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Origins and Development

The Matrix Troopships Utility originated with this post to the CEFSG Forum. That initial list was augmented with an additional list from the "RegimentalRogue", posts by "Ken MacLean" and many others resulting in the inclusion of Medical, Artillery and Other units and the subdivision of the original list. Beginning in January 2008, CEFSG member "lancer" began contributing entries derived from his collection of CEF embarkation rolls and administrative histories thereby greatly enhancing the range of units covered and the accuracy of the list in total. In December 2008, the creation of the Bob Richardson Nominal Rolls Collection Utility had a similar effect. In January 2009, two new subdivisions were added: one for the drafts from Regimental Depot Battalions and the other containing brief descriptions of the ships used to carry CEF members. In January 2013, the change to Wiki format enabled the creation of sections for Mounted, Engineering, and Army Service Corps units, and will, once fully operational, permit registered CEFSG members to add or correct information directly.

The Wiki version of the troopships utility is now the most up-to-date version. If you want to check entries against earlier versions, please see the Troopship Spreadsheets on the MediaFire site T2 Troopships here


Users should keep the following cautions in mind:

  • This is a provisional list that is updated as better information becomes available.
  • There is no guarantee that an individual soldier sailed with the Unit he attested to, always check the embarkation roll and/or service file.
  • Dates in the column headed "Arrived on" could be the date the ship arrived in port or the date troops disembarked from the ship. This is necessary because the available sources often use these dates interchangeably; where both dates are known the later "Disembarked" date has been used.
  • In cases where the ship and port and date of departure for a unit are known from the Cover page of a Nominal Roll or other reliable source but no direct source of arrival information is available, arrival data for other units on the same voyage may be substituted.
  • Much of this is drawn from secondary sources and should be treated accordingly.

Troopships Canada to U.K.

Mounted Units

This section includes entries for Cavalry and other mounted troops, but does not include entries for the Canadian Mounted Rifles Regiments which are included with the infantry battalions.

Infantry Units

Infantry Battalions

This section includes entries for Named (RCR, PPCLI),or Numbered (1-258) Battalions, the Canadian Mounted Rifles Regiments, and preliminary drafts from any of them which sailed between September 1914 and February 21,1918 when the last of the numbered battalions destined for England sailed. Also included are the two battalions of the CSEF which sailed in 1918. Not included in this section are drafts from Militia Regiments or from the Regional Regimental Depot Battalions which have their own section.

Regimental and Depot Battalion Drafts

This section includes entries for drafts from Militia Regiments,and Regional Regimental Depot Battalions.

Artillery Units

This section includes both brigaded and unbrigaded artillery units and drafts from depot batteries

Medical Units

Engineering and related Units

This section includes entries for all Engineering related units, and drafts for the Canadian Railway Troops and Canadian Forestry Corps, not included are the numbered battalions which were redesignated as Pioneer, Railway Troops, or Forestry battalions, those are included with the numbered infantry battalions

Canadian Army Service Corps

Other Units

Cross Channel Troopships

This heading has been added in case someone wishes to undertake the task of compiling tables of the ships used to move units and drafts across the channel. Until that happens the following information may help anyone interested in answering the question "How did grampa get from England to France?"

Troopships for the 1st Division and other units of the 1st Contingent are presented in a table in Duguid's Official History of The Canadian Forces in The Great War 1914-1919 Vol. 1 pt. 2 app. 855 p. 454; those for the 2nd Division and selected LOC troops are in Vol. 1 pt. 2 app. 723 p. 357.

Some, but not all, unit War Diaries for 3rd and 4th Div battalions and brigades, LOC troops and CRT and CAMC and CFC units have entries which contain their cross channel sailing information.

Records of sailing information for reinforcing drafts do not appear to be held by LAC. This is probably because movement of troops across the channel was under the control of the War Office and Ministry of Shipping in London. Possible sources of records held at Kew are discussed on the GWF here, hereand here. Both volumes of the book mentioned in the second post, The Dover Patrol 1915-1917 by Adm Sir Reginald Bacon, are available online. In particular see Vol. 1 Chapter XI The Control and Protection of Traffic.

Nominal rolls

Nominal rolls for units and drafts sent from England to France do not appear to have been published in Canada. It should be possible to reconstruct rolls from the Part II Daily Orders for the relevant unit(s) held at LAC; however these will not provide sailing information just the name and ranks of men sent on a particular day. Part II Daily Orders have been discussed in detail on the CEFSG Forum.

Repatriation Troopships

This section of the utility was created in response to requests from CEFSG members and others for information about homeward sailings that was missing from individual soldier's files. For the reasons given here on the CEFSG Forum it is a supplement to and not a substitute for obtaining service files.

Ships Descriptions

These are brief descriptions of most of the ships used to carry members of the CEF from Canada to Great Britain, Bermuda and St Lucia, or to carry members of the CSEF to Siberia, and to return them home again.

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