The following post was written by Glenn Wright, a member of Ancestry Canada’s Advisory Board.

 

It is the most significant date in the history of the Second World War. On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, launching the  eventual liberation of France and all of Europe from Nazi oppression. Canada’s contribution, about 14,000 men, landed at one of the five beaches – Juno Beach.

Consolidating the landing on that first day resulted in 359 Canadian fatalities. But the landings in Normandy was only the first stage in a series of battles to liberate France that concluded with the closing of Falaise Gap on August 21, 1944. During the two and a half months of often vicious fighting, Canada’s dead numbered 5,021.

 

Image © Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The service records of all those who died on D-Day and throughout the Normandy campaign are available and searchable by surname on Ancestry in Canada, WWII Service Files of War Dead, 1939-1947 

 

 

This collection contains the files of nearly 45,000 Canadian military personnel who died between September 3, 1939 and December 31, 1947 from any cause attributable to war service, including service with the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy. All the files have been indexed and can be searched using the provided search fields

For those who died on D-Day or during the Normandy campaign, the files include attestation papers, death certificates, correspondence with surviving family members and documents relating to his service. Information found on the documents varies, but can include a wide variety of details, such as:

  • Soldier’s name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Address
  • Religion
  • Marital status
  • Names and birth dates of children
  • Military service
  • Physical description
  • Education
  • Occupational history
  • Parents’ names
  • Next of kin and address

Some records are in French. Use the arrow keys to scroll through the records and make sure you see all the pages related to your ancestor.

Researchers should also note that those who died for any reason attributable to war service were also registered in their home province. The province of Ontario death registrations, for example, can be researched on Ancestry in the Ontario, Canada Vital Records: Births, Marriages and Deaths collection.

 

Born and educated in Toronto, Glenn Wright joined the Public Archives of Canada in 1975 and during his 30-year public service career, worked as an archivist, historical research officer and assistant historian with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Retired since 2006, he is a frequent speaker at family history events, with a special interest in Canadians who served in the First World War. Glenn is the author of Canadians at War, 1914-1919: A Research Guide to World War I Service Records 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryony Partridge

Bryony is the International PR Manager for Ancestry where she implements strategic communications and social media programs that bring increased media awareness for the company.