Announcements, News & Press Releases
Search and Rescue Cairn Dedication 2015In August of 2015, the Society unveiled the latest, and possibly, the last project. This was a cairn dedicated to the men and women of the Search and Rescue Squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The cairn consists of a black granite shield engraved with the motto THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE and surrounded by coloured crests of 103, 413, 424, 435 and 442 Search & Rescue Squadrons. The shield is mounted on a block of grey granite and sits just off the port wing of the Argus.
The year 2016 has brought some changes which are still unfolding. Our refinishing guru, Dave Sudsbury, and chief aircraft repairman, Gordon Sheculski, both passed on suddenly and will be sorely missed.
The Province of PEI has purchased Slemon Park Airport which encompasses our Heritage Park, and we are unsure what impact that will have.
Dedication Service 2014On August 29, 2014, the members of the Aviation Heritage Society were joined by invited guests to dedicate the latest Commemorative Stones, bringing the total ordered and installed to 626. We were joined on this occasion by Gardiner MacNeil, representative of Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, PEI Justice Minister Janice Sherry, MLAs Paula Biggar and Gerard Greenan and City of Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart. Our guests had graciously consented to take part in the unveiling of three new signs paying our respects to a further eight RCAF Station Summerside military personnel who had lost their lives in three separate aircraft crashes while on active duty.
Father Brad Sweet led the Services.
Society member Gordon Sheculski and Gardiner MacNeil unveil the Dakota sign. Justice Minister Janice sherry and MLA Paula Biggar unveil the Harvard sign. MLA Gerard Greenan and Mayor Basil Stewart unveil the Expeditor sign.
Stone UpdatesJuly 2014 - All of the Commemorative Stones have now been delivered and installed and eight stones with spelling mistakes have been returned for corrections.
On the 16th of June, we received another 53 stones, however we are still missing 8, numbers 578 and 579 and numbers 621 to 626. If you have requested a picture or would like a picture of your stone, please contact me, Barry Rowan, at the email address below and I will take one for you.
Memorial Wall and New PlaqueOn the 23rd of August, there was a Rededication Service and an unveiling of the remodelled Wall and the new Commemorative Plaque. MLAs Paula Biggar and Sonny Gallant, who are very much responsible for our summer groundskeeper and Summerside Police Chief Dave Poirier were able to be there. We were especially pleased to have eleven members of the Arsenault family join us in honour of Sergeant J.H.R Arsenault who perished in the crash of Argus 737 on 31 March 1977.
2013 Website UpdateThe Society decided that the project for 2013 would be the creation of a Memorial Plaque in honour of nine post- war service related deaths. The plaque is made of black marble and of the same size as the BACTP plaque currently mounted on the Memorial Wall. The BACTP plaque was moved to the left end of the wall, the new plaque was mounted on the right side and the metal letters 'MEMORIAL WALL' were installed between the two plaques.
Some damage has been caused to the plastic letters on the front of the Wall, possibly by youths climbing on them, so Malpeque Fine Iron was engaged to replace them with metal letters.
Air Cadet StonesIn June, the Air Cadet League of Canada held their Annual General Meeting in Charlottetown. As part of this convention, the ACLC purchased 13 stones to be laid in the Park. Each stone contains the name of a Canadian province or territory and the 13th stone has the word Canada on it. The stones are arranged in a circle around the tree previously planted by 53 Squadron . While the delegates and cadets visited Slemon Park and the Heritage Park, a Cadet from each province placed their Provincial flag beside their stone and Mr Ken Higgins, National ACLC President placed the Canadian flag.
2012 Web Site UpdateOn February 21, 2012 the Society was presented with a Heritage Award from the Provincial Museum and Heritage Foundation. The award was presented by LtGov. Frank Lewis at a gathering at the Eptek Centre.
Aviation Society Honoured
The Aviation Society of Prince Edward Island pose for a picture with Lt-Gov Frank Lewis Tuesday night at the PEI Museum and Heritgae Foundation awards in the Eptek Art and Culture Centre in Summerside. The society won an award for their work in developing the Summerside Aviation Park in Slemon Park. Back from left, George Sheculski, Barry Rowan, George Dalton, Shawn McArville, Dave Sudsbury. Front row, Al Poiier, Lt-gov Frank Lewis, Archie Johnstone, Lowell Heustis and Bob Steele
Ryan Quigley/Journal Pioneer
On May 19th , the Society was saddened by the death of one of the founding members when Mr Errol Laughlin passed away. His memories of Island history can never be replaced.
A Rededication of the Park was held on the 24th of August to honour the people whose commemorative Stone had been laid this year.
Dec. 2011 UpdateReceived 250 Stones
We received approximately 250 stones on December 20th bringing the total number of stones up to nearly 400. The new stones will be laid in the spring when we expect to receive another batch of stones from the manufacturer.
Opening CeremoniesAir Force Heritage Park, PEI Opening Ceremony Friday 26 Aug 2011 @1500 hrs or 3:00 PM SHARP
- Introduction of MC and the President of the Air Force Heritage Society of PEI
- President’s Welcome
- “O Canada”
- 1511 OR 3:11 pm - Flag Raising and Aircraft Fly-Past
- Short History of the Aviation Heritage Society & the Park
- Special VIP’s messages from their organizations:
o Honourable Robert Vessey, PEI Minister of Tourism and Culture
o Commander of the Air Force, Lieutenant-General Andre Deschamps
o Bruce MacDougall, Deputy Mayor of Summerside
o MLA for Tyne Valley- Linkletter, Paula Bigger
o President of Slemon Park, Shawn McCarvill
- Reading of a poem
- Dedication of the Commemorative Stones
- The “Queen”
- Administrative Announcements
Flag Raising and Aircraft Fly-Past
To officially open our new Air Force Heritage Park,five Second World War veterans will move to the flag poles. These veterans represent 98 Commonwealth aircrew who lost their lives while training in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan units based in PEI, and 128 Prince Edward Islanders who lost their lives in RCAF/RAF service during WWII. The veterans who will stand at the flags are Senator Archie Johnstone, Air Gunner, Errol Laughlin, Wireless Operator, John Mayer, Pilot, Derek Hughes, Navigator and Clarence Pineau, Air Gunner. Raising the flag and representing our future, is Royal Canadian Air Cadet Flight Corporal Isaiah Henderson a member of 53 Squadron RCAC in Summerside, accompanied by their Commanding Officer Captain Linda DesRoche. Make sure you also look at the sky to the west as there will be a fly-past of a Harvard aircraft representing the first aircraft flown in the pilot training role in Summerside in 1941. It will be followed by Hawk-1 and a CF-86/Sabre, painted in the colours of the famous Golden Hawk Aerobatic team of the 1960’s. The Royal Canadian Air Force march-past will also be played during the raising of the Roundel. Please note that this particular Roundel was the flag that was lowered at the closing of CFB Summerside at 1115, 1st April 1992.
The Aviation Heritage Society of PEI and History of the Air Force Park
Although the current Society, a mixture of retired Military and civilian personnel was formed in 2009 to collect, preserve and promote military aviation heritage of PEI, there had been similar organizations formed and disbanded over the past two or more decades. These members were interested in preserving the military aviation heritage of PEI and were instrumental in obtaining the three “Gate Guardians now located in this park. Some of these previous members remain as our strongest supporters today. (See www.aviationheritagepei.ca for more detailed history) In an agreement made on 27th March 1992, between Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by the Minister of National Defence and the Slemon Park Corporation that the three aircraft be turned over to the Aircraft Memorial Heritage Society, Summerside. On March 30th, 2000 the three aircraft were then turned over to the Slemon Park Corporation. After the current Aviation Society was formed a multi-phased plan was created to restore the three aircraft and to provide a landscaped park with interpretive displays. This park is located at the previous entrance to Canadian Forces Base Summerside, formally RCAF Station Summerside and is located at the entrance to an important and emerging Aerospace Centre. The Argus and Tracker aircraft located here where both were based at Summerside while the Voodoo served at our sister base in Chatham, New Brunswick. An important element of our Air Force Heritage Park is the “Walk of Honour” that will be highlighted later in the program.
A Poem to the Argus
In early November 1979, Lowell Huestis of CJRW Radio approached the Summerside Base Commander, Colonel Sam Kincaid about saving an Argus for display. The Colonel was very cooperative and appointed Major Wayne Griffith to be Lowell`s Co-Chairman, and a fundraising campaign was begun. On that cold morning of February 6th, 1981 a professional military moving crew moved Argus 10739 from the storage site across a frozen field to its current resting place in our park. The effort was a joint venture of DND/CFB Summerside, 200 Summerside RCAFA Wing and the local community. MF Schurman Company Ltd and Curran & Briggs Ltd for example donated the cement work to mount the aircraft. Both Lowell Huestis and Wayne Griffith are on our current committee and also today we have two individuals who were members of the moving crew, MCpl (Retired) George White who drove here from his home in Ottawa, Ontario and, WO (Retired) Pat Bendell, the Crew Chief at the time, who now resides in Summerside. I am going to ask George White to read the poem he wrote after the aircraft was in place.
“Walk of Honour”
Our Commemorative Stone Project has been a great success, a success beyond our expectations. We have been overwhelmed with donations for stones and more are coming in each day. The numbers have also overwhelmed our supplier who could not produce the stones fast enough so they could all be laid prior to the Park opening and this year’s dedication. The Aviation Heritage Society sincerely apologizes to families and individuals who did not get their stones laid for this year’s dedication. We will continue to receive orders, manufacture the stones and have them professionally laid as they are a key element of our plans to continue to maintain and improve our park. As other military parks do in Canada we will plan to hold one or more dedication services each year at our park. Today we will dedicate stones 1 through 150. One stone deserves special mention. Stone number 0001 is dedicated to MWO Tom Capstick who was an important member of our Heritage Society and was one of the individuals who started the Park activity but who unfortunately lost his life in an aircraft accident here at Slemon Park.
There will be a reception at Anson’s for our special guests who have received written invitations, and food will be served in the tent at the rear of the park for all others. Please note that three tables have been set up in the VIP tent. One table is for anyone that would like to order a Commemorative Stone, or to sign our guest book, one table for the launching of a book chronicling the history of the Argus and one table for a booklet that was written and produced locally, titled “Our Base-Our History” and is dedicated to all who served at this base from 1940.
Phase 2 Report Update
Work has been going apace these past weeks despite some wet weather. The Sponsors Gate is in place as are the two rest area structures that will soon look like real pergolas.
Our three stalwart Society members, Errol Laughlin, Lowell Huestis and Archie Johnstone make regular checks of the progress.
Our Roundel is taking shape, a red metal Maple Leaf surrounded by white stone and the outer ring blue will be provided by a blue Juniper ground cover. The Red Oak landscapers have done an excellent job of shrub and flower selection.
Hopefulluy all will be in place for our Opening Ceremony, Friday, 26 August 2011 at 3:00 PM SHARP!
PER ARDUA AD ASTRA!
Phase 2 — Progress Report
By the end of Phase 1, the Red Oaks crew had completed the brick walkway around the 3 aircraft. We can attest to their excellence as the entire walkway survived the winter weather with nary a brick out of place.
Phase 2 got underway in May and the crew from Red Oaks, under the supervision of Kevin Smith, has been busy beavering away getting all the landscaping details underway.
L-R: Lyle Badger, Tim Bowness, Bill Arsenault, Kevin Smith, Adam Palmer, Quinn Stright, Mathew Rogers.
23 June: Although we experienced a cold,windy, wet spring, the crew has make excellent progess preparing flower beds, planting trees & shrubs installing the main wall and pouring cement forms. We are all looking forward to the finished product.
07 July: We are now half-way through Phase 2 and the results have been Excellent. After much nashing of teeth the main wall lettering was put into place and looks wonderful. People now can plainly see what we are constructing.
The Red Oak Gang has been going full tilt these past few weeks with the good weather we are experiencing. They have begun the laying of the Commemorative Stones. The first four Commemorative Stones were provided by the Aviation Heritage Society (PEI) in honour of four men who dedicated their time to first establish and maintain the static aircraft display and then to support the current Air Force Heritage Park (PEI). They are Tom Capstick, Lowell Huestis, Archie Johnstone (WWII RCAF) and Errol Laughlin (WWII RCAF).
We haven’t forgotten the aircraft! They suffered some wear & tear from the winter weather and the spring nesting instincts of birds. Paul Arsenault is been back to ensure the aircraft are in top shape.
Although construction began in 1940, RCAF Station Summerside began its first Training Course in 1941 so we are celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the base’s first participation in the British Commonwealth Training Plan (BCATP).
Restoration Project Underway
Military aircraft restoration project underway at the Slemon Park base. Read the full story in the Journal Pioneer.
Phase 1 — Progress Report
Phase 1 got into full swing 26 July when the six crew, under the direction of Paul Arsenault, set up the staging and began sanding the Argus in preparation for painting.
Progress has been very good and by the middle of Aug, sanding of the Argus was nearly complete, minor repair work had begun. Fortunately, the weather has cooperated very well to date.
By the 20th of Aug, some of the crew were shifted to work on the Tracker and progress has been good.
The Argus requires new pilot's front and side windows so work began to remove and replace them. This is a very time consuming task given all the screws around the frames that need to be removed. We did not get the windows in before Hurricane Earl arrived on 4 Sept. and the wind ripped off our covers so we had a little water ingress. Installation was completed the next week. Paint for the Argus was shipped from the supplier and was expected to arrive by Sep. 1st and painting will commence forthwith.
10 Sept. — Unfortunately, our paint was delayed another two weeks and the crew moved on to sand and make repairs to the Voodoo. This was accomplished in short order. Our paint finally arrived however, the weather decided not to cooperate and the next two weeks was almost a washout.
22 Sept. — With uncooperative weather the crew proceeded to make minor repairs to the Argus and the engine nacelles were polished. On the few good days, primer was applied where necessary in preparation for the new paint job. The aircraft really look like ugly ducklings now. We are forced to hope for an early, warm and long “Indian Summer”.
1 Oct — Repairs are going well and finally the weather has begun to cooperate a bit. The crew began applying primer to the Argus which is now almost complete. They also completed priming the Tracker and have begun initial painting of the final colours of the Argus. Weather has still plagued us, although 2–3 days of above average temperatures has helped.
06 Oct. — With the weather cooperating, work on the Argus has progressed well. The tail section has been painted white and is ready for decals. White paint is also going on the upper sections and taping for the lightning stripe will follow. The crew have begun to paint the underside of the wings and body with the original naval green colour. Decals have been applied to the upper tail area on both sides. All is in order for a visit by Federal and Provincial Ministers Friday 08 Oct.
For the past two weeks, in addition to our aircraft crew, Red Oaks Landscaping crew have begun to lay out the basics of the park walkways and flower beds. Removal of the sod and preparation of the walkway beds is in progress.
20 Oct. — Painting has continued despite frequent delays due weather. The Committee approved manufacture of after-burner cans for the Voodoo and the cans arrived quickly, much to the delight of our President Lowell Huestis. The Argus is progressing well and the walkway brick has been installed.
28 Oct. — Painting of the Tracker began on Monday, however, the weather turned bad quickly and we experienced 2 ½ days of heavy rain with disastrous results to our newest paintwork. With warm temperatures forecast for the next few days, we hope we can recover quickly.
17 Nov. Despite wind, cold weather, rain and/or snow progress is being made slowly. The Tracker and Argus are almost complete and are looking very good.
30 Nov. The weather has really been uncooperative of late so we have begun to close in the Voodoo. When the weather is suitable however, painting and preparation goes on so that we accomplish as much as possible in good conditions. With only 3 weeks left in the program we will be hard pressed to complete the full refinishing project this year. We expect to do the finishing touches next summer when the weather is more cooperative.
22 Dec. With storms hitting us every Monday in December, things have not gone all that smoothly. However, our aircraft refinishing crew has been wonderful, sticking with us to the end despite the adverse weather (we lost one member of the team to a job offer in Alberta). The crew endured the hot days of summer and the cold days of the winter. Throughout it all they put up with frequent delays due to the wind and rain yet their perseverence has seen the refinishing of the aircraft 99% complete. We can't thank them enough for all their hard work and look forward to seeing them again at the Opening Ceremonies. "Per Ardue Ad Astra".
The Red Oak Landscaping crew was also busy installing more stonework and some of the aircraft description signage. Unfortunately, weather has precluded taking any meaningful end-result photos so that will have to wait until spring.
|Canada Aviation & Space Museum||www.aviation.technomuses.ca|
|National Air Force Museum of Canada||www.airforcemuseum.ca|
|Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum||www.atlanticcanadaaviationmuseum.com|
|Comox Air Force Museum||www.comoxairforcemuseum.ca|
|Greenwood Aviation Museum||www.gmam.ca|
|Shearwater Aviation Museum||www.shearwateraviationmuseum.ns.ca|
|Western Canada Aviation Museum||www.wcam.mb.ca/|
|CP-107 Argus Website||cp107argus.com/|
|CP-107 Argus Serial Numbers||www.ody.ca/~bwalker/CF_Argus.html|
|Wyatt Heritage Properties||www.wyattheritage.com|
|DND — Air Command HQ||www.airforce.dnd.ca|
|415 (MP) Sqn. (a.k.a. VP415) Association||www.415sqn.com|
|Nova Scotia International Airshow||www.nsairshow.ca|
|Atlantic Airshow 2011||www.atlanticairshow.ca/|
|CFB Greenwood Sqns. & VPI||www.RV2011.ca|