Ownership of Lancaster bomber KB882 was transferred Wednesday from the City of Edmundston to the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, Ont. Now the Royal Canadian Air Force will begin dismantling the plane and prepare it for transportation to the museum.
KB882 symbolizes the more than 50,000 Canadians who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War and the nearly 10,000 who lost their lives, according to the RCAF.
In addition, the aircraft represents the roles that were also conducted by Lancasters during the postwar period; those include contribution to the RCAF’s Arctic patrol activities and aerial photographic work as Canada charted its wilderness.
“Lancaster KB882 tangibly represents the RCAF’s transition from war to peacetime activities,” Lieutenant-General Mike Hood, Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force, said in a statement. “As the RCAF looks towards its 100th anniversary in 2024, Lancaster KB882 will serve as a valuable anchor for our commemorative activities, and a beacon for the preservation of RCAF and Canadian history and heritage.”
A combined team from the RCAF’s Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) and the National Air Force Museum of Canada are now dismantling KB882.
The work is expected to take three to four weeks, and it is anticipated that the RCAF will transport KB882 to Trenton by the end of October, according to the RCAF. This will be the third time that KB882 will be worked on by ATESS (and its predecessor 6 Repair Depot). The aircraft passed through their hands in 1954 and 1964.
When the aircraft arrives in Trenton, it will be restored to her post-war Mark 10 AR (area reconnaissance) configuration with the aid of donations and volunteer efforts. Restoration is expected to take five to seven years.
When KB882 is on display for public viewing, the National Air Force Museum of Canada will be the only museum in the world to have in its collection a fully restored Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster, the RCAF noted.
Built by Victory Aircraft Ltd. in Malton, Ont., KB882 flew several combat missions over Europe before returning to Canada in 1945. In 1952, the aircraft underwent a major overhaul and conversion to area reconnaissance. Assigned to the photo-reconnaissance role with 408 Squadron at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, in Ottawa, in 1953, KB882 proved instrumental in the mapping and charting of Canada’s Arctic.
The aircraft was also used as an electronic and photographic intelligence gathering platform during the Cold War.
Shortly after retirement in 1964, KB882 was sold to the City of Edmundston where it has been displayed at the Edmundston Airport.