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We are now closed for the season. The museum will reopen June 1, 2024.

AGM: Friday, October 27, 2-4 pm

Museum Hall

The Regiment World War I World War II Combatants

Most people from the LaHave Islands who fought in the World Wars fought with the West Nova Scotia Regiment or one of its predecessors.

The West Nova Scotia Regiment has one of the oldest histories of any regiment in Canada. It has its roots in French militia formed in 1604 when Acadians had settled along the Fundy Shore in Nova Scotia. In 1697, there were six companies in the Annapolis area under the command of French officer, M. de Falaise. After the British conquest of the Acadians, these French companies ceased to exist, but Acadians who would cooperate with the British were accepted into the local forces controlled by the English.

These regiments have seen a lot of combat over their long history in Nova Scotia. During the American Revolution, companies of German, Huguenots and New Englanders combined with Acadians fought off attacks from American forces. This strengthened the forces in western Nova Scotia and by 1784, companies had been established in Chester, Mahone, Lunenburg, LaHave, Liverpool, Shelburne, Barrington, Yarmouth, Clare, Digby, Annapolis and Cornwallis. Almost all of these companies had fought in defense of their hometowns against the Americans in the Revolutionary War between 1775 and 1783.

When the Napoleonic Wars broke out in Europe in 1793, the West Nova Scotia militias stood at arms many times against the threat of French or American attack. Many of their members also took to the sea to fight as privateers operating against the French and Spanish in places as far away as the West Indies and the Spanish Main.

As the War of 1812 started, the role of these sailors and marines from the militias in western Nova Scotia intensified as American privateers infested the waters off of the Nova Scotia coast. These sailors defended their homeports from American attack, but took the battle to them at sea as well. One ship, the “Liverpool Packet” captured nearly 100 American vessels during this war and frequently landed solders on the American coast.

After 1815 there was a long period of peace, but the companies were maintained. It was during this time of peace when the companies in western Nova Scotia were combined to form more recognizable units. In 1869, the 1st Annapolis Battalion was created and known as the 69th Regiment, a year later the 72nd Regiment was formed and became the 2nd Annapolis Battalion. These two battalions would be amalgamated in 1898 as the 69th Annapolis Regiment. In 1870, companies along the South Shore of Nova Scotia were combined and became the 75th Regiment, headquartered in Bridgewater in Lunenburg county.

The Fenian Raids of 1866 to 1871 saw many of these companies standing guard ready for action, but they would not be called upon to fight again until 1914 and the start of World War I.

Symbol of the West Nova Scotia Regiment