PROJECT MANAGER’S REPORT
In our last report we mentioned that we had an exciting and productive summer, that things have become quiet and orderly…And that the team is taking full advantage of these opportunities. They did just that…In spades. They remained that way for a number of excellent Team Photos. Below is one of the best. It was taken by Cpl Tim Jordan, a member of our #8 Wing Imagery Section.
SEASONS GREETINGS FROM THE HALIFAX
TOP ROW – Harry Fry, Guy Cuerrier, Maurice Ducarme, Gari Webster
SECOND ROW – Rod Clark, Dave Ablett, Jim Benham, Nick Nickerson, Guy Barsi,
Eric Higginson, Ian Jamieson, Wally Bentley, Al Harvey, Tom Mann, Deryck Brown,
Dave Jackson, Terry James, George Bugg, Stu Thow, Doug Freeland, Ron Pennington
SEATED – John Greenwood, Bev Renshaw, Wilf Rector, Murray Leedham,
Bill Tytula, Keith Jennings, Paul Botting, Lloyd Wright, Reg Fulton, Glenn Brunton
NOT SHOWN…So many more than were not working the day of the photograph.
Wheels and Undercarriage
The design was completed and presented to Harry Savile of the Canadian Coast Guard Research Facility at Hamilton, Ontario in the early spring. It would take a year. In October we visited the site to see the progress and to offer encouragement The undercarriage were literally finished. Some line-reaming to be done…and some priming.
He delivered them to us at Trenton on 23 November.
The quality of workmanship was excellent…the production time was less than half of our estimate, and the cost was simply a couple of cases of Rickards Red. Christmas came early.
Front Fuselage/Cockpit Section
The bits and pieces that were scattered about on various benches and jigs have come together and are quickly taking shape. The pilot’s floor section is a separate unit that consists of control column, floor and seat. Stu Thow has taken on the restoration of the seat. Rod Clark has nearly completed the floor and controls. This should be finished by Christmas. The remainder of the front fuselage is also nearing completion. There are two long sloping longerons that are mad of simple Tee-Section of aluminum. We have not been able to find this material anywhere in Canada. We have ordered it from Texas with a delivery promised in several weeks.
Nose Glass/Bomb Aimer’s Compartment
This item was proving difficult for us so we have joined forces with the Yorkshire Air Museum (YAM). They know of several contractors that can mould the Plexiglass/Perspex transparencies for our nose sections. We shipped our frames several months ago; they arrived safely, and Ian Reed of YAM has indicated that they are in touch with two sources in the south of England. The will mould one set for us and another set for YAM.
Our Biggest Headache
I reported in my last letter that we could not find anchor-nuts or nut-retainers for our aircraft anywhere in North America. We would have to make them…several thousand no less. Williams Engineering of Cobourg, Ontario have completed the tools and dies and will be producing them shortly. This will allow us to get on with the attachment of panels on all wing surfaces.
Ernie Sutton and Dick Casselman have collaborated to finish the last aileron. They plan to install the fabric on the two elevator when they are completed early in the year.
Lloyd Wright and Bev Renshaw have been working on the manufacture of the trim acuators for these control surfaces. Recently while both were turning out actuator components on their lathes, we were visited by two brothers from the UK. They were John and Doug Evans…both who flew Halifaxes, but most importantly, they had an original trim actuator with them. It was an actuator that David Mole of County Durham had acquired and wanted to donate to the project. Once again, Christmas had come early for the team. We have been in touch with David and have sent our thanks and appreciation.
Rescue 57, our Scottish contingent, have put together a Christmas offering for us. The package contains the notorious Elsan Bucket, elevator hinge bits and a variety of other hard to find items. We had a pair of C130, Hercules aircraft passing through Newcastle; we’d hoped to try to get it on that load. However, Newcastle was a ‘bridge to far’ so the stuff is at RAF Station Leuchars. A flight will be passing through there on 19 January. We should be able to take advantage of this one.
Harry Denison of #406 Squadron spent 23 and 24 October visiting the restoration; he had some interesting stories to tell. He recalls the night of March 5/6 760 aircraft…Lancs, Halifaxes and Mosquitos took part in ‘Operation Thunderclap". Nine aircraft from 6 Group crashed shortly after take-off due to icing. During the raid his aircraft suffered a mid-air collision. He could not reach his parachute. A 14000 foot ride in the detached centre-fuselage, completely conscious, ended with only broken ribs and a scarred face. The fuselage fell into treetops of the Black Forest. Only he survived.
On the 25th of November a dozen team members spent
a day touring the DeHavilland/Bombardier Plant in Toronto.
Tom Mann, one of our members had just retired from Dehavilland and not only arranged the tour, but did most of the guiding himself. This plant builds Bombardier Dash 8s and the Global Express Jet Transport. It was remarkable to note the similarities…the Stringe-Belt Frame construction and the Modular or Split Assembly production process. (You may recall the Halifax was built in 41 plants and assembled in five). The Bombardier aircraft may have wings built in Japan, fuselages in Ireland and all of this assembled in Toronto. We learned a lot from this tour and made some useful contracts.
In my last report I mentioned the fact that I had lost track of the members that paid their $10.00 for a year of this terrible newsletter. A number of cheques arrived in the mail, most had notes or letters attached. I’d like to share some with you.
Larry D Mann of Tarzandale California sent $20.00 (US) and a very pleasant note. He states that he was an RCAF Instrument Technician during the War, working mostly on Halifax Bombsights. He became involved in a number of shows for the troops and after the War took up acting seriously. He has now retired after over a 1000 TV shows, (USA, Canada and England);…over 30 movies…and won three Canadian Emmys and the 1974 Best Actor Award. He says he owes it all to the RCAF. I think there’s a number of us in that category.
John and Gladys Simpson wrote that they had visited the UK this summer. They mentioned visiting the Museum in Hendon and seeing the remains of Halifax 1048. The Halli that was shot down during an attack on the German warship…Tirpitz. It had crash-landed on the ice of a fiord in Norway. The crew abandoned the aircraft; it sank shortly
Afterward. The aircraft was recovered but not restored. John asked if we knew about this one. As it happens Major Ronald MacDonald, one of our museum volunteers has spent a number of years producing a radio and TV production THE RCAF YEARS and had interviewed the pilot of this Halifax, John McIntyre, 10 years ago. Ron was kind enough to make a copy of this tape and it was mailed to the Simpson’s in Victoria, BC. We of course, scanned it before we did this. It is an amazing story.
The Restoration is progressing more quickly and more easily than expected. So many good people involved…and so much help. The RCAF Memorial Museum Extension…or the Future home for the Halifax, has raised over $1000.00 to date. The target dates appear to be holding. The Halifax Aircraft Association and the RCAF Memorial Museum staffs have been easy to work with. Of course, the team members are the greatest. We are seeing the Halifax emerge. For all of this may we wish all of you a Merry Christmas and the very best in the New Year.
The 'Halibag' Newsletter is produced to try to keep membersof the Halifax groups and other interested parties in touch with the progresson 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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