The Greenwood Military Aviation Museum is the first-class museum it is today because of the hard work of its society, staff and volunteers, coupled with valuable support from local businesses and individuals. Billy and Nathan Deveau of Future Glass and Mirror exemplify that local support in their generous provision of Lexan and Plexiglas required in the museum’s complex Bolingbroke aircraft nose restoration. Presenting Billy Deveau, centre, with a framed image of the finished Bolingbroke nose is restoration project leader Dan Daigle, left; while museum society president Brian Handley offered thanks and appreciation on behalf of the museum. .
BOLINGBROKE 9997 MARK IVT
The Canadian Bolingbroke was licensed from Bristol Aeroplane Company of England, known there as the Blenheim. More than 600 Bolingbrokes of various marks were built in Canada, at Longueil, Quebec, and used in the early days of WW II as light bombers/fighters and later as trainers and target tugs. Canadian specifications required de-icing boots on the wing leading edges for the harsh Canadian winters, larger fuel tanks for greater range, a dinghy for water survival, American/Canadian instruments, and a 3-feet extension to the nose to house a bombardier. The latter modification required two large slanting windows and a scooped out section in front of the pilot to aid his vision during take-off and landing, giving the Bolingbroke its distinctive nose section.
Many of these bomber versions were operated in western Canada and in the Aleutians against the Japanese threat in the early 1940‘s. In eastern Canada, the aircraft were used in submarine hunting and maritime reconnaissance. At Greenwood, bombardiers as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and, later, as target tugs pulling drogues for Mosquito and Hurricane pilot and gunnery training.
The first all-metal, stressed-aluminum panel aircraft built in Canada, the Bolingbroke also was one of the first to incorporate variable-pitch propellers and retractable landing gear. With its versatility, the aircraft evolved into one of the first multi-role platforms available.
The Museum’s aircraft is a Mark IV-T (Trainer) version, registered as number 9997. Bolingbroke 9997 was donated to the GMAM by the Reynolds family, initiators of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. The aircraft had spent a long period in a farmer’s field near Dauphin, Manitoba and was difficult to remove. Finally brought to Greenwood in the fall of 2009, the Boly has begun its long restoration for static display.
From its logs, the aircraft had just 295.41 hours before it force landed in April 1943, gear up, off the end of a runway. Sustaining significant damage to its under-surface, nose, wings and engines, the aircraft was used for spare parts, eventually being written-off as not economically repairable, and later sold to the farmer in Manitoba. Boly 9997 was painted bright yellow with large diagonal black stripes allowing for high visibility while pulling the target drogue chute during gunnery practice.
Crew: 3.… pilot….bombadier/navigator….wireless operator/gunner
Wing Span: 56’4” Length: 42’7” Height: 9’ 9 ½” Max Speed: 265 mph
Engines: 2x Bristol Mercury XV, 9 cylinder, air cooled radial, 832 HP each
Fuel System: right and left inner tanks 140 Imp. Gallons….right and left outer tanks 96 Imp. Gallons……..87 and 100 octane C.F.R. ratings
Propellers: De Havilland three blades 10‘ 9“ diameter-two position controllable pitch 36 degree coarse pitch and 26 degree low pitch.
Armament: 1x fixed Browning .303 machine gun on port wing….Twin .303 Browning Machine guns in hydraulically activated dorsal turret….2x 500 pound bombs or 4x 250 pounders…option for 8x 40 pound practice bombs….4 flares
The restoration team consists of, Dan Daigle, David Richards, Hugh Ryan, Ian Patrick, Norm Bonney
& Bob Johnson, Len Greene & Brian Troniak.