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Event: Ruhr Express Lancaster

Date: Summer 2017


The first day of August 1943 was a proud day for the workers of Victory Aircraft Limited and for all Canadians. Sixteen months after the arrival of the blueprints had arrived at Malton, the first Canadian built Lancaster KB700 rolled off the assembly line; an impressive accomplishment. Named the Ruhr Express, much publicity was made of its christening, first flight and its departure to England. It was an occasion for which the country could be proud.

On 2 January 1945 the Ruhr Express was returning to England following its 49th operational mission, a raid to Nuremberg, and while landing at its home base, KB700 experienced hydraulic problems. The aircraft ended up in a farmer's field where it collided with a trench digger, rupturing its fuel tank. The crew escaped but the ensuing fire destroyed the aircraft. The loss was sad because the plans were to fly the Ruhr Express back to Canada following its 50th mission for a triumphant return and as a memorial to the Canadians who built and flew Lancasters.

To commemorate these accomplishments as part of Canada’s 150th celebrations this summer, Lancaster FM213 (also known as VeRA, KB726, or the Mynarski Memorial Lancaster) has been painted and flown in the temporary markings of Canada’s first Lancaster KB700, the Ruhr Express. The temporary markings have only be applied to the port side of the aircraft and the usual VR-A, KB726 markings remain on the starboard side.

This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th in collaboration between the Hamilton Community Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.



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