Introduction
Section 1 Military Service
Section 2 RCAF Mk10 AR Details Section 3 Canadian Civilian Life
Section 4 Preparations for Leaving Canada Section 5
Flights from Canada to Strathallan, Scotland

Section 6
Strathallan Life

Section 7
Leaving Strathallan
Section 8
To British Aerospace, Woodford
Section 9
1988 to present
Section 10
KB976 and KB994 Connection
Section 11
Nose and Fuselage Build
Section 12
Documents List 1
Section 13
Documents List 2
Links 
Credits
Email Me 

Lancaster KB976

4schemes

This website is a work in progress and corrections, additions, and comments are welcome. 

Last updated 16th March 2019 - now showing 703 images, around 500 of which are not available elsewhere.

Credits for this website are given on a separate page and many people have contributed, all of whom I am extremely grateful to.

However, the resources and input provided by Dick Richardson have been enormous.
Therefore, this website is dedicated to him in thanks and recognition of all his help, as well as his involvement with KB976.
dr_1
Dick Richardson

Introduction

Of the 7377 Lancasters built, only 17 complete air frames remain in existence. Of these 17, the story of Lancaster KB976 is one of the most confusing, complicated and consistently mis-represented. This website attempts to join all the established facts together in one place.

Whilst this could not have been done without a great deal of co-operation and time from other people, any errors remaining are those of this author and you are welcome to provide corrections or additions via the email link.

A great deal of trouble has gone into ensuring correct permissions to utilise photographs displayed. However, should a picture be without the correct permission or credit, please email the author so that this can be corrected or removed as appropriate.

More than anything this site owes it value to the photographs displayed. Grateful thanks to those who have allowed their photographs to be used here.

This site is of no commercial value and is simply a piece of aviation history. Hopefully it is useful in understanding and correcting the
frequently misunderstood story of Lancaster KB976.

plaque
Since the interest in the Lancaster aircraft comes from its part in the Second World War,
we should remember the many that lost their lives during those times.

KB976 Data
1944/45 The aircraft was built at Victory Aircraft Works, Malton, Ontario, Canada as a Lancaster B Mk. X. All Canadian built Lancasters were Mk Xs, of which 430 were built. KB976 was part of the first production batch of 300 aircraft (KB700-KB999) built by Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton and was fitted with Packard built, Rolls-Royce Merlin 224 engines. Her Victory Aircraft Construction Number is 37277.

24th May 1945 Flown to St. Athan, United Kingdom to join Royal Canadian Airforce 405 Sqn , No. 32 Maintenance Unit, as registration LQ-K.

17th June 1945 Returned to Canada to join 664 (Heavy Bomber) Wing, Greenwood, Nova Scotia for Tiger Force, No. 2 Air Command.

(Tiger Force was the name given to a World War II British Commonwealth long-range heavy bomber force, formed in 1945, from squadrons serving with RAF Bomber Command in Europe, for proposed use against targets in Japan. The unit was scheduled to be deployed to the Pacific theatre in the lead-up to the Allies' proposed invasion of Japan. The unit was disbanded after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war on 2nd September 1945. See this link for further information on Tiger Force)

28th June 1945 placed back on RCAF register

August 1945 Following VJ Day on 15th August, allocated to storage with other Lancasters in Alberta.

June 1948 Back in service with RCAF as Search and Rescue aircraft. Re-certified in air tests at Avro Works, Malton, Toronto

Circa 1953 KB976 and 2 other RCAF Lancasters were modified to long nose Mk 10 AR (Area Reconnaissance) variant and assigned to RCAF 408 Sqn(P) with registration MN-976. (The other 2 AR Lancasters were KB839 and KB882. All 3 of the Mk10 AR air frames survive to this day.)  Used also for Arctic Reconnaissance, patrolling the polar ice caps photographing and recording Soviet Submarine movements.


9th April 1964 Part of Official ceremony of the last RCAF Lancaster flights.

23rd April 1964 Lynn Garrison bought KB976 for $1500 from Crown Assets Disposal Corporation for the Alberta Aviation Museum, later incorporated as the Air Museum Of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.

May 26th 1964 retired from RCAF service.

July 4th 1964 KB976 made the last Official Flight of Lancaster type in RCAF service.
(This was just one month ahead of the last ever Lancaster flights on military service in August 1964, which were made by the French Navy Lancasters. The final flight honour belongs to NX611 "Just Jane" of the
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre).

1967 The Air Museum of Canada moved to acquire a Certificate of Airworthiness for Lancaster KB976 and obtained registration CF-AMD. Dr. Ernie Johnson, one of the AMC’s Board of Governors held a Lien against the title of KB976, and sold the aircraft in 1969.

Interestingly, during this time and just to confuse things further, sister AR Lancaster KB839 was displayed at RCAF Greenwood with the registration numbers of KB976.

1969 Sold to Northwestern Air Lease, St. Albert, Alberta and registered as CF-TQC. Conversion to fire tanker started 1970. At this time an original length nose was re-fitted using the nose from KB994. The long AR nose was stored at North Western Aviation until around 1984. Used in 1971 as a fire bomber.

24th September 1974 Bought for $100,000 Canadian / £45,000 by Sir William J.D. Roberts, private owner of the Strathallan Collection, Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland. At this point the aircraft had flown just 19 hours in the previous 10 years since RCAF retirement.

May 1975 Registered as G-BCOH and flown to Strathallan from St. Albert, Alberta. (This was the last Lancaster flight
across the Atlantic for 39 years, until the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's "Mynarski Lancaster" FM213 flew to visit the UK and back to Canada, in August 2014.)

11th June 1975 Arrives at Strathallan Airfield, Scotland.

1986 Bought for circa £150,000 by Charles Church.

April 1987 Transported by road to British Aerospace, Woodford for planned restoration to airworthiness.

12th August 1987 Badly damaged by hangar collapse at British Aerospace, Woodford.

Following unsuccessful attempts of legal action against British Aerospace and the tragic death of Charles Church in a Spitfire crash in July 1989, the re-build was abandoned. Various parts spent time at Sandtoft, Lincolnshire and North Weald Airfield, Epping, Essex, UK.

Bought by Doug Arnold of Warbirds, Great Britain. Arrived dismantled at Bedford with sections of Lancaster KB994 and Avro Lincoln RF342. Stored at Cranfield Institute of Technology.

1992 Moved to Biggin Hill, still owned by Doug Arnold of Warbirds, Great Britain.

1993 Sold and shipped to Kermit Weeks at the Fantasy of Flight, Florida, USA.

The below italicized text is a chronology for KB976 from the Canadian Department of Transport records held at Library and Archives Canada. This is packed with detail and was compiled by Terry Judge and kindly provided to me by Robert M Stitt.

CF-TQC    Avro Lancaster XAR (37277)
                 Packard Merlin 224
                 KB976
                 Dispatched 15.3.56 No. 6 RD.  On Receipt 27.3.56 CEPE
                 Dispatched.  On Receipt 1.5.56 No. 1107 TSD*
                 Dispatched 10.5.56 No. 1107 TSD.  On Receipt 14.5.56 No. 408 Sqn
                 Dispatched 16.5.57 No. 408 Sqn.  On Receipt 15.5.57 No. 1107 TSD
                 Dispatched 7.8.57 No. 1107 TSD.  On Receipt 6.8.57 No. 408 Sqn
                 Flying Time Record, 14.5.56 to 19.2.64.  Total Time =1,316:16 to 5,857:45 hours
                 Dispatched 20.5.64 No. 408 Sqn.

* No. 1107 TSD was a sub-unit (Detachment) of No. 11 TSU.     No. 11 TSU had several dozen Detachments, spread from Fort William to the Maritimes.  No. 1107 TSD was at the Fairey Aviation plant at Eastern Passage (Dartmouth/Shearwater), where they were overhauling and modifying Lancasters and Avengers.  (TSD: Technical Services Detachment /  TSU: Technical Services Units, which replaced the large wartime AIDs or Aeronautical Inspection Districts)

1956.06.12 Aircraft Type Approval A-39, Issue 1, Lancaster 10, serials 3423, 37208 and 37210

1964.04.28 Bill of Sale : Crown Assets Disposal Corp Sales Order 195190 to Alberta Aviation Museum, Calgary, AB, $1,500
1965.10.19 Bill of Sale : Air Museum of Canada, Calgary, Alberta to Dr Ernest A Johnson, Calgary, 
Alberta , $1,500, KB976
1969.04    Air Museum of Canada are restoring it for air shows and film sequences this summer.

1969.11.20 Bill of Sale Johnson to Northwestern Air Lease Ltd, Edmonton, Alberta, KB976
1969.12.29 Allotment of Registration CF-TQC to Northwestern Air Lease Ltd, Edmonton,
Alberta
            “Issue Flight Permit to ferry to Northwestern , c/o Field Aviation.  Conditions of permit to include
            (i) affix registration marks i.e. TQC,
            (ii) aircraft to be certified serviceable by AME with Lancaster endorsement.”   
            [hand-written, a careless reading could interpret the memo as “affix regn marks AME”]

1970.01.15 Application for Registration, Northwestern Air Lease Ltd, (President : Peter Kuryluk) ; Private
             With intention to convert it to a water bomber, slurry. 
             Conversion to be done by Galaxy Aviation Ltd, Breton, Alberta. 
             Four tanks to be installed.

1970.01.20 Authority to ferry Calgary,
Alberta – Edmonton, Galaxy Field, Alberta
1970.01.21    T    DoT memo, various times;
0845, Telephone call to C... from a lawyer GIBSON in Ireland on behalf of Lynn Garrison who says the Bill of Sale Air Museum to Dr Johnson was a chattel mortgage redeemable for $1500.  If so, this would mean the ferry permit and temp registration should not have been issued.  Milt Harradance reported to be representing Garrison in Calgary
1330, Kuryluk located.  He advises Dr Johnson has the original Bill of Sale Air Museum to Johnson.  Johnson is on a junket in Africa and will return in 7 weeks.  Kuryluk advises no modifications will be made to the Lanc until after Feb 3 (expiry date of temp CofR).
1970.01.22  Bill of Sale Air Museum to Dr Johnson photostated and copy given to Kuryluk.
1970.03.06    T    DoT/ Northeastern; There has been a considerable number of different people approaching this office in connection with work in progress on this conversion progress.  Since we are not sure of the validity of all of these contacts, we would ask that you advise us as to the names of persons and companies authorized by you to deal with the Department in your interests.
1970.03.07    T    Northeastern/DoT; Please be advised that Mr Kenneth Gailey, of Galaxy Aviation Ltd, Breton, Alberta, has been appointed by us to look after the complete matter of the conversion of the Lancaster to a water bomber,  Any Aeronautical Engineer employed will also be under the jurisdiction of Galaxy Aviation
1970.05    Near completion of conversion
1970.07.27 Authority to ferry Breton Airstrip,
Alberta to Edmonton, Alberta
1970.09.15 Proposal for flight tests
1970.11.04 Authority to ferry Edmonton,
Alberta to St Albert, Alberta
1971.06.01 Authority to ferry St Albert,
Alberta to Namao, Alberta and return
1971.06.11 Temporary authority to test fly aircraft
1971.07    After flight tests [?], taken to Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, area for actual bombing of fires.
(1971.09.01 - Peter Kuryluk
(President, Northwestern Air Lease Ltd), killed in separate accident to Canso CF-HYN)
1971.10.19 Authority to ferry Edmonton, Alberta to Galaxy Strip, 11 miles West of Breton,
Alberta
           Further flight tests made on 14, 21 & 22 June; 14:45 hours
1972.06.30 Authority to ferry Galaxy Strip, Breton,
Alberta to St Albert, Alberta
1973       Company address changed to St Albert,
Alberta
1974.05.15 Bill of Sale : Northwestern Air Lease Ltd to Sir William J.S. Roberts, $105,000
1974.07.02 Total Time =5,872:30 hours

1974.07.15 Application for CoAforE.  Sir William J.S. Roberts Bt., Strathallan Aircraft Collection, Auchterarder, Scotland
1974.09.24 Cld ; G-BCOH.  Delivery delayed due to winter weather
1975.04.21 Authority to ferry St Albert,
Alberta to Namao, Alberta as G-BCOH


Current Situation
1. A complete set of components for a Lancaster mostly sourced from KB976, including the original cockpit from KB976, a repaired wing centre-section (including covered wagon), with the mid/rear fuselage and tail fuselage from KB994.

2. The damaged rear-most section of the KB976 original fuselage is on display at Aeroventure, Doncaster, UK.

3. The Australian Avro Lincoln project has the mid/rear fuselage section from Lancaster KB976 with damage from the hangar collapse. This is for future restoration of a complete Lincoln aircraft for static display at the Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin, Australia.

4. The original AR nose section, removed in Canada around 1969, has been build up into a highly authentic replica of a Lancaster AR front fuselage and cockpit by Jeremy Hall, and is currently located at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre.

Introduction
Section 1 Military Service
Section 2 RCAF Mk10 AR Details Section 3 Canadian Civilian Life
Section 4 Preparations for Leaving Canada Section 5
Flights from Canada to Strathallan, Scotland

Section 6
Strathallan Life

Section 7
Leaving Strathallan
Section 8
To British Aerospace, Woodford
Section 9
1988 to present
Section 10
KB976 and KB994 Connection
Section 11
Nose and Fuselage Build
Section 12
Documents List 1
Section 13
Documents List 2
Links 
Credits
Email Me