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Wallace Earle, William Bedell – Gone But Not Forgotten

Gone But Not Forgotten

By Margaret Haylock Capon
In the Victorian era, burial grounds such as Picton’s Glenwood Cemetery, consecrated in 1873, were known as Cities of the Dead. Street names were assigned to roadways, to further perpetuate this community concept and prestigious “neighbourhoods” for interment of the socially prominent were mapped out. In death, as in life, one could, indeed, secure an address on the right side of town.

Most small, rural cemeteries and churchyard burial grounds lack such formality but the monuments within them often have compelling stories to tell. Far from being “dead-end” ghost communities, Prince Edward County’s many cemeteries are alive with history. The famous and infamous lie within their gates, their stories written in stone to pique the interest of passers-by.

Gone But Not Forgotten will profile some of the colourful individuals buried in county graveyards and provide interesting insights regarding the memorials chosen to mark their final resting places.

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Wallace Earle
Second Lt. Wallace Sinclair Earle, a member of the Royal Flying Corps, who died when his plane was shot down during a fire fight with German aviators, during World War l, is memorialized by a marker in Glenwood Cemetery.

Born in Belleville, in 1889, he attended Picton Collegiate Institute and taught school for a year, following graduation. Earle then entered Queen’s University where he secured the Mowat Scholarship in mathematics, physics and chemistry. In 1911, he obtained his commission as a Dominion Land Surveyor and became a British Columbia surveyor in 1912.

Earle opened an office in Vancouver, British Columbia and conducted an active practice until the winter of 1914 when he joined the University Company recruited at Kingston, Ontario, (afterwards known as No. 6 Company. Divisional Engineers). In 1915, Lt. Earle transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and was granted a pilot’s certificate.

His father received confirmation of his death in a letter from Elizabeth Selby of England, mother of the observer who was with him when his plane went down four miles behind German lines, at a small village called Peronne. A local newspaper story reporting his death stated “He was a bright young man of character and ability. He enlisted because he felt it was his duty and he made the supreme sacrifice. His parents have the sincere sympathy of the entire community.”

Lt. Earle’s name was inscribed on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais France, in the Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery. His family later placed a marker for him in Glenwood Cemetery, which records his wartime service.

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William Bedell
A graduate of Picton Collegiate Institute, 19-year-old Cadet Officer William Bedell died in 1918, aboard a troop ship bound for England. He is buried with his parents, in Glenwood Cemetery.

The only child of Mr. and Mrs. H.W. Bedell he joined the air force just weeks before the end of the war. He had been eager to enlist for some time, despite the fact that he had never been robust and was under age.

When formation of the Canadian Air Force was announced, he was one of the first to apply. He was accepted and expected to be assigned to one of the southern seaplane stations in the United States. Instead, he was notified that he was to train in England for the dirigible balloon branch of the service.

Before leaving Quebec, Cadet Bedell sent word to his parents, advising them that he was about to sail. Five days later, the Bedells received a second message stating: “Body embalmed in metal casket, waiting permit and orders for shipping.” It was signed ‘Bedell’ (Lt. Col. T.C. Bedell, a cousin of Cadet Bedell’s father. Since the Bedells had heard nothing of their son’s illness, they were greatly shocked. They later learned that he had suddenly fallen ill and died before the troop ship reached England.

More than a month after Cadet Bedell’s death a funeral service was held for him from his home on Centre Street in Picton. The Collegiate Cadets, dressed in their uniforms, attended in a body and, with arms reversed, accompanied the procession to Glenwood Cemetery. Rev. Alfred Browne, who conducted the service, emphasized that the path taken by Cadet Bedell was just as honourable and the sacrifice just as great as it had been on the part of those who had given their lives in France.

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-Margaret Haylock Capon, a freelance writer and former newspaper reporter, is the author of Hearts We Leave Behind, an illustrated history of Picton’s Glenwood Cemetery. She is a former member of both the Glenwood Cemetery board and the Prince Edward County Cemetery board. She and her husband, Alan R. Capon are Prince Edward County’s representatives of the Campbell Monument Company and co-authors of the company’s history, written during its centennial year (2009).

Helping You Remember

Campbell Monument has now introduced an extended service for families ordering new inscriptions (i.e. final dates), for existing monuments. For an additional $85, upright monuments will also be power washed and checked for safety and stability. Ground level markers will be raised, levelled and cleaned. In Prince Edward County, please contact Margaret Haylock and Alan Capon at 613-393-2254 for further details.

Filed Under: Margaret Haylock-CaponNews from Everywhere Else

About the Author: Maggie Haylock is a freelance writer and former newspaper reporter who has co-authored several books with her husband, Alan Capon.

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