About the Battalion


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About the No.2 and Blacks Serving 

Courtesy of Maroon Films Inc. and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Black Canadians have proudly taken their places on the field of honour. They have assisted in the defense of the nation in wars great and small, in foreign countries and on Canadian soil. Black Canadians served in the War of 1812, and stood firm in the Rebellion of 1837. They served in the two World Wars and in the Korean War; they were and are in peacekeeping and peacemaking around the world. They have won glory and honour carrying out their duty as brave and patriotic men and women do; they defended their country when needed. 

In recognition of that service and to pay tribute to the No. 2 Construction Battalion’s 100th-year anniversary, African Nova Scotian Affairs and Communities, Culture and Heritage are proud to celebrate African Heritage Month 2016. We encourage all Nova Scotians to take the opportunity to celebrate the achievements and contributions of peoples of African descent in Nova Scotia. African Heritage Month is a time to acknowledge the history and celebrate the achievements of African Nova Scotians.



More on the Battalion  

Canada's Black Battalion: No. 2 Construction, 1916-1920

Read an online digitized copy of Calvin Ruck’s book Canada's Black Battalion: No. 2 Construction, 1916-1920. From the Our Roots website. 

Fighting for Recognition – Parks Canada

The story of Seymour Tyler, a Black Canadian who served in France during the First World War as a member of the No.2 Construction Battalion.

Calvin Ruck and the Construction Battalion – CBC Digital Archives (video)

A 1993 CBC news report interviewing Calvin Ruck on No.2 Construction Battalion and his work to make Canadians aware of the story of the Battalion.

A Soldier's Life: The History of Black Soldiers and their Impact on the Status of Blacks in Canada.

A learning activity for students to learn more about Black Soldiers in Canada. This site by Learn Quebec has various primary and secondary sources on the No. 2 Construction Battalion. 

Moving Mountains: The No. 2 Construction Battalion and African Canadian Experience During the First World War

An academic thesis by Cpl. Danielle Pitman explores the history of the No. 2 Construction Battalion CEF during the First World War- Mount Saint Vincent University.

Black Canadians in Uniform - A Proud Tradition 

An online historical account by Veterans Affairs Canada of Black Canadians’ long history of service in the armed forces. Often having to overcome great challenges just to enlist in the military in earlier eras when society was less inclusive, they persevered to make their mark. 

Commemorating No. 2 Construction Battalion – Canadian Army (video)

A bilingual Canadian Army video on the history No 2. Construction Battalion and the commemoration ceremony of the Battalion in Pictou, NS. 

No. 2 Construction Battalion- Black Historica Canada

Print and visual resources from various sites with a focus on the No. 2 Construction Battalion. Historica Canada - Black History Canada.  

War Diaries – No. 2 Canadian Construction Company (Coloured)

War diary records at the Library and Archives Canada on the No. 2 Construction Battalion.

No.2 Construction Battalion Correspondence

Correspondence between and among various administration personnel about the No. 2 Construction Battalion.

The Underside of Glory: Africanadian Enlistment in the Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-16

An academic thesis by Sean Flynn Foyn explores the history of the No. 2 Construction Battalion CEF during the First World War - University of Ottawa.

No. 2 Construction Battalion, CEF (Band) – Parks Canada

A photo and information about the No.2 Construction Battalion Band who were part of the Canadian army that went overseas to fight Germany during the First World War. 

Black Cultural Centre 

Resources and photos on the No.2 Construction Battalion is available at the Black Cultural Centre. 

No. 2 Construction Battalion: Blacks in Canada - Black History Month – Citizenship & Immigration Canada (video)

This 30-second Black History Month (BHM) Public Service Announcement by Citizenship and Immigration Canada highlights the role of the No. 2 Construction Battalion. 

Resources Available in Nova Scotia Public Libraries:

Canada's Black Battalion: No. 2 Construction, 1916-1920 / Calvin W. Ruck. Dartmouth, N.S.: Society for Protection and Preservation of Black Culture in Nova Scotia, 1986. 
Publication also available online: http://www.ourroots.ca/e/toc.aspx?id=8185 

The Black Battalion, 1916-1920: Canada's best kept military secret / Calvin W. Ruck. Halifax, N.S. : Nimbus Pub., 1987. 

Honour before glory [videorecording (45 min.)]. Sherwood, Anthony. Anthony Sherwood Productions, c2001. 
Based on the diary of Reverend William White, the chaplain for the No. 2 Construction Battalion. Illustrates how this unique battalion survived hatred and discrimination during the First World War.

Corporal Frank James Norris (1896-1916) 2nd Canadian Battalion / [compiled by Ralph Bennett].
Item consists of photocopied documents, newspaper clippings, etc. in binder. Halifax Public Libraries, Central Library, Local History Collection, non-circulating.

African Proverb: Knowledge is like a farm, if not cultivated it cannot grow.