website is a work in progress and
corrections, additions, and comments
Last updated 26th December 2020
- now showing 703 images, around 500
of which are not available elsewhere.
for this website are given on a separate
page and many people have contributed,
all of whom I am extremely grateful to.
resources and input provided by Dick
Richardson have been enormous.
website is dedicated to him in thanks
and recognition of all his help, as well
as his involvement with KB976.
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
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.
|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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
1986 Bought for circa £150,000 by Charles
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.
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.
Lancaster XAR (37277)
Packard Merlin 224
Dispatched 15.3.56 No. 6 RD. On
Receipt 27.3.56 CEPE
Dispatched. On Receipt 1.5.56 No.
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
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,
1965.10.19 Bill of Sale : Air Museum of
Canada, Calgary, Alberta to Dr Ernest A
, $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,
1969.12.29 Allotment of Registration
CF-TQC to Northwestern Air Lease Ltd,
“Issue Flight Permit to ferry to
Northwestern , c/o Field Aviation.
Conditions of permit to include
(i) affix registration marks i.e.
(ii) aircraft to be certified
serviceable by AME with Lancaster
[hand-written, a careless reading could
interpret the memo as “affix regn marks
1970.01.15 Application for Registration,
Northwestern Air Lease Ltd, (President :
Peter Kuryluk) ; Private
With intention to convert it to a water
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
T DoT memo,
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
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
Bill of Sale Air Museum to Dr
Johnson photostated and copy given
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
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
Near completion of conversion
1970.07.27 Authority to ferry Breton
Alberta to Edmonton, Alberta
1970.09.15 Proposal for flight tests
1970.11.04 Authority to ferry Edmonton,
to St Albert, Alberta
1971.06.01 Authority to ferry St Albert,
1971.06.11 Temporary authority to test
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
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
Company address changed to St Albert, Alberta
1974.05.15 Bill of Sale : Northwestern
Air Lease Ltd to Sir William J.S.
1974.07.02 Total Time =5,872:30 hours
1974.07.15 Application for
CoAforE. Sir William J.S. Roberts
Bt., Strathallan Aircraft Collection,
1974.09.24 Cld ; G-BCOH. Delivery
delayed due to winter weather
1975.04.21 Authority to ferry St Albert,
Namao, Alberta as
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
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,
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.