Second World War veteran Al Wallace honoured by CAHS Toronto Chapter


Al Wallace

Al Wallace with some of the CAHS Chapter Executive after taking his Lancaster ride at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Hamilton on August 28, 2016. Photo Credit - Gus Corujo

Second World War veteran Albert R. Wallace was an air gunner in the RCAF’s 419 Squadron who spent almost two years as a prisoner of war, mostly at Stalag Luft III, after his Halifax II bomber was shot down in May 1943 over Germany. He aided in operations culminating in the now famous “Great Escape” and was ultimately freed on May 2, 1945, more than 71 years ago. Al has since devoted more than 25 years of service as a volunteer at Sunnybrook Veterans Residence and Care Centre and has been featured in the National Post. Based on his dedication, the Toronto Chapter selected Al to take a commemorative flight in the Mynarski Memorial Lancaster flown by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, on behalf of his fellow RCAF veterans and all the Sunnybrook veterans with whom he continues to serve.

The flight was generously donated by CWHM CEO and President Dave Rohrer as a courtesy to the Chapter after he inadvertently missed a speaking engagement at the Chapter’s annual dinner meeting in 2015. Although the Chapter couldn’t offer Al a ride in a Halifax, the only flying Lancaster in North America was the next best thing. Al arrived at the CWHM on August 28, accompanied by his family members. Only days away from his 96th birthday, Al climbed the ladder into C-GVRA as well as people half his age. During the flight, he had a small tumble going over the tallest of the three spars and missed seeing the CN Tower as Chapter Secretary Neil McGavock patched him up. Al was soon in the cockpit when the Lancaster flew over Niagara Falls, which he really enjoyed. Upon landing, Al exited the Lanc wearing a big smile, and with little difficulty, where he joined the other passengers and crew for the traditional after flight photos. He was thrilled to have his flight certificate signed by the pilots.

Al thanked CAHS members numerous times for the donation of his flight and it was a pleasure for the Chapter to provide this exceptional veteran with a fantastic experience flying in Lancaster C-GVRA. Photos of this event can be found at using the link, Website Updates.