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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Research: Manitoba Ancestors by Laura Hanowski. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
The war diaries are a daily account of each unit’s “Actions in the Field.” The Library and Archives Canada contains the digitised diaries of the CEF infantry, artillery and Cavalry units, Brigade, Division and Corps commands and support units such as Railway and Forestry troops. The site also includes the War Diaries of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and several British units that served under Canadian Command. The diaries are arranged by regiment. If you do not know the regiment number first find your soldier’s regimental number then check the “Regimental Number List of the Canadian Expeditionary Force” site found in the Online Help section of “War Diaries of the First World War” site. Not all diaries have been digitised yet but all are available on microfilm through interlibrary loan.
- Nicholson, G.W.L. Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1962.
Post World War 1 Records
The Library and Archives Canada has records for those who served in World War II and the Korean War. These records 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. There is an index to those who served in World War II but it is restricted to specific archive personnel who can check it for you. Requests for information are subject to the federal Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. A copy of the application form is found online.
There are war diaries for World War II and the Korean Conflict found in RG 24 C 3. Find the name and time period online at Library and Archives Canada by consulting “Government of Canada Files” then under Detailed Search Screen enter 24-60 in the Finding Aid field and then the unit name. If a microfilm number is shown the reel can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. Those records not microfilmed must be consulted at the archives.
Histories about army, navy and air force units provide excellent background material for researchers. These books can be found at local libraries or can be ordered through interlibrary loan. Local veteran organizations will have copies of the histories for regiments in their area. Stores that specialize in military memorabilia are also a good source of information about military history books.
Military Cemeteries and Memorials
Community cemeteries often have special sections to honour veterans who have served in the Canadian military. These sections use standard markers that show the name, military number, rank, unit name, date of death and the age of the veteran. The badge of the unit is found above the name.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Information about those who died while in active service and are buried in Commonwealth War Cemeteries can be obtained by consulting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The information provided may include: name, rank, unit and regiment, regimental service number, age, date of death, cemetery name and location of the grave within the cemetery. Some additional information about the family will be given if this information was provided.
You can also write to the Commission for the information. It is free to family members but there is a small charge to others.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
2 Marlow Road
Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 7DX
Books of Remembrance
Those who were killed during any of the wars are listed in the Books of Remembrance which are found in the Peace Tower in the Parliament Building in Ottawa. Each day a different page is displayed. Copies of these books can also be seen online.
Community War Memorials
Most communities have a war memorial to honour the war dead from their community. Many local histories will also have a section that lists the names of those who served in addition to the names of those who died. Communities that have local newspapers provided extensive information about those who enlisted, where they served, and when they returned after the war. If the person was injured, reported missing or was killed in action more information would be printed in the newspaper. Remembrance Day issues also contain information about local service men and women.
Manitoba has created geo-memorial sites to honour those Manitoba citizens who lost their lives while serving in the military during World War II. Bays, inlets, peninsulas and lakes now commemorate these men and women. The Manitoba Geographical Names Program is responsible for selecting the sites and registering the names. To see if there has been a geo-memorial site named for your ancestor contact:
Manitoba Department of Natural Resources
Land Information Division
1007 Century Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H 0W4
Telephone: (204) 945-6666
Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
The Department of Veterans Affairs has the records of those veterans that are still living or those who have been dead for less than 20 years. The information about how to apply for these records is found on the web page under the heading “Post WW 1 Records.”
Veterans Affairs Canada
66 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P4
Winnipeg Veterans Affairs Canada
610 - 234 Donald Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4G5
Telephone: (204) 983-7040
- Allison, L. and H. Hayward. They Shall Grow Not Old. Brandon, Manitoba: Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Inc., 1992. Has a short biography for over 18,000 men and women in the RCAF who were killed between 03 September 1943-12 August 1945
- Brodie, B.S.. “The Military Service of the Crucified Canadian.” Saskatchewan Genealogical Society Bulletin 30 March 1999.
- Brodie, Brian. “Military Records.” Tracing Your Saskatchewan Ancestors: A Guide to the Records and How to Find Them, 2nd edition. Laura M. Hanowski, editor. Regina, Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, 2003.
- Journal of the Military History Society of Manitoba. Winnipeg, Manitoba: The Society, 1992 +
- Naylor, Major Morley Gordon. Sapper’s of the North: a history of the militia in Flin Flon, Manitoba on the 40th anniversary of 21 Field Engineer Squadron (formerly 21 Field Squadron Royal Canadian Engineers, 1949-1989. Flin Flon, Manitoba: The Squadron, 1989.
- Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron 402. City of Winnipeg 402 Squadron 1932-1994. Winnipeg: The Squadron, 1974.
- Tascona, Bruce. XII Manitoba Dragoons: A Tribute Twelfth Manitoba Dragoons. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Manitoba Dragoons History Book Committee, 1991.
- The War Dead of the Commonwealth. The Register of the Names of Those Who Fell in the 1939-1945 War and Are Buried in Cemeteries in Canada. Cemeteries in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Maidenhead, England: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1963.
Military Service Organizations
Royal Canadian Legion
The Royal Canadian Legion halls can be a valuable source of information for the genealogist. Most have histories for the services represented by their membership as well as information that was supplied by their members when they joined. Check the Manitoba telephone book for the locations in each community or:
The Royal Canadian Legion, publisher of The Legion Magazine, has printed obituaries of their members for many years. Currently there some 60,000 entries going back to January of 1995 found in their database. These are updated twice a year.
Air Force Association of Canada
The Royal Canadian Air Force Association was formed in 1948. The title was changed to the Air Force Association of Canada in 1994 but continued to serve as an advocacy group to support Air Force veterans from the Second World War.
Their website has the following databases that are particularly valuable to genealogists. You will find them under the heading “Honours and Awards".
- Canadians serving with British Flying Services during WW 1
- RCAF personnel - Honors and Awards - 1939-1949
- Canadians Serving in RAF during WW 2
- Commonwealth Air Forces serving in RCAF during WW 2
- CF Personnel postwar services related to aviation
Military History Society of Manitoba
Military History Society of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 2G1
Telephone: (204) 255-3907
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: Manitoba Ancestors offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at email@example.com
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.