How can I find records or info about my grandfather's WWII service in the Canadian military?
November 12, 2004 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Military Historians or Resident Librarians: lend me your ear!! Actually, I'm just looking for some pointers on digging up information. [MI]

I recently sat down with one of my grandfathers and talked to him about his experiences in WWII. I remember when I was young that he would tell me stories about the war but they always tended to be humourous type anecdotes. Now in the last few years he's started to let slip more eyebrow raising items.

In one case he mentioned that he and his buddies slipped into Paris one night while it was still half-occupied by the Germans. This strikes me as unlikely as he was a Canadian soldier and the Canadians where on the left flank of the Allied advance while Paris was on the right flank.

Anyways, I'd like to try and track down more information on his war record etc... and would love some pointers on where to start and what to look for. I've done some research in the National Archives for another subject, so I know about Regimental diaries etc... To make it harder, my grandfather insists that he wasn't part of a unit per say, but was attached to the 2nd Division. He was a lineman by trade and had 2 "partners", a guy called Jackson who seems to have been an intelligence type and other chap who was apparantly a sniper.

I have some rough information from notes I jotted down, which might help in my research, but little else to go on. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
posted by smcniven to Grab Bag (2 answers total)
if you know someone who is currently serving, they might be happy to pass your question around the various social networks that exist for tracking down old service buddies. i know my father often gets contacted out of the blue about things like this, but i have no idea how people get in touch with him beyond that sort of FoaF thing.

if you know which military base was your grandfather's home of record or entry point, you can talk to the historian there. here in the US, what you'd need to do would be contact the protocol officer in the base commander's office. they'd not likely have too much personal military history available for any of their soldiers, but they'd have general history about what their battalions did and when. american air force bases have websites, which are a good place to start. perhaps canadian military installations do, too?

barring that, if there's a local historical society in your grandfather's home town, they might have press clippings and things like that about local boys and what they did in The War.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:59 PM on November 12, 2004

Tips for Interviewing Veterans might be a good start in order to get a more complete oral history from your grandfather.
posted by plemeljr at 2:23 PM on November 12, 2004

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