Source Information

Ancestry.com. Canada, WWI CEF Personnel Files, 1914-1918 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data:

Canadian Expeditionary Force. CEF Personnel Files, 1914-1918. Accession 1992-93/166. Record Group 150. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

About Canada, WWI CEF Personnel Files, 1914-1918

About This Collection

Shortly after the British declaration of war in August 1914, Canada offered an initial contingent of 25,000 for service overseas. A second contingent was offered in the autumn of 1914. The 1st Canadian Division was formed from units of the first contingent in January 1915, and was fighting in France the following month. In September 1915, the Canadian Corps was formed, incorporating the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions, and the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. Further contingents and reinforcement drafts continued to be sent overseas. At the time of the Armistice in November 1918, the Canadian Corps had expanded to include four infantry divisions and corps units. Other Canadian units, including some artillery batteries, engineering companies, and railway and forestry troops, served directly under British command in France and Belgium. Still other units, responsible for administrative support, training, forestry and medical care, served in England. The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), as the army raised during the First World War was designated, grew in the course of the conflict to 619,636, of whom 424,589 served in Europe.

The service files of CEF members can consist of up to two or three dozen forms, dealing with enlistment, training, medical and dental history, hospitalization, discipline, pay, medal entitlements and discharge or notification of death. A copy of the Attestation paper or Military Service Act Enlistment form is invariably present on the file, unless the soldier was a deserter or defaulter (failed to report for duty). Service files indicate the locations of postings in England, but do not provide similar information for theatres of war, such as the Western Front. They indicate only the unit to which the individual was posted.

The above text was taken from the website of the Library and Archives Canada.

This database consists of service files for men who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) of the First World War. The database currently contains records for surnames beginning with A through M, and for some surnames from later in the alphabet. As more service files are digitized and indexed, additional records will be added to this database.

Details available in a service file vary depending on the soldier, but typically include:

  • Name of enlistee
  • Address
  • Birthplace
  • Birth date
  • Age
  • Name of next of kin
  • Relationship to next of kin
  • Regimental number

Additional information about the enlistee, such as their occupation, marital status, religion, and/or physical description is often included as well.