The Last Steps

Halifax - Waterfront ~ August 3, 2017
The Last Steps
Memorial Arch

“Nova Scotia played a role in the conduct of the War which will redound to her glory for all time”
(Nova Scotia’s Part in the Great War - M. Stuart Hunt, 1920)

Near this spot, on 20 May 1915, soldiers of the 22nd Battalion (now the Royal 22nd Regiment - Quebec), the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles - Montreal), and the 25th Battalion (Nova Scotia Rifles) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force left Halifax aboard His Majesty’s Transport Ship Saxon. For hundreds of them, this would be the last time they stepped on Canadian soil. We can only imagine the thoughts they may have had as the boarded the ship and watched the Port of Halifax disappear from view behind them.

The 25th Battalion, Nova Scotia Rifles was the first complete infantry unit raised in this province to leave Nova Scotia and on 12 October 1916, the 85th Battalion, Nova Scotia Highlanders also embarked for overseas service. These were the only two Nova Scotia infantry battalions that stayed together throughout the First World War and were not broken up for reinforcements. Over the course of the War 350,000 Canadian troops sailed from this port to an uncertain future. Of that number, 67,000 died in Belgium and France. The lives of those who returned to Canada were changed forever. The lives of those who returned to Canada were changed France. 30,000 Nova Scotians volunteered for military and naval service and 3,400 didn’t come home. The Army Museum Halifax Citadel commemorates their legacy of service and sacrifice.