An eight-and-a-half-foot-tall bronze airman was bolted in place yesterday as part of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum’s memorial to the Second World War.
The imposing statue is one of the final pieces to arrive ahead of the memorial’s unveiling on Sept. 10, which includes a black granite wall spanning 91 metres and shaped like the wings of an airplane with 19,000 names of the Royal Canadian Air Force members who lost their lives.
The bronze airman, sculpted by Calgary-area’s Studio West, took about a year to create and will stand at the far north end of the massive wall and is positioned in a way to make him look like he’s walking by himself along the wall.
"It’s an airman in training, so the statue represents the start of an airman’s career," said the museum’s executive director, Stephen Hayter. "He’s to represent all of the trades, ground crew, air crew, the women’s division."
The plinth, the hollow base of the statue, will include two plaques with etched pictures that represent the various trades within the RCAF.
"Visually, it has some great impact," Hayter said. "Once he was put into place, everything just came together ... It just speaks to people."
The memorial project committee of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum began the ambitious project in 2010. The RCAF WWII Memorial will be located on the grounds of the museum and also pays tribute to Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and New Zealand Air Force personnel who lost their lives in or near Canada during this period.
Studio West, the husband and wife sculptor duo, have done several statues in Canada, including the Mayerthorpe Fallen Four Memorial commemorating the RCMP officers who tragically died in 2005.
Visit airmuseum.ca for more information on the memorial.
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