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Canadian Military Heritage Project - Find your military ancestors!

Canadian Military Heritage Project
FIND YOUR MILITARY ANCESTORS!

Search free Canadian ancestors' letters Find Canadian ancestors in in free searchable military databases for each war and rebellion Canada has been involved in. Build your family tree, and rediscover history. Find your military roots and learn your military history.

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Wars
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your French Indian Wars ancestorsFrench-Indian Wars 17th Century
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your American Revolution (Revolutionary War) Loyalist & Patriot ancestorsAmerican Revolution 1775 - 1783
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for yourWar of 1812 ancestorsWar of 1812 1812 - 1814
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your Rebellion of 1837 ancestorsRebellion of 1837 1837 - 1838
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your Fenian Raids ancestorsFenian Raids 1866 & 1870
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your Red River Rebellion ancestorsRed River Rebellion 1869 - 1870
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your Nile Expedition ancestorsNile Expedition 1884
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your NorthWest Rebellion ancestorsNorth West Rebellion 1885
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your Boer War ancestorsSouth African War (Boer War) 1899 - 1902
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your WW I ancestorsWWI 1914 - 1919
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your WW1 & Siberian ancestorsSiberian Expeditionary Force 1918 - 1919
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your Spanish Civil War ancestors Spanish Civil War
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your WW 2 ancestorsWW II 1939 - 1945
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your Korean War ancestorsKorean War 1950 - 1953
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your Vietnam War ancestorsVietnam War
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your Gulf War ancestorsGulf War
Search Canadian Military Heritage Project for your War against Terrorism ancestorsWar in Afghanistan 2001
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Find your military ancestors! Find Your WW1 Ancestor

 

Uniforms and Equipment

During the Great War Canadian uniforms and equipment were generally of British pattern, indeed looking at period photographs it is often difficult to tell Canadians from their British allies. This similarity became even more pronounced as the war progressed and Canadian equipment was discarded in place of better quality British equipment. This page is intended to provide the reader with a brief overview of the uniforms and equipment used by the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the Great War.
Canadian Uniform British Uniform
Canadian Uniform of WW1 soldierThis soldier of the Royal Canadian Regiment is wearing the Canadian 1903 service uniform. This is the Canadian version of the British M1902 uniform adopted after experience in the Boer war showed the value of a simple and inconspicuous uniform. This uniform differs from the British in that it has 9 buttons instead of 7 a standing collar, detachable shoulder straps and pointed cuffs. This uniform was used by the First Canadian Contingent for about a year and by new recruits in training for the duration of the war. The cloth wrappings around the lower legs are known as puttees. The detachable shoulder straps were coloured, dark blue for the infantry, green for rifles, red for artillery and yellow for cavalry. British Uniform of WW1 soldierThe British M1902 uniform as worn by Canadian troops in France and Belgium from 1916-1918. The soldier in back is wearing a leather jerkin which was very popular with both British and Canadian troops in cold weather.
Highland Uniform Dress Cap
WW 1 Soldier, Highland UniformThis soldier of the 173rd Highlanders is wearing the 1903 service tunic, of the doublet cut as issued to Scottish regiments. The kilt would be worn with a fabric cover to hide the bright colors when on campaign. The Glengarry hat was eventually replaced by the steel shrapnel helmet and the cloth gaiters worn over the boots were replaced by cloth puttees. The leather pouch (sporran) would not be worn on campaign. WW 1 Soldier,Dress CapService dress cap in Khaki serge. The metal cap badge varied from regiment to regiment. Smart in appearance when new it quickly softened and lost its shape in service. It was replaced for field use by the steel shrapnel helmet in 1916.
Trench Cap Mark 1 Steel Helmet
WW 1 Soldier,Trench CapThe British M1915 trench cap, known to the British as the Gor blimey it was used by some Canadian troops in 1915 ~ 1916 for cold weather wear. (trench helmet, shrapnel helmet, brodie)
First issued to Canadian troops in March 1916 this helmet was designed to give the soldier protection from air burst shrapnel and shell fragments ( not bullets ) and to be easy to manufacture. With a weight of 2lb one might have expected soldiers to object to the added weight but there was surprisingly little protest as they soon discovered it really did reduce head wounds.
Mess Tins MacAdam shield Shovel
WW 1 Soldier,Mess TinsThis pattern of mess tin was used by British and Canadian forces from 1800-1939. Supplied with a cloth cover that most soldiers discarded at the first opportunity. It was usually worn hung on the outside of the pack. WW 1 Soldier,Shield ShovelModeled on a Swiss invention this device was intended to be used as both a shield and a shovel. Patented in the name of one of Sir Sam Hughes private secretaries it was a complete failure in every respect. The handle was to short, the shovel to dull to dig with, the hole in the blade was to low to shoot through unless mounted on a low pile of dirt and worst of all it was not bullet proof. The entire shipment of 22,000 shovels witch had cost the government over $29,000 was sold off as scrap in 1917 for $1,400.
Equipment
When the Great War broke out in 1914 the Canadian Militia was equipped with a mixture of Oliver valise equipment, Canadian pattern Web Equipment WE08, and Mills Burrowes WE13. The Canadian pattern WE08 was withdrawn from the Militia and issued to some of the new Canadian Expeditionary Battalions at camp Valcartier. The WE13 Equipment was already on issue to Canada's regular army and the newly formed Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. The Oliver valise equipment was issued to the rest of the new C.E.F. Battalions for whom there was not sufficient quantities of WE08. Upon arriving in England the Oliver valise equipment was withdrawn and replaced with WE08 from British stores. Therefor all the Canadian Infantry Battalions were equipped with WE08 when they arrived in France in February 1915. The Princess Patricia's however had taken there WE13 with them when they went to France with the British 80th Brigade in December 1914. In May of 1915 it was decided to convert the Oliver valise equipment by making a few alterations to the design. This would be known as the 1915 pattern. This pattern was issued to the Second Canadian Division and used in training but was not taken to France. In late 1915 the Oliver valise equipment was again re-designed and became known as the 1916 pattern. The 1916 pattern was used in training , and was worn in France for a brief period of time by the Fourth Canadian Division before being replaced by WE08. Because of wartime shortages of web equipment leather equipment witch was modeled after WE08 was also manufactured and issued to Canadian soldiers it was known as British Leather Infantry Equipment, Pattern 1914.
Oliver Pattern Canadian WE08
WW 1 Soldier,Oliver Pattern WW 1 Soldier,Canadian Pattern
Mills Burrowes WE13 British WE08
WW 1 Soldier,1913 Pattern WW 1 Soldier,WE.08
1914 Pattern 1915 Pattern
WW 1 Soldier,Pattern 1914 WW 1 Soldier,1915 Pattern
1916 Pattern
WW 1 Soldier, Pattern 1916  

Lost Faces Ancestor Photos from the 1800s

Wishing you had an ancestor photograph? Check out the 1800s photographs and antique photo albums on Lost Faces. There are over 2,500 photos in this growing genealogy collection

Got Canadian Ancestors? Check out Canadian Military Records Online
Got Canadian Military Ancestors?
For those seeking military ancestors in Canada, Ancestry.com has some really great (and obscure!) records that I bet not many genealogists are aware of. I recently found some great information on a few of my ancestors in thees databases. The one that thrilled me the most was a record for my 3rd great grandfather John Greenlees. I found him recorded as 

Name: John Greenless Age: 23
Birth Date: abt 1782 Birth Place: Fermanagh [Ireland]
Military Date: 7 May 1805 Unit: 54th Foot Soldiers
The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Class Number: WO 25; Class Title: 54 Foot; Piece Number: 420; Piece Title: 54 Foot.
Source Information: Ancestry.com. Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. 

This record gave his height, hair and eye colour and more! Here is the complete list of Canadian (and British) military records on Ancestry.com for those who may want to give them a quick look.


Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918Military598,682

Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900Military467,838

UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Registers of Soldiers Who Served in Canada, 1743-1882Military375,748

Canada, Military Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900-1961Military68,047

Canada, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1857-1922Military1,609,017

Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948Military71,052

Canada, CEF Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1919Military56,567

Canada, British Army and Canadian Militia Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1795-1850Military752,886

Canada, Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835Military24,789

Canada, Militia and Defence Forces Lists, 1832, 1863-1939Military79,630

Canada, Ledgers of CEF Officers Transferring to Royal Flying Corps, 1915-1919Military1,210

The Loyalists in OntarioStories, Memories & Histories418

Canada, South African War Land Grants, 1908-1910Military7,143

Canada, British Navy Ship Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1757-1836Military176,551

United Empire Loyalists, Parts I-IIStories, Memories & Histories22,456

Canada, British Army Regimental Rolls of Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers, 1806-1892Military30,396

Canada, Registers of Prisoners of War, 1803-1815Military56,505

Old United Empire Loyalists ListImmigration & Travel6,353

Canada, Selected Service Records of Soldiers, 1914-1918Military102

Canada, Selected Service Records of War Dead, 1939-1945Military100

Canada, Pension Applications For Widows and Family of British Military Officers, 1776-1881Military843

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