Second World War Service Files: Canadian Armed Forces

Discussion in 'Canadian' started by DaveB, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Has anyone used this service? I am trying to tie up a couple of loose ends for RAAF casualties in Canada where there was a RCAF member involved so I would like to get their files digitised.

    That seems to be what the website offers, but when I click on the link I kind of lose the plot of what to do next and how much it's going to cost.

    I guess I have to ask for a Photocopy or PDF at $0.40/page and then they will "add digitized copies of the files to the database to make them more accessible".

    Unfortunately I have no clue how many pages the files might contain, I suppose worst case scenario is that it will be 100 pages so about $40 worth............



    Database

    This research tool provides access to 44,093 references to the files for those who died in service during the Second World War.


    How to consult a file or order a copy

    Library and Archives Canada has started to add digitized copies of the files to the database to make them more accessible, to help preserve the originals and to avoid copying the same file more than once.

    For files not yet digitized, you can order photocopies or scanned images. The cost is the same. When a digital copy is requested, the complete file will be scanned and the digital images will be added to the database the next time it is reloaded. In this way, all Canadians can help contribute to the preservation of our country's military heritage.

    Once you have located a reference of interest in the database, you have the following options:

    Option #1

    You can order a copy of a complete file from our Consultation Services. Note that requests for copies must include the name, service number, archival reference and volume number. Files can include as many as 200 or more pages. Due to the large volume of requests we receive, we cannot pre-count the pages for you.
     
  2. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Dave,
    Another forum member, Klambie, gave me the name of a researcher based in Ottawa who used to work for Library and Archives Canada. For a very reasonable fee, he can obtain the files you are after. If interested, PM me and I will forward his email address.
    Cheers
    Randy
     
  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    I ordered a relatives hard copy WW1 file from Ottawa about 18 months ago. Very speedy response - got about 20 pages costing if I remember correctly about $18 Canadian - including postage to UK.

    Steve Y.
     
  4. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Thanks all - I decided to go with the option of getting a Canada based researcher to access the files for me.

    On another note, there is a thread that mentions Canadian records and it has the following comment: “I have checked Canadian records but it's not straight forward because Canadian records for RAF attached airman are apparently held somewhere else.”


    Does that make sense? The files I want for a couple of fatalities in Canada are in the same series as this particular individual, so I would presume that they are all filed together.


    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/war-air/43751-wellington-x-lost-out-foggia-main-italy.html
     
  5. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    I used this, got about 200 pages, would have cost about $116 Canadian, if they hadn't stuffed it up - actually ended up getting the file for free.

    Mark
     
  6. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    I used this, got about 200 pages, would have cost about $116 Canadian, if they hadn't stuffed it up - actually ended up getting the file for free.

    Mark


    That's pretty much the reason I went for the option of paying someone to do it rather than engaging the actual archives staff. If the file is 100s of pages long it ends up costing a fortune when the staff do it, especially when quite a few of the pages would be meaningless to what I need.

    The researcher charges by the hour and by the sounds of it applies a bit of a sanity check to what pages they actually spend time copying.
     
  7. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    On another note, there is a thread that mentions Canadian records and it has the following comment: “I have checked Canadian records but it's not straight forward because Canadian records for RAF attached airman are apparently held somewhere else.”


    Does that make sense? The files I want for a couple of fatalities in Canada are in the same series as this particular individual, so I would presume that they are all filed together.


    No, that is incorrect. Whether the Canadian was, say, in a 6 Group Squadron or seconded/attached to an RAF Squadron, all Canadian service files are held by the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.
     
  8. steadyeddy

    steadyeddy Junior Member

    Dear Dave B

    I've just received my relative's file from the Canadian Archives for the princely sum of about £79 BUT there were AT LEAST 100 pages. Before ordering, though, I did get an invoice with a 30 day timescale in which to buy or not.

    I've certainly gleaned many details from the records including photocopies of letters written to/from the family. The only thing lacking was a photograph.

    Steadyeddy
     
  9. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    It sounds like a good result Steadyeddy - 100 pages on your relative must provide heaps of useful info.

    For my research I have a pretty narrow focus, so having someone knowledgeable peruse the file to only photograph the pages relating to my research was invaluable.

    It only cost me $20 (Australian / Canadian) for the half a dozen pages I required to close off a couple of queries. Money well spent.
     
  10. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi,

    I've been aware that WW1 Canadian army service records have been available online via Library & Archives Canada (LAC) free of charge for sometime. There is an ongoing digitisation project so at the moment some 180,000 service files out of 640,000 are available online - for the remainder only the 2 sided attestation paper is available.

    It is only today that I have discovered that LAC have embarked on a similar project for the 44,000 service personnel who lost their lives in WW2 service. Files are being digitised as requests are made by interested parties.

    For members who are not aware here is a link to the LAC WW2 database - WW2 CANADIAN SOLDIERS Database

    Regards

    Steve Y
     
  11. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria.

    Cheers Steve, well done Canada in digitising the documents.

    Cheers Mike.
     
  12. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Hi Steve,

    I think we'll all be long gone by the time this exercise is over.

    They began this in 2010 by cherrypicking selected documents from an entire file. These were placed in a manilla folder in front of the file and marked "for digitization project". Only problem is that if there was a two page letter to NOK, sometimes only one page was included.

    To date, there are 1,372 digitized files online. Rather than enter a name you're looking for it's best to check "yes" in the box for "digitized" and a list of all 1,372 files comes up.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  13. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Thanks Dave,

    Hope you are keeping well?

    I remember 100 each of WW1 and WW2 dead personnel Files went on the internet as part of an LAC educational project some years ago.

    I was aware of the ongoing WW1 digitisation project but wasn't aware LAC had decided to digitise and release all 44,000 WW2 dead personnel files as and when they were requested by an interested party.

    From this side of the pond it's just great to see how much paperwork has been retained and is released. We are lucky to get a dozen pages from MOD and they never release medical information.

    I hope once the WW1 digitisation is completed they may consider starting in WW2 files.

    Best Wishes

    Steve

    EDITTED 24TH JULY 2015 TO ADD

    Having read a handful of these files I must say how moved I have been to read the many poignant letters of enquiry sent to the authorities by bereaved friends and relatives of the deceased service personnel.
     
  14. mikky

    mikky Member

    I don't have a worldwide subscription, but, it would appear that Canada, WWII Service Files of War Dead, 1939-1947 are online Click

    Mike
     
    Buteman likes this.
  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Mike

    Just looked that up and it says that there are 29,126 records - I dont know for sure but that seems a little light in number terms - perhaps others can verify

    TD
     
  16. mikky

    mikky Member

    pleased to host selections

    " More than 44,000 individuals are documented in the Second World War Service Files: Canadian Armed Forces War Dead held by Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Ancestry.com is pleased to host selections from the service files for almost 100 Canadian soldiers as part of LAC’s “Lest We Forget” educational initiative, which allows students to discover the stories of Canada’s fallen through primary documents. Only records for those who died while serving during the Second World War are available to the public. However, the files that are included in the collection can be rich in content. Each contains multiple documents related to a soldier’s enlistment and service. "

    Mike
     
  17. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Perhaps the most informative line is

    Kyle :(
     
  18. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi,

    I flagged this up some weeks ago that the files are available online for free via LAC website.

    However nothing like 29,000 files!

    Some 44,000 Canadian personnel lost their lives in WW2. LAC have decided that when a relative/interested party requests a file they will provide a digital file (for a fee) but then make the digital file available for free on the internet.

    Clearly they had a "bank" of digital files as some 1,400 full files are available via the LAC site although details of all 44, 000 casualties are searchable.

    Steve Y
     
    alieneyes likes this.
  19. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    The operative word here is "selections".

    On average, let's say using an RCAF service file as an example, a file can be anywhere from 200 pages and up.

    Using the LAC's database to search you'll note the use of the word "Volume". Each volume is a cardboard banker's type box holding between 6-10 full files.

    Each file now has a manila folder at the beginning with selections from the file, The folder has a sticker on it saying it's part of the "digitization project".

    I'll stick with the full files as mentioned by Steve above.

    Regards,

    Dave
     

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