Kindly allow me to introduce Brad Saunders, retired Canadian Air Force Pilot - Search and Rescue now heading up the restoration of the Lancaster with the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association (“CH2A”). See CH2A’s website @ http://www.ch2a.ca/. For those of you that remember the Lancaster was the WWII Bomber that sat atop a pedestal in the Queen Elizabeth Sunken Gardens II (formerly “Jackson Park”). The Lancaster represents a wealth of history for both Canada and Britain and in 1964 Windsor received the Lancaster as a Memorial and displayed it in Jackson Park in 1965. The beauty sat atop the pedestal until approximately 8 years ago. It was starting to deteriorate; it was thus decided to be restored. The Lancaster has her work cut out for her. Repairs are difficult in that the vehicle was made in 1945, is fragile and parts are unavailable or very difficult to find. Drawings of the plane are difficult to ascertain, as well.
Pilot Saunders is a man of action, his eyes twinkling as he discusses his goals for the military archetype including an actual launch. True to CH2A’s mission statement: “To Honour Canadian Veterans by Preserving, Restoring, Displaying and Demonstrating antique or vintage military and civilian aircraft and artifacts considered important to Canadian Aviation History”: Pilot Saunders is upholding his commitment to the Lancaster. Light heartedly Pilot Saunders describes the relocation of the Lancaster from Jackson Park; how the wings had to be taken off the plane given their 102 foot wing span then driven through the City of Windsor to its final resting place, Windsor Airport. Pilot Saunders shared with me the City was very helpful in facilitating this transition.
There is much restoration in store for the Lancaster. We are fortunate Brad now has the time. He comes with 25 years of service as an Air Force Pilot. Obviously, his admiration for the relic extends well beyond an occupation. From 15, Pilot Saunders shared he would go to the airport on his bike and admire the planes incoming and outgoing. Our veteran shared he has been “airplane crazy since day one”. He joined the Canadian Air Force in 1980 under the Direct Entry Program as a Non-Commissioned Officer. For those unaware a Direct Entry Program is indicative you already have sufficient training to become a Non-Commissioned Officer. Brad retired a Master Warrent Officer. His specialty was Search and Rescue. I asked Brad what he liked about performing Search and Rescue and what challenges it presented. He said the job was rewarding, gave him a purpose and it felt good to help and rescue people. The challenges he opined were flying in inclement weather no one else could, or would.
Brad took the job as Project Director in January, 2013 and he has many plans in store for Lady Lancaster. To that end, Brad shared with me he is in need of volunteers to help with the restoration of the plane. That would include those volunteers of high school age and above particularly those seeking community service hours. If interested please contact Brad @: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bomber is owned by the City of Windsor and will ultimately remain in a hangar in the Windsor Airport for the purpose of shelter and, ironically refuge. This is a military relic that should be paid proper homage, free of vandalism. Perhaps we will one day see it up and running.
We are fortunate there are highly driven retired Veterans who can realign our perspective about war memorabilia that deserves the utmost respect. Meeting this gentleman surely realigned mine. Good luck on your project, Brad. We know you will come through with “flying” colours.
“An airplane might disappoint any pilot but it'll never surprise a good one.” — Len Morgan.
Re: Your Examiner. Corinne has written for Examiner since 2009 having written several columns: The National Divorce Support column, Detroit/Windsor Pets Examiner, Toronto Mental Health Examiner and recently the Toronto Military Children Examiner. Corinne has recently released a children’s book Be Proud You Are Canadian. In 2013 Corinne is a contributing author to From Grief to Inspiration, Stories that Lift and Heal the Heart, published in Australia and the United Kingdom. Corinne has recently reopened her Toronto Military Children Examiner column for the purpose of sharing information she recently ascertained regarding extended resources affiliated with the Canadian Armed Forces. Should you have an article you would like to contribute please contact Corinne @ email@example.com.
All articles © Corinne Isaacs-Frontiero, 2013, all Rights Reserved.