Rupert Watson, left, Tom Blake, Phil Blake and David Watson, along with others, met Sept. 19 at the New Gloucester Veterans Monument to see the inscription for the Watsons’ uncle, a British WW II pilot in the Royal Navy who perished over the skies of New Gloucester during training maneuvers in 1943.
1943 air crash memorialized
Tragedy struck over the skies of New Gloucester’s Intervale region 75 years ago.
On Oct. 3, 1943, British pilots Lieutenant Commander Alfred Jack Sewell and Sub-Lieutenant David James Falshaw Watson took off from Brunswick Naval Air Station to practice training maneuvers. Apparently one plane came up under the other, causing a collision that resulted in the deaths of both pilots.
The plane crash occurred over the meadow behind Everett Stinchfield Blake’s farm on Penney Road. Blake’s son, Phil, presented this story to his fellow members of the New Gloucester Veterans Monument Committee, who decided that the two WWII British allies deserved to be recognized on the town’s Veterans Monument.
Rupert and David Watson learned about the tribute to their uncle through internet research. When Rupert and his wife, who are from New Zealand, were visiting his brother David in New York, they decided to visit the Veterans Monument. They contacted Jean Libby from the Veterans Monument Committee in advance.
On Sept. 19, Phil Blake’s son, Tom, presided over a gathering of the three members of the Watson family, plus 20 New Gloucester Historical Society members and local dignitaries to honor pilot David James Falshaw Watson and present the trio with memorabilia from the monument’s dedication ceremony in 2014.
Joanne Mason, of Hanover, who is a Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation multi-season volunteer, practices backhand drills last week during wheelchair tennis lessons at Pineland Farms’ courts.
Wheelchair tennis at Pineland
Maine Adaptive provides year-round programs promoting adaptive sports and recreation for those with disabilities ages 4 and up who live in or visit Maine. All of the lessons and programs are free of charge for participants.
Staff members and volunteers offer wheelchair and stand-up tennis drills and match play at Pineland Farms and Gould Academy as one of their summer programs. Competitors don’t need to have their own equipment. Maine Adaptive has equipment to fit many shapes and sizes.
One of the wheelchair tennis programs occurred at the courts at Pineland Farms on July 27. John Pelletier, of Westport, Massachusetts, who owns a camp in the town of Denmark, said that he has been playing and teaching wheelchair tennis for several years. He instructs participants by starting with forehand and backhand drills, then progressing into service practice. After these disciplines are performed, the players break into groups to compete in match play.
Brandon Merry, Maine Adaptive program manager, said wheelchair tennis takes place in collaboration with the Veterans Adaptive Sports & Training program at Pineland Farms since some of the Maine Adaptive participants are veterans. The upcoming schedule for wheelchair tennis at Pineland Farms is Monday, Aug. 6; Friday, Aug. 24; and Friday, Sept. 14.”
Those interested in competing or volunteering can check Guidelines for Participation at maineadaptive.org. The necessary forms are posted there as well. For more information, call Maine Adaptive’s office at (800) 639-7770.
The New Gloucester Historical Society, assisted by many people, established a “Veterans Honor Roll” with more than 875 names of veterans with ties to New Gloucester, starting with the Revolutionary War up to present day.
To add a veteran’s name to the monument or to purchase an engraved brick, obtain a form at the Town Hall, email Jean Libby at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write the New Gloucester Historical Society, P.O. Box 531, New Gloucester, ME 04260. The deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 28.
The next monthly meeting of the New Gloucester Historical Society will feature a workshop for all members and friends who are interested in researching their New Gloucester neighborhood and/or historic home. The research will be used in a major new exhibit opening in May 2018. The workshop will be held on Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m. at the New Gloucester Meetinghouse, 389 Intervale Road. Refreshments will be served.
Get Out! Nature Walks are volunteer-led regular trips with trained master naturalists and other skilled volunteer leaders. Join them for a well-planned, no-cost, guided adventure occurring once-per-month on Wednesdays, rain, snow or shine. Their programs are jointly offered by the Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust, as well as the Royal River Conservation Trust.
Be mindful of the weather and dress accordingly. Bring appropriate gear, snacks and a thermos or water bottle. Check www.rrct.org for any updates or changes. Nature walks typically involve getting on your knees with a hand lens or standing still for 10 minutes craning up at a treetop. Trips are great for kids, but inappropriate for those under age 6. Their curriculum is targeted at adults and engaged youth. Because the purpose is nature observation, please don’t bring dogs.
The next Get Out! Nature Walk takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 707 Shaker Road. The curriculum is Winter Weeds, led by volunteer Karen Herold. She is a Natural Resources Council of Maine board member.
Kaidan Marchand, 5, of Gorham, makes a get well card for Ava Winslow, who is battling osteosarcoma, during the Gray-New Gloucester Rallies for Ava fundraiser on Aug. 26. He became acquainted with Ava when they both attended Rise and Shine Childcare and said that she is his best friend.
Digital photo workshop
Sabbathday Lake’s Brother Delmer Wilson (1873-1961) launched his photography hobby in 1898 with glass plate negatives and using all types of film through his life, including color Polaroid.
At a workshop at Shaker Village on Saturday, Sept. 16, New Gloucester photographer Vicki Lund will show participants how to create a great shot using the features of their digital cameras. She will teach camera operation/functions, use of natural light, composition, raw versus jpeg file formats, and white balance. After a brief class, you will explore the grounds of Shaker Village, photographing along the way, then returning to the class for critique.
The workshop will be held from 1-4 p.m. Please bring your camera manual, SD card, fresh batteries and, if you have one, a tripod. Pre-registration is required, and the fee is $50. Class size is limited to 12. Register online at www.maineshakers.com/workshops or call 926-4597 to reserve a spot.
Cumberland County 4-H members Caleb and Katie McGrath-Holmquist and Amber, Amanda and Austin Holmes are raising money to buy three market hogs and three market lambs from the Cumberland Fair 4-H Livestock Auction on Wednesday Sept. 27, at the Cumberland Fairgrounds. The livestock will be donated to the Gray and New Gloucester Food Pantries.
The two families are longtime members of the Cumberland County 4-H Sheep Club and the 4-H Swiners Club who raise market lambs and hogs to be sold annually at the fair’s 4-H auction. This year, in addition to raising and auctioning their own animals, they are participating in a self-designed community service project to benefit both 4-H’ers and their local food pantries.
They hope to raise $3,600 to buy the animals. They will be selling donated water, soda and lemonade at the Gray Blueberry Festival on Saturday Aug. 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Pennell Municipal Complex, 24 Main St., Gray.
Donations of any amount can be sent to GNG 4-H Food Pantry Project, P.O. Box 1012, Gray, Maine 04039. Checks can be made payable to: GNG 4-H Food Pantry Project.
A Several Part Series on the evolution of the New Gloucester Fire Department from the early 20th century to the present. Part One, 1899 – 1939, is history as interpreted through annual town reports of New Gloucester, Gray, and Auburn; New Gloucester Town Meeting Minutes; books on the history of these towns, plus Pownal; a number of articles and data from the State of Maine and other reputable on-line resources. Corrections and additions are welcomed. While not a source for the information below, Acadia Transformed: New Gloucester, Maine and the Rise of the City, 1740 to 1930 by Geoffrey Rosanno, was extremely helpful in confirming some of my conclusions, and a fascinating examination of New Gloucester.
The town of New Gloucester at the turn of the last century was a well-established rural community which had evolved from agrarian self-sufficiency to being part of the complex network of rural towns supplying the metropolitan centers of Portland and Lewiston Auburn with dairy and farm products, workers, and new customers. With many farms, more well-acred “homesteads”, some mills, a blacksmith, three churches and several one-room schoolhouses, New Gloucester spread over 47 square miles, with a sparse network of dirt roads connecting everyone. The town was governed by a board of three selectmen who were elected at the annual town meeting, when all the town’s most important decisions were made. As revealed in town reports down through the years, these voters were not a hasty bunch. They were inclined to put new ideas on hold at town meeting for several years before finally discarding an unpopular notion, or, in some cases, voting yes. One of the ideas that took years to become accepted as a routine town matter was municipal fire protection. Continue reading →
A special monthly History Barn Open House will take place on Saturday, May 6, from 9 a.m.-noon. At 10 a.m., the original 1776 Bell Tavern Sign, which is a gift from the Chandler Family, will be unveiled. It will hang in the barn as part of the New Gloucester Historical Society’s permanent exhibit.
The public is welcome to attend the open house and learn about the historic tavern. Refreshments, featuring goat cheese, or chèvre, from New Gloucester’s Lazy Dog Farm Creamery, and other tasty treats, will be served next door in the Community Building located at 381 Intervale Road, behind Town Hall.
Welcome, Neighbor volunteers Kathleen Potter, front left, Penny Hilton, Beth Blakeman-Pohl and Beth Birch finish assembling packets of materials last year to be given out to new residents of New Gloucester. The Welcome, Neighbor group is in the process of assembling new packets.
Welcome, Neighbor provides free publicity
Local businesses and organizations can obtain free publicity by participating in Welcome, Neighbor, a grassroots community volunteer project conducted in conjunction with the town office. The project was developed to welcome new residents to New Gloucester by providing information that may assist in their transition.
Only New Gloucester-based businesses, organizations and community groups have the opportunity to include items, such as business cards, brochures or other promotional materials, in the 100 packets to be assembled. There’s no charge or obligation to participate. Drop off 100-count of your item to the town office by Friday, April 7, to have your materials included. For more information, call Beth at 650-5228.
Join members and supporters of the Royal River Conservation Trust on Friday, Feb. 10, from 5-8 p.m., for the free, sixth annual full moon snowshoe evening at Pisgah Hill Preserve south trailhead, 74 Dougherty Road, near the New Gloucester-Pownal town line. Climb to the summit of Pisgah Hill Preserve through the setting sun to witness the rising of the full snow moon. Enjoy a warming campfire and mingle with your friends, old and new.
The trail is well marked and typically lighted with luminaries for the return. Organizers recommend bringing snowshoes, poles, a flashlight or headlamp, blanket, water and lots of good cheer. The trailhead has a small parking lot which fills quickly. Most vehicles are asked to line the shoulder of Dougherty Road. For more details, see www.rrct.org.