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Military Abbreviations, Terms and Meanings

Service personnel military files from the First World War contain many abbreviations and terms, the most common of which are explained here.
AbbreviationTermMeaning
Acting or a/Acting Rankhigher rank held on a temporary basis - also known as a brevet rank for officers
AdjAdjutantadministrative assistant to a commanding officer (below divisional level)
admadmittedsoldiers entering hospital for medical treatment
ARDAlberta Regimental Depotfacility in England used to assemble men and to store and administer equipment and materials
att’dattachedto be made part of a specific unit on a temporary basis
authauthorized, authoritydesignation of the individual or organization permitting the action noted
AWL or AWOLabsent without leaveaway from a unit without permission; an offence under military law
Batt’n or BnBattalionunit of approximately 1,000 men commanded by a lieutenant-colonel
BCRDBritish Columbia Regimental Depotfacility in England used to assemble men and to store and administer equipment and materials
BEFBritish Expeditionary Forcearmy of more than 3,000,000 men established by the Government of Britain for service overseas
BdeBrigadeunit of approximately 4,000 men commanded by a brigadier-general
BramshottBramshottlocation of a Canadian military training base in Hampshire, England
BtyBatteryartillery unit commanded by a major and composed of four or six guns or mortars
BoulogneBoulognelocation of Canadian General Hospital (number three) in France
CADCCanadian Army Dental Corpscorps of military dentists and other personnel providing dental services to soldiers
CAMCCanadian Army Medical Corpscorps of military doctors, nursing sisters and other personnel providing medical treatment to soldiers
CanterburyCanterburylocation of Canadian Military Hospital (number two) in Kent, England
CASCCanadian Army Service Corpsbranch of the military responsible for supplying troops in the field
CavCavalrysoldiers who fought on horseback
CBDCanadian Base Detailssmall units charged with maintaining and improving camp areas
CCACCanadian Casualty Assembly Centrecentre where wounded were assessed for either further treatment or return to duty
CCCCCanadian Corps Composite Companyunit of men unfit for active duty at the front and attached to Corps Headquarters for employment
CCDCanadian Convalescent Depotfacility where soldiers could recover from wounds and rebuild their strength
CCRCCanadian Corps Reinforcement Centrecentre in France where troops were held before being sent to reinforce existing units
CCSCasualty Clearing Stationfirst medical unit (after the Aid Post) for wounded soldiers evacuated from the front lines
CDDCanadian Discharge Depotcentre in Canada where soldiers returning from war were released from service
CDACCanadian Divisional Ammunition Depotrailhead where divisional ammunition was stored before being shipped to the front
CECanadian Engineerscorps of men who built bridges, railway depots, camps, bases and other military installations
CEFCanadian Expeditionary Forceforce of more than 600,000 men established by the Government of Canada for service overseas
CERDCanadian Engineer Reinforcement Depotcentre from which reinforcements were allocated to existing engineering units
CFACanadian Field Ambulanceunit responsible for evacuating the wounded from the front lines to medical centres
CFACanadian Field Artilleryorganization responsible for using medium-calibre guns in direct or indirect support of infantry
CFCCanadian Forestry Corpsunits designated to cut down and process trees to provide wood and lumber
CGACanadian Garrison Artilleryorganization responsible for using large-calibre guns against heavily fortified positions
CGHCanadian General Hospitalpermanent hospital where extensive treatment was given to the wounded
CGRCanadian Garrison Regimentunit of 13 battalions formed in April 1918 to perform garrison duty in Canada’s 13 military districts
CLCasualty Listlist of soldiers wounded, killed, missing or taken prisoner by the enemy
CLHCanadian Light Horsecavalry unit, originally intended as a scouting force
CMGCCanadian Machine Gun Corpssoldiers with machine guns responsible for supporting or defending against infantry attack
CMRCanadian Mounted Riflesmounted soldiers originally, later used largely as infantry
C of ICourt of Inquirygroup of officers convened to investigate specific questions or events
ComCommandunit under the command of one officer or non-commissioned officer
COCommanding Officerany officer in command of a specific unit (usually battalion level and up)
ConvConvalescenta soldier recovering from wounds or illness
CORDCentral Ontario Regimental Depotfacility in England used to assemble men and to store and administer equipment and materials
CoyCompanyunit of approximately 200 men, divided into 4 platoons
CRCRCanadian Reserve Cavalry Regimentcavalry reserve unit based in England
CRTCanadian Railway Troopsmen recruited and organized to operate railways in rear areas
CSMCompany Sergeant-Majorsenior non-commissioned officer in a company
DACDivisional Ammunition Companyorganization responsible for supplying ammunition to a division
DCMDistinguished Conduct Medalmedal for bravery awarded to other ranks (non-officers)
disdischargedreleased from the military service, or from a hospital
DivDivisionunit of approximately 12,000 men commanded by a major-general
DODaily Order (of a unit)administration orders issued to mark personnel changes of a unit (transfers, hospitalizations, etc.)
D of WDied of Woundsofficial cause of death
DvrDriverdesignation or rank of a soldier who drives vehicles
East SandlingEast Sandlinglocation of Canadian military training base in Kent, England
embembarkedwent aboard ship for departure overseas; Canada to Britain or Canada to France
EORDEastern Ontario Regimental Depotfacility in England used to assemble men and to store and administer equipment and materials
FracFracturedmedical term for a broken bone
GC BadgeGood Conduct Badgeaward for good conduct during service
GenGeneralcommanding officer at division or corps level
GHQGeneral Headquarterscommand centre from which corps or army commanders direct the war
GnrGunnerlowest rank in the Royal Canadian Artillery (equivalent to private)
GSWGunshot Woundwound caused by a bullet
GOCGeneral Officer Commandinghighest ranking general, usually at corps level
HMSHis Majesty’s Shipvessel under the control of the Royal Navy
HMTHis Majesty’s Troopshipdesignated ship carrying troops between Canada and England and England and France
HospHospitaldesignated location where soldiers receive medical treatment
HowHowitzeran artillery weapon (various calibres) capable of firing shells in a low or high arc
HQHeadquarterscommand centre for a military unit in the field (company level and above)
inv “wd”invalided woundeda soldier transferred away from the front as a result of wounds received in action
KIAKilled in Actiondesignation of how a soldier died
LG (Lon Gaz)London Gazetteofficial British government publication of decorations, honours and promotions
LMBLight Mortar Batteryfront line unit of light mortars used for direct fire support
LSHLord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians)cavalry unit first established for the South African War
M&DMedals and Decorationslist of theatre medals or decorations received for military service, as well as special citations
MCMilitary Crossaward given to officers for specific act(s) of bravery, or for meritorious service
MDMilitary District(or Depot) designated military administrative areas in Canada (13 in number)
MIAMissing in actioncasualty whose whereabouts and status (alive, dead or captured) after an action are unknown
MIDMentioned-in-Despatchescommendation by commanding officer for outstanding or meritorious service
MilMilitaryorganization responsible for defending a country or for the conduct of a war
Missmissinglocation of an individual is unknown
MMMilitary Medalmedal for bravery awarded to other ranks (non-officers)
MRDManitoba Regimental Depotfacility behind front used to assemble men and to store and administer equipment and materials
NCOnon-commissioned officernon-commissioned officer
NSRDNova Scotia Regimental Depotfacility behind front used to assemble men and to store and administer equipment and materials
NYDnot yet determineda medical condition not yet diagnosed
OMFCOverseas Military Forces of CanadaCanadian cabinet ministry that conducted Canadian military affairs in London, England
OrpingtonOrpingtonlocation of military hospital in Kent, England
O.S.Overseasall areas outside the territorial waters of North America
P&SPlaque and Scroll (Memorial)given to the families of soldiers who died during service
PnrPioneermember of a pioneer battalion, used for specialized engineering work in rear areas
PPCLIPrincess Patricia’s Canadian Light InfantryCanadian regiment of experienced soldiers privately established by Hamilton Galt
prespresumedofficial term not available
Procproceededofficial term not available
PtePrivatelowest rank of enlisted soldier
Pt. II OPart II Ordersadministrative orders issued by a unit (see DO)
PUOPyrexiaof unknown origin fever of an undetermined cause
QRDQuebec Regimental Depotfacility in England used to assemble men and to store and administer equipment and materials
RAFRoyal Air Force Britishair force (Royal Flying Corps [RFC] before April 1918)
RCDRoyal Canadian Dragoonsheavy cavalry unit
RCHARoyal Canadian Horse Artilleryspecific regiment of artillery inside the Royal Canadian Artillery
RCRRoyal Canadian Regimentone of the oldest Canadian infantry regiments, founded in 1883
remremainedstayed in an area, or stayed on duty
ResReserveforce of men remaining behind the lines to reinforce the front lines where needed
RFBReported from Baseunit base report about a soldier
RFCRoyal Flying Corpssee RAF
RSMRegimental Sergeant-Majorsenior non-commissioned officer in a regiment
RTCReturned to Corpsa soldier returning to duty
RTUReturned to Unita soldier returning to a unit following illness, wounds, leave or training
SalisburySalisburylocation of first Canadian military training base in Southwest England in 1915
SeafordSeafordlocation of Canadian military training base in Sussex, England
SEFSiberian Expeditionary Forcesmall international force sent to Russia in 1918 to help anti-communist forces
ShorncliffeShorncliffelocation of Canadian military training base in Kent, England
SOSStruck off strength (of a unit)when a soldier ceases to be a member of a unit because of transfer, injury or death
SprSapperlowest enlisted rank in Canadian Engineers (see CE)
SSSteamshiptransport vessel used to carry troops and equipment
StatyStationary (Hospital)large movable hospital of between 400 and 1,000 beds
SWShrapnel (Shell)wound type of wound received from shrapnel or shell fragment
TMBTrench Mortar Batterysmall- to medium-calibre mortars used in infantry support and to shell enemy trenches
TOSTaken on strength (of a unit)entry of a soldier to a unit
TprTrooperlowest rank in a cavalry unit
transtransferredto be sent from one unit or location to another
unkunknownlocation of a soldier is not known
WiltonWiltonlocation of Canadian military training base in Wiltshire, England (on Salisbury Plain)
w, (w)woundedinjury caused by enemy action