Thursday, August 7, 2008

SHHhhh… Keep it on the downsy!”

The CWH (Canadian Warplane Heritage) Bolingbroke restoration has been plodding along for 25 slow years with the nose, fuselage and wings now about 70% complete.

The present “Boly” (photo, far left) has been cannabalised from about six or seven different Bolingbrokes and will be restored to FLYING CONDITION.

But it has taken the legendary Canadian Warplane Heritage a quarter of a century to get even this far.

And the hunt for those rare, much needed parts, to complete the historic warbird has so often been fruitless. Sand through the hands.

Located parts have been found incomplete, or decimated through time, by exposure to the ravages of our harsh Canadian winters. Sometimes parts found were rendered useless simply by the owner's prolonged utilitarian use or abuse.

Many former RCAF Canadian bombers were actually sold to prairie farmers after the war. For use down on the farm. Chicken coups etc. And the farmers often didn’t even pay for said bomber, they really just paid for the gas that was still inside said bomber!

So when these forlorn, discarded bombers are found…well, sometimes, it just ain’t pretty!

But amid all those routine deadends… a miracle finally happened.

A rural rumor of a COMPLETE CANADIAN BOLINGBROKE turned out to be more than that.

A farmer in the province of Manitoba who was blessed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) bought himself a “Boly” two years after the war. Mostly for its’ package deal of discounted gas that could be drained from its four fuel tanks.

He dutifully towed it home, put it up on blocks, drained that precious gas, and left it just like that…for the next 60 years!

During that voyage through time, not even a single part of his Boly" had been lost!

Some did fell off through those tortuous years for sure…but, no problem, they were promptly gathered, and carefully stored away in his barn.

Now we don’t want to say that this miraculous discovery made some CWH men cry, because we are talking about men here, and we are talking about crying…but when you’ve toiled so long and so hard, and suddenly you are given everything you need to complete that impossible, lingering project, well…you know.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage is keeping this whole discovery on the “downsy”.

The location of the “bird” has not been disclosed, nor will it be. There is only one known photograph of it, in its present state (see Manitoba Bolingbroke, above), as it waits for the IODE (Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire) to provide funding for its clandestine move from a field near Winnipeg, to Hamilton.

THIS GODSEND means that the CWH Bolingbroke should be flying inside of about three years!

And this was that secret, I promised to share about two months ago, but forgot to, amid house renos, car crash recovery and all.

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