Legacy Of Lancaster Legends Lives On
​Sara Keddy, Aurora Newspaper

Three men were honoured September 10 for the role they played decades ago, charting the path for today’s Canadian Armed Forces’ flying crews. The on-going Greenwood Military Aviation Museum’s Lancaster restoration project will include something special in recognition of what museum volunteers call “Living Legends.” Plaques for the three initial veterans – Clark Montgomery, Roy Loomer and Peter Bone – were signed, unveiled and will be riveted inside the aircraft, near where the men worked during their wartime service. “Right now, we have some of the men and women from 14 Wing and the Royal Canadian Air Force overseas, working against Daesh in Iraq,” said 14 Wing Greenwood Commander Colonel Pat Thauberger. “They are flying the CP140 Aurora – a modernized, state-of-the-art, world-leading aircraft. Their squadrons formed in the crucible of the Second World War and, when we look back from where we’ve come – the precise navigation and targeting nowadays, with lasers and radar – and think about the Second World War, when the first indication flying crews had they were close to a target was being shot at themselves; we’ve come a long way. “It is a true honour to be here, recognizing your heroism. You literally put your lives on the line with every mission, and that is a proud legacy we carry forward.”

Viola Videto likely had a hand in the assembly of the Greenwood Military Aviation Museum’s Lancaster display aircraft, located at 14 Wing Greenwood. April 7, she was recognized for her role as a Second World War assembly line riveter, along with seven men who served as air crew, in the museum’s Lancaster Living Legends project. They were invited by the volunteer team restoring the museum’s Lancaster to sign commemorative metal plaques, which will be permanently riveted inside the aircraft. “It is a pleasure to have you all here today,” Thauberger said. “14 Wing Greenwood started its days in the crucible of war, and a number of squadrons represented here today formed then as well. Upholding your legacy is something we continue to do to this day: we have people deployed now from the wing, coordinating operations on a daily basis to combat tyranny – as you did so many years ago. “Consider the staggering achievements of your past. We’re flying a mission a day, now at 750-plus in two-and-a-half years we’ve been fighting Daesh in Iraq. In the Second World War, Bomber Command flew over 350,000 missions, mostly at night, about half by Lancasters. Of the 55,000 crew killed, 9,800 were Canadian.” Thauberger said having the Lancaster “living legends” sign their plaque is a unique chance to say “I was here. “These heroes were not just statistics: they were people. There were real risks and real fears. They triumphed and pulled it off.” Colonel (retired) Brian Handley, president of the museum, commended Lancaster restoration leader Dave Saulnier and his volunteer team for their detailed work returning the aircraft to Second World War bomber configuration, as fl own by 405 Squadron (now based at 14 Wing Greenwood). The aircraft is midway through the restoration process. Living Legends recipients were each given a Lancaster engraved piece of Perspex as a memento, cut from the restoration aircraft’s upper turret.

Museum volunteer David Saulnier leads the Lancaster restoration, a slow-and-steady project already three-and-a-half years along, with hundreds of hours put in by the team – and hundreds more to come. Along the way, he thought of the “Lancaster Living Legends” initiative, which would place a plaque for every Lancaster survivor the team can find inside the aircraft. This initial ceremony was held as part of the museum’s second annual Wings and Wheels vintage car show, with visiting classic cars arrayed under the wings of the various display aircraft. Attending in person from Nova Scotia were Flight Sergeant (retired) Clark Montgomery, 94, who served from July 1941 to December 1945 with 428 “Ghost” Squadron. He flew 14 operational missions in Lancasters, primarily as a Lancaster mid-upper gunner. Flight Lieutenant Roy Loomer, 93, served from May 1942 to May 1957, including three operational missions as a tail gunner with 408 “Goose” Squadron before being shot down in February 1944 and held as a prisoner of war until May 1945. Flight Sergeant Peter Bone, 95, could not attend (he lives in British Columbia). He served from September 1944 to June 1945 with 626 Squadron, putting in 25 operational missions as a mid-upper gunner. “I’ve been serving for 34 years, and I have stories – but none like yours!” said Wing Chief Warrant Officer Luc Emond, as he was introduced to Montgomery and Loomer. It’s true: Loomer describes having to bail out of his Lancaster, falling “like a bat out of hell” as he struggled to find his parachute’s ripcord on the right side (it wasn’t there – it was on his left side: he’d pulled his chute on backwards). Montgomery’s crew won a contest one mission, returning to their English airfield with hundreds of bullet holes in their aircraft: more than any other plane that night.

Flight Sergeant

JOHN A CORNER                   
Avro Lancaster Bomb Aimer                    
429 Squadron, Leeming, North Yorkshire England                 
16 Operational Missions                   

Flight Lieutenant                       
DOUGLAS E. WILLIAMS                      
Avro Lancaster Pilot                         
429 Squadron, Leeming, North Yorkshire England                 
24 Operational Missions                   

Warrant Officer Class II                   
CLIFFORD J. ROACH                    
Avro Lancaster Mid Upper Gunner                  
 429 Squadron, Leeming, North Yorkshire England                        
 28 Operational Missions                  

Flying Officer                   
RUSSELL F. HUBLEY DFC                   
Avro Lancaster Mid Upper Gunner                  
 405 "Vancouver" Squadron,  Gransden Lodge England                 
 60 Operational Missions    

Warrant Officer                        
ROY MORRISON                    
Avro Lancaster Tail Gunner                     
 90 Squadron, Wratting Common England                       
 30 Operational Missions        

Flight Sergeant
Avro Lancaster Mid Upper Gunner
576 Squadron, Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire England
30 Operational Missions

Flight Officer
Avro Lancaster Bomb Aimer
626 Squadron, Wickenby, Lincolnshire England
30 Operational Missions

Avro Lancaster Mk X Riveter
Employee Number 5544-2
Aeronautical Union # 717
Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton Ontario

Eight Plaques Added To The Lancaster Living Legends Panels

Lancaster Living Legends

Aviator Brooke Robertson (left), Aviator Brett Robertson (center left), Joyce Robertson (centre), Colonel Pat Thauberger, 14 Wing Greenwood commander (center right); and Colonel (retired) Brian Handley, Greenwood Aviation Museum president; stand during the Lancaster Living Legends recognition ceremony in the 14 Wing Greenwood aviation museum April 7. Joyce’s uncle and Brooke’s great-uncle is former Flying Officer Russell F. Hubley DFC, Halifax, an Avro Lancaster mid upper gunner with 405 “Vancouver” Squadron. During the Second World War, Hubley flew 60 operational missions over Europe in the Lancaster. Brooke didn’t realize until she joined the Royal Canadian Air Force the extent of service her great-uncle had contributed, and is now proud to be an avionics technician with 405 Squadron, based at Greenwood, herself.