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Follow Up .....

October 28 2009 at 10:48 AM
Grant Rombough 

Response to thank you for the info on A. Cohen


Might as well provide answers here to the additional questions you asked in your e-mail, in case the information may be of use to others ....

- if you order his service records, you will get photocopies, not the originals. In my experience, they will be of equivalent quality to the attestation paper I posted above - i.e. clear and quite readable. As you might imagine, the size of the file varies quite a bit, depending on the individual and the nature of his service. I suspect that there could be quite a bit of information in your grandfather's file, since he joined fairly early .... and presumably served for the duration of the war, which was the norm for C.E.F. volunteers who were not removed from service by serious injury or death .... and because he was wounded and was awarded the Military Medal.

- Much of the record will consist of rather cryptic abbreviations ... "military shorthand" so to speak .... but Library and Archives Canada will also supply a list of all the common abbreviations used in such records, to aid in deciphering the information.

(For example, from one record I have obtained: "9-4-18 125th S.O.S. on proceeding overseas for service with 116th Bn." followed by "11.4.18 T.O.S. 116th Bn." translates as "9 April 1918, Struck Off Strength of 125th Battalion on proceeding overseas for service with 116th Battalion" - with an intervening entry stating "Arrived in France" - and "11 April 1918, Taken On Strength of 116th Battalion". Those brief entries detail the fact that this particular individual had been transferred from the 125th Bttn. (stationed in England at the time), was transported to France, and was then entered on the roll of the 116th Bttn. (then serving at the Front.)

- You indicate that your grandfather apparently also served during WWII. That is quite possible, of course, in view of his age - he may well even have been young enough for active service again, though I believe the majority of WWI veterans served in support roles - such as The Veteran Guard of Canada. (The V.G. of C. was a "Corps of First World War veterans between the ages of 40 and 65, formed in May 1940, for full-time and reserve service during the Second World War. It grew to 10,000 men in 1944 with another 8,000 on part-time service. The great majority served in Canada with a few companies in Newfoundland, London (England), Nassau (Bahamas) and Georgetown (Guyana). Some veterans stood guard power plants, factories and other installations deemed essential to the war effort but most served as guards at the POW and enemy aliens internment camps in Canada. In 1944-1945, some went to India and Burma as mule skinners. The Veterans Guard continued to serve after the war until March 1947 when the last veterans were disbanded.")

- At any rate, the service records of WWII personnel are also available from Library and Archives Canada. Check here:
(Note: for "Privacy of Information" reasons, to access these these more recent records you will have to prove that the individual has been deceased for at least 20 years or, alternatively, that you are "immediate family" (a grandchild does qualify in that regard.)

- As for photographs, in my experience the WWI records do not usually contain any photographs of the individual, although the WWII records might - e.g. possibly a copy of the serviceman's identity card, which did bear a photograph during WWII.


I became familiar with most of these very valuable resources primarily while researching and documenting officers who owned some of the military handguns in my collection. It can prove to be rather fascinating and rewarding investigation ....

For example, I own a lovely 1914-production Colt Government Model pistol (commonly called the Model 1911, although strictly speaking that is just the U.S. Army designation for it) which was one of 5,000 such pistols purchased that year by the the Canadian Dept. of Militia & Defence. The majority of them were actually re-sold to C.E.F. officers (who were required to supply all of their own kit at personal expense, including weapons.) Anyway, the holster - which has been with this pistol since the beginning - is marked "Maj. W.A. Mitchell; OC No. 5 Coy.; 2nd Div. Train; C.E.F." - identifying Major William Arthur Mitchell, who served in the Canadian Army Service Corps as Officer Commanding Number 5 Company of the Divisional Train (the C.A.S.C. supply echelon) of the 2nd Canadian Division. In reviewing the War Diary for the 2nd Divisional Train, I was able to locate several specific references to Major Mitchell, including this gem of a page, documenting both his transfer from command of No. 8 Company to command of No. 5 Company on 4 July 1916 and his appointment as President of the G.F.O.M - General Forces (?) Officers' Mess, O believe - on 11 July 1916. (Note also the very interesting diary entry for 10 July ....)

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  • GFOM - Clive M. Law - Service Publications on Oct 29, 2009, 2:08 PM