RESTORATION OF "G" FOR GEORGE

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Subject:       "G" for George
Date:               Thu, 4 Feb 1999 22:13:38 +1100
From:            "Neil and Eileen Currie" <currnei@bigpond.com>

Dear Peter,

I thought that you might be interested in the story I have (hopefully) enclosed about "G" for George. (The Canberra Times, 4 February, 1999).

My father flew in Lanc's towards the end of WWII with 463 Squadron.

Regards,
Neil Currie

 

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THE CANBERRA TIMES
4 February 1999

George folds his wings for restoration

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Picture: RICHARD BRIGGS

Clive Roantree, of Wanniassa reminisces from a familar seat in the cockpit of G for George

"I would like to fly it," said Alan Stutter as he and other veterans gathered to farewell the famous Lancaster bomber "G" for George from the Australian War Memorial yesterday.

The 57-year-old bomber, which has been the centrepiece exhibit at the memorial since 1955, is being removed for extensive conservation.

Mr Stutter, who flew Lancasters with 463 and 467 Squadrons RAF, has not flown since the war but said that would not stop him. "I would love to have a go," he said.

Mr Stutter was joined by fellow Bomber Command veterans Clive Roantree and John Fincher, and had fond memories of the Lancaster: "She was just a great aircraft to fly."

The 75-year-old, who joined the RAAF against his mother's wishes as soon as he turned 18, flew 35 missions over Europe but said he had always been far too busy to be afraid.

"I had six blokes to worry about as well as complete the mission," he said yesterday.

He well remembered a mission over Calais in France, just after D Day, when he had to .take his Lancaster down to 1700ft to bomb a target.

"We were bombing in daylight, low-level, and I found myself coming over the target on my own, attracting all the anti-aircraft fire, and it was at a moment like that you wished you were somewhere else."

But he was philosophical. "It was just a job that had to be done, and you just went and did it."

As for G for George, a veteran of more than 90 missions, it will now be dismantled and taken to the memorial's Mitchell repository for restoration.

The senior curator of military technology, David Crotty, said the extent of work needed would not be known until the aircraft had been dismantled, but estimated it would take three to five years.

"The aircraft had been sitting outside at Fairbairn for 10 years before it was brought here, and so it was exposed to the weather," Mr Crotty said.

Fully restored, G for George will take pride of place in the memorial's Anzac Hall, due to be officially opened on Anzac Day 2001.

- ANDREW WILKINSON

 

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This page first produced 6 May 1999

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