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Home Defence Volunteers
| Air Raid Precaution | Aircraft Detection |
The matter of home defence for Prince Edward Island began to surface in 1942. Reports of German U-Boats in Canada's coastal waters and even up into the St. Lawrence River were read with growing alarm by Maritimers. An editorial in the Summerside Journal was titled "The War Reaches Canada."

One result of the enemy presence was the sinking of the PEI ferry, the SS Charlottetown. When it was on its way to dry dock in June 1941, it ran aground and sank off the coast of Nova Scotia. The captain had been sailing close to shore to avoid the submarine danger. This unfortunate incident left the Borden, PEI to Cape Tormentine, NB route with only one ferry - the Prince Edward Island. The Summerside Board of Trade took up the lobby for a replacement vessel, arguing that the loss of the existing ferry to enemy action would have serious repercussions. Construction began on a new vessel in Quebec in 1944, but it wasn't until 1947 that the Abegweit was launched.

The sinking of the ferry Caribou by a submarine torpedo off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1942 struck home with Summerside citizens. Two local boys, Arthur Sullivan and J. C. Byron MacDonald died, but two others survived to tell the tale - Capt. J. Ira Hickey and Lieut G. L. Monkley.


In March 1943 an article claimed that the RCAF had attacked at least four submarines off Canada's east coast so far that year. Later that month, another article named twenty ships sunk in 1942 by enemy action in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St Lawrence River. A newspaper report in July 1944 disclosed that censorship had kept secret the fact that the car ferry Prince Edward Island had narrowly missed a U-boat attack during a convoy in the Gulf in 1942.

The premier of Prince Edward Island, Walter Jones, addressed the concerns in a special broadcast over the Charlottetown radio station CFCY in June 1943. He assured Islanders that measures had been taken to assure all things possible were being done to protect the province from enemy action. In addition to mentioning the Reserve Army, which has been referred to in the Military section, he noted the value of the Air Raid Precaution organization and the Aircraft Detection Corps, which are described in the following sub-sections.