Towards the end of July 1916, our 112th Battalion from Windsor set sail on the RMS Olympic from Halifax to Liverpool. It is interesting to learn that the Olympic was the first of 3 sister ships – the others were the more famous Titanic and the Britannic. All three ships were the same design, built in Belfast, and owned by the White Star Line. The Olympic started service in 1911, the Titanic in 1912, and the Britannic in 1914. We all know what happened to the Titanic on April 15, 1912. (The above photo was taken the month before in Belfast on March 6, 1912 – Olympic is on the left and Titanic on the right being outfitted for her maiden voyage). After the disaster, 24 lifeboats were added to the Olympic and the water tight bulkheads were improved.
In Europe, the War continued with no victories after two years of heavy fighting. The Battle of the Somme was taking hundreds of thousands of casualties. In Windsor, our men in the 112 th Battalion were preparing to join the battle.
The 112 th Battalion was formed in November 1915 with headquarters in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Men were recruited from all over Hants County, from the Annapolis Valley, and from the South Shore. Over 1500 men volunteered for service but only 1200 were accepted. The commanding officer was Lt Col. Hedley Tremaine of Windsor.
Because the surname “Hebert” looks so much like “Herbert”, it is frequently misspelled, and when I first saw reference to the Herbert River in Hants County, Nova Scotia, what came to mind was the Bear River at Digby, Nova Scotia. It appears as “Hebert R” (probably for early explorer Louis Hebert) on Lescarbot’s 1609 map. By 1720, “Hebert R” had become “Beare R”.
The West Hants Historical Society salutes our soldiers from Hants County that died in June 1916. June 1916 – Battle of Mount Sorrel : Canadian soldiers were defending Mount Sorrel, a 30-metre hill with a commanding position overlooking the city of Ypres in Belgium. On June 2 nd 1916, German troops attacked and overwhelmed the Canadians. They captured Mount Sorrel along with nearby peaks Hill 61 and Hill 62. The Canadians tried to retake the Hills on June 3 rd but the Germans repelled the attack.