Thursday, February 11, 2016

Canada 2016
Black History Month: No. 2 Construction Battalion

ISSUE DATE: 1 February 2016
STAMP SIZE: 32 x 32 mm
STAMP ILLUSTRATOR: Dennis Budgen, Istockphoto
STAMP DESIGN: Lara Minja, Lime Design Inc.

During the First World War, racial prejudice among some recruiters saw many black applicants turned away when they tried to enlist. Protests by Black Canadians, and a growing need for manpower in Europe, led to the creation of No. 2 Construction Battalion one hundred years ago on July 5, 1916. The following year, the Battalion was deployed to France, where they were attached to the Canadian Forestry Corps and stationed at Lajoux in the Jura Mountains. Some men from the Battalion joined combat units, while the rest worked to harvest and mill timber. Their product was shipped to the front, where it was used to build trenches, camps and railways.

Largely commanded by white officers, the men of No. 2 Construction Battalion faced segregation during their deployment, and saw their battalion disbanded after the war ended. Still, their determined, dedicated service helped break down racial barriers, paving the way for Black Canadians to freely enlist during the Second World War and subsequent conflicts.

Designed by Lara Minja, this stamp features a black and white photo of four uniformed soldiers from No. 2 Construction Battalion superimposed over an illustration of a forest. At the bottom of the frame are the silhouettes of four soldiers, carrying logging tools as they walk through the trees. The same illustration appears on inside of the booklet, while the cover features an image of the battalion’s badge.



Stamp images and description thanks to Canada Post