05 January 2011

Relatives of veteran planning to visit next year

Frank Robert Ablett
PENNFIELD - Relatives of a man from Yorkshire, England who served at the Pennfield Ridge Air Station during the Second World War are planning a visit to the area and hoping to find someone who might remember him.

Christian Larsen, who continues to do research on the former air base, said he has been contacted by Terry Bearpark, a photo-journalist and sub-editor from the U.K., whose father-in-law Leading Aircraftman Frank Robert Ablett worked in the accounts section at the base from September 1942 until around June 1944.

Bearpark and his wife Maureen are planning to visit the area, possibly this year, to see where Ablett was stationed. They also hope to find the house where he lodged and possibly some members of that family.

If anyone remembers Ablett, they are asked to contact Larsen at 456-3494 or by e-mail at pennfieldparish@yahoo.com.

The annual Pennfield Ridge was memorial service is planned for July 24, 2011, said Larsen, with a banquet to follow. This will tie in with the 70th anniversary of the base opening (21 July 1941) and he is hoping the couple will be able to visit the area during this period.

Larsen has also provided Bearpark with information about Gordon Henderson of Leeds, England, who visited this area a couple of years ago to find out more information about his great uncle Stan Collins who also served in the accounts section at the same time as Ablett. Collins, who recently celebrated his 97th birthday, is the oldest known living airmen from the base and is living in a seniors' home in Newcastle.

In 1939 Pennfield Ridge had a population of around 188 people and by 1943 it had risen to more then 5,000. The area was not able to cope with such a large influx of people and as a result people from St. Andrews to Saint John took airmen in.

SOURCE: The Saint Croix Courier (St. Stephen, NB) - January 4, 2010.


  1. Interesting article. That is quite a jump in population. It will be interesting to see how the memorial service goes in July. Great month for favorable weather.

  2. It should be quite an interesting service to say the least. Four Veterans from Pennfield Ridge and 2 Veterans and 1 Cadet from Camp Utopia are scheduled to be there. Also three people from "across the pond" have confirmed there attendance as well.