Library and Archives Canada recently launched an updated and expanded version of the Service Files of the Second World War – War Dead, 1939-1947 database. Researchers can now access more than 1000 digitized genealogy packs of service files for Canadian servicemen and servicewomen killed in action during the Second World War.
More search fields
The database, available on the Library and Archives website through the Military Heritage portal, can now be searched using an increased number of access fields. These include: first and last name of the enlisted person, service number, date and place of birth, date and place of enlistment. By using these search features, Canadian students participating in Lest We Forget, a national project that gives them the opportunity to research the life stories of Canadian servicemen and servicewomen, will be able to quickly identify service files related to their community.
What kind of information can I find in these records?
The digitized service files contain documents and correspondence pertaining to enlistment and appointment, training and qualifications, awards and medals, medical history, and wills and insurance. Researchers can expect to find records such as the Canadian Active Service Force attestation paper, a Record of Service with information on training and education before and during service, documents from the Department of National Defence Estates Branch, and grave registration and post-war exhumation reports.
More information on the Killed in Action database
Along with details of service, this database offers a window into the lives of those who served and the families they left behind. Throughout the Second World War (1939-1945), Canadian men and women served in great numbers with the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, and Royal Canadian Navy. From a population of just over 11,000,000 in 1939, Canada saw more than 1,159,000 of its citizens enlist. The price of victory was high: approximately 45,000 Canadians and close to 1000 Newfoundlanders lost their lives during and immediately following the war. In addition to these, more than 55,000 servicemen were wounded and countless civilians experienced the suffering and loss brought about by war. While providing a valuable resource for research, the KIA database helps to tell the story of those who served, fought, and died in a war that stretched across the globe.