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Aircraft Detection
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In 1942 the presence of enemy submarines along the Atlantic shores and waterways prompted the federal government to take measures to provide protection of its east coast. It began the task of training civilians to spot enemy vessels or aircraft. The value of reporting any of the country's own aircraft in distress was also a consideration.

Summerside was one of the locations for an Aircraft Detection Corps. Early in the fall of 1942 a local corps was organized. By November a meeting held for chief observers and official observers extended an invitation to the public, both men and women, to become members of the organization. On the 20th of the month Flt-Lt Foot of the RAF in Charlottetown addressed an audience that filled the Summerside Town Hall. Those in attendance saw silhouettes of various types of aircraft and learned how the Island was divided into six regions with chief observers for every 48 square miles. Each chief observer was responsible for enrolling as many official observers as possible. Flt-Lt Foot outlined instructions for reporting a strange plane to the Charlottetown Observation Post located on the roof of Hotel Charlottetown. He announced that observer's handbooks would soon be made available to all workers.


An item in an October 1943 newspaper noted that a lecture to be given at the No. 1 General Reconnaissance School was to be attended by all chief and official observers. The regional director for Summerside Major T.H.E. Inman presided. The special speaker was William Burke of the RCAF Eastern Air Command who used a large map to illustrate how a plane could be tracked. He was reported to have commented - "While there may never be hostile aircraft over Canada the work of the corps has saved many lives by their vigilance in reporting our own planes."

Citizens of Summerside witnessed a searchlight demonstration on the grounds of the Armoury in November 1943. The spectacle was put on by a detachment of the 21st Anti-Aircraft Regiment from Halifax and the large crowd was suitably impressed when a plane from the local RCAF Station was caught in the light's powerful beam. The whole event was broadcast over the local radio station as part of a Victory Loan campaign.

In November 1944 the Corps was officially disbanded. An extensive article in the press reviewed its four-year history in the Maritimes, praising the participation of over 20,000 workers.