Canadian Armed Forces Honour the No. 2 Construction Battalion

News release

July 8, 2023 – Halifax – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) continued to honour the legacy of No. 2 Construction Battalion, the only all-black formation in Canadian military history, during a parade on July 8 in Pictou, Nova Scotia.

The parade promoted the battalion’s legacy in conjunction with the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia. 4 Engineer Support Regiment, based out of Gagetown, New Brunswick, who retains the historical link with No. 2 Construction Battalion, led the parade. 


“We are forever grateful to each member of No. 2 Construction Battalion for their contribution to Canada’s war effort, during a time when they also had to fight for the right to serve. To their descendants and loved ones, and the community here in Pictou and beyond — thank you for upholding their legacy for so many decades, and for making sure their important contributions will be remembered for generations to come. May we continue to honour the memory of these brave men, today and every day, as we keep building a Canada that lives up to the ideals they fought so bravely to protect.”

Bryan May, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

“5th Canadian Division’s 4 Engineer Support Regiment is proud to be the historical link for No. 2 Construction Battalion and the custodian of its legacy. While we acknowledge our past, we move forward celebrating their accomplishments and will perpetuate the legacy of this storied battalion and their desire to serve Canada.”

Brigadier-General Stéphane Masson, Commander 5th Canadian Division

Quick facts

  • No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, also known as the Black Battalion, was created on July 5, 1916, during the First World War. It was a segregated non-combatant unit, the first and only all-Black battalion-sized formation in Canadian military history.

  • Throughout the war members of No. 2 Construction Battalion faced racism. They showed resilience, determination, and strength in the face of adversity. Following the end of the First World War, the unit was officially disbanded on September 15, 1920, without ceremony or recognition for their service or sacrifices on behalf of Canada.

  • On July 9, 2022, the CAF acknowledged the contributions and sacrifices of the members of No. 2 Construction Battalion and their families at an official ceremony held in Truro, Nova Scotia. 

  • The CAF awarded of the “France and Flanders, 1917-18” Battle Honour to No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force in Ottawa, on June 1, 2022.

  • 4 Engineer Support Regiment located at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, is the CAF entity responsible for the perpetuation of the No. 2 Construction Battalion.

  • Currently, the Department is taking steps to implement the recommendations from the Minister of National Defence Advisory Panel on Systemic Racism and Discrimination. The Advisory Panel report will guide our future work to eliminate racism and discrimination in all forms.

  • The CAF takes every opportunity to learn from the past and build a better, more inclusive Canada for all. As we continue, as a country, to confront systemic racism, discrimination, and xenophobia in all its forms, the No. 2 Construction Battalion story will play an important role in ensuring this injustice never happens again.

Associated links


Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333

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