SWLA man starts WWII aviation museum

SWLA man starts WWII aviation museum

Harry Tanner loves to talk about flying. It started when he was a little boy.

"I always had a fascination with aviation. Once I got started in this, I couldn't stop. I've been doing this now for 20 years."

It's no surprise his collection has grown so big, he's built a new structure behind his house.

"These are what they call the invasion escape maps. Every airmen, pilot, co-pilot, everybody on the plane were given one of these in the area of what they were going to be bombing in case they were shot down or had to bail out."

A wall of pictures represents all the pilots that Harry has talked to over the years. He got their personal stories and pictures including Mervyn Taylor of Grand Lake and Bob Taylor from Welsh.

"Everything you see in this album was sent to me by German pilots. Dear Harry. He signed it and everything. Some of them sent their letters in German. A friend of mine in Sulphur, she was translate the letters for me."

One of Harry's favorite pieces is this flight log, given to him by a WWII pilot.

"It starts out with his training. His instructor signed it. Every day that he flew is in here. It goes on into WWII when he was sent overseas. All his bombing missions here."

"This is the Stars & Stripes newspaper that came out during the war. A lot of the airmen sent me copies of these. They're all dated. This one is 1944."

Harry says none of this is for sale.

"I'm preserving the memory of these men and women who flew in WWII."

Members of the P-47 bombers group were so impressed with Harry's collection, that they donated items from their group at their final reunion.

Tanner speaks to civic groups and classrooms throughout the year, sharing his collection with others.
If you have a veteran, community volunteer or public servant you'd like to see featured as a hometown hero - head to the contest page on kplctv-dot-com for the nomination form.
For more information call Harry Tanner at 337-302-6239.