Lest we Forget

Remembering: Lance Corporal Alexander Will Davidson who died Monday, December 06, 1915

Reinventing the Canadian Great War Project

Twelve years ago the Canadian Great War Project came on line for the first time. It was very simple in its early days, and through the efforts of enthusiastic volunteers has grown to be a significant resource for researchers interested in Canada's involvement in the First World War.

In recent years we have seen the limitations of a technology platform that has not kept up with recent advances, and consequently most effort is spent in keeping the basic site running and combating the efforts of malicious hackers - not in providing new features. From a technology perspective, we have known for several years that something had to be done. The challenge has been the cost of upgrading the software and the effort required to maintain the site.

Enter the University of Victoria

Several years ago I had been approached by a graduate student from the University of Victoria wanted to do his thesis on the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Jim Kempling was a former commander of the PPCLI and appreciated the work that volunteers had put into the site, and the degree of data he was able to retrieve. This started an dialog over the next several years that helped us define a win-win scenario where the Canadian Great War Project would retain its openness, but be hosted in an environment where full-time resources, and funding, would be available to properly maintain the site. The first step of this is now complete: The University has created an extensible infrastructure, imported the CGWP data, gone through a process of data cleansing and normalization and has created their first search function. It is an early version right now, but is poised to grow very quickly. You can see this new search function here. Please let us know what you think.

About this site

Between 1914 and 1918, Canada participated in the most devastating war mankind has known. The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) fought in France and Flanders (Belgium), in battles at Ypres, Passchendaele, the Somme, Hill 70 (Lens), Mount Sorrel, and Vimy Ridge. In 1918 the Canadian contingent spearheaded the drive to end the war, fighting from Amiens and Arras in Northern France, through Cambrai and on to Mons in Belgium, which the Canadians secured on 11 November, 1918. Click here for a chronology of Canadian participation in the Great War. See our Notices section below for the most recent information.

The Canadian Great War Project is intended to promote interest in Canada's participation in World War 1, commonly referred to as the Great War, to research the Canadians who participated in the Great War 1914-1919 or other nationalities who served in the CEF. The content is primarily database driven to facilitate searches for information. The site is, and will continue to be, a work in progress; there are currently over 176,550 entries of individual soldiers, and has become a collaborative effort among those interested in researching Canada and the Great War. While searches through the database are available to all, only registered users may update information.

Registration is free and simple. See here for more information.
A growing number of volunteers have put a lot of effort into this site, so please leave us some feedback and let us know if you found this site useful and what we can improve. We rely on volunteers to transcribe information from attestation papers, war diaries and other sources to provide a better picture of the men and women who served Canada during the Great War, and we hope that you will join us.

Notices

There have been a few menu placement changes made in preparation of a potential menu revamp. Items have not been removed, but may appear under other categories.

The capability to add new images has been suspended temporarily. Please contact marc if you have images that you would like to upload.

Private John Cushnie collection. Anne Hales has gratiously provided a collection of transcriptions of over 90 letters and the 1918 private diary of Private John Cushnie.

Missing soldier commemorated: Thanks to the efforts to Marika Pirie and Anne Park, Private William Pope is now commemorated in the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and the Book of Remembrance. Using the information on this site, we were able to provide the documentation that allowed Veterans Affairs Canada to add his name.

Features of this site:

Searches

This search section allows the entry of a variety of search criteria and will return matches against these criteria. It is possible to search soldier entries, war diaries, letters and newspaper extracts.

Canada and the War

Some writings and general information on Canada and the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the War.

Statistics

Some statistics about Canada, Canadians and the Great War

We are dedicated to keeping the legacy of Lt. Col. John McCrae alive and preserving the memory of the 619,636 Canadians who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF).