HERITAGE LIVES: Recognizing A Local Veteran

Avro Lancaster. (Photo by Adam Wlodarczyk)

By Terry Hughes

I am sure that the expectation of our readers is to identify someone in the area who contributed to serving our country. Well, here is a surprise. It is not a person from here although local people were involved in the use of this machine in the past. It appears in our skies at least half a dozen times each year. The veteran is the Avro Lancaster.

Based at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, it is only one of two of this type of aircraft in flying condition on this planet. It represents the tens of thousands of aircraft used against Hitler during World War Two.

Along with Bomber Command and the RAF, Canadians flew with the Brits on many missions before our country created squadrons of our own using Canadian-built Lancasters in 1944. The mission known as the Dam Busters caused considerable flooding in Germany. Included in this effort were 30 Canadian crew members half of whom never returned.

This aircraft acts as an ambassador for this country when it often flies over the border to air shows in the U.S. It paid a visit to Great Britain several years ago illustrating the work that went into the restoration of the plane.

The reason for this aircraft being restored is revealed on the internet recognizing it as a memorial to Flying Officer Andrew Mynarski who attempted to save a crew member while sacrificing his own life before their aircraft crashed.

There are those people who have objected to the roar of the engines as the Lancaster passes overhead. Their concerns do not represent the emotions of those of us, however, who remember what a sacrifice the crews who flew these planes made to ensure our freedom.

Next Column: A Christmas Wish

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

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