Barb Broome's book tells story of Mount Pleasant airport during WWII
by Sue Gallant
It was long overdue. A 100-page book that chronicles the former Number 10 Bombing and Gunnery School located at PEI's Mount Pleasant Airport during World War II, has just been published. The book is dedicated to the 22 airmen who lost their lives while training at the base, and to the many men and women who worked and trained there. At its peak, almost 2,000 service personnel were stationed at the facility. Entitled On duty and pride the book was recently launched at the new West Prince Visitor Information Centre.
The Centre has been built on the site of the former air base. A handsome and fitting memorial to the airmen who died while training at Mount Pleasant was also unveiled at the site, less than two weeks after the book launch.
On duty and pride, first-time author is Barb Broome of Tyne Valley. In a recent media interview she told The Buzz how the idea of the publication first came about: "It started when the Visitor Information Centre was opened in Mount Pleasant and people started asking questions in regards to the airport," said Broome. Broome's daughter, Devon Lynch, was one of the Information Centre guides. Lynch asked her mom if she knew the answers to some of the questions being asked about the gunnery school. Broome, in turn, consulted work colleague, Wyatt Heritage Properties archivist, Fred Horne. Horne encouraged Broome to research the topic further. Broome subsequently approached Cascumpec Grand River MLA Philip Brown. "It was decided that we would form a committee and see what we could do,"said Broome. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The Mount Pleasant Airport Research Project committee settled upon a four point plan that saw the compilation of a web page devoted to No 10 Bombing and Gunnery School entitled Near Forgotten Airfield, (www.peicaps.org/ffway); publication of the book On duty and pride; the erection of a monument to those who lost their lives while training at the school; and finally a collection of television interviews for East Link Cable.
"It was fun," said Broome following the book launch, "I really enjoyed it." Judging by the steady stream of ex-servicemen and women appearing to claim their own personal copy of On duty and pride, Broome's literary effort is much appreciated. Copies of On duty and pride, (priced $15), are available from MacNeill's Convenience Store, Tyne Valley; Tyne Valley Drug Mart; the West Prince Visitor Information Centre; and Green Park Shipbuilding Museum and Interpretive Centre.