Rock to Road

Descendants of first black military construction unit receive apology from Ottawa

July 11, 2022  By CBC News

Ottawa has formally apologized to descendants and relatives of the men of the No. 2 Construction Battalion Saturday afternoon, 106 years after the formation of the historic battalion that faced anti-Black racism during the First World War.

The Nova Scotia-based battalion was the first military unit in Canada made up of mostly Black personnel. The battalion was primarily used in non-combat situations to clear trees, build roads, and maintain railway tracks.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the gruelling work of battalion members was invaluable to the war effort.

He said despite their hard work, members were forced to live in segregated camps and not provided with proper medical care, rations or equipment.


“We cannot ever let what happened to No. 2 Construction Battalion happen again,” Trudeau said. “And we cannot let the service of any member of our forces ever be overlooked and forgotten.”

(CBC News)

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