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WWI

These collections contains any material relating to Canada from 1914 to 1918 from either the home front or the battlefront. External links in collection descriptions are either to online attestation papers at Library and Archives Canada or casualty and burial information at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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Robert John Conners was born in Montreal, Quebec in October 1890.  Conners enlisted in Montreal in January 1917 and served in France with the Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company.  He was demobilized and returned to Canada in 1919.  The collection currently consists of one letter and two photographs.  See also the collection of his brother, Horace Kelvin Conners.

Allan Matheson Conquergood was born in Kincardine, Ontario in May, 1872. He enlisted in July, 1916 in Winnipeg with the 239th Battalion, the Railway Construction Corps and served overseas. The collection currently consists of his diary from 1917.

Alfred Frank Cook was born in Midland, Ontario in August, 1894.  Cook was a law student who enlisted in August, 1915 in Niagara, Ontario with the 58th Battalion.  He served overseas with the 58th Battalion until 1918 when he transferred to the RAF as a flight cadet.  He was found to be medically unfit and was discharged and returned to Canada at the end of the war.  The collection currently consists of thirty eight letters.

Arthur John Cook was born in Chelmsford, England in 1892 and emigrated to Canada prior to the war. Cook enlisted in Edmonton, Alberta in November, 1914. He served overseas until the end of the war. The collection currently consists of his 1918 diary and one photograph.

Lieutenant Arthur Harold Madill Copeland was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 27, 1889. Prior to his enlistment in WWI he was a Lieutenant with the Militia’s No. 6 Canadian Army Service Corps (C.A.S.C.), Winnipeg. He enlisted for Overseas Service with the C.A.S.C. on March 8, 1915.

Beginning in March of 1916, Copeland served in France with the C.A.S.C. in the 1st & 3rd Canadian Cavalry Brigade Ammunition Supply Parks. In August of 1916 he was “attached” to the Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.) (technically remaining a Canadian officer, but working as a member of the British R.F.C.).

While serving as a gunner Copeland’s plane was shot down after returning from a bombing raid; he was wounded and captured as a Prisoner of War on October 10, 1916. After a period of hospitalization to recover from gunshot wounds to his arm and leg he was transferred to the German P.O.W. Camp at Douai. Over the following two years he was moved frequently, first to Wahn bei Coln, then to Stettin, Stralsund Danholme Pommern, Augustabad bei Neubrandenburg, Schweidnitz Selesia, Holzminden, Mainz, and finally to Holzminden again.

While in captivity he was appointed to the temporary rank of Captain (a rank he kept until the end of his service). He was later “Mentioned in Reports for valuable services while in captivity, and noted accordingly in the Official Records of the Air Ministry" in The London Gazette on December 12, 1919 (see external links below). Copeland had escaped and been recaptured twice while a P.O.W. and the “valuable services” mentioned in reports may have been related to either his own escape attempts or for providing assistance to similar attempts by others.

Following his release and repatriation to England on December 14, 1918, Copeland returned to Canada and was demobilized on March 23, 1919.

The letters in the Copeland Collection were all written to Hilda R. Lailey of Toronto while Copeland was held as a German P.O.W. (following the war she became his wife; they were married for sixty-four years). With the exception of the last letter, which was written after the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, the letters and envelopes bear a variety of P.O.W.-related stamps indicating the content of the letters was monitored by the Germans (e.g. the first page of the letter of Nov. 14, 1916, bearing the red stamp “Geprüft. Kommandantur Wahn-Lager 63,” which roughly translates as “Checked. Headquarters Wahn-Camp 63.” The “London F.S. PAID” postmarks on the envelopes are those of the London Foreign Service.

Included in the collections “Other” contents listed below are two German documents; titled “Gefangenenlifte des Lagers” these are pages from Prisoner Lists of the Camps, one for Wahn (western base) in January of 1917, and one for Holzminden in April of 1918.

The newspaper article is from the Y.M.C.A.’s wartime publication Canadian Manhood, of Jan/Feb 1917.

External links:
Lt. Copeland’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# not assigned) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Copeland’s commission as a Lieutenant was published in The London Gazette on February 2, 1916 (#29480, p. 1897), and he was “Mentioned in Reports” on December 12, 1919 (#31691, p. 15613).

Ernest Corbett was born in Orangeville, Ontario in February, 1893 and later resided in Wellington, British Columbia.  He enlisted in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in March, 1916 and served overseas with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles.  Corbett was killed August 21, 1917.  The collection currently consists of one letter and one photograph.

John Andrew Corcoran was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in August, 1886.  Corcoran enlisted in Vancouver in January, 1916 with the 102nd Battalion.  He served overseas, was wounded in August, 1918 and was demobilized back to Canada in 1919.  The collection currently consists of twenty-seven letters as well as photographs and miscellaneous items related to his servce.

Arthur Donovan Corker was born in February, 1894 in Victoria, British Columbia. Corker enlisted in September, 1914 and was part of the First Canadian Contingent. He was serving with the 7th Battalion when he was taken prisoner during the Second Battle of Ypres on April 24, 1915. As a prisoner, Corker attempted to escape six times, was recaptured, and finally succeeded in his seventh attempt in 1918. The collection consists of one letter written shortly after he made his escape to Holland. As well, Corker did an interview in 1983 describing his escape, which is part of the University of Victoria archives. To listen to Corker, click here.

William Hubert Corrigan was born in Brandon, Manitoba in July, 1881.  Corrigan enlisted in Regina, Saskatchewan in May, 1916 and served overseas with the 217th Battalion and the 209th Battalion, after having served the previous seven years with the 90th Winnipeg Rifles.  He was demobilized and returned to Canada at the end of the war.  The collection currently consists several photographs and postcards from his time overseas.

Frank Clifford Cousins was born on October 24, 1893 in Belmont, Ontario. He began his university studies at the University of Toronto in 1911, and then moved west to the Regina area where he taught school and attended university. Cousins enlisted in Regina, Saskatchewan in July, 1917 and arrived in England in December of that year. In April 1918 he was sent to France where he took part in the Battle of Amiens in August. Later that month he was wounded and sent to England for surgery and to recuperate, and remained in England until the end of the war. Upon returning to Canada he resumed his teaching and his university studies, received his L.L.B. in 1924, and was called to the bar in 1926. He was a partner with the future Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in the firm of Diefenbaker, Cousins & Godfrey. Frank Cousins died in his sleep in June, 1927.This collection consist of ninety letters and other miscellaneous materials.

John (Jack) Arthur Cowles was born in Oxford, England in March, 1893. He was a member of the Balliol Boys Club, a club run by the students, graduates, and tutors of Balliol College in Oxford. It was under the Club's auspices that Jack came to Canada in 1913. Jack enlisted with the Canadian forces in Saskatchewan in 1914. Cowles served overseas with B Coy. 28th Battalion and he was killed June 6, 1916. The collection consists of several letters to his sister and to the Balliol Boys Club, three postcards, four photographs, and a letter of condolence from Sam Hughes.

Gunner Bertram Howard Cox was born in Barbados on December 13th, 1894, to parents Charles Henry & Isabel Cox. He emigrated to Canada prior to the war and was working as a bank clerk in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the time of his enlistment there with the 59th Overseas Battery, 15th Brigade, on March 26th, 1916.

He shipped out to England in September of 1916, where he was transferred to the 60th Battery, 14th Brigade C.F.A., and was sent over to France in August of 1917. He remained with the 60th until the end of the war and was demobilized on June 28th, 1919.

The collection consists of nearly forty letters written by Bertram to family and friends between 1916 to 1919. The majority are addressed to: his parents, his two brothers Carl (& wife Mabel) and Murrill (& wife Ella), and his sisters Leila (& husband Jack) and Ina.

Also included is a transcription of the 1917 Christmas edition of the trench-newspaper The O’Pip, published “Somewhere in France” by the 58th Battery C.F.A. The paper was enclosed with a letter sent by Bertram to his sister Leila on January 11th, 1918. (It has been posted below under the content category of “Newspaper Articles”)

External links:
Gunner Bertram Cox’s Service Record (Serv/Reg# 327964) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.

Please note: all letter transcriptions, including annotations to the letters, were provided by the donor.

Jack Crawley was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in October, 1893.  He enlisted in December, 1914 in Brandon, Manitoba and served overseas with the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. Crawley was killed June 5, 1916.  His photograph is also a part of the Perry Sanderson collection.  Sanderson mentions him in his letters and he was killed one day after Crawley.  The collection currently consists of one photograph.

Frank Cronk Smith was born in Brockville, Ontario in May, 1891.  He enlisted in Toronto in February, 1916 with the 169th Battalion.  Cronk served overseas with the 169th and the 20th Battalions, was wounded in August of 1918, and demobilized and returned to Canada in 1919.  The collection currently consists of one photograph, his officer commissions, a Christmas card, and copy of the Canadian Daily Record from December of 1918.

Keith Bruce Crosby was born in Carleton, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia in 1897. He enlisted in August, 1915 and arrived in France on April 7, 1916. He was killed April 11, 1916. The collection consists of three letters and one photograph.

Herbert Cunliffe was born in Lancashire, England in 1885 and his brother William was born in 1891 and both emigrated to Canada sometime prior to the war. Both brothers, Herbert and William, enlisted at Niagara, Ontario in September, 1915. Herbert was killed October 18, 1916, leaving behind a wife and infant daughter. The collection consists of more than twenty letters from Herbert to his wife, a few letters from William, and two photographs.

William Cunliffe was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England in August, 1891.  Prior to the war he emigrated to Canada and enlisted in September, 1915 at Niagara, Ontario with the 109th Battalion.  Cunliffe served overseas with the 84th and then with the 75th Battalion until his return to Canada in 1919.  The collection currentlly consists of several letters, postcards, a photograph, and miscellaneous personal items.

William Howard Curtis was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, where he served in the 57th Regiment. He was in Alberta when the war broke out and joined the 9th Battalion in Edmonton in August 1914. After brief training at Valcartier, Quebec, Curtis went to England with the 1st Contingent and shortly after arrival transferred to the 2nd Battalion. He later served in the battalion's machine gun section, was three times wounded in action, and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field. Lance-Sergeant Curtis was killed in action on 8 October 1916 in the closing stages of the Battle of the Somme. The collection consists of eighteen letters from Curtis to his mother and sister, and three letters to the Curtis family sent after his death.

Lee Grant Darrach was born in 1882 and grew up in Clyde River, Prince Edward Island.  At the start of WWI Darrach was living in Boston with his brother Jack. In 1915 he headed overseas with the intention of joining the British Army. Enlisting with the British Lancaster Fusiliers, he trained in England before being sent into combat in Egypt and France, remaining on active service until May of 1919.

The collection consists of thirty-two letters written by Lee to his brother Jack (often also to Jack's wife Beatrice, refered to as "B"), back in Boston. They are an uncommon collection within the Canadian Letters in Images Project in that they document the history of a Canadian soldier not as a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, but in the British Army with the British Expeditionary Force, which as Darrach describes it, was often a very different environment.

The letters are used with the kind permission of the Clyde River History Committee. More information on Lee Grant Darrach, as well as audio recordings of his letters read by Alan Buchanan, are available through their website at: https://clyderiverpei.com/letters-from-the-great-war.

Harold Keith Davey was born in Enterprise, Ontario in July 1897. Davey enlisted with the 4th Battalion Canadian Engineers in Toronto in June of 1916. He served in France before being discharged and returned to Canada in May 1918. This collection currently consists of one letter, two diaries, two photograhs, one postcard, two railway passes and a rest camp ticket.

Note: In the diary section of the collection, transcriptions of all entries for 1917/1918 can be read together under the respective links to "1917" and "1918".  Scans of the original handwritten diaries can also be accessed here, organized by their individual dates of entry.

 

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Latest Readings from World War One collections

James Moore

Reads a 09/21/1916 Letter by Drader, Eugene Robert from World War One collections. View full Letter

RH Thomson

Reads a 07/06/1917 Letter by Mayse, Amos William (Will) from World War One collections. View full Letter

RH Thomson

Reads a 07/05/1917 Letter by Mayse, Amos William (Will) from World War One collections. View full Letter