On the recommendation of the Society for the preservation of the Edmundston Lancaster, City officials in the Edmundston, New Brunswick have voted to transfer their aging Lancaster bomber to the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton. The World War II aircraft has been a landmark near the border between Quebec and the New Brunswick city for more than 50 years.
The elements have taken their toll and the Society for the preservation of the Edmundston Lancaster has been trying to raise money to shelter and preserve the rare war plane. But recently the group decided it cannot achieve its goal and started looking for a museum with the skills to restore and properly protect the Lancaster, known as KB882. This evening, Edmundston City Council ratified the decision to transfer the historic bomber to the Alberta Aviation Museum, in Edmonton.
« While is saddens us that she must go, we are pleased to have found a safe home for KB 882. This Lancaster has an impressive story to tell and we firmly believe the Alberta Aviation Museum will be able to give her a voice. Our responsibility is to preserve this important part of history, » says Mychèle Poitras, chairwoman of the Society for the preservation of the Edmundston Lancaster.
Edmundston Mayor Cyrille Simard says the Society must be recognized for the work done over the past years, adding that Council took some time to analyse the Society’s recommendation. « The members of the Society for the preservation of the Edmundston Lancaster have been working on this for many years with support from the City. We fully understand that the protection of this important artefact must be the priority. This is the absolute best decision that could be made considering the circumstances. »
The Alberta Aviation Museum feels honoured to have been selected from among other museums to restore KB882 , and to display the important aircraft for future generations. «We are honoured to have been chosen to receive this important artifact from the people of Edmundston.» says Tom Sand, President of the Alberta Aviation Museum Association. « It shows the high regard for our museum and its track record of preserving and telling the important stories of aviation in this country.»
The Alberta Aviation Museum is committed to recognizing Edmundston's 50-year role as caretaker of this important artifact and will reflect that in its restoration and display plans. The Lancaster was considered the backbone of the Commonwealth bombing efforts during the World War II. But only 17 of the more than 7300 aircraft built still exist. KB882 was one of 430 Lancasters built at Malton, Ontario. It flew 11 missions near the close of the war, and was then returned to Canada to serve with the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Lancaster was modified with 'state of the art' SHORAN radar navigation equipment and served a vital role mapping Canada's north. KB882 is still in its RCAF aerial mapping configuration, and will be restored in that configuration.
Lech Lebiedowski, Alberta Aviation Museum Curator, says the the significance of this aircraft to our museum and aviation history in Canada is immense. «It is much more than another Lancaster bomber, the KB882 is indeed a time capsule preserved intact for over half a century. With this aircraft we will be able to tell the story of mapping Canada's north and the vital role of Edmonton in opening the last great frontier. »
The aircraft has several unique connections to Edmonton. While operating with the RCAF the plane often flew out of Edmonton on its northern mission. 408 Squadron, which conducted the mapping flights, was originally based out of Ottawa, but moved to the Edmonton Garrison in 1971 as a tactical helicopter squadron. Squadron officials have expressed interest in working with the Alberta Aviation Museum to help with the complex restoration work.
While the aircraft will not be returned to flying condition, the museum intends to overhaul the engines to allow visitors to experience the thunderous roar of its Rolls Royce Merlins. The museum has a strong track record of restoration, having completed ground-up rebuilds on many important aircraft, including a B-25 “Mitchel” bomber, a De Havilland Mosquito, and two Nordyun Norseman's among others. The AAM is committed to providing an excellent home for KB-882 - a home the people of Edmundston will be proud of as well.
Steve Finkelman, Communications Coordinator, Alberta Aviation Museum, 780.99.6102 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mychèle Poitras Society for the preservation of the Edmundston Lancaster, 506.737.6799 or email@example.com