© LaHave Islands Marine Museum Society Web design by Robert Ylkos
The museum is now closed for the season. We will reopen on June 1, 2019. See you then!
Open June 1 to September 1, from 10:00 to 5:00.
When World War I broke out and Canada sent the 1st Canadian Division to do battle,
no Nova Scotian units were included in the division sent. The regiments in the 1st
Canadian Division drafted soldiers from the regiments in Nova Scotia. This was how
members of the Western Nova Scotia regiments saw duty in the war, as units from Ontario
and further west would draft them into their ranks.
After World War I, the 69th and 75th regiments were officially recognized for the contribution made by their officers and men who fought overseas. In 1922, the 69th Regiment was renamed the Annapolis Regiment and the 75th Regiment was renamed the Lunenburg Regiment. They were also awarded Battle Honors as follows:
Pursuit To Mons
Pursuit To Mons
In 1935, the commanding officer, Lt. Col. W.E. Ryder, the rector of the Anglican parish of Lunenburg, and the second-in-command was Major G.W. Bullock, ED, the rector of the Anglican parish of Bridgewater. A regiment commanded by two members of the clergy is very unique, but it represents the people of Lunenburg County who have always been very spiritual and have had a strong martial spirit.
In 1936, the Annapolis Regiment and the Lunenburg Regiment were amalgamated into one regiment and their name was what they had always been, the West Nova Scotia Regiment. Major Bullock from the Lunenburg Regiment was given a new rank of Lieutenant Colonel and command of the new regiment and it became his task to unite the two strong regiments into one.
It was not long after the amalgamation of the two regiments that World War II started,
and the West Nova Scotia regiment, or West Novies as they were nicknamed, would not
be overlooked like they were in the first great war.
The West Novies were selected for over-seas service in World War II, and departed for Europe on December 21, 1939. They arrived at Gourock, Scotland on December 31 and took a train to North Farnborogh station in England, arriving on New Year’s Day. From there, they marched to their new camp and home at Guillemont Barracks.
The next three years and six months would see the West Novies in England training for battle and learning the new art of war that developed between the two great wars. On June 28, 1943 the West Novies left England for Europe and sailed for Italy where they would land on Sicily to take the island.
Over the next two years the West Nova Scotia regiment would see combat throughout Europe, moving from Sicily onto mainland Italy and then onto Rome. After taking Italy, the West Novies pulled back and were transported into the south of France landing in Marseilles. From there they set out for Belgium and traveled through Holland and into Germany itself.
With the work in Europe complete, many of the men volunteered for service in Japan
or to stay on as part of the occupation force in Germany. The Third Battalion of
the West Novies regiment returned to Nova Scotia on June 11th, 1945 to begin training
for the Japanese campaign. Within a few days the battalion had volunteers to put
them at full strength, 1200 men, most of whom were veterans of the 1st Battalion
The 3rd Battalion would not be necessary, as the unit trained through the summer and prepared for their departure, Japan surrendered and the orders came to disband the Battalion and end training.
The West Nova Scotia Regiment returned home on October 1st 1945, they had lost 352 men and another 1084 were wounded and 48 taken prisoner. During their time overseas, they traveled over 8500 miles by sea and another 8000 miles by foot through England, Italy, Germany and Holland.
War Memorial for the West Nova Scotia Regiment in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
Charlie Covey and his friend.
Fred Publicover and Dewey Schrader. Both men were from West Dublin.
Photo of the Regiment. Fred W. Boehner from West LaHave is in the second row, fifth from the left.
Charlie Tumblin, in the Navy.
Aubrey Cecil Richards
Dewey Schrader. Dewy served in both World War I and World War II.
Transport Ship taking the 85th Battalion off to war.
Charlie Tumblin, in the Army.
219th Officers Mess Staff. Sergant J.W. Bent, Sergant F.W. Gibson, Capt. G.W. Allen,
Pte Lamming, Pte Smith, Pte Raheet Eldridge, Pte Ronald Mlellimy, Pte Walter Bush.
Walter Bush is from the LaHave Islands and is the last person on the right.
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