Canadian Military Files from the Great War

With the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War (World War One – 1914-1918) in November, this is a great time to see about any ancestors who served – as a soldier, a nurse, telegraph operator, chaplain, vehicle driver, etc. Not all who served were fighting soldiers.

Now online are the military files for those who served with the Canadian forces between 1914-1919. Even if you had no ancestors who lived in Canada, you just might be surprised how many Americans joined the Canadian forces because the United States did not enter the war until April 1917. Plus it wasn’t just those who lived near Canada, Americans everywhere who wanted to enter the service went to Canada to join.  

Use the search boxes on the page from the Library and Archives of Canada to begin. You just might start with a surname to see what appears. Even with several having similar first and last names to an ancestor of yours, you can narrow it down by their age and where they were born.

With their enlistment, there is a good deal of information provided. Name, birth date, birth place, next to kid and their relationship, occupation, any previous military service and if the person was willing to go overseas.

Example is my great uncle, John Thomas Kershaw, born Nov. 12, 1895 in England but he had been in the United States since 1912. He signed up July 1918, even with the US was by then in the war. Having a sample of his actual signature is a nice addition. Another important item is the written description – height, weight, eye and hair color.

So checking databases as they become available is important, do not overlook every resource.

Photos: Canadian Expeditionary Forces; and John Thomas Kershaw enlistment forms.

Related Blogs:

Ancestors in Great War

100th Anniversary of end of WW One

Your American ‘Doughboy’

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