This is a free database of Canadian soldiers who fought during the First World War and is helpful for family history and genealogy research. The records are being digitized in an on-going basis and uploaded every two weeks.

“The digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) personnel service files is in progress. The original paper documents can no longer be consulted. However, digital reprography is available for those files that have not yet been prepared for digitization. Newly digitized files are added to the  Soldiers of the First World War database, every two weeks until the project’s completion. When a file has been digitized, a link called ‘Digitized service file – PDF format’ is added to the database entry. If there is no pdf link, it means the file has not yet been digitized. Please check the database regularly for new additions. If you still have questions after having checked the database, you may contact us at 1-866-578-7777 (option 8). Making these records available in digital format will ensure: Clients can easily and quickly download high-quality digital copies of these service files, free of charge.The long-term preservation of these unique and fragile paper documents. Project updates will also be shared via the Library and Archives Canada Blog on the 15th of every month.”

“The First World War, fought between 1914 and 1918, was the first of the great world-wide conflicts of the twentieth century, pitting the ‘Central Powers’ of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and smaller allies against the ‘Entente’, notably the British Empire, France, Russia, Italy, Japan, the United States, and their allies. 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.”

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