Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group
"The Matrix Project"

The CEFSG Matrix Project is now available in the Wiki Format format which has components that are not in this "Static Web Version". Additionally, the web version is no longer being updated. Please refer to the Wiki page for additional details. This site will remain operational for some time in order to maintain links on member sites and within the CEFSG Forum.

Matrix Utilities

Home Abbreviations Chronology Cap Badges CEF Soldier Kit Contact the Matrix Distinguishing Patches Flander's Fields Great War Maps Legal Documents Matrix Projects Matrix Updates Member Utility Navigation Chart Newspapers Nicholson Matrix Nominal Rolls ORBAT Directory Reference Page Regimental Numbers Reserve Battalions Rolls of Honour Service Records Summary Tables Songs and Lyrics Tributes Troopships Unit Histories Unit Photographs War Diary Lists War Trophies Web Site Links

This Page Last Updated September 03, 2012

Welcome to the Matrix Utilities summary page.  Here you will find a short description of all the utilities available and links to the specific pages.  All of these utilities are "works in process" so we welcome you comments, corrections or additions.  Please also feel free to submit suggestions for new Matrix Utilities.  The "Matrix Projects" is a special section that contains "projects" that were undertaken by the members, such as the "2007 Vimy War Diary Project".

Click the bookmark in this table (order added to the Matrix) if you want to see the summary about that utility on this page, otherwise click the links in the page header (alphabetic listing) or the text following the table to go direct to the utility:


  1. Matrix Updates:  At this page you can enter your e-mail address and the URL for any page on the matrix.  As soon as there are any changes made to that page, you will receive an e-mail advising you of the change.

  2. Matrix Navigation Chart:  When you first entered the site, you were given the option to go direct to the matrix or first visit the navigation chart.  Here we have provided a summary that details the structure of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) as well as how that has been assembled into the matrix.  This chart is intended for the first time visitor or the junior researcher who is just starting to look for Great War Relatives, their history and how they fit in to the overall Canadian operations.

  3. Matrix Summary Tables:  Thanks to Neil Burns and Peter Broznitsky, the CEFSG has amalgamated the spreadsheets that summarize all the infantry units.  We have now linked the summary table to the Library and Archives War Diaries, as well as to the active discussion pages on the CEFSG Forum.  We have now also upgraded the Summary Table so that it includes the Army Corps and the Army Troops. Please note that this is, and always will be, a "work in progress" as we are constantly upgrading, enhancing and correcting the available information.  Please contact us if you find any errors or have additional information to add to the summary tables or the Matrix.

  4. Nicholson Matrix:  We have now added all the key components of the famous Nicholson text to the Matrix Utilities.  A significant update was made in the Fall of 2006 with the addition a complete transcription of the text, in original format. You will also find here the links to all the scanned maps, sketches, original Table of Contents and  the Appendices. We are in the process of finalizing all the Google Overlays of the maps.

  5. Fluid ORBAT Utility:  The ORBAT (Order of Battle) comments have been moved to their own page, so that we can update the list as individual ORBATs become available.  The Order of Battle is defined as "a listing of all units involved directly, or indirectly in a specific supporting role, in the conduct of a specific battle during a specific period of time" (Michael Thierens Post 2004).  Work is now underway to create the Fluid ORBAT to show the structure of the CEF in each Quarter Year from 1914 to 1918.  This will be the launching pad to then do battle specific ORBATS.  Sign up to participate in this very worthwhile project!

  6. Regimental Numbers:  Thanks to a note from Bill Smy, I was advised of the complete list of regimental numbers of the Library and Archives ArchivaNet site.  Access to these meant that you had to download 47 individual pages, so we have alleviated that problem by preparing a single PDF file that contains all 47 pages in one file.  This is a handy list to go along with the SUMMARY TABLE, particularly for those units not yet listed, or to cross check which is on the table.   For the original listing of the Regimental Lists, please see the Library and Archives Canada Regimental Number List.

  7. Troopships:  Thanks to Al C we now have a significantly expanded list that shows the ship, battalions on board, date and place of embarkation and date and place of arrival.  As this list is updated it will be reposted to this spot on the Matrix.  If you have additional information, please e-mail it to Al C for inclusion in the list.  For further information, see the Forum posting (Absorbed and Broken up Battalions -- Transport Ship.

  8. Abbreviations:  The Matrix Abbreviations have been taken back to the original version without the amalgamation with the CEFSG list.  On the same page you will also find the PDF version of the Nicholson Abbreviations.

  9. Web Site Links:  Dwight Mercer has kindly provided a copy of his "Recommended Great War Websites" which is available now for download in a searchable Adobe PDF document.  It is our plan to always have the most up-to-date list published here.  If you come across new sites, please feel free to submit them to Dwight directly.

  10. Great War Maps:  Often your research will take you to places you are not familiar with, particularly as so much of the topography has changed over time.  There is an excellent source of WWI maps at the MAPS USMA (History Department of the United States Military Academy).  If you are looking for specific information on Canadian Forces, then you might prefer the NICHOLSON MAPS. All other sources are referenced on the map page of the utilities. In December 2010 I also added a new section to this Utility to explain how to read and interpret Trench Maps.

  11. Aerial Views: To enhance the experience of looking at WWI battlefields with the available maps, you might want to take a look at some of the options for getting an aerial view of the surrounding area.  On this page of the Matrix you will find out what sites have been used by the CEFSG members with great success.  We are looking for more sources, so please let us know if you find other sites. In December 2010 I integrated the two sections (Maps & Aerial) into one Utility. The links have been adjusted accordingly. To do direct to the aerial information click here for Aerial Views or here for Aerial Instructions. Alternatively use the main link or the Great War Maps to go to the new folder.

  12. CEF Soldier's KIT:  Here we are starting to assemble information that shows and describes what was in a conventional CEF kit.  Our hope is to have a wide variety of schematics and photos showing all the components.  If you have photos or additional information, please submit them to the Matrix.

  13. WAR DIARY Links:  Michael Thierens has been using Marc Leroux's program to search the Library and Archives Canada web site with a passion.  Sites that no one would know exist, have now been identified and made available through Michael's diligent efforts.  I can no longer keep up with Michael and post these to the correct pages, as many of those pages do not yet exist.  So, on the WDL page you will find the links to all of Michael's "new finds"

  14. Unit Histories:  This is a compilation of the availability of unit histories, either in the possession of a CEFSG member, in the form of an on-line archive of the book, as part of a battalion's web site and most recently in the new format being introduced by Library and Archives Canada.  Send an e-mail if you are looking for a copy of a unit history, have one for sale or trade, or have the text(s) and are willing to do "look ups" for other members.  If you know of other resources other than those listed, please submit them for inclusion in this list.

  15. Tributes:  Members have identified tributes in verse, some with music, some with video, some just moving.  We will do our best to make note of those that are considered memorable and post them here for all to read, list to or watch.  If you have one that you would like to have added to the list, please send the link to the Matrix.

  16. Distinguishing Patches:  Each of the units in the CEF had a shoulder patch that distinguished them from all others in the field of battle.  Images of these patches have been recreated electronically to distinguish each of the Matrix Pages (see image in upper left corner of the Matrix page).

  17. Cap Badges:  Following up on the initiative for the Patches, CEFSG member LLWill has provided a collection of scans from his private collection which we will integrate with the individual unit pages, along with those provided by others.  As this is such a great collection, with excellent images, we have put the complete collection in a new Matrix Utility.  We encourage others to add to this collection.  As always, each member will be recognized for their contribution.

  18. Matrix Special Projects: Here you will find access to special projects that are being undertaken by the CEFSG that are not just Matrix Projects but rather projects that need a home for the end result. As such, they have a home here on the Matrix. You can click on the links in the header to go to the individual project. For example, the first project was to provide links to all the unit war diaries for the April 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge.  Other projects exist on the CEFSG Forum, such as Hill 70, Mount Sorrel, War Diary Transcriptions, Machine Gun Corps and Canada's Last Hundred Days.

  19. Battalion Songs: The songs and lyrics of the various CEF units, collected by members and submitted to the Matrix.  If you have found some that are not on this list, please post them or e-mail the information to the Matrix.

  20. Nominal Rolls:  Thanks to the members, we have now started to assemble a collection of Nominal Rolls for those that were assigned to a specific unit.  Details of the content of the rolls is provided at the link.  The roll is specific to a given time period, as for example the men that signed with the 21st Infantry Battalion in 1915 would be quite different than the men that were in the same battalion at Armistice 1918 (that example is shown in the works contributed to date).

  21. Reference Page:  if you are working away from your computer, or need to downsize your list of "favourites" then you will appreciate this Matrix Utility.  Here we have placed the main references you will be using when you are researching soldiers or units of the Great War.  This is by no means a complete list, just a start of the main links and something simple for new users.  The list can be updated as we go forward.

  22. Flanders' Fields: Thanks to Bob Richardson we now have a listing of the men who were interviewed for the 1964 CBC Radio Series "Flanders' Fields - Canadian Voices from WWI".  Visit this utility for details on the series and the listing of all the men, so you can match names to what you hear.

  23. Reserve Battalions: The work on the redesignated and reorganized Infantry Battalions as noted on the main Matrix page for the Reorganized Units, requires regular checks on what unit went to what reserve battalion, which unit trained who and where did the absorbed units likely go in the end? To facilitate easier identification of these units for those that do not have the main references, we are providing a summary table based on the primary references, to which we can add any additions, corrections or clarification.  The contents of this utility began a significant transformation in November 2008 with the addition of the work of Mark Hopkins which details the individual reserve battalions.

  24. Legal Documents: This utility is provided as a quick means to reach important legal documents (Acts, Regulations and Guidelines) that are relevant to the Canadian Military in the Great War.  In terms of legal significance, development and passing of an  "Act" (Act of Parliament) is the parliamentary process whereby the intent of the Government of Canada's legal process is described in text.  Following the promulgation of an Act of Parliament there are normally a number of "Regulations" prepared that give the force or power to the Act of Parliament.  Many Acts have been promulgated at one time or another without any Regulations and thus they have little or no power.  Finally, a "Guideline" is a quasi-legal document that sets out the intent of the regulatory body responsible for an Act or Regulation for the implementation of the legal process.

  25. Google Earth: A collection of KMZ files that can be used with Google Earth that are related to the Great War. These have now been moved to the MAPS UTILITY.

  26. Service Records: This is a collection of service records of Canadian Soldiers who served in the CEF, as well as a few that then also served in the BEF.  Members are also now adding "Service Record Summaries" for those soldiers that are part of their private research.  If you wish to contribute to this utility, please see the details to gain access to the site to upload your files.

  27. Rolls of Honour: This utility corresponds to the information contained in the CEFSG Forum for the "Rolls of Honour" listings. Here a link is provided to the actual document that contains the Roll of Service (survived the war) or Roll of Honour (died in the war). Some of these rolls are published in full in historic documents, others have been derived by CEFSG members or other researchers. Documents that have been scanned by CEFSG members may be located in the web site or saved to our shared MediaFire site.

  28. Newspapers: An new utility of September 2011 by CEFSG member "avidgenie". Like a number of other utilities, this information has been prepared and will be updated by the member, so the Matrix job is simple, just "cut & paste". These newspaper links focus on a number of resources relating to family history, with an emphasis on those that cover the Great War years.


Copyright 2006-2013 Richard Laughton
Great War Research Company, A Division of Laughton Management Corporation
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