It was with great pride that I joined the Lieutenant Governor for Nova Scotia, the Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, along with other dignitaries to officially unveil the monument recognizing the importance of Canadian Forces Station Debert (also known as Camp Debert).
My sincere congratulations to the members of the Debert Military History Society who work constantly to maintain and promote Debert’s military history. Through the Debert Military Museum they have a diverse collection of military memorabilia that attracts visitors to Nova Scotia and in particular, Colchester County. This museum would not be possible without the work of the Society’s members.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Canada trained and deployed thousands of military personnel to combat in Europe. In order to meet the requirements for training facilities, the Government of Canada purchased lands in Debert where they could establish a training and marshalling facility. The wide expanse of flat lands in Debert were ideal for such a facility.
Following the purchase of the lands by the Canadian Government, work began to prepare for what became known as CFS Debert. More than 6000 civilians were hired to clear a 31 sq. mile track of land and prepare it for infrastructure, sewer, water, roads and electricity. Streets were named and numbered and many huts, mess halls, warehouses, canteens and other buildings were erected. Along with the civilians, there were thousands of military personnel required to complete the facilities and to begin the movement of troops leaving Canada for the war. For many of these young soldiers, Camp Debert was their last glimpse of Canadian soil.
During the period of training, thousands of soldiers received their training and were issued their weapons before embarking on troop ships that left through the port of Halifax. The community of Debert also flourished with the military presence and at the height of the operation, was said to be larger than the Town of Truro. At the height of the operation, the Camp housed more troops than the total population of the Town of Truro.
The history of Debert must not be forgotten. The generations who remember Debert as it was in the 40’s will soon be gone and it is important that we share the important role that Debert played in the Second World War. These young soldiers fought for the peace that we now enjoy and as Canadians, as Nova Scotians, and as citizens along the shore, we must never forget the history of Camp Debert.
Please stop by the museum in Debert, enjoy the monument that stands in remembrance and visit the museum to view the artifacts and learn more about our history.