Title and statement of responsibility area
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Canadian Agency fonds
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Level of description
CA ON00093 2008/16
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Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
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Physical description area
7 m of textual records
5 registers : 34 x 41 cm
40 binders : 34 x 30 cm
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Archival description area
Name of creator
The Canadian Agency of the Commission was established in April 1921 by the Imperial War Graves Commission to commemorate the men and women who died during the designated war years and were buried in North America and Siberia.
From September 1921 to August 1953, the Agency was also asked to manufacture and place headstones for Canadian Veterans who had survived the war but whose deaths were deemed to be as a result of their service. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s the Agency followed through with the production and installation of headstones for Second World War casualties in North America. The Canadian Agency also commenced a rudimentary visit programme to the war graves from the First World War located on the continent. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Canadian Agency commenced a more frequent visit programme across Canada and the United States in order to plot the exact locations of its 19,000 war dead within 3,300 cemeteries and on five memorials. Since the 1990s the Agency has gradually put into place an inspection and maintenance cycle which follows the norms of the Commission elsewhere in the world. Today, twelve cyclical inspection trips are completed annually. The Agency's objectives are to evaluate the structural state of the headstones and memorials and their cleanliness; all resultant maintenance work is contracted out to private companies.
To be considered war dead one must have died during the designated war years in service or of causes attributable to service. The war years are considered to be 4 August 1914 to 31 August 1921 for the First World War and 3 September 1939 to 31 December 1947 for the Second World War. The Commission's work is guided by fundamental principles which were established in 1920. Each of the dead should be commemorated individually by name either on a headstone over the grave or by an inscription on a memorial if the grave was unidentified. The headstones and memorials should be permanent. The headstones should be uniform. There should be no distinction made on account of military or civil rank, race or creed. The member governments decided to establish a policy of non-repatriation of human remains in order to respect the theme of common sacrifice and equal honour in death.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of memorial and cemetery registers for those Canadians killed during the First World War and the Second World War. Includes cemetery lists, country lists, index to registers, First World War registers of Canadian dead buried overseas and one of Canadians buried in Canada, cemetery registers per province (both wars), booklets on memorials and books and booklets containing cemetery and memorial registers. There are five series:
- Administrative records:
- Records pertaining to Canada
- Memorial registers
- Cemetery registers
- Computer printouts (List of Casualties)
Immediate source of acquisition
Fonds received 24 July 2008 from the Canadian Agency, Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Ottawa, ON.
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Copies of the finding aid are located in the first file of the fonds and in the Reading Room of the Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH). Electronic copies are also available.
No further accruals are expected.