Alexander and Mr. Roy Bonisteel have written letters on our behalf to every MP and MPP in Ontario asking them to support our campaign when these are announced. Air Commodore Len Birchall will soon be mailing his. Help us with the campaign.
Write a letter to your Federal and Provincial member soliciting their support for the home of the Halifax. With the help of everyone we will succeed.
In conclusion, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the R.C.A.F. Memorial Museum, I wish all of you Peace, Health and Happiness in the New Year.
FROM DIRECTOR JOHN M. STENE D.F.C. & BAR
For a Norwegian – (turned Canadian as a Centennial Project in 1967) and an ex Halifax Pilot, it is particularly pleasing to see how well the restoration work of our "Hallie" has proceeded since it was retrieved from its resting place on the bottom of a Norwegian lake. Thanks to the skill and dedication of our many volunteers at Trenton, we can now begin to see the beginning of the end.
When we first were going to ask permission form the authorities in Norway to recover and export the Hallie, some were a bit hesitant to part with potential museum objects. But when we pointed out how much Canada had done to help the Norwegian forces (Little Norway) during the war, they readily agreed.
I know they will be pleased to see that their permission now has led to a very positive result. The fact is also that the Norwegian Air Force never operated Halifaxes whereas the R.C.A.F. operated a whole group. It was therefore a blessing that the Canadians offered to salvage this plane, when we did not have the resources – personnel wise – to do this job.
We are therefore very grateful that the Canadians came in and rescued this important historical artifact.
FROM JOHN WRIGHT
THE PAINLESS WAY TO GIVE
Every organization and their uncle have their hands out for money these days. We just cannot afford to give to all of them. May I suggest the perfect solution. We all have various types of insurance for all emergencies. Well, you will discover that you probably have more life insurance than is required to lay you away in the style to which you have been accustomed. Therefore why not designate some of that extra insurance money for the Halifax restoration. Remember that after the Hally is completed, funds are required to maintain it and the various displays. It is very simple and very painless. Just designate "X" amount of dollars in you Will to go to the Halifax Aircraft Association. You probably already have a Will, so just add the Hally. The most important thing is this….DO IT NOW. If you cannot get to your lawyer, write it out and sign the document. Your Executor will carry out your wishes.
Now that we have got that settled, remember that you don’t have to wait until McDougal and Brown come for the body. Get the old sock out from under the mattress and give now. Your name will be permanently associated with the Halifax and on display for all to see.
Like I said….very painless.
ATTENTION: ALUMNI OF HCU 1666, WOMBLETON
Tony Clark, Mayor of Kirbymoorside, Yorkshire, has written to tell their wish, indeed their plans, to dedicate a memorial stone to the men and women who served at #1666 HCU, Wombleton, during
WWII. It will be near the original guardroom just off the Wombleton to Harmone Road. A ceremony in May is suggested.
They seek as much information as we can provide (they weren’t around when we were there!). Your interest, your memoirs, you photos (originals will e returned) are greatly needed. And if you think you will attend, indicate that as well.
For further ‘gen’ contact:
Anthony J. Clark, Town Mayor,
Mirfield, Ings Lane, Kirbymoorside
York YO62 7RX, England
Or if you wish:
The 6 Group Associaton
Or (last O/C’B’Flt, 1945)
40 Banstock Dr., Toronto, Ontario
Canada M2K 2H6
Fax # 416-222-3339 or
We’ll try to keep you informed.
FROM DIRECTOR AL D’EON D.F.C.
NO. 6 (R.C.A.F.) GROUP
MEMORIAL CAIRN DEDICATION
On September 30, 2000, the R.C.A.F. Memorial Air Park in Trenton, Ontario, was the scene of a very moving ceremony. It was the dedication of the new R.C.A.F. 6 Group memorial Cairn, bequeathed by the late Kenneth Duncan Urquhart (1917-1998) 432 Squardron. The monument is in recognition of the men and women who served in 6 Group (R.C.A.F.), on the ground and in the air and is in honour of those who made the supreme sacrifice for freedom during World War II. It is a beautiful monument and we suggest you visit the site whenever you are in the vicinity.
At 1000 hrs. on a sunny September morning, fifteen wreaths, one per squadron, were laid on this magnificent monument The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 10 provided the colour party. Opening remarks and a warm welcome was made by F. E. "Jeff" Jeffery D.F.C., President of the Halifax Aircraft Association. Mr. Jeffery also introduced Mr. Don Urquhart, nephew of K.D. Urquhart, who spoke briefly. This was followed by an address by L Gen. A. Chester Hull CMM, D.F.C., C.D. representing 6 Group Headquarters, Allerton Park, Yorkshire/ The unveiling of the Memorial Cairn was performed by John Turnbull CM, D.F.C. (24 Sqdn.) and Don Urquhart. Memorial Bendiction – Capt. Blair Ross C.D. 8 Wing Base Padre.
The wreaths were laid in the following order.
Representing 6 Group
Lgeb(ret’d) A. Chester Hull and
Flight Officer (Intelligence) Mollie Broadfoot
Representing the 15 Squadrons
405 Fred Davies D.F.C.
408 Jack Duggan D.F.C.
415 John Wright
419 Roy Clarke
420 Allan Caine D.F.C
424 Anthony Sarson
425 Stan Miller C.D.
426 W.H. Bill Swetman D.S.O.D.F.C.
427 A.L.d’Eon D.F.C.
428 Lgen (Ret’d) A. Chester Hull CMM, D.F.C.,C.D.
429 Carmen Brown
431 Bill Cooper
432 Jack Bright & Flight Officer (Messing) Helen Goodrow
433 Sam Smith
434 Bob Brown
There were 15 R.C.A.F. Squadrons in Bomber Command, and all of these, at one time, were attached to 6 Group.
The Annual Meeting of your Association was held at the Siskin Building, Trenton, Ontario on April 14, 2000 at 11 a.m. The meeting was well attended by members and a Quorum of the Board of Directors. Many of the Restoration Volunteers were present.
The Minutes of our Annual Meeting of April 16, 1999 were approved as read.
John Wright, Treasurer, presented the unaudited Financial Statement which was approved. (Since then the Audited Statements have been received and approved by the Board. There were no significant variations from John Wright’s report). The current Board of Directors and the Auditor were reappointed by unanimous vote.
Bill Tytula, Restoration Project Manager, presented a report on the great progress being made by the Team under the leadership of Crew Chief, Paul Botting. Vice President, John Turnbull, commented on the excellent information provided by Bill’s Newsletter and the appreciation of the team efforts was expressed by applause from all.
Jeff Jeffery congratulated Col. (Ret’d) Ken Kee on becoming Chairman of the Board of Directors of the R.C.A.F. Memorial Museum and the Fund raising program.
After several reports and discussions, the meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.
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