Lancaster arrives at Trenton

The elongated nose of Lancaster Mk10AR KB882 just after its arrival at Trenton on 4 October.

The fuselage, engines and propellers from Avro Lancaster Mk10AR KB882 arrived at the National Air Force Museum of Canada at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, on 4 October. This followed a long trip by flatbed truck from Edmundston, New Brunswick, where the machine had been on outdoor display at the city’s St Jacques Airport since being retired by the Royal Canadian Air Force during 1963. The aircraft’s wings had arrived in Trenton the previous week.

Dismantling of the combat veteran bomber at Edmundston took less time than expected, with military and civilian technicians from the RCAF’s Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron and the National Air Force Museum of Canada (NAFMC) working round the clock in 12-hour shifts to get the job done.

Ownership of the Lancaster was transferred from the City Council of Edmundston to the NAFMC on 16 November 2016 (see News, Aeroplane January 2017). The airframe is in surprisingly good condition considering it had been outside in the harsh New Brunswick climate for 54 years, and three of the Rolls-Royce Merlins still turned over. It will be restored into the Mk10AR (area reconnaissance) configuration in which it saw out its service days. Originally built as a Lancaster X, KB882 was rolled out of the Victory Aircraft plant at Malton,

”Dismantling of the bomber took less time than expected, technicians working round the clock in 12-hour shifts to get the job done”

Ontario on 3 November 1944, at a time when the factory achieved the goal of producing one Lancaster a day. The bomber was flown to the UK in March 1945, joining No 428 Squadron, RCAF at Middleton St George, and went on to fly six missions over Germany, the targets being Hamburg (twice), Kiel, Hagen, Merseburg and Leipzig. It returned to Canada in June 1945 and was converted into a Mk10AR by Avro Canada in 1952, with the turrets removed and a 40in extension added to the nose to house a second navigator, and various items of equipment for the reconnaissance/aerial mapping roles. During October 1962, KB882 operated over the Atlantic during the Cuban Missile Crisis, monitoring and photographing Russian trawlers. The target unveiling date for the restoration is 1 April 2024, the 100th anniversary of King George V granting royal sanction to Canada’s air arm.