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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The Friends of Clyde River Historical Education Committee has expanded to welcome three new members. Since our committee was established, we have initiated and managed a number of key projects that built upon earlier community-led projects.

Friends of Clyde River – Historical Committee Projects:

  • Establishment of the Clyde River lectures series that has completed its 5th year, where guest speakers present historical topics attracting record audiences of up to 100 people.
  • Completion of a year-long project entitled “Capturing Collective Memories” where we digitized over 1500 photos collected from family albums, invited artifact donations and hosted special events. The result was the curation of a museum in the Riverview Committee Centre which features over 200 artifacts and a photo gallery of early life in Clyde River from 1890s to 1940s.
  • A community website approaching 500 stories which has attracted visitors from across Canada, US, UK, Brazil, Australia and many other countries representing 216,000 page views.

With the large number of artifacts and materials we have accumulated, we brought in some extra talent with strong historical research and organization skills. In March, we began cataloguing artifacts and photos. Two of the new members are librarians with cataloguing experience. All three of the new members are avid genealogists, so they will be a tremendous resource that our local and online community can tap into. Together, the six members offer a complementary depth of experience in carrying out history projects. We thought we would offer a little bio on each of the committee members below:

We welcome our new members:

Jane Dyment

Jane Dyment has strong ties to the Island. She is the daughter of Earle Dyment from Northam and Margate, and Wanda Mann from Kensington. Growing up, she visited close and distant relatives on both side of the family, but didn’t pay nearly enough attention to their stories.

Jane graduated from Dalhousie with a Masters in Library Services and worked in Ottawa in the National Research Council’s library, later moving to corporate services. Upon retirement, she needed a project and decided to further research the Dyment family tree, later expanding to the Manns, Johnstones, Humphreys, Beers and McFadyens on her mother’s side. Living in Ottawa, Jane has unearthed, she believes, every possible Island source of genealogical information that can be found online. A couple of years ago, her cousin Nancy mentioned that her friend Katherine Dewar, an author and nurse, was finding it difficult to travel to Ottawa to consult Library and Archives Canada’s collection. Jane volunteered to help, and made, she hopes, a valuable contribution to the story of the nurses from PEI who served in World War 1, Those Splendid Girls. She also checked a few references for Earle Lockerby’s recent publication on Samuel Holland, and is now a volunteer on the Summerside Archives project on Prince County soldiers in C Company, 105th Battalion. Jane is married, with two adult children and a dog. She is looking forward to working with the Clyde River Historical Committee, and welcomes questions from Islanders starting a family tree, or getting over a brick wall.

Chair’s note: Jane is a descendant of Thomas and Jane Beer who settled on the Bannockburn Road in Clyde River in the 1830s. She is an exceptional genealogical researcher with intelligence, skill and speed, much better than Google! Check out her genealogical website at www.janedyment.ca and read the stories she wrote for our website, Cousins Lost and Found, part 1 and part 2.

Rowena Stinson

Rowena is proud to be a Parkdale girl, who was raised and still lives there. Her roots are in Clyde River though – her Dad, Lester, was born here in 1909. There was a Hickox presence in Clyde River until the early 1940’s when Lester’s grandmother, Mary Jane Hickox Arthur, left to live with her daughter in Charlottetown.

Rowena was a teacher by profession and Teacher Librarian at Westwood Primary School from the school’s opening until 2011. She is an active member of Park Royal United Church where she and her husband, Hank sing in the choir.  She has just become Treasurer of the UCW and Secretary for the Board of Stewards. She is also a member of Teachers in Harmony and Friends Choir, the Parkdale Homecoming Committee, and takes classes at Seniors College. She is seldom at home.

Rowena has been working on her family genealogy for many years, having picked up the desire to follow the trail left by her dad, who knew all the relatives and their stories. She enjoys research and the excitement of discovery, and has been rewarded by connecting with relatives from far and near who are also involved in genealogy. The Island’s history is rich, and Rowena is delighted to be asked to join the Clyde River Historical Committee. She looks forward to working with the committee and helping to discover and preserve more of this rich history.

Chair’s note: Rowena is our team leader in cataloguing the artifacts and photos in our collection, and we, her happy worker bees. We will be using the same cataloguing system as the provincial archives, so nothing but the best for Clyde River. She wrote the story The Hickox Family of Clyde River.

Joanne Turner

Joanne’s father Dingwall MacFadyen was born on the Bannockburn Road. Dingwall’s father was Norman, known as N.C. and Millar MacFadyen’s brother, see story here. As a returned war veteran, Norman was able to purchase a farm in Meadow Bank through the Veteran’s Land Act from Neil Ferguson who then bought a store in Bonshaw. Norman Campbell MacFadyen met his wife Lola Dingwell from Marie at a Presbyterian function in Morell. They moved to Meadowbank and farmed there. Their son Dingwell married Dophie MacLean and they also lived at the homeplace. Both families moved to Charlottetown for a while but they summered along with their children at the Meadowbank property even though there was no electricity or indoor plumbing. When electricity was installed, Dingwall bought the farm from his parents. Joanne attended Meadowbank School and later worked with the PEI Tourism Office and then at the Confederation Centre. She worked with the PEI Collection which was kept under lock and key, and that opportunity sparked her interest in history. She moved to Winsloe when she married. Joanne organized the 225 Dingwell reunion in 2000 in Pinette and her interest in genealogy and history continues to grow. She helped to catalogue the Winsloe United Church Cemetery. She tells us the decommissioned church was built with bricks made in Rocky Point and taken over on the ice in 1882.

Chair’s note: Joanne is also a descendent of Thomas and Jane Beer. She and Jane Dyment are descendants of their oldest daughter Mary Ann (Beer) MacFadyen. She is also the great great grand-daughter of Eliza Brown who was a descendant of those who settled on the Bannockburn Road. Each time we see Joanne at a meeting or event, she has a file folder with yet more historical papers. She has an enviable knack at sleuthing for key pieces of history which we continue to be very grateful for. We can attribute the Millar MacFadyenThe Old Homestead on the Linwood Road and The Howard Christian Cemetery in Kingston stories and the History of Meadow Bank series to her efforts.

Founding Members:

Hilda Colodey

Hilda’s Clyde River roots are deep – she grew up on land which has been farmed by the Dixon family since the 1830’s. After completing Grade 10 at Clyde River school she attended Prince of Wales College and graduated from Dalhousie University and began teaching at Charlottetown Rural High School. Along with several other “Rural” teachers she was part of the inaugural staff at Bluefield High School when it was opened. After short stays in Kingston and New Dominion, Hilda and her husband Jim moved to the Bannockburn Road in 1978.

Although she has lived her life steeped in the stories of Clyde River, Hilda’s interest in the history of the community was formalized when she was asked to join the committee that created the book The History and Stories of Clyde River, Prince Edward Island in 2009. Assisting with the production of the 2011 calendar of Clyde River Historical Homes, helping with establishing the Emily Bryant Room at the Community Centre and being involved with planning the historical lecture series have followed from this first adventure into recall, research and documentation. Exploring Clyde River’s history has assisted her in being a member of  committees that have published books about the history of the P.E.I. Association of Exhibitions and the history of Old Home Week.

Hilda is an adherent of Burnside Presbyterian Church, member and chair of the Clyde River Community Council and community representative on the Atlantic Vet College Animal Care Committee. She looks forward to continuing her participation in the activities of the Historical Committee.

Chair’s note: Hilda has played key roles in Clyde River as councillor and now Chair of the Clyde River Community Council and as a member of our history committee since we were established. Hilda has the deepest knowledge of Clyde River’s history within our group, so we will continue to call on her to check facts and offer advice. And what she doesn’t know, she said her brother Alex does know. Her husband Jim is also a great helper at events.

Sandra Cameron

Sandra grew up in Nine Mile Creek. She graduated from UPEI as a teacher, taught intermediate level at Englewood School in Crapaud and retired in 2007. She moved to Clyde River after marrying in 1973. She has three children. She worked on the writing of The History and Stories of Clyde River, Prince Edward Island in 2009 and also on the Clyde River Historical Homes calendar in 2011.  She is a member of the Clyde River Presbyterian Church, having served for a term as an Elder. She participates in Church and Community Choirs. Sandra is a member of the Friends of Clyde River, loves history and visiting historical places, especially when it involves travel. She has been involved in multiple projects initiated by the Historical Committee including the annual lectures series.

Chair’s note: Sandra has also been on our committee since the beginning. She has a passion for Island and world history, having studied it at university, so she offers us a broader view of approaching our local history. Her strong and decisive mind and her ability to take charge of hospitality at events makes her a valuable member. Her daughter Sarah adeptly manages the front desk at our events and enjoys helping us out on projects.

Vivian Beer, Chair

Vivian grew up in Clyde River, spent 17 years in Toronto and now lives in Charlottetown, although she loves to visit the family farm in Clyde River on weekends during the summer. She is also a descendant of Thomas and Jane Beer, but, in her case, the lineage of their son James and his wife Mary Ann (Livingstone) Beer. She established the Clyde River website in 2009 at the time the History and Stories of Clyde River was launched and almost 500 stories later, she continues as writer/editor. The site has a large, loyal audience mostly from Canada and the US but also many other countries. She established the Historical Education Committee to promote the history of Clyde River and area and continues as Chair. This year was the 5th year to host the Clyde River Lecture Series which attracts large audiences. She digitized heritage photos from community family albums ranging from 1890s to 1940s. A dedicated museum room was created featuring over 200 artifacts and heritage photo gallery. Vivian has transcribed private diaries covering the years 1910 to 1926. In 2012, she photographed and wrote a book, Landscape of Memories, which features landscape and architectural photos of Clyde River along with notes on their historical significance. She takes her inspiration from her mother Hazel Beer who kept excellent scrapbooks featuring clippings of community news which was a great resource for those researching and writing the History and Stories of Clyde River.

Vivian has her own company, Merdock, where she provides marketing services. She is also Manager, HR Strategy, for the PEI BioAlliance, a bioscience cluster which employs over 1500 people.

Additional recognition:

We would like to recognize the valuable contribution that Bruce Brine has made on the committee since it was established. He is a busy administrator for the Community of Clyde River and has been an excellent resource in our initial years and, as a former Cape Bretoner, has been a great sport at diving into our local history. He will be taking a break from our committee work, but we know he will be close by if we need his superior administration and financial skills.

We have other exceptional people whose knowledge we tap into from time to time from near and far, thanks to the internet, so we have a strong team working to capture and preserve the history of Clyde River and surrounding communities. If there are others in our website audience who have an unquenchable desire for genealogy and Island history, please connect with us.

If you have any questions about the Committee’s historical work or have photo or artifact donations that you would like to offer, please contact Vivian at vivian@eastlink.ca. On behalf of our committee, thank you for being such an enthusiastic audience. Knowing how much you enjoy history keeps us motivated.

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Today is the 100th anniversary of Hector Murray’s death. He was killed at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He was 18 years old. Helen Smith-MacPhail from Meadow Bank, a Clyde River Lectures Series presenter, visited his grave in 2012. His picture is included in the Veteran’s wall display at the Riverview Community Centre. The gallery above includes photos of his grave; his name recorded in the registration book at Nine Elms Cemetery outside of Arras, France, where he is buried; and a letter home to his family.

Further details:

Canada’s Virtual War Memorial – Pte. Hector Murray

Community dinner for the boys going off to war

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The following is a transcription of a document donated to Clyde River Archives by the Beer Family which highlights the early history of the Dog River/Clyde River School District and offers us a full list of teachers along with a few school reports. This information also appeared in the History & Stories of Clyde River

Clyde River School District No. 63. It is in Queens County and defined as follows:

That is to say beginning on Elliot River at Donald MacNeill’s west line of land and running thence north in said line to the north line of said land; thence east to John Livingstone’s rear line of land; thence north in said line and west line of Duncan MacLean’s to the main road; thence east by the main road to Robert Boyle’s, east line of land being west of John MacPhail’s land; thence in said line to George Livingston’s west line of land; thence east to his east line; thence north to his north line; thence west to his west line; thence north to south line of Peter McElroy’s land; thence east to west line of Angus MacPhail’s land; thence north to James Beer’s north line of land; thence east in said line of Bannockburn Road; thence north by said road to George Dixon’s north line of land; thence east to east line of said land; thence south continuing in west line of W.E. Fraser’s land to south line of the same; thence east to west line of William Leonard’s land; thence south continued in west line of John MacQuarrie’s land to south east angle of Lem Hyde’s land; thence west in south lines of lands of Lem Hyde and others to Charles Fisher’s west line; thence north in said line to Clyde River and; thence by the shores of Clyde River and Elliot River to place of commencement.

Registered here in 6th day of May 1882.

Dog River School Teachers & Reports:

  • 1834 – Neil Shaw
  • 1838 – Malcolm Darrach – The number attending school at this time is 45. All were present the day the visitor visited the school. The greater number of these had made rapid progress, since their last examination in Arithmetic and Reading and two were advanced in English Grammar. The same good improvement was not manifest in the writing of scholars. This appeared to be owing more to the want of suitable desks than to any inattention on the part of the teacher. School house comfortable, but not sufficiently large.
  • 1839 – Malcolm Darrach – The daily average attendance is 40. The proficiency of the pupils generally since last examined has been satisfactory. The correct manner in which the senior classes especially read, and the knowledge of Grammar which they displayed, was highly pleasing. The school has been considerably enlarged since my last visit.
  • 1840 – Malcolm Darrach – The average daily attendance is 40. The proficiency this year in Grammar and Arithmetic has been satisfactory. The writing was not so good.
  • 1843 – The school has been open at intervals during the past year, on account of the indisposition of the Teacher, otherwise there has been no falling off in the attendance or the usefulness of the school.
  • 1845-1847 – Malcolm Darrach
  • 1848-1857 – John Livingston – 1857 – The examination showed marked improvement. The house is very sufficient.
  • 1858-1859 – John Livingston – 1859 – The potato raising not being quite over in the district, the senior pupils have not yet returned to school since the termination of the vacation. Left a notice to the Trustees to the effect that unless the School house which is greatly out of repair, be put into a better condition, without unnecessary delay, and the same be forthwith certified to the Board of Education, the school will be closed.
  • 1860 – Teacher – John Livingston – 36 pupils. Proficiency of scholars moderate.
  • 1862-63 – John Livingston

Clyde River Teachers:

  • 1864-73 – John Livingston – 1873 – School greatly improved since last visit.
  • 1874-75 – John Livingston
  • 1875-77 – no teacher listed
  • 1877-78 – M. MacQuarrie (50 pupils)
  • 1878-79 – John Livingston
  • 1879-81 – Angus MacDonald
  • 1881-82 – Mary Jane MacQuarrie
  • 1882-86 – Patrick Berrigan
  • 1887-89 – William H. Cummings
  • 1889-93 – John A. MacDougall
  • 1893-94 – Alice A. Murchison
  • 1894-95 – S.B. Enman
  • 1895-97 – Roderick MacKenzie
  • 1897-99 – Robert W. Jones
  • 1899-1900 – Thomas W. Stretch
  • 1900-01 – Donald MacLeod
  • 1901-04 – John MacDougall
  • 1904-05 – Helen White/Mrs. Wes Bell
  • 1905-06 – Etta Huestis
  • 1906-08 – Maude B. Stewart
  • 1908-11 – Irene Dixon
  • 1911-13 – Margaret MacQuarrie (Mrs. G. Dixon)
  • 1913-14 – Malcolm E. Murchison
  • 1914-15 – Mary MacDonald
  • 1915-16 – Edward MacPhail
  • 1916-17 – Charles E. MacDuff
  • 1917-18 – Marion MacQuarrie
  • 1918-19 – Elsie S. Brown
  • 1919-20 – Minnie Inman – Jeannie Mustard
  • 1920-21 – Gordon Holmes
  • 1921-22 – Christine MacLeod
  • 1922-25 – Edward MacPhail
  • 1925-26 – Marion L. MacSwain
  • 1926-31 – Millar MacFadyen
  • 1931-36 – Winnifred Best
  • 1936-37 – Laura Livingstone
  • 1937-41 – Lee Darrach
  • 1941-44 – Christine MacNevin
  • 1944-49 – Reta Cruwys
  • 1949-50 – Shirley MacDonald
  • 1950-53 – Joyce Nicholson-MacPhee
  • 1953-54 – John Trowsdale
  • 1954-55 – Kathleen MacFadyen – Inez Gass
  • 1955-56 – Audrey Frizzell – Violet Frizzell
  • 1956-57 – Theresa Donahue
  • 1957-58 – Elsie Hickox – Mrs. Winnifred MacMillan
  • 1958-59 – Mrs. Winnifred MacMillan
  • 1959-60 – Ida Deagle
  • 1960-61 – Anna MacLennan
  • 1961-64 – Flossie Hyde
  • 1964-66 – Flossie Hyde – Victoria Morrison (1965 – School expansion with new additional accommodating grades 1-4 and existing room accommodating grades 5-8.)
  • 1966-67 – Diane Adams – Victoria Morrison – Ruth Mutch
  • 1967-68 – Laura MacBeth – Victoria Morrison
  • 1968-69 – Jean Hardy – Frances Ramsay
  • 1969-70 – Sylvia Bell – Frances Ramsay
  • 1970-71 – Sylvia Bell – Anne Marie MacDonald – Victoria Morrison – Helen Hughes
  • 1971 – Sylvia Bell – Victoria Morrison

Editor’s Notes:

  • After 1971, Clyde River School was closed and students were sent to Cornwall Junior High and Charlottetown Rural High School. Clyde River School has had many wonderful improvements and is an active community centre, managed by the Clyde River Women’s Institute.
  • Visiting Music Teacher in 1960s was Phyllis Newman

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This is the tenth excerpt form Meadow Bank W.I. Tweedsmuir History published in 1951. 

Industries

Industries in a province such as ours must, of course, be connected either directly or indirectly with the land or the sea. Manufacturing must be limited and closely linked with the products of land and sea. Since pioneer days then, agriculture in its various forms has been the basic industry of the district and like most other parts of the province mixed farming has engaged the attention of the great majority. Fortunately, wood lots were cared for reasonably well so that logging and sawing chiefly for local needs have been interesting and profitable occupations.

The incident has been recalled of many years ago when Mr. Spurgeon Hickox set up a rotary saw at Mr. Fred Hydes and sawed lumber for those of the district. Since that time, however, firewood has been the chief asset of the woods. Today, on the Island, pulpwood is an important industry to which one member of our district, Mr. Hyde, has contributed.

Meadow Bank farm being all shore farms offered an excellent opportunity for the fishing of clams, quahaugs and oysters, the last being fished extensively in recent years. These find a ready market in Canada and United States.

Before the days of commercial fertilizers, wood ashes, as the land was cleared of the virginal forests, provided potash, and mussel mud from the river bed was loaded into flat-bottomed boats and spread on land providing the necessary lime. Later mud diggers were placed on the ice over the mussel beds and with a horse in the capstan, huge forkfuls were loaded into waiting sleighs. Seaweed, too, was a valuable fertilizer but due to some disease, it is almost killed out. Up to that time it was a happy feeding ground for nervous flocks of wild geese which were much sought after by sportsmen.

Fox farming is one of the later industries. It had its beginning years ago when two men bought a pair of foxes from the Natives. In this community, almost every farmer had his own individual fox ranch. Although the Island still can boast a lead in quality and production, there are very few foxes ranged here since the general slump in prices during World War II.

Cheese Factory in Cornwall – featured in Cornwall Narratives Project – (photo from Elaine Jewell)

Our certified seed potatoes have reached a high state of perfection and command a ready market in many parts of the world. Turnips are grown for feed and export. Dairying and the raising of beef cattle engage the time and attention of our farmers. Surplus hay is pressed and sold. At first milk was processed at home into cheese and cream into butter. Then a cheese factory was operated for a number of years at Cornwall. This was in 1925 bought by Cornwall Community Club, torn down and rebuilt as a skating rink. Now, cream is shipped to creameries in Charlottetown.

Many changes have taken place in the method of farming from the time of the reaping hook, sickle and buck rake. The first binders, a Maxwell, was owned by Henry Hyde and used by his sons until a few years ago. Threshing was first done with a flail then the horsepower mill, later the cleaner was added, then engines and tractors. Now, we can boast of the first combine being used on the same farm by R.D. MacKinnon (1950) who has also introduced a clipper for the harvesting of grass silage.

Transportation

S.S. Harland on the West River

For the convenience of travelers, the S.S. Harland made two round trips every Saturday from Charlottetown to the West River Bridge calling en route at MacEachern’s Wharf. The Strathgartney, Hazel R and other motor launches privately-owned and subsidized by the government made similar trips from Bonshaw to the capital city on market days. Their time tables varied as the tide changed. Now since hard surfacing of main highways and the advent of trucks and cars, this mode of travel has become outdated.

Communications

In the early days mail was received semi-weekly at the Cornwall Post Office. About the year 1910 mail began to come daily and boxes were placed at each gateway. Donald MacPhail (4 years), Dave Lowry and Seymour Scott and sons have been our mail couriers ever since.

A privately-owned telephone company serving the communications of Cornwall, York Point, North River, East Wiltshire and Meadow Bank was in operation as early as 1912 with a switch board at Cornwall. In 1947 we sold to the Island Telephone Company and now are on the Charlottetown Exchange.

Editor’s Notes:

  • More information on Cornwall Post Office here.
  • Story on the S.S. Harland published on this site, click here.
  • List of private telephone companies that there were in PEI, click here.

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The following is the story of HMCS Prince Henry and its WWII Adventure off Callao, Peru. It is also my father’s story. Dad served in the Royal Canadian Navy on Prince Henry for this operation and the photos he captured offer us a first-hand account of the events that took place off Callao. We incorporated some of these photos within the story and the full gallery is featured at the end. I am publishing this article to honour my father on the 100th anniversary of his birth, March 21st, 2017.

Prince Henry retrofitted in Sorel, Quebec – followed an icebreaker to make its way up St. Lawrence River to Halifax, December 1940

Prince Henry was a member of a fleet of warships known as “The Princes”. The other ships were Prince David and Prince Robert. The Princes were originally designed as small luxury liners to compete with CPR’s Princess ships on the West Coast, but when the Depression hit, they were not earning their keep. The Royal Canadian Navy acquired and retrofitted them to become arms merchant cruisers. Prince Henry was overhauled in Sorel, Quebec, and commissioned on December 4th, 1940.

John Beer and fellow seaman in Bermuda – February 1941

Prince Henry left Halifax on January 12th, 1941 for Bermuda. A stormy three-day passage introduced the crew to the ship’s quick rolling action and forced them to find their sea legs in a hurry. They arrived in Hamilton, Bermuda, for five intensive weeks of workups, exercises designed to prepare the crew for any possible emergency. Training included gunnery practices, a challenge due to Prince Henry‘s rolling tendency, making it increasingly difficult to hit targets in rough seas.

After receiving orders to support forces on the Eastern Pacific, Prince Henry left Bermuda on February 19th, arrived in Kingston, Jamaica, four days later. They replenished supplies, completed more training exercises and proceeded through the Panama Canal on February 26th.

The Allies were keen to protect the coveted Panama Canal territory from the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, hence their interest in moving Latin America away from its Axis ties. Peru, in a long dispute with Columbia over territory between Peru and Ecuador, saw the war as an opportunity to use their military forces to occupy the disputed region. The United States, which was gearing up for entry into the war, wanted an end to further conflicts in Latin America by forming alliances with new President Manuel Prado Ugarteche and the Peruvian Navy. Peru was the first country to be persuaded to break away from the Axis powers and create a firm alliance with Allies, specifically the US.

British Cruiser Diomede stationed off Callao, Peru, needed assistance to disrupt German merchant ships from leaving the port at Callao. Four German merchant ships, stranded there for over a year, were closely watched by Peruvian and Allied vessels. German seamen were desperate to return home. Japan was Germany’s Ally in the Pacific, so their most likely destination.

Peruvian General visiting Prince Henry while in port at Callao

Visiting Peruvian General onboard Prince Henry while in port at Callao, March 24, 1941

Prince Henry arrived in Callao on March 1st. On March 16th, Diomede was called away, so Prince Henry took over. For awhile they anchored close by the German ships in the Callao port while arranging courtesy calls with Peruvian officials. This opportunity gave them a chance to take a closer look. The German ships were fully fueled and recently wired to fire and destroy themselves in the event of being captured. The Germans didn’t want their large cargoes to fall into Peruvian hands.

German ships (München, Leipzig, Monserrate and Hermonthis) waiting for their escape off Callao, Peru, March 24, 1941.

After leaving port and waiting and watching a few miles offshore, Captain R.I. Agnew of Prince Henry decided to move out to sea to make the German captains believe they had given up. Ten days later, at 1915, on March 31st, Prince Henry‘s Captain received a message that the Hermonthis and München had requested permission to leave Callao port. Prince Henry was 70 miles south of Callao. It would take Prince Henry three hours at full speed to get back. They knew the German ships were slower, so the Canadian crew determined their exact course and speed to intercept them.

HMCS Prince Henry intercepts two German ships:

After eight hours, Prince Henry discovered München north of Callao within 15 miles. The crew of the München sighted Prince Henry and altered their course northward and then to the west. Prince Henry went in pursuit. At 0700 on April 1st, a critical strategic maneuver orchestrated by Prince Henry’s Captain Agnew moved them within 6 miles of the German ship. They flashed the international signal, “Stop instantly or I will open fire.” München ignored the warning. Prince Henry fired a warning shot. The Germans scuttled the München. Within moments, the ship was in a cloud of smoke and the crew could be seen lowering the life boats. By the time Prince Henry reached the ship, it was in flames and not salvageable.

German ship sighted, but it was already scuttled

German ship sighted, but it was already scuttled

With the German crew safe in their small boats and heading towards Peru, Prince Henry proceeded full speed southward in search of the other ship, Hermonthis. Four hours later, they saw German ship on the horizon to the southeast. The ship was already on fire and the crew was lowering boats to escape. Prince Henry drew alongside and lowered her cutter to round up one of the German boats.

It looked as though the ship could be saved. They ordered the Germans back on the ship to fight the blaze. Prince Henry secured herself to the side of the German ship. The Canadian crew attempted to extinguish the fire. The heat was intense.

After four hours, they succumbed to the realization that they were losing the battle. The sea was rough. The ships were smashing and grinding against each other and the hoses were breaking. Hermonthis could not be saved. The Prince Henry along with the first group of German prisoners went in search of the Germans in the other two life boats.

After the remaining German crew were brought onboard Prince Henry, they shot gunfire at the Hermonthis to sink her. They returned to the site of München to destroy her, but it had already been destroyed by a Peruvian cruiser that had also recovered the German crew.

German prisoner

German prisoner

In retaliation for the Germans scuttling their ships, the Peruvian government seized two Deutsche Lufthansa planes and property, an airline 100% German owned and operating in Peru. Consequently, Pan-American Grace Airlines (Panagra), which was closely collaborating with the US, increased flight services within Peru, driving out German air operations.

Intercepting two German ships in the Callao operation was considered Prince Henry‘s outstanding achievement. Their success was attributed not to luck but to solid strategy and the ability and skill to carry it out.

Return to British Columbia

Prince Henry patrolled for three more weeks off Peru before heading to Esquimalt, B.C. on April 29th to transfer her prisoners and replenish supplies. She was to join up with Prince David on duty but that ship was due for a retrofit. In September, 1941, Prince Henry was assigned duty of depot ship for Newfoundland Escort Force.

Back in PEI

John was back in PEI to spend Christmas with his family and girlfriend Hazel MacLean before beginning his assignment to Newfoundland. The year 1941 was an eventful one within the Pacific theatre of war for a farm boy from Bannockburn Road.

John Beer’s photo collection: Click on photos to enlarge and proceed through gallery. John’s service record and editor’s notes follow below gallery.

John Eugene Beer, R.C.N.V.R. – V1340, Able Seaman, service record:

  • John enlisted with the Royal Canadian Navy in August 1940 at the Queen Charlotte Armouries in Charlottetown.
  • Three days after enlisting he was sent to HMCS Stadacona Naval Base in Halifax for basic training.
  • Drafted to Montreal to pick up the HMCS Prince Henry destined for the Pacific Ocean by way of the Panama Canal. Her mission was to capture German ships off the coast of Callao, Peru.
  • Drafted to HMCS Naden, Esquimalt, British Columbia and then to HMCS Stadacona, Halifax. He was drafted to Greenock, Scotland, crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth I which transported over 15,000 troops per trip. He was stationed in Newcastle, England, where he participated in gunnery classes.
  • Drafted to the Tribal Class destroyer HMCS Athabaskan on loan to the Royal Navy. For several months, he served on the Athabaskan, working out of Scapa Flow in the North Sea. This vessel was on striking force naval duties around Iceland, Norway and the Bay of Biscay.
  • Left the Athabaskan in Plymouth, England, returning to HMCS Niobe, a naval base in Greenock, Scotland. On a later trip to sea, the HMCS Athabaskan was torpedoed and sunk in the Bay of Biscay where 128 sailors perished, and 85 were taken prisoner of war.
  • While in Scotland, John was drafted to the destroyer HMCS Qu’Appelle on convoy duties to Newfoundland. He was drafted off this ship at St. John’s, Newfoundland, for gate vessel duties and shore patrol. He was then drafted for further gate vessel duty to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
  • John received his discharge in October 1945 while in Esquimalt, British Columbia. He returned to Clyde River, Prince Edward Island, to his family and childhood sweetheart, Hazel MacLean. There were married on November 14th, 1945. He had purchased her diamond ring in St. John’s.

Editor’s notes:

There were four German ships in total at the port in Callao, Peru. Prince Henry intercepted München (location of capture here) and Hermonthis (location of capture here). A Peruvian warship prevented Leipzig and Monserrate from leaving port and they also scuttled their own ships.

Prince Henry stats: Pendant – F70; Armed Merchant Cruiser, Displacement – 5736 tonnes; length – 385 ft.; width – 57 ft; draught – 21 ft.; speed – 22 kts; compliment – 31 officers and 386 crew; arms – 4-4″ gns. (2×11), 2-2 pars, 8-20mm.

Materials referenced:

Photos: John Beer’s photos should not be copied without permission – please contact Vivian Beer – vivian@eastlink.ca

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This is the ninth excerpt from the Meadow Bank W.I. Tweedmuir History that was published in 1951.

MacLean Homestead

Charles MacLean came here from Aberdeen, Scotland, where he was a shepherd. The exact date of his arrival on Prince Edward Island is not known. We are told that as a young man he cut cord wood where the city scales now stand in Charlottetown and also wooed Catherine MacKinnon of Highfield to be his bride. To this union was born four daughters: Catherine, Sallie, Mary and Ann and two sons: Duncan and Allan.

The MacLeans property of 60 acres was purchased from the executors of the estate of late Lord Selkirk of London, England, by the Douses who sold to Mr. MacLean in 1850. £40 of the £300 purchase price being required as a down payment. Deeds show that the Clyde River which formed the western boundary of the MacLean farm was called Dog River and the cove, Potter’s Cove, because of a brick kiln which was there at one time.

Here I wish to record one instance of the endurance and fortitude of the women of pioneer days. Being in need of grain for seed and not able to go himself because of a recent illness, Mr. MacLean’s wife, Catherine, leaving a three-month baby at home, went along in a rowboat to Belfast, making the return trip in three days and bring with her a bag of wheat.

Charles MacLean and Emmerson

Charles, son of Allan, who inherited the property in 1862 had two wives, his first Catherine Duff, who children were Sara and John Duff; his second, Eliza Brown, to whom was born Charles, Ophelia, Emmerson, and Fred. It is said that Allan had the first cart in that part of Meadow Bank as there was no road other than a foot path he had to bring it around the shore from Clyde River Bridge.

In 1901, Allan’s son Charles acquired the property. He married Edith Fraser and to them were born Elmer, Gordon, Allan, Hazel, Winnie, Jean, Donald (Dan), Kathleen and Ida.

Since 1919, the original MacLean farm has been in possession of Gordon (the second son).

We are told by Mrs. Gordon MacLean (nee Grace MacKinnon) that her grand-uncle John L. MacKinnon, founder and editor of the Summerside Pioneer, at one time boarded at Joe Hyde’s and attended school at Meadow Bank.

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Wharf at Gordon MacLean’s shore once used by him to ship potatoes. Marked with an “x” is the Clyde River Pioneer Cemetery where Mr. MacLean, the immigrant, is buried.

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This is the eighth excerpt form Meadow Bank W.I. Tweedsmuir History published in 1951. There are multiple family names referenced in this piece. We only highlighted a few in the title.

Click on map to enlarge

On the next farm lived the MacLeods who came out from Scotland about 1830. In this family were three sons: Alexander, Murdock and John and two daughters: Margaret, spinster; and Mrs. Robert MacMillan of Millvale. Since the death of Murdock, the farm has been owned in turn by Will Henderson, Cecil Scott, Wilfred MacLeod, Mr. Kennedy and now (1951) by John Miller who in 1928 emigrated with his wife and family of seven boys from West Calder, Scotland.

Of the farm that Norman MacFadyen now owns the first we know is that a Captain MacDonald owned it in 1840. (Captain Gore’s deed to Andrew Cody of farm to the west) then Duncan Patterson. His two sons, Duncan and Charles lived here, the former operated the farm while the latter had a blacksmith forge on the roadside. Wallace Patterson is a grandson of Duncan Senior and is now a jeweller in Charlottetown (1951). The Pattersons sold to Bob MacMillan who later sold to Neil Ferguson from when the present owner bought.

Continuing west we find that in 1840 one Captain Gore sold to Andrew Coady 100 acres for £116, 13d. He was married to Rosie McAtter, their three children were Mary Ann, Ellen and Andrew II. It was sold to Robert Boyle May 4th, 1896. In August 23rd, it was deeded to George H. Boyle, son of Robert. The farm is now owned by Gordon Boyle.

On the South side of the road some distance West of what is now called Boyle’s Creek, on a small corner of the Coady farm, lived Matthew Boylan, labourer, and his wife Mary McAtter, sister of the aforesaid Mrs. Coady. Their two sons were Patrick and Terrance, the former was a plasterer in Charlottetown, the latter moved to the Western part of the Island.

William Boyle & Ellen Farquharson

The next farm originally Capt. Gore’s Property was owned by John Boyle who for a time lived with his family at Cornwall on or near the farm now (1951) owned by Leigh Good. In John Boyle’s family were Michael and William and two daughters, Mrs. Angus MacEachern and Mrs. James MacLean. William moved to Charlottetown and operated a tannery on Spring Park Road. Michael continued to live on the old farm where he married Miss Margaret Boyle To this union were born four sons and five daughters. One son, the late William was the subsequent owner until his death in 1928 when the property was purchased by Fred Hyde of the adjoining farm for his son Stanley, the present owner.

“Edgewood”, the farm of Elmer Hyde consists of 125 acres and was purchased from George MacEachern, son of Angus, by Henry Hyde and willed to his son Frederick in 1896. The Hydes had to clear the land where the buildings now stand, the only building on the place at the time of their occupancy being the former Meadow Bank school house and now used as a workshop.

The remaining 75 acres of the MacEachern farm which contained the MacEachern dwellings was later sold to Frank Boyle, the present owner.

The Atlas of 1880 shows James MacLean to be in possession of the next 200 acres but this was soon after divided and Hammond Crosby bought the half next to the road and occupied it until his death in 1919 when it was bought by James MacPhail. It is now owned and occupied by his son Colin D. MacPhail (1951).

The remaining part of the original MacLean home has continued in the name passing from father to son. It is now in possession of Frank MacLean.

Of the adjoining farm, Mrs. Victor MacPhail writes,

“The first trace we have of our farm is that it was leased by the trustees of the Rt. Hon. Thomas Earl of Selkirk to one John Calladow in May 1825. This lease was assigned by John Calladow in August 1827 to Donald MacNeill. Donald MacNeill died in February 1848. He willed the lease to his wife Margaret and his two sons, Ewen and Neil. The MacNeills sold to Alexander MacLeod for the same of £250 in the year 1856. The holders of a lease had to pay rent and perform certain covenants. There is no mention of Alexander MacLeod. The next deed we have is one where James MacMillan paid the sum of $195.04 to the Commissioner of Public Lands for the said 84 acres in the year 1893. In March 1900, James MacMillan sold to Edwin Jones. Edwin Jones died and his widow sold to James MacPhail in 1908. The farm must have been resurveyed at this time for here it is listed as 80 4/5 acres. James MacPhail sold 10 acres of this to Frank Boyle. In 1936, Victor MacPhail (son) bought the remaining 70 4/5 acres. The first house was down near the shore.”

 

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