Researching Service Records
For Canadians searching for information on their relatives service records from the First World War, Second World War or South African War, the following information is provided to assist in that research.
The sections are divided into areas of research, including resources on various sites of historical interest, followed by sections based on specific conflicts that Canadians served in for which records exist.
Researching Service Records
For relatives who were killed overseas during either the First or Second World Wars, the CWGC site can be used to locate their cemetery or memorial.
This site contains additional references useful when searching for War Diaries, Ships Logs, Royal Flying Corp/ Air Force and Military Medals.
The Books of Remembrance are located in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and contain the names of Canadians who fought in wars and gave their lives in service to our country.
Library and Archives Canada initiative to connect youth to Canada's history by making military service files available, and by reflecting on the sacrifices made by our veterans in order to preserve our values and freedoms.
A Guide to Library and Archives Canada resources recalling the Canadian War Experience.
A valuable guide for researchers of available sources at Library and Archives Canada related to Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force from the First World War.
Records relating to Canadian soldiers who served in the South African War have been indexed and can be searched with this link.
One of the first steps in tracking down a First World War veterans service record is to locate their Attestation record with Collections Canada.
From the link above, click "Search: Database" and enter the veterans first and last names. Once identified, you will find among other things their Regimental number, next-of-kin and signature.
To pursue a search of a veterans military career, it is usually necessary to order a copy of their service records from Library and Archives Canada.
Soldiers were often transferred between units or on leave, so the service records are required to indicate when and where they were at any given time. Included in the files will be an 'Active Service' summary often of sufficient detail to trace their activities in the field.
Once the Service records arrive, then the War Diaries can be searched to uncover what their regimental units were doing at any particular period during the war. Click here for the archived version from Collections Canada.
This link allows access to service personal who died during the war or immediately after, 1939-1947. From the link above, click "Search: Database" and enter the veterans first and last name. Once identified, the birth and death date, Rank, Service number, and possibly next-of-kin will be found.
Use this link to find information on how to request Service Records of a relative who served during the Second World War and survived.
The types of service records that may be requested, including those who survived the Second World War. An order of this type now requires a ATIP request.
A successful ATIP request grants the right to access restricted government records including those of Second World War service personnel who survived the war.
Additional Library and Archives Canada material related to the Second World War.