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Glenwood ceremony honours veterans, welcomes historic Boulter cannons

Story and photos by Olivia Timm
Visitors to Glenwood Cemetery honoured veterans and welcomed two 1800s cannons placed just a short distance away from the resting place of their benefactor.

The seventh annual Veterans’ Day ceremony, Saturday, began with a parade of colour parties that marched to the sounds from the 8 Wing, Trenton Pipe and Drum band.

The 8 Wing Trenton Pipes and Drum band marched, then performed Amazing Grace.

Glenwood Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 250 veterans who served in Canada’s military engagements. Among those veterans are six British airmen who died while training at the former RAF base known as No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School. This former training base overlooking Picton was part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, graduating hundreds of aircrew from many countries during the Second World War.

Poppies and Canadian flags were used to decorate the graves of veterans.

Glenwood president, Sandra Latchford welcomed everyone to the seventh annual ceremony. She is shown here with Rev. William Kidnew, Chaplain Branch 78 Royal Canadian Legion, Picton.

“We feel very passionate about making sure that those who serve are honoured for the time they give, the lives they give, and the sacrifices they give,” said Latchford.

As in past years, the Glenwood Cemetery along with Branch 78 of the Royal Canadian Legion, No. 415 Wing Royal Canadian Airforce Association and 851 Prince Edward Royal Air Cadet Squadron hosted the ceremony.

“It has always been instilled in me that whenever you see a service person, whether a veteran or one that is currently serving, take the time to say thank you,” said Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff. “Thank you for making Canada great. Thank you making this one of the safest country in the world to live, and for one of the greatest countries to be recognized by.”

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff thanked the veterans and current military who serve.

Lieut. Colonel Cathy Blue gave a military tribute to honour veterans on behalf of 8 Wing Trenton. She noted she was pleased to come to Glenwood for the ceremony for her third time participating in the event.

The crowd gathered at the cemetery’s chapel for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome the Boulter cannons and hear the history behind the monument.

John Rankin, great-great grandson of canning factory magnate Wellington Boulter, told the crowd of Boulter’s work.

John Rankin, great-great grandson of Wellington Boulter was accompanied by his nephew Bradley with wife Sherry, and his niece Debbie.

In 1910 Boulter bought the pair of iron cannons from the British government as souvenirs of the wars between Canada and the United States. It was believed the gun with the earliest date was used against the Americans, at the Battle of Windmill, near Prescott. However, Rankin has said this information cannot be confirmed and he doubts its accuracy.

Both garrison guns carry the cypher of King George III who died in 1812. The 24 pound cannon, the largest, was cast in 1807. The 18 pound was cast in 1812.

 

“He was proud of his heritage, and very much so of the British empire,” said Rankin. “Here in the County, he thrived as a farmer, a canning pioneer, a businessman and on a couple of occasions, as Mayor of Picton.”

Boulter also contributed to the Glenwood Cemetery in the early 1900s by designing and building three ponds and the concrete water tower, as well as the irrigation system that has parts that still work today.

The cannons now rest near the Glenwood Cemetery Chapel.

When the British government declared Garrison Guns to be outdated, Boulter had two cannons shipped to Picton and installed outside of his office at the old Picton Canning Factory on Mary Street. In 1913, the cannons were dedicated at the main entrance of Picton Collegiate Institute, (now Queen Elizabeth Public School) on Barker Street.

When the school caught fire in 1952, the cannons were placed in storage at an unknown location, then resurfaced again in 1965 on the front lawn of the Picton Legion on Main Street.

Nature took its toll, and over time, the cannons became rusted. Rankin decided in 2012 the two cannons needed to be refurbished, and with assistance from a curator at Fort Henry, fixed them up.

The cannons were moved from the Legion to the cemetery earlier this year, following the sale of the building.

“It seems appropriate that the Garrison Guns find a permanent home at Glenwood Cemetery only a short distance from the resting place of their benefactor, Wellington Boulter,” said Rankin.

Cemetery Superintendent Helma Oonk with Sandra Latchford, John Rankin and Trevor Howard.

851 Prince Edward Royal Air Cadet Squadron members participated in the Veterans’ Day ceremony.

 

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