Military service file Library and Archives Canada
Military Service Record of Captain Fred Pascal, Royal Canadian Artillery, of Montreal. Pascal died August 8, 1944 in Normandy, France. (Ellin Bessner/photo)

If your relative served in the Canadian forces during the Second World War, (or WWI) the Library and Archives Canada releases official service records for free (an abbreviated package) or the full record (you might have to pay a small fee for photocopying/scanning). It’s easy to obtain these files, and fascinating to read them. Note that it can take several months to arrive. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that might even be a year or longer. There is a one-page form to fill out and mail to the Library and Archives headquarters in Ottawa. You can also just send a letter with your request. Or fill out the form online, and submit. Here is the link to read more, and the link to print off the form.

Note: some 1,500 Second World War service files are already digitized and online, including some belonging to deceased Jewish personnel like Samuel Moses Hurwitz. You can check here to see if your relative’s file is among these. All WWI files are online.

If you would be happy with just an abbreviated version of WWII files, Ancestry.ca has partial files of the 44,000 personnel who were killed in WWll or died shortly after, of injuries. You can pay to subscribe, or ask your public library if they have it, for free. For example, Richmond Hill’s Public Library offers this service.

Watch my HOW TO VIDEO to do it yourself:

You can also contact me directly, and I will be glad to walk you through the process.