Let me tell you about my two-day adventure to the Canadian Heritage Warplane Museum and Brantford Airshow on the weekdays of August 28-29th, 2018. We, being my father and I, had been planning our outing for weeks and the morning of had finally arrived. We packed our van, took a hold of our keys and away we travelled.
Pulling up to the Museum, I told myself my dad had been wanting to come here for years and it was something that the both of us might never get the chance to see again.
Hi, my name is April Samuels, and like other members of our Corp, I am a cadet of the Royal Canadian Highland Fusiliers. I’m from Kitchener and I just finished my first year. If you don’t know me already, come say hello as I’m always open to new friendships and getting to know others.
The days consisted of 3 main activities, the 1st being a full tour of the Museum where we viewed several displays that talked about the CANADIAN history of military flights and the men who achieved heroic deeds. This year’s focus was on the 1942 Dambuster raid in Germany. Note that the Avro Lancaster that is displayed at the museum is the model style that took part in the raid. (One of the four versions that were made).
Some interesting things to see in the Museum include a model Spitfire, B-25 Mitchell Bomber, the Avro Lancaster and this years important guest “Fi Fi” the B-29 SuperFortress. “Fi Fi” is one of two B-29s that still fly AND tour. To see both the B-29 and Lancaster together is a wonderful thing to see as the Avro is also one of only two that fly (the other one is in England).
After taking a few pictures in my DEU I changed into a vintage 1942 RCAF woman’s uniform that my family owns (as we run a museum that visits schools to teach them about WWl to present military history. We show uniforms, medals, pictures and other things that students can experience). We also promote the Canadian Cadet Program. The museum is called the “Lest We Forget- Mobile Military Museum”. My father and I thought it would be special to capture the “Giants” in history on camera while they were close. We were granted special access to get close to the war birds for a photo shoot which included partially climbing into the Lancaster. This was fun but it was scorching in the sun as the wool of the uniform was quite hot to wear.
The 2nd part of the evening was the Charity Gala where we were put at table 48 with others. Each table included an honoured guest, an aircrew member. Our guest happened to be a Snowbird pilot navigating plane #7 Pierre M. From Eastern Quebec. He was one of 3 Francophones on this year’s team. We all had interesting conversations. How often do you receive undivided time with a Snowbird?
During our dinner, I saw an older gentleman sitting just tables away. I noticed the attire he was wearing was similar to mine. My father encouraged me to introduce myself. I headed off alone and waited for a moment when he was free. He stood and we spoke about our outfits and after I thanked him for his service. He shared that he had been stationed in Northern Scotland and was a member of the ground crews that worked on the Lancasters. A unique moment of the evening for sure. I shook the gentleman’s hand and had a picture taken.
There was a door prize to win a flight on the Lancaster that evening but unfortunately, it wasn’t me. After dinner it was time to head home to prepare for the Airshow in Brantford the next day. A round of applause to the 779 Squadron air cadets who helped by serving others in many roles as needed.
The next morning, we headed out to the 3rd portion of the weekend which was the Brantford Community Airshow. Rain was looming all day putting doubt that the show would continue. The winds were too strong for the parachute team to jump but everything else ended up fine.
This was going to be a rare scene today as we were going to view a moment where the Lancaster and the B-29 would fly in formation together. As well the Lancaster with the specially decorated to Norad 60th anniversary paint scheme CF-18 fighter jet. When the formations flew over they did not disappoint. Everyone was in awe.
Then came the loud and exciting parts of the show. My favourite part being the CF-18 demonstration, as it made me think of the opportunities I could grab in the future. Between the CF-18 and the Snowbirds I can say I am a speed junky. It was more interesting watching the Snowbirds as we knew exactly where jet 7 was in the grouping. It put a personal level on the show knowing that in the jets were regular adults with incredible talents. Just like us, we have to find our joy and talent and later embrace it.
I encourage each one of us to set out and touch, even participate, in history.