On this day in Yorkshire 1945

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Bradford Man’s Polar Flight. British Pathé Footage

An account of the 18,000 mile flight of the R.A.F. Lancaster “ Aries” to the geographical and magnetic Poles, was given to me to-day by Cpl. W. S. Gardner, of Wellington Grove, Bradford, who was the airframe mechanic the aircraft.

The flight was made to study the behaviour of navigation instruments and other equipment in Polar conditions, and to collect data of magnetic and weather peculiarities.

Cpl. Gardner said that the flight over the geographical Pole was uneventful, and the ground could be seen only through gaps in the rather thick cloud. Alter a day’s rest in Iceland, the aircraft set out for the magnetic Pole, but owing to mechanical trouble the flight had to be abandoned that day.

The magnetic Pole was later reached and was found to be in a different position from that charted.

While crossing Canada on their way home they encountered 102 miles per hour gale, and Cpl. Gardner said this was the worst part of the journey.

They again flew over the magnetic Pole on the journey home and confirmed their original calculations.

Cpl. Gardner said the trip was huge success, due in no small way to the sturdy Lancaster, which was in the air for 110 hours.

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