Observing Remembrance Day 2022 in Prince Edward County
This Remembrance Day, we remember the generations of brave Canadians who have put their lives on the line in the cause of peace and freedom.
Base31 will pay tribute to those who served by sharing stories of personal connection to our site, a former World War II air training base known as the No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School before it was decommissioned in 1969.
How Base31 Remembers
Since opening to the public in May 2022, Base31 has been collecting stories and archival images from families that have connections to the site.
Patsy Redmond shared the story of her late father, Leading Aircraftman Smith Edward “Tex” Crymes. He was born in Arkansas in 1907 and was one of the United States airmen who came to Canada early in the war to join the Royal Canadian Armed Forces. A member of the Conversion Training Squadron stationed at No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School, Picton, he was an instructor in bombing and a specialist in armaments. He had previously participated in campaigns in Haiti and Mexico. During his time in Picton, he met Patsy’s mother, a local girl, Ola Dever. They married in April 1941. Patsy’s father was later stationed in Newfoundland.
On May 6, 1942, after taking off in Halifax, he and seven of his comrades were tragically killed in an airplane crash in Torbay, Newfoundland. In memory of his death in service to this country, Patsy’s mother later received the Memorial Cross.
We thank Patsy and her family for sharing their story with Base31, and remember Tex’s sacrifice. To learn more about Patsy’s story watch this short video.
We invite the public to view Patsy’s story alongside others in our evolving outdoor photo gallery commemorating family connections to the site.
The Origins of Base31
The Base31 site was built in 1940 as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan that trained aircrews from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand during World War II. This herculean wartime effort established more than 230 facilities across the country and is regarded as one of the nation’s largest contributions to the Allied campaign of WWII.
After the war, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) took over command. In 1946, the Royal School of Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) used it as a training base and renamed it Camp Picton. In 1962, the First Battalion of the Canadian Guards utilized the base and the site was again renamed Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Picton.
From 1970 onwards, the site operated as the Loch Sloy business park, though many of the original structures remain intact thanks to the wide-ranging preservation efforts of Jacqui Burley, Steve Everall and others.
Today, the site is being revitalized as a cultural destination and is open to the public while revitalization is in progress. There are not many historical sites in the world that offer a glimpse into the immense scope of the WWII effort in the way Base31 does. This setting, paired with beautiful art and placemaking make the base a truly unique place. Base31 is planning for the future while working to honour the rich history of this place.
How to observe Remembrance Day in Prince Edward County
There are several observances taking place across Prince Edward County in the lead up to November 11.
Throughout the month of November, join the County Museums for their annual Remembrance Day exhibit, featuring the stories of local veterans. They will also host the Sunflowers for Ukraine Silent Art Fundraiser in partnership with the Prince Edward County Arts Council. The hybrid-action will be available in person and online, with over 25 sunflower-themed artworks provided by local artists. All proceeds will support the Red Cross’ humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. The works can be viewed in person at Macaulay Church Museum during open hours for the month, or on the auction website. Take part in observing Wednesday to Saturday all month from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Gather at the Consecon, Picton and Wellington legions on Friday, Nov. 11 for their Remembrance Day ceremonies.
The Consecon wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the Consecon Legion at 10:30 a.m.
The Picton ceremony begins with a gathering at the Picton United Church at 10:30 a.m., then to the cenotaph for a wreath-laying ceremony and parade followed by refreshments at the Picton Legion.
Gather at the Wellington United Church at 10:30 a.m. for a short service, followed by a short march to the cenotaph to conduct the Act of Remembrance Ceremony at 11:00 a.m. along with a wreath-laying ceremony. All attendees are invited to join at the Wellington Legion for libations following the parade.
Veteran’s Week is recognized across Canada during November 5 – 11.
Over the month of November, there are several initiatives and activities taking place around the area in honour of Indigenous Veterans Day on November 8 and Remembrance Day on November 11.
Flags will be lowered on both dates at municipal buildings, community centres, parks and firehalls where there are flag poles. Shire Hall will be illuminated in red during the month of November. Base31’s flag will be lowered during this time.
The municipality of The County of Prince Edward has installed ‘Lest We Forget’ banners on streetlight poles in Picton and Consecon in memory of local veterans. The banners will be displayed during November. The Consecon Legion has installed, with County assistance, banners that feature the pictures of local veterans.
The Bloomfield Public Library is hosting a reading of The Boy Soldier at 2 p.m. on November 11.
Poppy boxes are available at the customer services desks in municipal offices and at local businesses in support of the local Royal Canadian Legions’ annual Poppy Campaign. Residents are also welcome to visit the County’s Have Your Say platform to contribute photos and/or stories of friends and loved ones who have fought and served for our country.