Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Canberra War Memorial - Aircraft Hall

I don't like war - my grandfather taught me to practice war no more.

I recognize the sacrifice of all those impacted by way - but at the same time like and admire technological achievement. The War Memorial helps bring some of those discordant elements into focus - sometimes with great emotion.

Today I went looking in the Aircraft Hall for a Lancaster Bomber - and ended up standing with a group of school kids for 30 minutes watching a deeply moving light show.

 A Handley Page 0/400 at Heliopolis sketched by Stuart Reid in 1918 - the Handley Page was attached to Lawrence's initiative.
The Handley-Page 0/400 was designed as a long range bomber during the 1st World War.  This one served (alone and without spare parts) from Palestine as part of an Australian air squadron. It  was piloted by the famous Australian pilot Ross Smith.  

The plane itself was used in co-operation with the Arab forces working with Colonel Lawrence.  While it flew a number of missions, (mainly against airfields?), its strategic value lay in carrying command staff (including Lawrence) to important events.  

After Armistice, the 0/400 was redeployed for training purposes, and a second, flown from Cairo, transported field commanders to Baghdad to join up with the forces in Mesopotamia.  Ross Smith then flew on to India.  

Lancaster Bomber: G for George

Messerschmitt  ME 163 
Rocket propelled, it lost its wheels on take off, and was designed to land on a skid.  Unorthodox in 1945 - and it still looks like something out of a scifi movie.

Messerschmitt Me 262A Sturmvogel
The world's first fully operational jet aircraft. 

Peter Quinton
Palerang  September 2014
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