UPDATE: The canopy has been found!
“While out mountain biking in the Warrungup Spring reserve this morning, I came across this unusual item,” Vanessa McBride says.
“I guessed it was something significant and possibly WW2 era memorabilia, so took some photos. When I got home, I used the power of social media (and Google) to figure out why a WW2 bomber gunners canopy was out in the middle of the bush? Thanks Google images for clarification on what it was.
“Within a couple of hours the story unfolded via Facebook. I went back to the spot and dragged the item to a safer more accessible location. The owner was notified and by late afternoon it was returned. History preserved!”
PREVIOUSLY: Here’s a tricky one – have you seen this Wold War 2-era Bristol Beaufort bomber gunner’s canopy?
The interesting piece of memorabilia went missing from local couple Robert and Julie Morfitt’s backyard in late July, and they would like to know what happened to it.
Mr Morfitt has lived in Mandurah since childhood, and the canopy has been something of a family heirloom for more than 60 years.
“We used to live down on Mandurah Terrace, down at the end of Cooper Street. My father and his brother were working on wells and windmills, and it was given to him,” Mr Morfitt said.
“He used to work out on a lot of the farms, so it's our guess that he got it from one of the farmers.
“He brought it home and used it to cover a well motor, originally. Over the years, it was eventually used to keep firewood.”
That was, until the canopy mysteriously disappeared.
The item had been in a stationary state for years, serving its use as a firewood shelter, until Mr Morfitt decided it was time to hand it down once again.
“I decided to give it to my son. He’s a shift worker, and I was going to give it to him when he got back,” he said.
“But when I went out to look for it, it just wasn’t there.
“At first I saw the gate had been opened, and I thought to myself, ‘hang on, someone’s been in here’.
“And I didn’t notice at first because nothing else was missing, there’s not much out there to steal. But then I realised, after all these years, it was finally gone.”
Ms Morfitt said she couldn’t exactly understand why someone would want to steal a 60 to 70-year old piece of aeronautic equipment, other than due to having more information than they do.
“The thing is, it’s a big shell made out of steel and perspex, it’s not easy to carry,” she said.
“Whoever took it, we think, might have an idea of what to do with it.
“We started looking around online, and there’s a fair few people out there doing restorations on old planes. We just don’t know.”
While the canopy had not been used, or even noticed, much by the Morfitts in the last few years, the principle – and curiosity – surrounding the theft has left them with questions.
“If someone was to ask me for it, I probably would’ve given it to them,” Mr Morfitt said.
“We’ve had people telling us since we put the picture up, ‘Hey, I remember that being out the front of this house or that house years ago’, so people know it.
“We’ll just hope it turns up.”
If you have any information on the missing bomber canopy, contact Mandurah Police on 9581 0222 with reference number 030817 1028 86919.