Requesting Military Records from the National Archives of Canada
Updated with new web addresses: March 2, 2009
Are you curious to know where your grandfather served, what battalion he served with and
other details of his military service? Are you researching your family tree and want to know
when your great-grandfather, a veteran of the First World War, was born? It is not common knowledge, but anyone can request a copy of a family military record from the National
Archives of Canada.
To request a record, simple write the National Archives a letter. State the full name of the
veteran and any other pertinent information to help identify him or her, such as: date of birth,
place of birth, parents’ name and regiment number (if you have it). Also, don’t forget to state
the war the veteran served in.
It costs 40 cents for each photocopy. The records may contain a few pages or a few dozen
pages. Payment can be made by stating the credit card, name of the card, the credit card
number and expiry date in the letter. They accept Visa and MasterCard. Or, you can send
a cheque for $40 and they will refund the change.
It takes about six to eight weeks to receive a reply for records of the First World War. And
up to a year for records from the Second World War.
If it is a First World War veteran, you need only state who you are and the relationship
to the veteran. However, if it is a Second World War record you are requesting, things get a
little more complicated. If the veteran is alive, he or she may request the records, but they can
also sign a consent form for a family member. If the veteran is deceased, an immediate family member can request the records. A photocopy of the veteran's obituary or death certificate ,
and a copy of an official document showing relationship (long form of birth certificate,
baptismal certificate) must accompany all request.
Send requests to:
National Archives of Canada
Textual Records Reproduction Services
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N3
For the most updated information on discounts for seniors and students, mailing rates and similar
information, please, visit the Library and Archives of Canada web site:
A project is underway to post all First World War attestation papers on the internet. The
National Archives of Canada web site (NEW ADDRESS: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/cef/index-e.html ) already
has more than 750,000 attestation papers on-line. And even if the papers are not yet
available, in most cases, the regiment number and rank can be found by searching the web
Merchant Navy Records
Records for those veterans who served with the Merchant Navy can be obtained
from the Veterans Affairs Canada office in PEI. In most cases, the above requires
(death certificate/proof of relationship) apply.
Make requests to:
Merchant Navy Registry, Veterans Affairs Canada
PO Box 7700, Charlottetown, PEI C1A 8M9