Flying aboard iconic bomber an ‘adventure’
Museum volunteer recalls war duty
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/07/2010 (4621 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Jack Brown climbed into the Mynarski Memorial Avro Lancaster Mk10 Bomber more than 60 years after he flew in one as a young bombardier.
"It was a great adventure," said the Second World War veteran, who’s been a volunteer at the Western Canada Aviation Museum for 18 years.
A Lancaster bomber built in 1945 is on display at the museum until Monday.
While flying in one of these bombers, local war hero Andrew Mynarski lost his life. His plane was hit by a German fighter-bomber, and the crew was ordered out of the aircraft. Mynarski stayed, attempting to help a fellow crew member exit the plane that was in flames. He was posthumously awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross.
Brown joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942, at the age of 19. He spent three years as a bombardier, sitting just under the nose of the plane.
"It’s fun," said the 88-year old retiree of his former post. "You see more than the rest of the crew. You see everything that’s happening."
His job was to find the intended target and release the bombs.
"You’d drop them all at once, but they were staggered," said Brown. "The bombs were timed to release so it’s not just one big plop."
He recalls targets like Ruhr Valley dams, rail yards in Cologne and synthetic oil plants in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. He went on 31 operations in all, ranging from four-and-a-half to seven hours.
Brown didn’t think about the danger when he was on a mission.
"I was only 20 years old. At that age I guess you have a fear but you weren’t scared," he said.
"I just like airplanes," Brown said, explaining his decision to become a bombardier, and later to volunteer at the museum. "For me, it was the thing to do."
The museum has modified hours and special rates for the exhibit. Visit www.wcam.mb.ca for more information.