Soldiers of the First World War - CEF Over 600,000 men and women enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War (1914-1918) as soldiers, nurses and chaplains. The CEF database is an index to those service files, which are held by Library and Archives Canada. This is a list that contains data about service files, not the actual service files themselves. To search for full service files by name or regimental number, visit Library and Archives Canada’s database. (​​http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/first-world-war-1914-1918-cef/Pages/search.aspx) 1995-06-20 2016-12-01 Library and Archives Canada open-ouvert@tbs-sct.gc.ca Militarymilitarywarsoldiercanadaexpeditionary forceceffirst world warwwi19141918 DatasetXML http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/900/f11/001042_20141124.xml Supporting DocumentationHTML http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/first-world-war-1914-1918-cef/Pages/canadian-expeditionary-force.aspx Supporting DocumentationHTML http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/fra/decouvrez/patrimoine-militaire/premiere-guerre-mondiale/premiere-guerre-mondiale-1914-1918-cec/Pages/corps-expeditionnaires-canadien.aspx Data DictionaryXML http://data.gc.ca/commonwebsol/fileuploads/2/D/2/2D283451-5640-45FB-8F78-9D3AF936CB59/001042-txt-f.xml Data DictionaryXML http://data.gc.ca/commonwebsol/fileuploads/B/B/3/BB31EB47-4586-44BE-9D5D-C564C8CEF840/001042-txt-e.xml

Soldiers of the First World War - CEF

Over 600,000 men and women enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War (1914-1918) as soldiers, nurses and chaplains. The CEF database is an index to those service files, which are held by Library and Archives Canada.

This is a list that contains data about service files, not the actual service files themselves. To search for full service files by name or regimental number, visit Library and Archives Canada’s database. (​​http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/first-world-war-1914-1918-cef/Pages/search.aspx)

Resources

Resource Name Resource Type Format Language Links
Dataset Dataset XML English
French
Access
Supporting Documentation Guide HTML English Access
Supporting Documentation Guide HTML French Access
Data Dictionary Guide XML French Access
Data Dictionary Guide XML English Access

Comments (199)

Where do I put in the name and find out if they are in the WW1 list? Can't find where to input. I don't remember it being this confusing when I used this site several years ago.

Tottally agree have used this in the past why would you not have someone who is not a chip head go through the steps before you change things you could have at least made it go to the webpage your suggesting by tapping on the link but you couldn't even make that simple process a possibility

Just wasted over an hour trying to access the database and going around in circles. Very disappointed.

I am trying to find out where my grandfather served after he joined the Canadian Army in World War 1. The information on the website is sending me around in circles. My grandfather was called Isaac Beal and he was born in Hamsterley, Count Durham, England 1878/9. Any information regarding his enlistment and service record would be helpful. I would be grateful if you could point me in the right direction.

What is completely unacceptable here is the disrespect to the commenters above. Responding with the same drone link statement to each complainant is unacceptable. Realize that these are the people who care and support LAC. Talk to them like humans.

All you can get to is Attestation Papers nothing else not even a form to request more information on a soldier!!!! What kind of backward thinking is this?

What is wrong with our records system that it has all be sold out to private firms such as Ancestry!! We are forced to goto high priced companies in order to access information that should be free to the residents of Canada!!! I cannot even find the proper form to order copies of a family members service records who was killed in France in 1916. Cant even find the circumstances of his death!!! The old system was soooooo easy to use!! This one you just go round in circles. AND don't tell me to go to this site or that site of the LAC. Because you just go in circles. When I needed information on my fathers military record all I had to do was fill out a form with all the pertinent information. Checked the box that it was for family history and it was sent to me free of charge. Now its such a burden to find any thing that you give up. And I cant afford to belong to the family ancestry sites due to there exorbitant prices. I'm a pensioner and cannot afford such a luxury.

What is wrong with our records system that it has all be sold out to private firms such as Ancestry!! We are forced to goto high priced companies in order to access information that should be FREE to the residents of Canada!!! I cannot even find the proper form to order copies of a family members service records who was killed in France in 1916. Cant even find the circumstances of his death!!! The old system was soooooo easy to use!! This one you just go round in circles. AND don't tell me to go to this site or that site of the LAC. Because you just go in circles. This is just another example of not knowing what you people at the LAC not knowing what you are doing.

The updated (2014-11-24) dataset is now validating correctly. However, there are still a couple of minor issues. 1) The Data Dictionary is out of date and not consistent with the dataset. 2) The information is no longer grouped in records. Data from person 1 is next to person 2 is next to person 400, etc. This can be worked around, but it is a bit ambiguous.

Can't rate cause there is no zero!!!

What has happened to your "search" feature???? I used to be able to access it easily and now every time I try to research a general topic such as "#3 Canadian General Hospital" or specifically by a LAC Reference # which I actually have, I get only error messages! Surely there is SOMEWHERE to easily put in the LAC Reference # and come up with the specific file? And I'm NOT mad at the Archives because I know that the Harper government has stripped you of funding so I know you're doing your very best.

You have posted the following link several times as the link to search the war records for ww1 soldiers .... it does not work it takes you right back to this page or to a yahoo search engine ...go back to the old system that you could punch in a name and do a search and get results...this system leads to nothing but frustration for many many, would be users www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/first-world-war-1914-1918-cef/Pages/search.aspx

You have posted the following link several times as the link to search the war records for ww1 soldiers .... it does not work it takes you right back to this page or to a yahoo search engine ...go back to the old system that you could punch in a name and do a search and get results...this system leads to nothing but frustration for many many, would be users www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/first-world-war-1914-1918-cef/Pages/search.aspx

How can I comment on something I cannot see?

I just tried the "Download" for this: Dataset XML Bilingual (English and French) ... and came up with at BLANK page ... is that all there is to this dataset?

did laurel and hardy set this web page up [a nother fine mess] what is wrong with typing in the service number and getting the answer .its not rocket science

Please, please put the old site back up.

I agree with Meghan and the others, change it back. It was less confusing the last time I tried to access info. Pls fix it.

Site navigation stinks! You don't need improvements: Just put it back the way it was!!!!

http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war After reading all the negative comments, I decided to try it myself. I clicked on the link above and went right to the search for my Grandfather. I found all his records from WWI, all 66 pages of them, and it was instant. No wait at all.

Like so many others who have submitted comments, I had been hoping to access information on behalf of a friend whose First Nations grandfather from Northern Manitoba served in WWI. He had discovered the medals after his mother recently passed away. Rather than enabling us to restore pride in his People and heritage through his grandfather's service, like so many other dealings between Aboriginal Peoples and the Federal Government, what we have instead discovered is a great electronic goose chase. Having earned a Master of both Public Administration and Education and being myself a former Assistant Deputy Minister and Senior Policy Advisor for the Province of Manitoba whose career included promoting joint federal provincial citizen centred service delivery enhancement initiatives, I therefore join my voice with those of my fellow Canadians and call for the restoration of what was formerly a user friendly interface that served to promote openness and transparency while serving, in those rare instances, to potentially afford citizens like my friend the opportunity to regain a sense of self and a sense of pride in who they are and where they have come from. It is so very unfortunate that these citizens' voices have been ignored in favorite of a form response. One which, I would add, contains a broken link that no longer functions. In a time where point of contact service standards are defined by the citizens ability to retrieve information in three interactions or less, navigating websites and following the trail of broken links only serves to reinforce apathy among, and disempowerment of the very electorate whose taxation revenues underwrite your operating grants and sustainability as a public organization. I write these comments and submit this feedback not expecting any response and in fact would likely be further insulted by any attempt to issue the same form response that others have already received. Therefore, my only interest is in the communication of a key message: that people need to be placed above policy and process and any public sector organization that fails to appreciate this truth will, in the longer term, find its operating sustainability in jeopardy as those who would have come to voice support for your organization and operations in tough fiscal contexts and times of reduction will have had no personal stake or interest that would lead them to defend or promote that myriad of form responses and labyrinth of broken weblinks. PS, http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/... (link abbreviated for efficiency) is now broken.... However http://www.iccs-isac.org is fully functional and offers incredible perspectives on how to streamline processes and points of contact between government and its citizens.

what are you doing at the Archives? This is a chore of frustration. I am searching the site for WW1 soldier and it is now one hour and forty-seven minutes and all I've managed is to go around and and around in circles. What is our money going towards? This is supposed to help generations find our forefathers. By the time I find them I'll be one of them. This is terrible waste of our money. If I worked like this I'd be fired.

I was excited to think I might be able to find out what my grandfather did in the First World war as he went from Orkney to Canada to work and while there joined the CEF but I can't get anywhere with this website, other than accessing the Attestation Paper which I already have. Can anybody tell me of any website that is more user friendly please.

I agree, this is absolutely the worst revamp of a database. On the old system I found the attestation papers of my great uncle who served in the Navy in WW1, now he's not even listed in the records! I have a photo of him and other information, but now with your "improvements" these online records are lost! What a waste of taxpayer money. And yes, I did go to the links you mention every time you respond. He is not there.

What a complete waste of time trying to find soldiers of the First World War! It was so much easier before.

This is the least user friendly site I have been on in the last decade. It is now badly broken.

You obviously have a lot of people who have nothing to do but play around on the taxpayer's dollar. To say the new approach is a mess is a gross under statement. The new system is so unfriendly that it could have only approved by the LAC the location of a number of other horrors of how to access material. You are clearly out to torpedo the research efforts of the public

I wasn't aware of this site previous to improvements, but honestly this site sucks, simply a redirect..

to paraphrase.......Never before in the history of human conflict has so much been screwed up by so few. Once you could put a name in and immediately find a file. Now I get this: QueryRecords: Cannot logon with credentials obtained from Secure Store Provider. Sorry,but I can't be the one person commenting saying what a great job you have done.Unbelievable how you took something that worked perfectly well and then turned it into an utter disaster.Sad,sad,sad.

Sorry...cannot find anything on this website. Very frustrating. Was so hopeful when I heard of all the hard work that was being done to digitize war records. I can't find the records for WW1 attestation papers....and yes I've used the link you've suggested 100 times. It just brings you back as to HOW to do it, not the actual database. I'll come back in a few months and hope that it will be changed so it's easier to navigate. All that hard work and no once can find anything....truly heartbreaking.

typical government website. after punching in all the characters that i was led to beleive would take me to a magical place that you might be able to find someones name i was not surprised to end up at the exact same confusing website.wow. i have lost respect for the people that do this kind of work. good thing its a govt. job

You have changed everything including finding files for NWMP and now nothing makes sense!!! typical government - lets start over and have a user friendly website.

This is just another wasteful blunder by overpaid people that think they know how to fix things this site is totally useless -frustrating and who ever put it together should go to the shame house at the back of the line --totally crap!

how long does it take for you to fix this shitty site.never Never mind telling us were to go just but it back.....

I prefer the old system. It was much easier to navigate and far less frustrating. I see from the numerous comments that I am not alone and am wondering how much feedback is needed to effect a change?

I Have my Grandfathers Attestation Papers, and now I am looking for his service files. After numerous hours and much patience, I am told His name is not on file. This is a last ditch effort to learn something about my Grandfather and his service. This site is the most user unfriendly site I've ever used!!!!

The Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University just released an image of the 1917 Cadet Corp from the Sydney Academy (Corp. #306). Is there a sub-set of the national defense archives that would contain cadet images? Maybe, with attribution information?

Hello, If we understand correctly, your query concerns the "database" of the Soldiers of the First World War, i.e. rather than the “dataset” of the Soldiers of the First World War. The "database" of the Soldiers of the First World War resides at Library and Archives Canada (LAC)’s website at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/.... In contrast, the “dataset” for the Soldiers of the First World War is accessible from here at data.gc.ca. (The dataset drives the database of the Soldiers of the First World War, but it is not the actual database.) For comments on the database of the Soldiers of the First World War, please contact LAC directly at webservices@bac-lac.gc.ca. We have forwarded your comment to LAC for their response.

Your link brings one back to this same page. Please make this page user friendly. It should have terms that are understandable to all and links that actually work.

Are you are looking for the "database" of the Soldiers of the First World War, i.e. rather than the “dataset” of the Soldiers of the First World War? If so, the "database" of the Soldiers of the First World War resides at Library and Archives Canada (LAC)’s website at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/.... In contrast, the “dataset” for the Soldiers of the First World War is accessible from here at data.gc.ca. (The dataset drives the database of the Soldiers of the First World War, but it is not the actual database.) For comments on the database of the Soldiers of the First World War, please contact LAC directly at webservices@bac-lac.gc.ca. We have forwarded your comment above to LAC for their response.

This was so hard to access. Trying to find a document was like going around in circles. One thing would take me to another page, and I could never actually find the documents that the website said were there.

Are you are looking for the "database" of the Soldiers of the First World War, i.e. rather than the “dataset” of the Soldiers of the First World War? If so, the "database" of the Soldiers of the First World War resides at Library and Archives Canada (LAC)’s website at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/.... In contrast, the “dataset” for the Soldiers of the First World War is accessible from here at data.gc.ca. (The dataset drives the database of the Soldiers of the First World War, but it is not the actual database.) For comments on the database of the Soldiers of the First World War, please contact LAC directly at webservices@bac-lac.gc.ca. We have forwarded your comment above to LAC for their response.

I have tried to download the dataset using the link on the "http://data.gc.ca/data/en/dataset/6a6e6a79-9e2a-48cc-99ec-163da26d15e9" page. The link tries to open "http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/900/f11/001042_20140606.xml" With Firefox, this results in the following error "XML Parsing Error: not well-formed Location:http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/900/f11/001042_20140606.xml Line Number 16, Column 58:http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item?id=200733a&op=img&app=cef". With Chrome no particular error is given but the page is "unresponsive" and will not load. Please fix the link.

Thank you for your comment. The following response has been posted on behalf of the data owner "We are aware that the XML file is causing problems and are in the process of creating a replacement. Please bear with us, the link will be replaced by mid November".

My father's Uncle signed up on June 4, 1917 at the age of 29. He died in 1926. I have tried going through the suggested website but cannot find any discharge information. Can you direct me to some other site? Thanks.

Hello, Try enquiring with Library and Archives Canada (LAC). You can contact them directly using the Ask Us a Question Form or one of the other methods listed on LAC's Contact Us page: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/contact-us/Pages/contact-us.aspx. Thank you and we hope that helps. The data.gc.ca team

The XML here is not valid; URIs are listed with unescaped ampersands. They should be & in XML, not just plain &. Also, I don't know what that Data Dictionary is supposed to be. The type is XML, but it appears to be some sort of Word document that doesn't open.

Thank you for your feedback. We have forwarded your comment to the dataset provider for their response.

I don't know if this is the right site to ask this but here goes.i HAVE A PICTURE OF 39 SOLDERS ,ONE WHO IS MY GREAT UNCLE.IT WAS LEFT TO ME WHEN MY DAD PASSED AWAY SOME TIME AGO.along with it there is a like copper enlarged penny .written on it is my uncle's name william richard batten and the words he died for freedom and honour.The overseas battalion is 96th camp hughes.the no. looks like 1916-1918.iT IS TRULY a good picture of the solders after all this time.maybe one of these fine men is some one you are looking for.--annabeth

Thank you for your feedback. We have forwarded your comment to the dataset provider, Library and Archives Canada (LAC), for their response. Feel free to contact LAC directly at webservices@bac-lac.gc.ca.