Second World War era aircraft Lancaster KB 882 to be restored, displayed at Picton’s Base31

The Lancaster aircraft with its RCAF crew. – Submitted photo

The National Air Force Museum of Canada (NAFMC) and Base31 have revealed plans for a significant collaboration aimed at commemorating the Second World War-era Lancaster KB 882 aircraft.

Starting March 18, 2024, the initial phase of this partnership will see the NAFMC transporting the retired Royal Canadian Air Force Lancaster KB 882 to Base31 in Picton. The aircraft will be transported disassembled on a convoy of five flatbed trucks, creating an interesting procession into Prince Edward County. Subsequently, it will undergo restoration and be put on display for the public at Base31.

KB 882 has been undergoing restoration at the NAFMC’s Restoration Workshop since its arrival at CFB Trenton in 2017. At Base31’s Hangar 1, the volunteer restoration team will carry on the work, benefitting from indoor assembly space and conducive restoration conditions.

Lancaster with two Lancasters in background beneath the wing. – Submitted photo

Lancaster KB 882 will mark the inaugural exhibit in a new museum slated to open at Base31 in 2025. Recognizing the historical significance of the location as a World War II air training base, Base31 aims to honour its heritage through collaboration with community partners like the NAFMC. The museum will curate exhibits documenting aviation and military artifacts, aiming to educate and entertain visitors interested in the base’s history and its military contributions.

Aligned with the RCAF’s Centennial celebrations, the NAFMC plans to unveil Lancaster KB 882 to the public during several days of events in June 2024 at Base31. Restoration efforts will concentrate on assembling the aircraft, finishing exterior details, and advancing interior restoration. Following the Centennial festivities, Base31 will house the aircraft for four to five years in a covered, secure environment.

“The NAFMC Board of Directors is thrilled to be partnering with Base31 as we work towards completing the restoration of KB 882”, said Susan Scarborough, Board Chair, NAFMC. “The support and partnership they’ve provided gives KB 882 a temporary home where its story can be shared until the National Air Force Museum of Canada’s expansion is completed.”

“Celebrating our site’s past is an integral part of the creation of Base31 as a cultural destination here in The County. The Lancaster KB 882 is not only an important national artefact, but a vital symbol and reminder that the fight for freedom and democracy continues to this day”, said Tim Jones, CEO, Base31. “We are so pleased to be partnering with the NAFMC to showcase this remarkable part of our collective history.”

THE HISTORY OF KB 882

One of 430 Avro Lancaster Mk. Xs manufactured in Canada, KB 882’s career began in March 1945, flying with 428 Squadron in the all-Canadian No. 6 Bomber Group overseas. Following the Second World War, the aircraft was transferred to Canada and, having no operational use for the RCAF, placed in storage. It was 12 years later that KB 882 flew its next operational mission with 408 Squadron. Eventually configured as a Lancaster Mk 10AR for service in Canada, the aircraft would serve with photo and aerial reconnaissance missions in Canada’s Arctic.

The aircraft, along with the RCAF’s other operational Lancasters, was retired in 1964. Following retirement, KB 882 flew for the last time to Edmundston, NB, where it was on display for 53 years at the Edmundston Municipal Airport. In need of restoration, the aircraft was donated to the NAFMC by the City of Edmundston so that the aircraft could be preserved for generations to come.

AVRO ARROW TRAIL

The unveiling of the Lancaster KB 883 will coincide with the launch of The Arrow Trail — a driving route that celebrates and explores the incredible story of the Avro Arrow, honours the amazing efforts of the team behind the Raise the Arrow campaign who found and raised an Avro Arrow free flight test model, and shares the intertwining stories that weave Canadian folklore and national icons into local legend. Picton’s Base31 and Quinte West’s National Air Force Museum of Canada are both identified stops along the route.

The Arrow Trail was developed in partnership with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Osisko Mining, the National Air Force Museum of Canada, The County Museums, Base31, Hastings Prince Edward Regimental Museum, the County of Prince Edward, The Municipality of Quinte West, and the City of Belleville.

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