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Don Lee: Lambert museum has opened in Ironton

Ironton has a new attraction — the Colonel Bill Lambert Museum has opened.

The committee to make this happen has existed for some time, it was a learning experience for all the committee members.

It opened Veterans Day in the Ironton City Center building at 310 S. Third St.

It is a start of what will be expanded later to include others of fame, especially those of WWI, which ended with Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918.

The museum is open during the City Center hours, which are 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday.

The presentations in the museum are very professional looking.

The famed and favorite plane of Bill Lambert is hanging from the ceiling. It is a model, of course, of the S.E. 5a. He is credited with 22 combat victories, which was published in the Air Force magazine. Other sources have credited him with 21.5 air to air combat victories

He did this in just a few months in 1918 flying for the Royal Flying Corps, which evolved into the Royal Air Force famous in WWII for their defense of England against the German Air Force.

The visit to the museum is well worth the effort. Be sure to wear your mask and maintain a six feet between people.
Gov. Mike DeWine is very concerned about the spread of the COVID –19 virus, especially during the coming holidays and the cooler weather which means more contact with people inside.

After all the organization and legal challenges were complete, it was Bill Martin and Brent Pyles who started the ball rolling.

They found cases in Columbus and arranged to have them picked up.

The Lions Club of Ironton has been a big help in assembling the display cases and getting the lights wired up.

It is an inspiration to see all these people coming together in this troubled time to make this idea a reality. From what I have seen, it was Joe Unger of the Unger Shoe store across the street from the city building who had the original idea. He is the one who called me.

Now, a little bit about our Bill.

When I learned that there was a WWI ace alive and in the vicinity through one of the guys who worked in the same Ashland Oil building as I, it seemed like a good opportunity to meet and talk to this ace. I did that by visiting him with my wife.

He was very friendly and I asked if he would like to attend the Air Force Association meetings with me.

After that, I would take him along.

My wife usually went with me and Bill would sit the back seat smoking his pipe.

He had this prop that held the pipe and was braced against his chin (his patent). We noticed that his shirts usually had little burned spots on them.

My wife was concerned that he would set himself on fire.

I guess sometimes he would exhale thru the pipe.

He told me he came up with the idea of the prop because with his false teeth, he had a hard time holding the pipe in his mouth.

Bill was a very interesting man to have known.

Don Lee, a pilot flying out of Lawrence County Airport since 1970, has been in charge of equipment and grounds maintenance for the last several years. He can be reached at eelnod22@gmail.com