One hundred years ago, on October 11, 1916, the Nova Scotia Highland Brigade left Camp Aldershot and boarded the troop ship “Olympic” in Halifax Harbour. They arrived in Liverpool, England on October 19, 1916 and continued their intensive training at Witley Camp in Surrey. There were 4 Battalions in the Nova Scotia Highland Brigade - the 85 th , the 185 th , the 193 rd , and the 219 th Battalions. That was over 4000 men, - all volunteers from Nova Scotia.
Hants County Soldiers - Where Were They From?
The Soldiers were farmers, clerks, labourers, teachers, lumbermen, and ship builders. They came from many places in Hants County - from Hantsport to Shubenacadie and Vaughan to Noel – and every village and town in between. Many never returned.
One hundred years ago in September 1916, there were 15 soldiers from Hants County killed in action...
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.