WWI Canadian Soldiers

Records: 739,105 · Complete: 100%

Description

When Britain entered World War I in August 1914, Canada sent soldiers to serve overseas in France, Belgium, and England via the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). The initial contingent of 25,000 Canadian troops eventually grew to include four infantry divisions and corps units for a total of 619,636 individuals, the majority of which served in Europe. In addition to infantry, the CEF was also comprised of artillery batteries; engineering companies; railway and forestry troops; and units responsible for administrative support, training, and medical care.

This collection of records is made up of the digitized service files of the CEF, including soldiers, nurses, and chaplains, scanned from the original records at the Library and Archives of Canada. Physical copies of each soldier’s service documents were originally contained in envelopes that often listed the individual's name, regiment, unit, and HQ file number, as well as what service file documents (sometimes up to a few dozen) were contained inside; these envelopes and their contents are what are reproduced in this collection.

Nearly all the service files include an Attestation Form or a Military Service Act Enlistment form; these forms for volunteers are two-sided, while those for draftees were simplified to a single page. Information found on these forms often includes the individual’s name, address, next-of-kin, date and place of birth, occupation, previous military service, and distinguishing physical characteristics. Officers filled out an Officers' Declaration Paper instead.

Other forms found in the files may include a casualty form, training history, field conduct sheet, regimental conduct sheet, medical history sheet, dental history sheet, medical report, medical examination, transfer clothing statement, court of inquiry proceedings, court of inquiry declaration, last pay certificate, proceedings on discharge, particulars of character, copy of parchment discharge certificate, and other miscellaneous forms. Some files may even include casualty or medal forms, pay books, passports, personal photos, or correspondence.

On Fold3, these service files are organized alphabetically by surname, then given name. There may be differences in the spelling of a name between the envelope, Attestation Form, and other documents in the file.

Sources:

"Soldiers of the First World War: 1914-1918." Library and Archives Canada. Government of Canada, 04 Mar. 2016. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.

"Digitization of Canadian Expeditionary Force Service Files." Library and Archives Canada. Government of Canada, 30 Dec. 2015. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.