Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Part 5: Casualties

By Michael O'Leary; The Regimental Rogue

Books of Remembrance

"The first Book of Remembrance created, and the largest of the Books, is the First World War Book of Remembrance. It contains more than 66,000 names." - History of the Books of Remembrance.

Research into a soldier of the First World War can often start with inquiries into how an ancestor died, and where he is buried. These inquiries, which can also lead to searching for their service records, will often begin with the various records for casualties, the dead, of the Great War.

The official recording of Canada's war dead is the Books of Remembrance which in the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. Because not all Canadians, or descendants of these soldiers' families, have the opportunity to view the Books of Remembrance in person, we are fortunate that they have been digitized and images of the pages placed on line.

Part of a single page in the 1916 Book of Remembrance for the First World War.

Part of a single page in the 1916 Book of Remembrance for the First World War.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial

But the Books of Remembrance are not the most efficient starting point when using the Internet as our research tool. The best starting point will be the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Introduction and search form for the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Introduction and search form for the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Use the Advanced Search page when the specific date of death is known, or to search within a range of dates, or for a unit name.

As with the Soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918) database, searches for common names can result in a large number of similar results. The immediately visible details can include given names and date of death, but to investigate further will requre opening each entry to confirm details of unit, date of death and other entered information.

The first seven of 55 returned results of searching for MacDonald and John in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

The first seven of 55 returned results of searching for MacDonald and John in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Each record in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial opens to a new page, providing a number of details on each soldier as they have been recorded in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, and then shared with the CVWM. Details in each record can include any of the following:

The information available on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial can be used to add to that available in the soldier's service record. Families can also use the capabilities of the CVWM to share photos and images of information with others through the photo upload facility.

Photo upload form linked from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial record for Sergeant John MacDonald, DCM.

Photo upload form linked from the Canadian Virtual War Memorial record for Sergeant John MacDonald, DCM.

If you find discrepancies between the information posted on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and your other research, and you can provide evidence that the CVWM is incorrect, use the Contact page to send your information to Veterans Affairs. They are always willing to examine such evidence and make corrections where needed.

Circumstances of Death Records

Aother source of information on the deaths of Canadian soldiers in the First World War are in a little known collection of files called the Particulars of Death forms. Filed separately from the service records, these are best accessed by finding a researcher in Ottawa who is familiar with them and can find and copy or photograph the particular page. The Particulars of Death forms can be a gamble, some will provide details not found in any other records, others will be cryptic and offer no extra information.

In late 2011, these records were made available on line in a digitized form - Circumstances of Death Registers, First World War. These documents are assembled in collections of images by file contents. Each collection of images has many alphabetized individual records. Some experimention within the structure of the image collection will be needed to find the right binder (check the names on the first page) and then you will need to move back and form among the pages using the navigation means at the bottom of the display to get to the right page (make large jumps using the page number box to get close to your objective). See the table below the following figures for the first surname in each file.

Circumstances of Death Registers, First World War.

Index page for the Circumstances of Death Registers, First World War. Each link leads to a virtual stack of hundreds, up to a thousand or more, of individual page images.

Circumstances of Death Registers, First World War.

The Circumstances of Death Register sheet for Sgt Walter Lowe, MM, The Royal Canadian Regiment. Note the Page Navigation options at the lower left and right of the image. Don't forget to check the following image (i.e., the back of the sheet).

Excerpt of Particulars of Death form for 477501 Private Henry William Krimmell.

Excerpt of Particulars of Death form for 477501 Private Henry William Krimmell. This example provides good detail on the death of Private Krimmel.

Excerpt of Particulars of Death form for 477550 Sergeant Walter Lowe, MM.

Excerpt of Particulars of Death form for 477550 Sergeant Walter Lowe, MM. This example offers no details on what caused Sergeant Lowe's death; his service record, however, reveals that he was killed in a grenade training accident while serving as an instructor at the Canadian Corps Bombing School. Note also that the image of the page is cropped in this captured image, the full sheet is observable in the LAC image collection.

Circumstances of Death Registers; First World War: First Surname in Each File

The following table shows the first surname in each of the 94 Circumstances of Death Register document sets on line with the Library and Archives Canada. Note that alphabetization by last name and full first name may not be exact, in some cases names might be mispelled and later corrected, or short forms or initial may be used in place of full frst names. Also, names with spaces will be found files as if they had no spaced (e.g., "de Salis" filed as "Desalis"). Consider speling with "Mac" and "Mc" interchangable to searching purposes.

Serial File number First Surname in File Serial File number First Surname in File
131829_B016711Aaron4831829_B034748Hesch
231829_B016712Alexander4931829_B016746Hoffman
331829_B016713Anciello5031829_B016693Horan
431829_B016714Armstrong5131829_B016697Hunking
531829_B016715Babb5231829_B016696Ibbetson
631829_B016716Bark5331829_B016709Jacks
731829_B016717Bea5431829_B016695Johannesson
831829_B016718Bell5531829_B016692Joiner
931829_B016719Bernard5631829_B016705Kachina
1031829_B034746Birch5731829_B016699Kennedy
1131829_B016720Binyon5831829_B016698Kingham
1231829_B016721Borden5931829_B016702Labarge
1331829_B016722Brabant6031829_B016747Lariviere
1431829_B016723Broad6131829_B016748Leach
1531829_B016724Brubacher6231829_B016749Lesperance
1631829_B016725Burbank6331829_B016750Little
1731829_B016726Cabana6431829_B016751Losey
1831829_B016727Canavan6531829_B016752Mabee
1931829_B016728Catchpole6631829_B016753Manseau
2031829_B016729Children6731829_B016754Mathie
2131829_B016730Cleal6831829_B016772Mee
2231829_B016731Connor6931829_B016771Millar
2331829_B016732Corcoran7031829_B016755Miron
2431829_B016733Crabb7131829_B016756Moorhouse
2531829_B016734Crossley7231829_B016757Mossman
2631829_B016735Dack7331829_B016708MacAlpine
2731829_B016736Davy7431829_B016758MacNaughton
2831829_B016737Deuel7531829_B016759McCombs
2931829_B016738Don7631829_B016760McDonaugh
3031829_B016739Duane7731829_B016761McIntyre
3131829_B016740Ead7831829_B016762McLachlan
3231829_B016741Ellis7931829_B016763McNab
3331829_B016742Facer8031829_B016764Naden
3431829_B016743Fight8131829_B016765Nicholson
3531829_B016744Foden8231829_B016766Oag
3631829_B016694Frayn8331829_B016767Pacey
3731829_B016691Gabbott8431829_B016768Paul
3831829_B016690Gaskell8531829_B016710Phair
3931829_B016689Gidony8631829_B016769Polley
4031829_B016686Godin8731829_B016707Raaflaub
4131829_B034747Gougeon8831829_B016706Rehder
4231829_B016687Grayburn8931829_B016704Richelieu
4331829_B016688Groat9031829_B034749Rodolph
4431829_B016684Hall9131829_B016703Rowland
4531829_B016683Hannah9231829_B016701Sabatino
4631829_B016685Harron9331829_B016700Schoumik
4731829_B016745Head9431829_B016770Shelter to Sims

Commonwealth War Graves Registers

Also newly digitized by Library and Archives Canada are their collection of First World War Commonwealth War Graves Registers. With a display organized similar to the Circumstances of Death records, these can provide further information on the burials of individual soldiers.

Circumstances of Death Registers, First World War.

Index page for the Commonwealth War Graves Registers. Each link leads to a virtual stack of hundreds, up to a thousand or more, of individual page images.

Circumstances of Death Registers, First World War.

The Commonwealth War Graves Register sheet for Sgt Walter Lowe, MM, The Royal Canadian Regiment. Note the Page Navigation options at the lower left and right of the image. Don't forget to check the following image (i.e., the back of the sheet). Note also that the image of the page is cropped in this captured image, the full sheet is observable in the LAC image collection.

Commonwealth War Graves Registers; First World War: Surnames in Each File

The following tables show the first surname in each of the 106 Commonwealth War Graves Registers document sets on line with the Library and Archives Canada. Note that alphabetization by last name and full first name may not be exact, in some cases names might be mispelled and later corrected, or short forms or initial may be used in place of full frst names. Also, names with spaces will be found files as if they had no spaced (e.g., "de Salis" filed as "Desalis"). Consider speling with "Mac" and "Mc" interchangable to searching purposes.

SerialFile numberFirst Surname in FileSerialFile numberFirst Surname in File
131830_B016669Aaron5131830_B016603Leachman
231830_B016673Allanson5231830_B016614Levings
331830_B016674Angus5331830_B016613Lockley
431830_B016672Aston5431830_B016612Mabee
531830_B016677Bakys5531830_B016617Marsh
631830_B016663Barry5631830_B016616Mayall
731830_B034750Beech5731830_B016615Miller
831830_B016668Bernhart5831830_B016620Moisley
931830_B016662Bjarnason5931830_B016619Morphew
1031830_B016667Bolin6031830_B016621Muirhead
1131830_B016666Bowhay6131830_B034752McAdam
1231830_B016665Bridge6231830_B016618McCourt
1331830_B016671Brown,6331830_B016622McDonnell
1431830_B016670Bulbick6431830_B016626McIntosh
1531830_B016591Cabana6531830_B016625McKeogh
1631830_B016590Cannon6631830_B016624McLennan
1731830_B016589Cavell6731830_B016623McNaul
1831830_B016594Christo6831830_B016630Nadeau
1931830_B016593Coburn6931830_B016629Nicoll
2031830_B016592Cook7031830_B016628Olliff
2131830_B016595Cottrell7131830_B016627Paquet
2231830_B016596Cribbes7231830_B016633Patton
2331830_B016600Dabate7331830_B016632Perryman
2431830_B016597Day7431830_B016631Plowman
2531830_B016599Dickins7531830_B016635Prickett
2631830_B016598Doty7631830_B016634Rance
2731830_B016602Duncan7731830_B016638Reiley
2831830_B016601Edworthy7831830_B016637Roach
2931830_B016606Faber7931830_B016636Roger
3031830_B016605Finder8031830_B016641Royal
3131830_B034751Fordyce8131830_B016640Sauvage
3231830_B016604Fricker8231830_B034455Sellar
3331830_B016609Gate8331830_B016644Sholert
3431830_B016608Ginn8431830_B016643Small
3531830_B016607Goucher8531830_B034454Smith, Robert
3631830_B016611Greenaway8631830_B016642Spencer
3731830_B016610Haas8731830_B016647Stevens
3831830_B016675Hand8831830_B016646Stracey
3931830_B016676Harvey8931830_B016645Tabberner
4031830_B016680Helps9031830_B016639Thomas
4131830_B034451Hill9131830_B034453Tobias
4231830_B016679Holmes9231830_B016649Vyse
4331830_B016678Howlett9331830_B016656Wabanosse
4431830_B034447Hutt9431830_B016651Ward
4531830_B016681Jameson9531830_B016653Webber
4631830_B034450Johnston9631830_B016654White
4731830_B034449Kaar9731830_B016655Williams
4831830_B016682Kerr9831830_B016658Wilton
4931830_B034448Knight9931830_B016652Worster
5031830_B034452Lane

Commonwealth War Graves Registers for burial is the United Kingdom

SerialFile numberFirst Surname in File
10031830_B016657Abbott
10131830_B016650Cadieux
10231830_B016661Fagg
10331830_B016648Holtum
10431830_B016660Meehan
10531830_B016659Packham
10631830_B016664Smollet

Grave Photos

In researching a soldier who died in the First World War, a common result is a desire to acquire a photograph of the soldier's grave. While not everyone has the opportunity to visit the Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries in France, Belgium or other countries around the world, there are other options for acquiring a grave photograph. These include:

The grave photo of 479082 Pte Henry James Jarvis in the Anneux British Cemetery, Department of the Nord, France.

Part 6 - Researching Honours and Awards.

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