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Military Files

Military Service Files of the First World War

The military service documents found on the following page were selected by Library and Archives Canada as a small sample of the 660,000 Canadian men and women who served during the First World War. They have been selected to represent both Canada's aboriginal and ethnic diversity at the beginning of the twentieth century and the range of military experience, including soldiers of the infantry, artillery, engineers, signals, and service corps, and doctors and nurses of the medical corps.

Each set of military service documents is different and tells a unique story of a soldier or nursing sister of the First World War. Based on the surviving service documents, the documents selected tell of who these people were, what they did in the war, and, in the cases of those who gave their lives, what happened to them. For most of the men and women the service documents include an attestation paper signed on joining the military or being conscripted; a record of service indicating the units to which they were attached; a casualty form indicating any medical conditions or wounds; other medical documents; discharge documentation; and a medal card for honours and awards received. In some cases the documents also include telegrams notifying families of injuries, wounds and deaths, and other communications between the military authorities and families.

Administration and command of the Canadian Armed Force was conducted almost entirely in English, and, therefore, one will encounter very few French forms or communications.

Military Service Files of the Second World War

Library and Archives Canada selected the documents found on the following page as a representative sample of the 44,093 Canadian men and women who gave their lives in the service of their country during the Second World War. These files have been chosen to reflect Canadian diversity during the war. Whereas, in the First World War aboriginals and visible minorities were segregated into support units, the selected records reflect men from these communities integrated into units and fighting and dying in the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The files also reflect the larger role played by women in support of the armed forces.

Each PDF file is a selection of various documents from each of these individual's military service file. While there are variations between the three armed services, each file contains documents detailing who the individual was, what experience or qualifications he/she had on enlistment; a record of service documenting the units with which the individual served; information on the cause of death; and information provided to the family on death of their son, daughter, brother, sister, husband or father. In many cases, one will find correspondence between the families and military authorities, as well as information on honours and awards.

During the Second World War the three armed services did produce more forms in the French language, and correspondence to the families of service personnel was in either French or English, depending on the language used by the soldier. However, the working language in the Canadian Army, RCN and RCAF was predominantly English.

Order Files

First World War

Choose a Military Service File from the database then complete the order form.

Second World War

Choose a Military Service File from the database then complete the order form.

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