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Halifax Riots

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: What do you remember about the Second World War in Halifax, when you were growing up? Oh, I remember that you couldn’t get on the Citadel Hill when you wanted to. They had soldiers patrolling around it. You had people sneaking up there, sailors drinking beer up there with the their girlfriends. And then, when the war was over, they broke in the liquor store on Buckingham Street and cleaned it right out. And then they busted all the windows on Barrington Street, you know. Even the street cars had a hard time there. Interviewer: What became know as the Halifax riot … did you remember seeing it? Oh Yeah. Well, I was downtown when it was going on, when the war was over. That’s when they broke all the Barrington Street windows and the liquor store on Buckingham Street. The military was all over the place, you know, and the police wouldn’t do noting. Interviewer: What to you remember about the people that were rioting? Oh, I don’t know. They just acted kind of crazy, as kids, you know. And to us, we just enjoyed them, seeing them doing different things that we never seen before, you know. Breaking windows, taking stuff out of the stores and going with it, you know. And we were tempted to go down, but my father was pretty strict. He said, “Don’t you go down there,” he said.

As a young person growing up in Halifax, Mr. Niles recalls the riots that broke out in downtown Halifax at the end of the war.

Joseph Allan Niles

Mr. Joseph Allan Niles was born December 15, 1932, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the oldest of four children. His father enlisted for service during the First World War, but was released for medical reasons, and found work in the dockyards. Mr. Niles grew up in downtown Halifax, and at age fourteen, he left school to work as a labourer, working on many buildings in the Halifax area. Mr. Niles enlisted on May 4, 1951, at age 17, with the Canadian Armed Forces in Halifax. He became part of a Special Force with the Royal Canadian Regiment, serving in Korea. He commenced his basic training in Camp Petawawa, Ontario, and completed his advanced training in Camp Wainwright, Alberta. In March 1952, Mr. Niles left for Korea, first travelling by train to British Columbia, then to Seattle, Washington, where he boarded a troop ship to Japan and Korea. Mr. Niles took part in fighting patrols and saw action on the front lines in Korea. After his one year tour of duty was completed, he volunteered for an additional three year term in the army, and remained in Korea until the end of October, 1953. He was discharged from the Armed Forces in June, 1954, and settled in Montreal where he found a job with the railroad. His employment later took him to Truro, Nova Scotia. Mr. Niles died in the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital in Halifax, on April 30, 2007.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
February 14, 2011
Person Interviewed:
Joseph Allan Niles
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Canadian Regiment

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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