Yesterday, retired Flying Officer Francois-Guy Savard of 425 Squadron spoke in front of Lancaster KB 944 — the same aircraft he served aboard as a navigator in the Second World War — at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum.

“This is a really emotional day for me,” said Savard, who recalled flying back home from England on it in 1945. “At the time of the flight, I was still 19 years old,” he said. “I turned 23 weeks after we returned to Canada. The squadron was preparing for battle in Japan when the war ended.”

Lancaster KB 944 formed the centrepiece of the museum’s display, part of a tribute to Canada’s first French-Canadian air squadron that opened Remembrance Week programming at the museum yesterday.

Highlights of the celebrations included a CF-18 flyby by members of 425 Squadron, the unveiling of a new Avro Lancaster bomber display and a performance by the 50-piece Centralaires Concert Band.

Stephen Quick, director general of the museum, underlined the true importance of recovering pieces like Lancaster KB 944.