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Air Raid Precaution
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The Canadian government established an Air Raid Precaution Committee when war was declared but it was two years before any measures were taken in Summerside. In November 1941 members of a provincial committee met with representatives of Summerside, Borden and RCAF Station Summerside. The air force school had already held blackout practices and was prepared to assist local communities to get organized.

The Summerside Air Raid Precaution Advisory Committee was formed in early December with Mayor John E. Campbell as chairman. The names of the controllers were published in the Summerside Journal. Later in the month the community was ready to proceed.

The first blackout on 19 January 1942 was province wide. According to the Journal, "The general purpose of the trial blackout will be to get the people acquainted with the regulations and to find out what their reaction may be. Leaflets are being distributed today with full instructions."

The second blackout was held 10 March and numerous people pretending to be casualties were situated throughout the town as part of a Red Cross Corps demonstration. "So successful was the blackout that according to reports two of the casualties could not be located. One lad sat on the curb of the side-walk near the High School until he was almost a genuine casualty by being frozen to death … "

In March 1942, Major T. H. E. Inman was appointed general supervisor of the Air Raid Precaution (ARP) organization in the town. ARP officers and volunteers were expected to attend a lecture series on first aid offered over several weeks at the Town Hall.

The Auxiliary Firemen were organized in April and held practices on Friday evenings at the Fire Hall. Three companies were formed with the following captains: Wilfred Kelly for No. 1 Company East, Rev. Wm. Verwolf of No. 2 Company Centre, and A. B. L. Horne of No. 3 Company West. Their equipment consisting of three pumpers, protective gear and helmets, and accessories was stored in three locations. One of the buildings utilized was on the Prince Street lot of C. B. Morris who was the Controller of Fire Services.

In addition to the firemen, the organization consisted of wardens who were ready to direct and advise citizens. They visited all householders in June 1942 to check on availability of sand, shovels, roof ladders, and materials to black out light from windows. This information along with the number of people in each home was recorded on cards to be filed at ARP headquarters.

After the initial provincial blackout trials, Summerside began to hold air raid drills signalled by the sounding of the fire siren at a predetermined time. For the practice on 25 June 1942, citizens were advised to stay off the streets and not use their telephones. That same week several British Scouts spoke at a public meeting at the High School about air raids in England. The second drill was held 10 July and another happened on 4 September with good results. Special sirens began to arrive and were placed around town. Fire hydrants were painted yellow for better visibility at night.


In October 1942 the chairman of the provincial Civilian Defence Committee issued instructions for all PEI citizens to abide by the Air Raid Precaution regulations. Attention was drawn to the general lighting restrictions.

More local blackouts followed with a province-wide practice in November and a Maritime wide blackout in March 1943. The local ARP continued to practice their skills as well as attend lectures on related subjects such as bombs and gas used in warfare. Gas masks were in storage by January 1943. The report of an IODE meeting in March noted that special guest Flt-Lt. Joseph demonstrated the use of civilian masks. He assured the ladies "that there are sufficient respirators in reserve here for all citizens of the town in case of an emergency."

There was a report of a blackout in the town in December 1943 but the urgency was gone. In September 1944 the province decided the "submarine menace has definitely passed" and announced that lighting restrictions would be suspended and there would be no more blackouts in Prince Edward Island.