Former Lancaster pilot Jack Finan of Stoney Creek, who is now 95 years old, stands at the controls of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Mynarski Memorial Lancaster as he talks to pilot Dave Rohrer before his flight in the bomber on Saturday. Jack Finan was allowed some minutes at the controls while in flight, and he did excellent.
“I only think about the good times now,” Finan said, “That’s easier than remembering all of the people who didn’t come back.”
Jack Finan was born and raised in Hamilton. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at the outbreak of war in 1939. He was first trained as an airframe mechanic and then later as a pilot and officer. He survived the war after numerous bomb runs on Germany, unlike many of his former colleagues.
During World War II the Avro Lancasters flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 608,612 long tons (618,378 tonnes) of bombs between 1942 and 1945. Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action.
Of the 17 surviving and largely intact Lancasters known to exist, two are airworthy; “Thumper”, based in Coningsby, the UK, is operated by The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the other, called “Vera”, is in Canada, operated by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
Finan’s family think he may be the oldest living Lancaster veteran, or possibly the last such veteran. They admit, however, they have no proof for either claim.