From 1914 to 1918, thousands of Canadian men and women were called upon to contribute to the effort required for the First World War.
Research at Library and Archives Canada
Canadian Expeditionary Force
Library and Archives Canada holds the personnel records for the 600,000 Canadians who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War (1914-1918). To identify the file references for nurses, chaplains and soldiers, you can search our Soldiers of the First World War database.
If you order a copy of a file, the following information pages will help you interpret the documents:
Other references to aboriginal soldiers can be identified using the ARCHIVED - Government of Canada Files database.
Keywords: surname of the person and "soldier"
Record Group: 10
Royal Newfoundland Regiment and Newfoundland Forestry Corps
Library and Archives Canada holds microfilm copies of the military personnel files of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and Newfoundland Forestry Corps. References to those files can be identified using the ARCHIVED - Government of Canada Files database.
Keywords: surname of the person and "Newfoundland"
Record Group: 38
Please take note that the documents for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment on microfilm are not available for loan from Library and Archives Canada. The Family History Library has a copy of these microfilm reels.
Imperial War Service Gratuity files
Some Canadian residents who served with the British Imperial Forces during the First World War received a gratuity from the Canadian government. Those Imperial War Service Gratuity files are found in our Department of Militia and Defence fonds (RG 9 II F10). References to those files can be identified using the Government of Canada Files database. Use the Detailed Search Screen.
Finding Aid: 9-56
The Royal Canadian Air Force did not exist at this time and those wishing to serve in the Air Forces would have joined the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Air Force (RAF). Library and Archives Canada does not hold personnel records for those individuals.
Library and Archives Canada does hold some nominal rolls of Canadians who served with the RFC and RAF in the following series. Those lists are not available on microfilm; they must be consulted onsite.
RG 24, vol. 23195: E to H and I to M
RG 24, vol. 23196: A to D and N to W
RG 24, acc. 1995-96/670, box 1: Acland to Luxton
RG 24, acc. 1995-96/670, box 2: Macaskill to Zieman
Personnel files for the RAF and RFC are in the custody of the National Archives in England. The records are described in their guide: Royal Air Force and predecessors.
Library and Archives Canada holds the following records for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Naval Reserve.
Royal Canadian Navy Service Ledger Sheets (RG 150, 1992-93/170)
The service ledger sheets consist of single over-size pages that summarize each individual's service, including the names of ships and shore bases. They are arranged by service number in 27 volumes.
These ledger sheets have been indexed by name in the following database. Consult the database Search Help page for information about the records, how to obtain copies and other sources for naval personnel records.
Service Files (RG 24, 1992-93/169)
These files are more administrative and financial in nature than the service ledger sheets. Most files contain a variety of documents, which may include enrollment applications, discharge or demobilization forms and separation allowances. They usually average from 25 to 50 pages. Some files relate to enrollment in the Royal Naval Air Service. First World War files are open to the public without access restrictions.
References to the service files are found in Finding Aid 24-167. The references can be identified using Archives Search. In the search box enter the Finding Aid number and the name such as:
If the individual continued his service after the war, his First World World records may be in his post-1918 file.
Service records for those who served in the Royal Navy are in the custody of the National Archives in England and can be searched online.
Royal Navy: Registers of Seamen's Services (1853 to 1923)
Armed Forces of Other Countries
National Archives of Australia
Austrian State Archives, War Archive
Service historique de l'Armée de Terre
Researching the German Army, 1914-1918
Surviving personnel records for members of the British Forces, including the Royal Navy, Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force, are in the custody of the National Archives in England (formerly the Public Record Office). Use their Family History Military Guide [www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/familyhistory/military/] to identify military records of interest to you.
Defence Forces Military Archives
Archives New Zealand
The Polish Army in France
(Blue Army or Haller's Army)
Haller's Army Index
SANDF Documentation Service Directorate, (Personnel Division)
Private Bag X289, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa:
fax: +27 12 323 5613
(Mail or fax inquiries only)
National Personnel Records Center
Research in Published Sources
Consult our Bibliography for further information on this topic.
Military Records of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the Newfoundland Forestry Corps
Canada Remembers: The First World War
Use AVITUS to find other Web sites about records for the First World War.
The Newfoundland Great War Heritage Project
Canadian Great War Project