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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Avro Lancaster Bomber Flypast (Over my home, that is)

En route to an airshow in Windsor, Ontario, the majestic Canadian Warplane Heritage Avro Lancaster heavy bomber (one of only two in flying condition) flies directly over my home.

Usually, I go off in search of aviation history. This past Friday morning, aviation history came to me. At approximately 10:30 am, I was thrilled to hear the unmistakable sound of the Candian Warplane Heritage Avro Lancaster MK X heavy bomber en route to an airshow in Windsor, with its four 1,620 hp Rolls-Royce 'Merlin' V12 engines thrumming away mightily.

This Lancaster is one of some 7,300 examples produced, including 400 at Malton, Ontario's Victory Aircraft, which later became Avro Canada. There, Canadians proudly built the respected CF-100 "Canuck" all-weather fighter and the legendary but ill-fated CF-105 "Arrow" interceptor that continues to be shrouded in mystery.

Poignantly, the "Lanc" is finished in tribute to Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski of RCAF 419 (Moose) Squadron, which was attached to Group 6 of RAF Bomber Command. Mynarski, the only member of Group 6 to earn the British Commonwealth's hightest honor, the Victoria Cross, lost his life on the night of 12/13 June 1944, when his bomber was shot down by a Luftwaffe night-fighter. As the Lancaster plunged earthward, Mynarski remained in the aircraft and suffered severe burns while attemting to free the rear-turret gunner. Mynarski died of his injuries, but the gunner survived and was able to relate the story of Mynarski's selfless bravery.

Revisionist history (only in Canada, eh?) from our CBC aside, millions of young men lived, fought and died for their respective causes on both sides. Nearly as many factors motivated them into action. The overflight of the Lancaster caused me to stop and reflect for a moment and for this, I am grateful.



The CWH Lancaster, en route to its destination. A thrilling sight that I will never forget. Shortly afterward, I learned that my entire family also witnessed the fight of the Lancaster, while they were at swimming lessons in the next town west of our home!  



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