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Lancaster Days: Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada showcases aircraft named after Winnipeg World War II hero

Lancaster Days: Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada showcases aircraft named after Winnipeg World War II hero
Lancaster Days: Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada showcases aircraft named after Winnipeg World War II hero

On Tuesday, July 16 and Wednesday, July 17, the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada will host a special event featuring a very special aircraft.

This exhibition, called Lancaster Days, focuses on the famous Avro Lancaster bomber.

The Lancaster Bomber was used by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. The aircraft became an icon of the Commonwealth during the war, flying 156,000 sorties between 1942 and 1945.

According to figures from the Bomber Command Museum, 3,932 of the Lancasters produced did not make it home. Many of these missions were flown by Canadian pilots.

Today there are only 2 Lancasters worthy of the air, one in England and one maintained and housed at the Canadian Warplane Museum in Hamilton, Ontario. It is that aircraft that will be here in Winnipeg on the 16th and 17th.

There are many reasons why having this Lancaster here in Winnipeg is special. Terry Slobodian is the CEO of The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada and explains, “Our mission as a museum is to preserve and promote the stories of aviation in Western Canada. Many Canadians from Winnipeg have trained and flown in the Lancaster, whether as a pilot, bomber, etc., so it’s part of telling the story. It’s super exciting to have a special weekend or days where visitors can come and explore those aircraft.”

There is a very clear Winnipeg connection to this Lancaster. It is named and dedicated to Andrew Mynarski. Mynarski was born in Winnipeg and served in the Second World War. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery after he chose to remain aboard his badly damaged Lancaster and rescue the rear gunner. He suffered severe burns to his body, eventually succumbing to his wounds. The Lancaster is now painted in the colours of Andrew Mynarski’s squadron in which he served during the war.

One of the other highlights of the Lancaster Days is that the museum will be showing the film Reunion of giants on the 16th. “The film is a tribute to the pilots, but also a reunion of the last two flying Lancasters in the world,” Slobodian said. The film tells the story of the Canadian Lancaster that flew across the sea to fly the only remaining Lancaster in England. The two planes flew together and toured England, creating memories and a bit of history for all who saw the planes together.

The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada’s Lancaster Days is a great opportunity to step inside the Lancaster and take in a piece of history. Slobodian encourages people to book a time online, as space is limited. The last time this Lancaster was here, 14 years ago, thousands of people came to see this truly remarkable aircraft.

Lancaster Days will take place on Tuesday, July 16 and Wednesday, July 17. For more information and to book a time to tour and go inside the aircraft, visit The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada website.