I enjoyed reading your
article about the Air Museum in the Toronto Sun, October 2, 2011 and
hope by shining your light, this little piece of our history will
remain! Looking at the image supplied by Ken Greenbury brought to mind
the hundreds of 'Rosie the Riveters' on the Lancaster line at Victory
Aircraft and the dedicated work that they did in those dark days and
thought that your readers might be interested in a little look back,
In the later years of WW2, my parents were both in their
late teens and like most of their peers, decided to join the war effort.
My father signed on to the RCAF, receiving his Flight Officer's
commission when only 19; in fact, I still have his commission and his Flight Officer's uniform. My mother becoming one of the many 'Rosie the Riveters', at Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario, building the Lancasters that my Dad would fly!
The work force at Victory escalated from 3,300 in 1942 to 9,521 in
1944, most of them initially unskilled and about a quarter of them
women. To facilitate the manufacture, an RAF Lancaster from England (R-5727) was flown across the
Atlantic in August, 1942 to act as a 'pattern' and the Canadian prototype, with serial number
KB-700, rolled off the assembly line on August 1, 1943.
on the family farm on Yonge Street, near Finch, public transit to
Malton would often take her 90 minutes each way and the work was loud
and hot but she told me she worked with a great crew who had a job to
do! I've attached some images to give you some idea of what they did.
Eventually, production reached the level of one aircraft per day with a total of
430 Lancaster Mk. X's being built. Of the
Canadian-built Lancs, some one hundred were lost in wartime service,
seventy missing in action and about thirty others crashing upon their
return to England or in training. KB-732 flew the most operations of any
Canadian-built Lancaster, completing 83 during its tour of duty with
victory in Europe, three
of the Canadian Squadrons began ferrying ex-Prisoners of
War, many of whom were Canadian aircrew, back to England. But the war in
the Pacific was still raging and the rest of Canadian Lancasters were
flown home to be prepared for service against the Japanese.
This bomber group was to be known as 'Tiger Force', training out of CFB
Comox, on Vancouver Island where my father was stationed but plans were
cancelled after the dropping of the atomic bombs and the surrender of
Japan in August, 1945........the roar of
squadrons of Lancasters was heard for the last time.
who are interested, they can still see the 'Andy' Mynarski Memorial
Lancaster at the Hamilton Warplane Heritage Museum that just flew in the
CNE Air Show.
Keep up the good work,
ps.......if we forget about the past, will we be doomed to repeat it?