Monday, December 09, 2013

the discarding of Lancasters and other Canadian Military airplanes after VE day

On September 24 the squadron took off for the final leg of its trip. Destination was Pearce, Alberta, from where the Lancasters were to be sold off or destroyed. This leg has been described by one participant as 'how World War II came to the Prairies.' Once out of Winnipeg, the gaggle of Lancasters set about terrorizing the countryside between there and Pearce. Aircraft, even as big as they were, flew under telegraph wires; one, flew so low it over a farm, it collided with a barnyard duck. Another pilot buzzed a train and recalls his last impression as seeing the startled look of disbelief on the engineer's face as he pulled down his blind!"

On arrival at their final destination, the planes were sold for scrap, although some were also burned on site. Trainers were offered in flyable condition. $800 would buy you a Cornell or a Crane. For $900 you could walk away with a Harvard. Anson V's sold for $5000, and a Canso (PBY Catalina to Americans) commanded $25,000.

'Barnyard bombers' were well worth the fifty dollars asking price. To begin with, a farmer could count on recouping his investment by simply draining gas and antifreeze from his plane. Tires were just fine for a farm wagon. A tailwheel fit the wheelbarrow.

 For years to come the carcass would be a veritable hardware store of nuts and bolts, piping and wiring. In the meantime it made a suitable chicken coop for storage shed. One farmer converted the nose of his Anson into a snowmobile. Bit Waco gliders were hauled away just for their packing cases.

found on

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