Nominal Rolls of the Canadian Expeditionary Force

NR_DivisionalCyclistCompany

Source: Library & Archives Canada (2.6MB PDF)

Note: this is a significant update to my Nominal Rolls article from January 2014. Below you’ll find links to nearly 400 Nominal Rolls currently online at Library and Archives Canada!


A Nominal Roll is a list of the Officers, NCOs and Men who served in a unit of the CEF at a specific point in time. They were often compiled prior to a unit embarking for England and sometimes include embarkation information such as ship name, embarkation port and the date of sailing. A Nominal Roll usually lists a soldier’s Regimental Number, Rank, Name, Former Corps, Name of Next of Kin, Address of Next of Kin, Country of Birth, and both the place and date they were “Taken On Strength”.

It’s important to note that units experienced continual and sometimes significant changes to personnel. Major battles resulted in huge numbers of casualties but so did “wastage“, a term used to describe the daily toll of soldiers wounded or killed by sniping and shelling. The never-ending need for reinforcements meant that Nominal Rolls had a very short shelf life.

Nominal Rolls can provide other interesting bits of information, such as who attested on the same day as your soldier. You may also find other relatives or even neighbours that joined the same battalion. Page 11 of the 148th Battalion Nominal Roll shows that brothers Matt and James Liddell lined up one behind the other at the recruiting office in Montreal.

A Nominal Roll may provide clues as to which company your soldier served in, although this too was highly subject to change. The First Canadian Contingent originally divided its battalions into eight lettered companies but were reorganized into four numbered companies on arrival in England. However if you can determine the company your soldier served in it will make reading war diaries all the more interesting.

The tables below include links to Nominal Rolls at Library and Archives Canada. Please be aware these are PDF documents ranging in size from a few MBs to over 20MBs. Note: entries marked with an ‘*‘ are not currently online at LAC and so I’ve used a link to the Bob Richardson Nominal Roll collection page hosted by the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group. You’ll need to navigate through the various folders to find the relevant nominal roll.

It took quite some time to build these tables so if you encounter incorrect links please leave a comment or contact me.

Canadian Infantry Battalions – Numbered
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th* 7th 8th 9th 10th
11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th
21st 22nd 23rd 24th 25th 26th 27th 28th 29th 30th
31st 32nd 33rd 34th 35th 36th 37th 38th 39th 40th
41st 42nd 43rd 44th 45th 46th 47th 48th** 49th 50th
51st 52nd 53rd 54th 55th 56th 57th 58th 59th 60th
61st 62nd 63rd 64th 65th 66th 67th 68th 69th 70th
71st 72nd 73rd 74th 75th 76th 77th 78th 79th 80th
81st 82nd 83rd 84th 85th 86th 87th 88th 89th 90th
91st 92nd 93rd* 94th 95th 96th 97th 98th 99th 100th
101st 102nd 103rd 104th 105th 106th 107th 108th 109th 110th
111th 112th 113th 114th 115th* 116th 117th 118th 119th 120th
121st 122nd 123rd 124th 125th 126th 127th 128th 129th 130th
131st 132nd 133rd 134th 135th 136th 137th 138th 139th 140th
141st 142nd 143rd 144th 145th 146th 147th 148th 149th 150th
151st 152nd 153rd 154th* 155th 156th 157th 158th 159th 160th
161st 162nd 163rd 164th 165th 166th 167th 168th 169th 170th
171st 172nd 173rd 174th 175th 176th 177th 178th 179th 180th
181st 182nd 183rd 184th 185th 186th 187th 188th 189th 190th
191st 192nd 193rd 194th 195th 196th 197th 198th 199th* 200th
201st 202nd 203rd 204th 205th 206th 207th 208th 209th 210th
211th 212th 213th 214th 215th 216th 217th 218th 219th 220th
221st 222nd* 223rd 224th 225th 226th 227th* 228th 229th 230th
231st 232nd 233rd 234th 235th 236th 237th 238th 239th 240th
241st 242nd 243rd 244th 245th 246th 247th* 248th 249th* 250th*
251st 252nd 253rd 254th 255th 256th 257th
50th – 1st R.D. 11th Reg. R.D. 105th – 1st & 2nd R.D. 230th – 4th R.D.
Canadian Infantry Battalions – Named
1st CMR 2nd CMR* 3rd CMR 4th CMR* 5th CMR* 6th CMR 7th CMR
8th CMR 9th CMR 9th CMR R.D. 10th CMR 11th CMR 11th CMR – 1st R.D. 12th CMR
13th CMR PPCLI PPCLI R.D.
Royal Canadian Regiment (Bermuda)
Canadian Infantry Brigade HQ
1st Brigade HQ 2nd Brigade HQ v1 2nd Brigade HQ v2
3rd Brigade HQ 4th Brigade HQ 4th, 5th & 6th Brigade HQ
Canadian Cavalry
Remount Depot 2nd Divisional Remount Depot
Divisional Cavalry 3rd Division Cavalry Squadron 4th Division Cavalry Squadron
Lord Strathcona’s Horse Royal Canadian Dragoons
Canadian Cyclists
Divisional Cyclist Company Divisional Cyclist Company – 1st R.D.
2nd Cdn Divisional Cyclist Corps
Canadian Machine Gun Units
No. 1 Auto Machine Gun Brigade Eaton Motor Machine Gun Battery
Borden Motor Machine Gun Battery 1st Machine Gun Draft, M.D. No. 6*
Artillery
Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery
1st Canadian Field Artillery Brigade 2nd Canadian Field Artillery Brigade
3rd Canadian Field Artillery Brigade & Ammn. Col. 4th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade
5th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade 6th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade
7th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade 8th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade
9th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade 10th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade
11th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade 12th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade
13th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade 14th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade
15th Canadian Field Artillery Brigade* 23rd Canadian Field Artillery Brigade*
1st Heavy Battery 2nd Heavy Battery
2nd Canadian Seige Battery 3rd Canadian Seige Battery
4th Canadian Seige Battery 5th Canadian Seige Battery
6th Canadian Seige Battery 7th Canadian Seige Battery
8th Canadian Seige Battery 9th Canadian Seige Battery
Canadian Army Medical Corps
1st Canadian Stationary Hospital 2nd Canadian Stationary Hospital
3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital 4th Canadian Stationary Hospital*
7th Canadian Stationary Hospital 9th Canadian Stationary Hospital
No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital* 1st Canadian General Hospital
2nd Canadian General Hospital 3rd Canadian General Hospital
4th Canadian General Hospital 5th Canadian General Hospital
No. 7 Canadian Stationary Hospital* No. 1 Clearing Hospital
No. 2 Casualty Clearing Station No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station
1st, 2nd & 3rd Canadian Field Ambulance 4th, 5th & 6th Canadian Field Ambulance*
9th Field Ambulance 16th Field Ambulance
2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisional Sanitary Sections Army Medical Corps Reinforcements
Ontario Military Hospital CAMC Nursing Sisters
Canadian Army Dental Corps* Connaught’s Red Cross Hospital*
Canadian Engineers
Divisional Engineers 2nd Div. Engineers, 4th, 5th & 6th Field Coys
3rd Div. Engineers, 9th, 10th & 11th Field Coys 1st Fortress Company & 1st RD*
Signalling Section, Canadian Engineers, 1st RD 1st and 2nd Army Troops
Canadian Signal Corps
1st Divisional Canadian Signal Company 2nd Divisional Canadian Signal Company
3rd Divisional Canadian Signal Company 4th Divisional Canadian Signal Company
Canadian Tunnelling Companies
No. 1 Tunnelling Company No. 2 Tunnelling Company No. 4 Tunnelling Company
Canadian Pioneer Battalions
1st Pioneer 2nd Pioneer 3rd Pioneer 4th Pioneer 5th Pioneer
Canadian Army Service Corps
Depot Unit of Supply (1 – 4) 7, 8, 9 Depot Units of Supply
1st Training Depot – CASC, R.D.: 6th-10th 2nd Training Depot – CASC, R.D.: 6th-10th RD
2nd Training Depot CASC, R.D.: 11th-16th RD Field Bakery and Field Butchery – CASC
Divisional Ammunition Column 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column
3rd Divisional Ammunition Column 4th Divisional Ammunition Column
First Reserve Park – CASC Second Reserve Park – CASC
Divisional Ammunition Park 2nd Divisional Ammunition Park CASC
3rd Divisional Ammunition Sub-Park 4th Divisional Ammunition Sub-Park
1st Canadian Divisional Train 2nd Canadian Divisional Train
3rd Canadian Divisional Train 4th Canadian Divisional Train
Divisional Supply Column, M.T. 2nd Divisional Supply Column, CASC
3rd Divisional Supply Column, CASC
Canadian Railway Troops
1st Cdn Construction Battalion 2nd Cdn Construction Battalion
Cdn Overseas Railway Construction Corps Cdn Overseas Railway Construction Corps – RD
Railway Supply Depot – CASC Railway Supply Detachment
Canadian Forestry Corps
1st and 2nd Forestry Renforcing Drafts from M.D. no. 6

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22 replies

    • Hi Judy,

      You’re very welcome. Kudos to Library & Archives Canada for digitizing the Nominal Rolls and to Bob Nicholson and the CEF Matrix for sharing their large collection. Hopefully my links make accessing them a bit easier. I do appreciate your feedback … it took quite a few hours to put together so it’s good to know it will be put to use!

      Cheers,
      Steve

  1. Thanks for such a great resource! I am putting together a centennial honor roll for my community, and this has helped immensely.

    One of our men, however, seems to be eluding my searches. According to our historical honor roll, one W. Dunn served with the RMH. I can’t find any reference to what the RMH might be, and there are too many W Dunns to search through without more clues. Do you have any idea what RMH might be?

    • Hi D,

      I’m glad the article was helpful and appreciate your feedback.

      In regards to RMH my first thought is that they served at a Military Hospital, possibly Rideau or Rimouski, as a member of the Canadian Army Medical Corps. Does either location make sense to you? I’m not sure where your community is. Also, what rank was W. Dunn?

      Cheers,
      Steve

      PS. the other possibility is that there was a mistake and that it should have read RMR which stands for Royal Montreal Regiment (or Rocky Mountain Rangers).

      • Thank you! Those are all excellent possibilities, I’m going to have a lot of googling to do this afternoon.

        Dunn was a private, and he’s listed on the Port Moody honor roll as having been killed in action. However, in another, later Port Moody honor roll, he’s listed as having died of wounds. We also know he didn’t own property in the area, so he may have been a labourer, renter, or other mobile individual who just passed through here on his way to Westminster to sign up. As of now, he is the only local casualty we know nothing about.

      • Looks like there were no Dunns in the medical core, and the only W Dunns I could find in the RMRs either survived or lived in Ontario. Back to the drawing board.

      • I had a look yesterday too but couldn’t find a good match. If W. Dunn died of wounds prior to August 31, 1921 then he should be listed in their database. I looked for W. Dunns who died in the service of any Commonwealth Force but I couldn’t see a link to Port Moody or a unit using the abbreviation “RMH”. It’s a difficult one if you don’t have anything else to tie him to the area. Do you know for sure that he enlisted in New Westminster?

  2. Unfortunately not. We know he died before the second half of 1917, because the first honor roll was written earlier than that. The only two concrete records we have of W. Dunn are the official honor roll for the city of Port Moody, created in 1917 and only ever partially completed, and the Honor roll in The Gold Stripe, a post-war magazine honoring those wounded and killed in the war.

    According to the Official roll, he was a Private in the “RHM”, killed in action. His name is listed alphabetically, so we know it was added at the time. According to the Gold Stripe, he died of wounds. It’s worth noting that others were listed as having died of wounds on the official roll, so there is definitely a discrepancy. That is all the concrete documentation I have of W. Dunn

    • I had a look through a few more service files and casualty lists but nothing with a Port Moody connection. I did find a W.J. Dunn from Fernie but he survived the war (but was wounded). If I find anything I will let you know. Good luck with your search! Cheers, Steve.

      • We found William Frederick Dunn and pinned him to the area, but we still haven’t found any record of his serving overseas, aside from the honor roll. It’s still a puzzle how he managed to slip through undocumented, or what the RMH he served with might have been.

  3. Love this site, found my dad and his brother. Are there any photos of the Battalions? I don’t have any pictures of my dad (Battalion 183 CEF Manitba Beavers) or his brother Battalion 68 Princess Patricia Light Infantry) would love to acknowledge them on Remembrance Day 2017 my uncle died at Vimy Ridge.

    • Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for your comments and feedback, it’s much appreciated. There’s no one source for Canadian FIrst World War military photographs although there are a few places to check. If a unit is perpetuated by a Regiment today then it’s worth checking for a Regimental museum. For example, the 68th Battalion is perpetuated by The Royal Regina Rifles and there is a museum in the Regina Armoury.

      The 183rd was broken up after arriving in England and the men transferred to other battalions. Your Dad’s service file will indicate which unit he went to. Most regimental photos were taken in camps in Canada or England prior to heading to the front but it’s possible a photo exists of a unit at the end of the war. Again it would be a case of searching for a regimental museum or association that may include copies of those photos. And of course a google search is always worth a shot.

      One of the best sources are newspaper archives. If you can find an online archive for the local paper then you have a good chance of finding a photograph although the quality varies greatly. The Winnipeg Free Press has a great archive although you have to pay to view articles (via newspapers.com if I remember correctly).

      Perhaps another reader will have another suggestion and post it here.

      Thanks again,
      Steve

  4. Hello

    My grandfather George William Atherton (125815) joined the 9th Siege Batter the 9th of August 1916.
    His name is listed above as such for the 2nd Reinforcing Draft. I have his pay book, medals and a couple of photos. His pay book says 9th Siege Battery, however above it is written posted to the 8th.
    Does not give a date when, has pay entries for March is a place in the UK, Stowlangtoft. Field pay is started in April. I am trying to find out when he went to the 8th. According to the war diaries the 9th Siege Battery’s first action was the 9th of April 1917, the opening day of the battle of Vimy Ridge.

    Bob Thomson

  5. Info on GW Atherton

    Thanks Steve that was fast. I have read the war diaries of both the 8th and 9th Siege Battery’s in an attempt to find more info. They never mention enlisted men’s names unless they were killed or decorated. It takes some practice to read, the longer they are at the front, the worse the writing gets.

    My grandfather passed away in 1969, he never talked much about it. My aunt, his daughter ask me 10 or so years ago if I wanted his pay book and hero pictures, I said yes. I already had his medals, overseas pin and such. Until that time I knew little of his service. I found out that he joined in 1916, went to France in 1917. I had thought that he joined in 1918. He did mention a couple humorous events, but only in passing. I did know that he did not like rats.

    Thanks again

    • You’re welcome Bob. The information was in his service file which you can access on the Library & Archives Canada website. A desire not to discuss the war was a very common trait among First World War veterans as was the aversion to rats, and understandably so. Cheers, Steve.

  6. All I can say is Wow! I started this week on a project to digitize my birth county – Victoria County, Nova Scotia through Canadian Great War Project http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com (another great site). I am NOT a historian, archivist, militarist, etc. but do feel a need to honour these men and women for their sacrifices. This site represents a significant level of work and I applaud you for it! Are you aware of any “digital” copies of these rolls? Meaning copies that have been OCR’d or converted to digital data? As a former 2BnNova Scotia Highlander my connections are through the 85th Bn and 185th Bn which also is significant in Victoria County, NS. Are you aware of a Nominal Roll for the 94th Victoria Regiment”Argyll Highlanders”? It was placed on active service on August 6, 1914, for protective duties of the Cape Breton coast and remained so for the duration of the war.

    • Thanks very much, your feedback is appreciated, and thank you for starting work on the digitization project for Victoria County.

      I’m not aware of any large-scale transcription of nominal rolls although the Canadian Great War Project has a dozen or so, including the 85th Battalion, which I’m sure you know about considering your current project.

      I don’t expect there would be a CEF nominal roll for the 94th Victoria Regiment as they remained in Canada and these rolls were compiled in preparation for a unit to sail overseas. However Ancestry.ca has a couple of datasets including “Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1857-1922” which includes paylists for the 94th up to 1913 (but not 1914, at least not yet). Ancestry is offering free access to some of its Commonwealth records over the Easter weekend so now is the time to check it out!

      Cheers,
      Steve

      • Thanks Steve! Great Information! I will check out Ancestry.ca .
        I downloaded the 185th Nominal roll – scan of original and have been playing with OCR settings but a ton of work to get it right – I haven’t given up. I have been on the Canadian Great War Project Site and have been in touch with Dan on their site for further information.
        Thanks again for the great resource(s).

        Cheers,
        Peter

  7. When I Came Across this Site I Really Was Totally Shocked and Delighted at the Same Time.

    This Site Actually Is Beyond Words, I Cannot Say Enough, Thank You for Bring Our WW1 Soldier out of the Dark and into Our Memories Especially Considering What 2017 Means to Us.

    • Hi James,

      Thanks very much for your feedback, it’s much appreciated. I love to research these individuals and I know many others do too. This particular page is easily the most popular on my website.

      Thanks again,
      Steve

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