BERNIE FORREST'S EXPERIENCES
WITH "G" FOR GEORGE

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visits since 21 March 2004

 

Subject:   "G" For George
Date:           Wed, 6 Jan 1999 14:25:35 +1100
From:          "Don Dennis" <Wordwares@bigpond.com

Hi,

I'm a retired Australian Army aviator. One of our pilots formerly an RAAF apprentice helped assemble "G" for George in the museum when it was originally installed. He's now retired in Queensland near Caloundra. He may have information that may be of interest. Let me know and I'll send his e-mail address.

Regards

 

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Subject:    Re: "G" For George
Date:             Thu, 7 Jan 1999 10:37:28 +1100
From:           "Don Dennis" <Wordwares@bigpond.com>

Good morning,

"Father" Bernie Forrest is bernardj@magnet.com.au

Bernie used to be a fixed wing instructor with the Army from about 1966 to 74. He was the FW section commander in Vietnam in 1967-68...he's a great guy...and was a father to us all (he seemed so old even then...was actually only mid 30s! when I say old I mean wise...nothing ruffled his feathers not even the enemy) He'd love to hear from you and I'm sure can tell you more about George.

Regards

Don

 

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Subject:    "G" for George.
Date:             Wed, 27 Jan 1999 11:28:55 +1000
From:           Bernard J Forrest <bernardj@magnet.com.au>

Dear Peter,

Received your E-mail and must apologise for the delay in answering, but have been fully occupied with the sale of my mothers house, the selling of all the furniture and cleaning etc. The settlement is today, so hopefully that will be the end of it! It becomes very tiring as we have to drive between the Sunshine and Gold Coasts(2 hrs) to spend the time on the matters at hand.

Now for "G" for George! My first contact with the Lancaster was when I was a 10 year old, living in Woodburn on the Richmond River in northern NSW. My Dad was managing Fanny McDonalds Bakery, and we had the contract to supply bread to the base at Evans Head. One morning while accompanying Dad on a delivery to Evans Head, there was the Lancaster standing on its nose, about 20 yards from the boundary fence, beside the road! The first and only time I've seen an aircraft, as big as that "on its nose".

That would have been late 1944 or early 1945, which ties in with the info on your "page". The aircraft was on an around Australia flight, selling war bonds, when it landed long and nosed up under braking. With the experience I now have, the best option would have been to brake for as long as possible, then initiate a ground-loop to kill off the rest of the speed. The thought of putting a Lancaster on its back, would not bring any thoughts of joy. I saw a Lincoln initiate a ground-loop at Amberley, in 1955 when I was a Fitter, working in 82 Bomber Wing. They were doing a stream landing, when one looked like running over the one that landed in front of him, so rather than collide with the rear of the one in front, he initiated the G-loop; apart from some badly scuffed tyres, all was well.

May 1955, they called for volunteers from Amberley (82 Wing) to go to Canberra, to remove some aircraft from the War Memorial, to make way for World War Two aircraft, which were stored at RAAF Fairbairn. The Vickers Vimy held pride of place in the hall, so was removed and sent to Adelaide where it has its own pride of place, in the front of the Airport. The Dupredesson, the first aircraft of the Flying corps, went to Point Cook, where to the best of my knowledge, it still resides. The first aircraft we assembled in the Memorial, was the Lancaster "G" for George. It was dissembled to its smallest component, as it had to fit through the 12' by 8' door on the east side of the hall. The other thing was, it all had to be manhandled as we had to assemble it on a polished wooden floor, then jack it up, for the wheels to align with the concrete slabs positioned in the floor. The sections were taken off the plane, loaded on the truck, then placed in their position on the floor of the Hall. On assembly, only one in four bolts (approx) were replaced in most of the fuselage and wing. This was a time saving measure, as we only had 8 weeks to do the whole exercise. The fuselage, for example, is made up of a nose section, which bolts onto the centre section, then the rear fuselage is in two sections, which also bolt to the centre section. The centre section includes the wing structure, out to the inboard engines; then there is the intermediate wing section, out to the Ailerons, then the outer panel and wing tip. The tail plane, elevators fins and rudders all unbolt, and were the least of the problems, due to their size. Once the a/c was assembled, it was repainted and then put on its slab, by jacking then blocking, then jack some more, until the undercarriage could be lowered and the stands supporting the axles then put in place. Later, while we were then putting the Mk 2 Spitfire and the Me 262, the comments of the visitors to the hall, with their explanations on how the Lancaster got in there were all received with a lot humour!! Everything from taking the roof off and lowering it in, to building the hall around it. No one believed it would have fitted through the the Door, it came through.

I hope this info helps you with the "G" for George saga, and keep up the good work. Maybe your father-in-law was the pilot who stood it on its nose at Evans Head! Worth an ask!

Regards, Bernie Forrest.

 

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This page first produced 23 January 1999

This page last updated 21 March 2004