Online and Local Resources
Defining Moments Canada aims to help students and interested Canadians tell the stories of men and women during the Second World War, and most notably the stories of those from their own area. We have collected a list of resources that may be useful to you in your search for individuals who were involved, directly or indirectly, in the D-Day landings. These resources will help you find information online, and then take your search into libraries, archives, and beyond.
- Killed in Action as part of the First Wave, June 6, 1944: Provides limited to somewhat detailed biographies of the 359 Canadian soldiers who died on June 6, 1944 – the first day of the Normandy invasion.
- War Photographers: Provides a useful and interesting starting point to explore the contributions of several war photographers who documented the heroics and tragedies of war.
- Personal Stories: Provides more than 40 rich biographies of people who served at Juno Beach in a variety of roles. Good starting point if there is limited time for locating and researching a local individual.
- Canadian military leaders: Provides 20 biographies of individuals who played leadership roles in Canada’s war effort – some from home in Canada and others overseas.
- Memory Project: Provides rich material evidence, as well as audio recordings of 90 veterans speaking of their experiences at Juno Beach.
- Service records of the war dead: Extensive data base of service records of all Canadians who died while serving in WWII. This site is only useful if a name has already been identified as it cannot be searched by community and is for all Canadians who died in WWII. Information the service record provides is just a staring point for research as it includes identifying information but no further details of the experiences of the individual.
- Canada’s virtual war memorial: Requires that a name has already been identified. Using the drop down menus, you can select WWII and date of death, if known, to narrow the search. Provides useful information including where an individual is buried and images such as war graves and possibly obituaries from local newspapers.
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission: If the name of an individual is known, this site can help to locate where they are buried, and where in Canada their name appears on a memorial.
- Local, Provincial and National Archives: Here is a handy list, compiled by Library and Archives Canada, of many of the major archives across the country. Libraries and archives often have collections of photographs and letters, and further digging may even turn up people who knew the person you are profiling. Reaching out to the archivists who are familiar with the collections can often save time in your research. Universities and libraries are likely to have collections that may be of value as well.
- The Royal Canadian Legion: While your local legion may not have an archival collection, it can be a great place to collect oral testimonies of local military history.
- Local Regiments, Historical Societies and Institutions: if you contact the organisations in your area, they may be able to offer you assistance. Often the research you’re looking for has already been done. Be sure to credit all sources properly.