Many Canadian families have at least one ancestral relative that served in the First and Second World Wars. Through my family research, I have discovered that my family has many soldiers that served with either the Canadian Forces, or the British Forces.
With the release of all the WWI files at Library and Archives Canada, researching your First World War Veterans has become incredibly facilitated. The first part of the project had images of Attestation records uploaded, and the bulk of the remainder of the individual Canadian Soldier Personnel Records have been scanned and added to the collection. The UK Archives have also been scanning and uploading their records to their Archives website as well.
From the UK Archives, I downloaded the service record of my Great Grandfather Matthew Connor who served with as a Trumpeter and Gunner with the ‘A’ Battery (Forfarshire) of the 256th Brigade, 2nd Highland (51st) Division out of Dundee Scotland. After reading through his military record, I went back to the UK Archive site, and ordered a copy of the War Diary for his Division. The detail of the Division’s activities is incredibly useful for understanding the movements of my ancestor throughout his time in service. I was also able to find information and photographs for his Division on the Forces War Records website.
LAC has mainly uploaded service files for the Canadian Expeditionary Forces (CEF). Home Defense was not included. For another of my other Great Grandfathers James J Mahaffey who served as Home Guard (and was also a Trumpeter), patrolling the St. Lawrence River (From Prescott to Cornwall), much of the file has been lost for the ‘D’ Squadron of the 4th Hussars, and little is known about the unit during the First World War. A partial pay list and receipts collection has survived. [There is a small blog post about the Squadron on the Cornwall Community Museum site].
There are many other websites available that have histories of military Divisions where a researcher can learn at least a rudimentary amount about their Relative’s placements, or have dedicated lists of those that lost their lives during the conflict.
World War II records are still protected under privacy laws, and but are available if requested to direct descendants of soldiers that served.
This is a short list of the individuals that I have found to date. I still have an enormous amount of research to do for each one, but for most, I have at least the basics, thanks to information available on-line.
- CONNOR, Matthew ~RFA – 2nd Highland Bde/51st Div, ‘A’ bty. (635077)
- CORDES, Herman ~CEF – 257th Btn. (1102317)
- CORDIS, William ~CEF – 257th Btn. (644573)
- CURRAN, David G ~BA – Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers/1st Btn. (44264) *KIA
- CURRAN, Samuel J ~BA – Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers/1st Btn. (24193) *KIA
- GERARD, Hubert D ~CF – 94th Regt. (2700323)
- GERARD, Joseph W ~CF – 94th Regt. (2700322)
- LALONDE, Arthur J ~HD/CEF – 59th Btn, 253Rd Btn., C.A.M.C (1090063/455819)
- MAHAFFEY, James J ~HD – 4th Hussars, ‘D’ Squadron (NPAM)
- McNAUGHTON, John ~CEF – 48th Highlanders, 15th Btn (27376) *KIA
- CAWKER, Thomas R ~RCN
- FOUNTAIN, Joseph R ~CF
- LALONDE, Alexander J ~CEF
- LALONDE, Arthur J ~CAF
- McHAFFIE, James JF ~CF
- McHAFFIE, Robert JJ ~CF
I hope to add further posts for these individuals once I have more detailed research to flesh out their stories.