April, 2017 News
DOUG LINDSAY R.I.P. Doug passed away 18th March. He was a valued member of the Liberator group working with the hangar crew from not long after we started in the hangar. He worked on all sections of the plane and was finishing off the radome when he moved away from Melbourne. Doug served as President from 2012 till 2014. He was very concerned with the future of the museum and worked on the sub-committee working with Heritage and Melbourne Water to safeguard our continued presence on the site.
NEIL EDWARDS R.I.P.
Neil, also a long time member of the hangar crew passed away on 8th April. Neil was a member of the “Arts and Crafts” crew, a group of workers who can turn their hand to fixing “stuff” around the hangar, the plane and the yard. Neil was always smiling and helpful and you could depend on him to find a solution to any problem you took to him. Neil, with wife Bev, could always be relied upon to be there when extra functions were being held.
Also sadly missed
Membership To download the Membership Renewal form for the year 2017/18 please click here. All details are on the page. Please note, if you are direct debiting from your account to ours, there has been a change to the BSB number for the Liberator account. The Treasurer has asked me to remind you that membership fees are NOT tax deductible. Donations are tax deductible through National Trust, if you allocate them to the Liberator. Donations are NOT tax deductible if they are given to the general fund.
Museum Precinct Have met again with Melbourne Water. Roger Beeson, a Heritage architect, has been asked to prepare plans for the buildings. Roger has worked on the project once before. Everything is still dependent on Heritage Victoria signing off on the project.
Liberator Update We have been given a grant and have looked at the best ways of using it. It was decided that the fuel system needs to be planned and installed. Ron Platt, several years ago planned for the installation of an OH&S compliant system so we are now looking at that. It will involve a separate portable fuel tank and delivery system for each engine. No fuel will be left in the aircraft. This is a complicated system with the priority being safety during installation and function. The installation and function of the electrical system requires a similar level of safety awareness. John Morrissy is going over Ron’s plan and will, in the near future, pick a team dedicated to this installation. We have just re-published our “Statement of Intent” for the plane. This reiterates that the Liberator, A72176, will be “live” by April 2022 and will be located in the largest building in the museum precinct.
Oxford Update Ken is finishing off the framework for the trailing edge of the port wing. He has shaped the ply which will soon go over this framework.
This is how the ply will fit.
Doug and his crew are continuing the construction of the port wing. At the moment blocks are being fitted to the area where the landing light will go.
It goes in here!
Once the light is fitted the space will be covered by a Perspex cover which we may be able to construct in-house. We still have to source cables, push rods and sprockets to be fitted in the wing. Then a mobile cradle will be made so that the wing can be safely stored against the wall and work can then start on the starboard wing.
A sign in a shoe repair shop……… We will heel you, we will save your sole, we will even dye for you.
At an optometrist’s office……. If you don’t see what you’re looking for you’ve come to the right place.
Blast from the Past #1
Fins completed 2000 and tailplane made. It sits at the front of the hangar, quite alone, away from the plane. Graham is very anxious to have the tailplane fitted to A72-176 and there is room for this to happen but the struts, fitted by Melbourne Water to keep the roof of the hangar in place are in the way. We are planning on getting a structural engineer to look at the struts and see if it is possible to re-align at least one. Then the tailplane and fuselage can be joined and we’ll be a step closer to our finished plane.
Blast from the Past #2
The Oxford when it first arrived was a sad sight and there was little that could be done to restore it. However it was a great place to get a “feel” of the construction, to obtain parts to use as templates and to gather the small parts that were useable.
All of this plus lots of plan drawings and the crew were able to build the replica we are now working on.
Avalon Airshow Week 2017
This was a great week for the restoration. We opened the hangar for extended hours each day from Tuesday 28th February to Sunday 5th March. During that period we had 372 visitors who not only were impressed with the work being done on A72-176, but were also generous with donations and bought lots from the shop. Thank you to the volunteers who gave generously of their time. Unfortunately only 28 were visitors from overseas, a much lower number than we generally attract at this time. Thanks also to the two hangar workers who spent each day at Avalon working on the RAAF Association stand and encouraging people to make a quick trip to Werribee to see our “old girl”.
We will be establishing a RAAFA Branch at the hangar. With April being so full of everything else we didn’t find the time to set it up this month. Association people will be visiting on 16th May and we’ll start to move after that.
Memories (Thanks Andrew) Six B-24 Liberator heavy bombers of No 24 Squadron took off from Truscott operational base in Western Australia to attack hydroelectric power installations at Siman and Mendalan, 80 kilometres south-west of Surabaya in Japanese-held Java. The raids followed weeks of planning and training by the RAAF’s newly-formed No 82 Wing. Most of the attacking aircraft encountered bad weather and were forced to turn back, but two Liberators got their bombs on target and cut eastern Java’s power supply. The stations on the Konto River were so important that further attacks were attempted. The first of these, on 28 January, was abandoned due to weather, but missions on 5 and 8 February completed the stations’ destruction. The 3700-kilometre round trip entailed by these raids made them the longest mounted from the Australian mainland during World War II.
I recently published a record of a visit to Ambon by Andrew Percy and Rodney Hanson to visit the war graves of relatives. This picture is of the Ambon War Grave Cemetery.
Rodney sent in this information about their visit.
"It was a happy coincidence that I met Andrew and he like me, had a desire to travel to Ambon. My father Tom, Ken’s oldest brother was keen to visit his brother’s grave, but like Bob Percy, it never happened. It was a moving experience to see the grave of the uncle I had never known, but had heard so much about. I placed some sand from Avalon Beach, Sydney on the grave. The family had a holiday home at Avalon and Ken loved the beach. The visit to Ambon also provided the opportunity to view the memorial to F/O Jack Faviell, the pilot of Liberator A72-66, also of 21 Squadron that went missing with all crew after departing Morotai on 31 July 1945 and of which no trace was ever found. Jack was Ken’s first cousin. To see the graves and memorials to the 20 airmen of the two Liberators, including two family members, lost so late in the war was truly sad. One can only imagine the suffering that the news of these losses caused the loved ones at home. However, there is great comfort that they rest and are remembered in the beautiful and well cared for place that is the Ambon War Cemetery."
23rd April 2017 at the hangar:
We sent out the invitations to the annual reunion of those who served in Liberators during WW2 but, sadly, most of the letters came back marked “No longer at this address”. Did think about cancelling the whole thing but there were 10 veterans and their families keen to visit the hangar so we cancelled the formal meal and opted for a casual BBQ for these people and it was a great success. In the end we had nearly 50 turn up. They spent their time chatting, showing relatives and friends where they used to work in the Liberator and eating. Margot Muller did a great job in organising the food. Next year we’ll do it again as a casual BBQ for veterans their supporters and interested people.
Next course please……
Tom, one of our young members looking good in his barbie apron. He can cook too.
Thanks to veterans: Cec, Vern, Nat. Russell, William, Bill, Bob, John, Norm and John.