An Avro Lancaster that had been sitting outside in a grass field in Edmundston, New Brunswick, for the last 50 years is now at the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, Ontario, albeit in several pieces. There, the Second World War four-engine bomber will be restored by a group of skilled volunteers.
While it will never fly again, the restoration project will see it brought to ‘museum-quality’ condition for public display by 2024, when the Royal Canadian Air Force celebrates its 100th anniversary.
“The nose is completely separated and they’re working on stripping the cockpit down,” said museum spokesman Theo Holownia. “They’re also working on the landing gear at the moment.”
Experts have determined that all the cockpit windows will need replacement due to their exposure to the elements over the last half-century outdoors. Some panels were also damaged during transport and will require replacement.
“They’re taking all of the rivets out and then putting them back in,” Holownia told the CBC News. “The whole thing’s gonna be stripped and repainted and it’s a very, very time-consuming process.”
Built in 1944, the British-designed Lancaster Mk. 10 (KB 882) was one of 430 Lancasters produced in Canada under licence by Victory Aircraft of Malton, Ontario. KB 882 was ferried to a base in Yorkshire, England in early 1945, from where it flew 11 combat missions before the war ended in Europe later that year. The aircraft was then repositioned in Canada ready for deployment in the Pacific theatre, but was subsequently placed in storage in MacLeod, Alberta, when hostilities in the Pacific ceased.
KB 882 later saw service as an aerial photography platform, flying reconnaissance missions over the North Pole. It also saw service during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In 1964 it was struck from service and subsequently sold to the City of Edmundston as a static display.
Photos courtesy of the National Air Force Museum of Canada.