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Military


Canadian Forces after 1918 (including Second World War)

Military Records Held by Library and Archives Canada

Military service files include documentation about enlistment, discharge, military units served with, and may also include other documents concerning medical history, medals awarded, personal evaluation reports and dental charts. Library and Archives Canada holds military service files for those who served after 1918. Except for those who died in service during the Second World War, there is no online database for these records because of access restrictions.

OPEN RECORDS

Second World War (1939-1945): Canadian Armed Forces Members who Died in Service

There are no access restrictions on the service files for members of the Canadian Armed Forces who died in service between 1939 and 1947, including those killed in action, those who subsequently died of injuries related to service and those who died as a result of accident or illness while in service.

To identify a military service file for these individuals, you can search the following online database. Please read the online help pages to find out how to order a copy of a file.

Second World War Service Files: Canadian Armed Forces War Dead

RESTRICTED RECORDS

For all other military service files (1919-1997), including Second World War (not killed in action), access restrictions apply.

For requests for information concerning Canada Forces members currently serving or who were released from service or died in service from 1 January 1998 to the present, please write to:

Department of National Defence
Director, Access to Information and Privacy (DAIP)
National Defence Headquarters
Ottawa ON  K1A 0K2

Exception: Requests for medical and dental records only of Canadian Armed Forces members who were released from service or who died in service more than five years ago are handled by Library and Archives Canada.

How to Send an Inquiry Concerning Your Own or Another Individual's Records

We try to answer inquiries within 30 days; however, due to the large number of inquiries being received, we are currently experiencing delays in our response times. Clients who submit a written request should expect to wait six months for a response. Priority service is given to people who require documentation to prove that they qualify for pensions, allowances, claims and other benefits, therefore, these types of requests should be clearly identified.

For projects involving research in a large number of files, the request will be assessed by our staff to determine if current resources can accommodate such an extensive commitment.

  • Your request must be signed.
  • To identify a file, we require surname, full given name(s), date of birth, and service number or social insurance number.
  • If you do not know the date of birth, service number or S.I.N. (social insurance number), secondary information (e.g., the names of next of kin, postings, dates of service, place of enlistment) can assist in identifying the correct individual.
  • Consult the section below on Access Restrictions.
  • Please specify what document(s) you require. If you are doing family history research, we recommend that you request a "genealogy package," which will include copies of selected documents from the file that highlight/summarize the individual's service.
  • We do not accept email inquiries for these records. Inquiries must be sent by mail or fax.
  • Your request can be written as a letter or you can print off a blank copy of the Application for Military Service Information form available in [PDF 663 KB] or [RTF 44,516 KB] format, which should be filled in, signed and sent by mail or fax. (Download Freeware)
  • Inquiries should be sent by mail or fax to:

ATIP and Personnel Records Division
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0N4
Fax: 613-947-8456

Access Restrictions

  • Access to personal information relating to an individual who is still living requires that person's signed consent.
  • If the individual has been deceased for less than 20 years, limited information may be released to immediate family. Proof of death and relationship must be provided.
  • There are no restrictions on access to information relating to an individual who has been deceased for more than 20 years. Proof of death is required.

Proof of Death: A copy of a death certificate, newspaper obituary, funeral notice or photograph of the gravestone. Note that proof of death is not required if the individual died while in service.

Proof of Relationship: A document that clearly demonstrates the relationship between the individual concerned and the person requesting the record. Both names must appear on the document. A newspaper obituary, baptismal certificate or full-form birth certificate are acceptable. A wallet-sized birth certificate that does not indicate parents' names is not accepted. Please do not send original documents; photocopies are acceptable.

Immediate Family: A parent, spouse, child, sibling or grandchild of the individual.

Should you wish to submit a formal request under privacy legislation, see: Records of the Government of Canada.

Records not Held by Library and Archives Canada

Rejected for active Canadian Armed Forces service on medical grounds

Library and Archives Canada does not hold military personnel records of these individuals. These records are no longer in existence; they were destroyed under a Treasury Board Authority, dated 7 May 1964.

Called up for Canadian Armed Forces service during the Second World War (1939-1945) but never enrolled

Library and Archives Canada does not hold military personnel records of these individuals. These records are no longer in existence; they were destroyed under a Treasury Board Authority, dated 7 May 1964.

Pacific Coast Militia Rangers

These military personnel records were never placed in Library and Archives Canada's custody, and it is our understanding that they no longer exist.

Members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment who enlisted for active service but did not go overseas, Newfoundland Forces (Artillery, and Forestry Corps), Navy and Royal Air Force (Newfoundland Enlistments) all during Second World War (1939-1945)

For records of these individuals, you should write to:

The National Archives of UK
Ruskin Avenue
Kew, Richmond
Surrey TW9 4DU
United Kingdom

Service with the Sea, Army or Air Cadets

Records of these individuals have not been placed in Library and Archives Canada's custody, you should write to:

Chief Reserves and Cadets - Public Affairs
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General Pearkes Building
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0K2
CANADA
Tel: 1-800-627-0828
Fax: 613-996-1618
E-mail: cadet-info@forces.gc.ca

Research Online

Personnel files after 1918 and the personal information contained in them are protected by the provisions of privacy legislation. For the same reason, the database and indexes that are used to identify the files cannot be made available on our Web site. Only staff may access them.

Canada Remembers: The Second World War
[www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=history/secondwar]
Information about the Second World War (Veterans Affairs Canada)

Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War
[www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/newspapers/intro_e.shtml]
The history of the Second World War as reported in Canadian newspapers. This free newspaper archives of more than 144,000 newspaper articles offers wonderful opportunities for research in every aspect of war.

Armed Forces of Other Countries

The service records of those who served in the Armed Forces of countries other than Canada are held by those countries.

Australia

Department of Defence
[www.defence.gov.au/footer/contacts.htm]

World War Two Nominal Roll
[www.ww2roll.gov.au/]

France

Service historique de l'Armée de Terre
[www.servicehistorique.sga.defense.gouv.fr/?lang=en]

Germany

Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv
[www.bundesarchiv.de/aufgaben_organisation/dienstorte/freiburg/index.html]
(Also available in German)

Great Britain:

Veterans Agency
[www.veterans-uk.info/service_records/service_records.html]

Ireland

Defence Forces Military Archives
[www.military.ie/dfhq/archives/arch.htm]

New Zealand

NZDF Archives
[www.nzdf.mil.nz/personnel%2Drecords/nzdf-archives/default.htm]

Poland

Centralne Archiwum Wojskowe
[www.caw.wp.mil.pl/]
(Available in Polish only)

For Polish soldiers who served with the British Forces:

The Ministry of Defense
Army Records Center, Polish Section
Bourne Avenue
Hayes Middlesex, England UA3 1RF
Phone 0181 573 3831
Fax 0181 569 2751

South Africa

South African National Defence Forces
Documentation Service Directorate, (Personnel Division)
Private Bag X289, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa:
fax: +27 12 323 5613
(Mail or fax inquiries only)

United States

National Personnel Records Center
(www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/]

American Second World War enlistment records and other records relating to military personnel are available online on the Web site of the National Archives.
[http://aad.archives.gov/aad/]

Note: Canada did not participate in the Vietnam War. Records of Canadians who served with the American Forces are held at the above-noted office.

Related Topics

Merchant Marine/Merchant Navy