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Thousands pack airport for Lancaster’s return to Goderich

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It’s been a long time coming, but Goderich finally got to see its Lancaster bomber again.

“It’s so great to see it back. During its flyby, I had flutters,” said Goderich Legion President Randy Carroll.

In Photos: Lancaster Bomber

Goderich’s Lancaster is back where it all started. The World War Two bomber flew into Goderich on this day 60 years ago to be mounted as a military monument.

It was just that, until 1977 when Canada’s Warplane Museum bought it and restored it to flying condition.

It’s not been back to Goderich since…until today.

Lancaster WWII bomber returns to Goderich on June 14, 2024, 60 years to the day after it arrived for schedule retirement in 1964. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“It was sad to see if fly away in 1977, and just as emotional to see it come back today. It was like, wow,” said Sherry Mathewson and Joanie Reinhardt, who used to play in the mounted Lancaster when it was mounted outside the Goderich airport.

The Lancaster’s triumphant return to Goderich was greeted by more than 5,000 eager spectators. Many with some personal connection to the plane many credit with allowing the allies to win WWII.

“My father flew this in the Second World War. He was the rear turret gunner. He did two tours. So it was amazing to come and see it today,” said Jan Macintyre-Benneweis from Stratford.

“My dad was in World War Two. He was a mechanic on the Lancaster bombers in England. So, I thought it would be pretty cool to come and see this today,” said Karen Barfett.

Lancaster WWII bomber returns to Goderich on June 14, 2024, 60 years to the day after it arrived for schedule retirement in 1964. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“My grandfather actually worked for Victory Aircraft in Milton where they built these planes. So, to me, it’s special that way,” said Ross Hamilton.

“My dad was the navigator in the Lancaster. He had a crew of seven, and I knew four of them personally. When it rolled up, I almost lost it. So proud,” said Gail Currie.

Others packed Goderich’s airport tarmac, just to be up close with a piece of Canada’s military history.

“It’s in great shape. I was quite surprised. There’s only two of them left flying in the world, and this is one of them,” sais Kris Raftis.

Lancaster WWII bomber returns to Goderich on June 14, 2024, 60 years to the day after it arrived for schedule retirement in 1964. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“I think it’s important to be here because it’s part of our history, and it was Canada’s contribution to the war effort,” sais Jeff Heimpel.

The Lancaster, which now makes its home in Hamilton, will spend the day in Goderich before flying off on Saturday around 2 p.m. Tours inside the Lancaster were only available Friday until 4 p.m.

“It’s sixty years to the day that it flew here to be retired. That’s pretty cool. But, we’re not bringing back to retire it. We plan to fly it for many years to come,” said Canadian Warplane Museum President and Lancaster pilot Dave Rohrer.

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