Nova Scotia Archives

'An East Coast Port': Halifax in Wartime, 1939-1945

Governor General inspecting Wardens of H.C.E.C. accompanied by Col. Oland and Major O.R. Crowell, Director of Civil Defence, A.R.P. 2

Major Osborne R. Crowell was appointed Director of Civil Defence for Halifax in 1942. During the war, more than 6,000 citizens enrolled in the Halifax Civil Emergency Corps (H.C.E.C.), a volunteer civilian organization of wardens, auxiliary fire fighters, auxiliary police, first aid workers, rescue workers, fire watchers, and messengers. They formed 20 auxiliary fire groups; 8 police squads; 18 first aid posts; rescue squads; and demolition, decontamination and water repair squads. The H.C.E.C. had 250 ambulances, cars and trucks and 1,000 stirrup pumps. Arrangements had also been made for four emergency hospitals, food centres, assembly centres, and mortuary service. The H.C.E.C. was disbanded in October 1945. Thirty-two years later, Major Crowell donated the H.C.E.C. records to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. These records chronicle the activities of this organization through documents, newspaper clippings, photographs, and artifacts and provide a fascinating insight into civilian defence in wartime Halifax.

Date: 24 September 1944

Reference: Halifax Civil Emergency Corps. Nova Scotia Archives 1995-188 69

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