Commemorating the No. 2 Construction Battalion’s 101st anniversary

Article / July 31, 2017 / Project number: a-ar-17-07-31

By Captain Josh Bennett, 4 Engineer Support Regiment

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Pictou, Nova Scotia — On July 8th, 2017, 4 Engineer Support Regiment (4 ESR) participated in the No. 2 Construction Battalion commemoration festivities in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The No. 2 Construction Battalion has deep-seated Canadian military history and a special link to 4 ESR.

The No. 2 Construction Battalion was established in the First World War and headquartered out of Pictou. The Battalion, brandishing the nickname the “Black Battalion” was Canada’s only predominately Black unit during the First World War where five hundred of the six hundred strong enlistees were from Nova Scotia. The Battalion was part of the Canadian Forestry Corps within the greater Canadian Expeditionary Force and was largely involved in forestry and construction tasks while deployed overseas in France.

4 ESR now has the prestigious task to preserve the Battalion’s unique history through the granting of official perpetuation. The two units share several distinctive characteristics. Similarly to the Battalion, 4 ESR has a unique construction and expeditionary mandate within the Canadian Armed Forces and a large portion of its soldiers and officers were born and raised in the Atlantic Provinces.

4 ESR’s inclusion in the annual commemoration ceremonies included sending a 30-member contingent and a parade commander to be part of a larger parade with several other groups and organizations. The contingent also attended the seated ceremony at the Decoste Centre in Pictou, hosted by the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia. Included in this ceremony were numerous speeches, wreath presentations, and music performances. Furthermore, in following with the perpetuation, the Battalion’s Colours will be proudly displayed inside 4 ESR’s HQ building in the near future to be viewed by all who enter the building to help maintain the rich and important history of the No. 2 Construction Battalion.

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