War Brides

The term “war bride” refers to foreign civilian women who married Canadian soldiers serving overseas during the First and Second World Wars. The majority of war brides were from Great Britain, with a smaller number originating from Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Germany.

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First World War

There is no official number for war brides who married Canadian soldiers during the First World War, but it is estimated that 54,000 relatives and dependants accompanied troops returning to Canada following demobilization.

Library and Archives Canada holds a variety of resources relating to Canadian war brides of the First World War, including documents regarding the transportation and care of soldiers' dependants en route to Canada, pay and separation allowance, passage fees for dependants, and procedural recommendations for soldiers returning to Canada with dependants. The following list provides the main resources identified to date.

DescriptionFile Number and LinkStatus
Assigned pay and separation allowance, NCOs and men discharged to Canada – dependants in British Isles, 1917-18 RG24-C-1-a, vol. 998, file HQ 54-21-23-89Open
Care of Canadian soldiers, dependants and  their return to Canada – work of Canadian Emigration Branch, ca. 1919 RG24-C-6-e, vol. 1848, file GAQ 12-3Open
Imperial Veterans in Canada, 1920-1937 RG76-I-A-I, vol. 644, file 993629, microfilms C-10583 and C-10584 (includes lists of names)Open
Procedure re: dealing with soldiers returning to Canada with their dependants, 1919 RG24-C-1-a, vol. 768, file HQ 54-21-6-152Open
Policy re Refunding passage money to soldiers' dependants, 1919-1934 RG76-I-A-1, vol. 624 (part 1=1919) (part 2=1919-1925), file 949846, microfilm C-10441Open
Applications for refunds of passage money (for soldiers' dependants) RG76-I-A-1, vol. 624, file 9498461, microfilm C-10441Open
Soldiers' dependants leaving Canada and returning to Canada (1919-1934)RG76-I-A-1, volumes 614 (parts 15-17, part 18, part 19), and 615 (parts 20-22 and part 26), file 908571, microfilms C-10434 and C-10435Open
Women and children leaving Canada to go to England (Soldiers' dependants) (lists) RG76-I-A-1, vol. 614, file 908571 part 3, microfilm C-10434Open
Transportation of Soldiers' Wives and Families from Overseas to Canada, 1916-1938 RG24-C-1-a, volumes 744-747, file HQ 54-21-6-85, parts 1 to 11Open
Naval and Military Emigration League, Settlement Scheme, 1919-1920 RG76-I-A-I, volume 585, file 821430, part 2, microfilm C-10658Open
Repatriation of widows and wives of men in CEF RG24-C-1-a, volume 736, file HQ-54-21-6-50Open

Further records may be found in the Immigration files of specific organizations (such as the Society for Overseas Settlement of British Women. For related records in the Manuscript Division, see among others: British government correspondence in MG 11 (Colonial Office), series 532 for the First World War and MG42, DO35 (Dominions Office) for the Second World War.

Use Archives Search to find other possible records. Try keywords such as soldiers' wives.

Second World War

The records for war brides of the Second World War, held by Library and Archives Canada, are more extensive due to the departments and programs established to handle the care and transport of soldiers' dependants.

By 1946, an estimated 48,000 marriages between Canadian servicemen and civilian women overseas had been registered. These marriages resulted in 22,000 children, and by the end of March 1948 the Canadian government had transported approximately 44,000 wives and 21,000 children to Canada.

DesciptionFile Number and LinkStatus
Admission to Canada of and transportation arrangements for fiancées of Canadian ex. Servicemen – Policy re., 1946-1948 RG25-G-2, vol. 3757, file 7447-B-40Open
Army Public Relations - Publicity re War Brides and dependants, 1946 RG24-C-1-a, vol. 174, file HQ-650-92-104Open
Army Public Relations - Repatriation, 1945-1948 RG24-C-1-a, vol. 173, file HQ-650-92-92Open
Arrival of CWAC from overseas.  Arrangements on Debarkation, 1943-1945 RG24-C-1, file 8536-7, microfilm C-5226Open
Assistance to dependants re desertion, bigamy, illegitimacy, 1940-47 RG24-C-1-a, vol. 2050, file HQS-54-27-1-21Open
Movement to Canada of Canadian servicemen's dependants – policy and instructions RG76, vol. 857, file 555-17Restricted
Canadian women marrying Allied servicemen, dependants of British Army personnel RG24-C-1-a, vol. 66 (Part 1), file 650-124-23Open
Canadian women marrying Allied servicemen: Immigration Landing Letters – Emigration Permits, 1920-1957 RG76-I-A-1, vol. 624, file 919898, microfilm C-10441Open
Demobilization - Committee on Repatriation of Canadian forces and dependants RG24-C-6-e, vol. 1846, file GAQ 11-42Open
Demobilization Planning.  Repatriation of dependants, 1944-1945 RG24-C-1, file 8350-34, microfilm C-5194Open
Transportation of dependants within Canada, 1944-1945 RG24-C-1, file 8320-33, microfilm C-5194Open
dependants - Return to Canada via United States Ports, 1945 RG24-C-1, file 8536-1-6, microfilm C-5223Open
dependants of Canadian Army Personnel Returning from Overseas - Nominal Rolls, 1944-1947 RG24-C-1, file 8536-1-3, microfilms C-5220 to C-5222Open
Return of dependants of Canadian Army Personnel from Overseas - Passage Priority Commission Lists, 1944-1946  RG24-C11, file 8536-1-4, microfilm C-5223Restricted
Fiancées of Army Personnel Coming to Canada from Overseas - Passage Priority Commission Lists, 1945-1946 RG24-C-1, file 8536-1-5, microfilm C-5223Restricted
History - Directorate of Repatriation, 1945-1947  RG24-C-1, vol. 6545 (Part 1), file 650-124-33Open
Immigration; admission of fiancées of citizens of Chinese origin; enlargement of quota for India, 1956 RG2, Series A5a, vol. 5775, microfilm T-12185
Imperial Order, Daughters of the Empire: Introductory booklet for British immigrant women, circa 1945 MG28 I17, vol. 33, File 10Open (exception: Vol. 141)
Instructional Personnel Returned to Canada for Duty at Training Centres, 1942-1945 RG24 C1, file HQS 8536-2, microfilm C-5225Restricted
Irregularities - Canadian Wives Bureau, 1947-1948 RG24 C1, file HQS 8536-1-9, microfilm C-5223Restricted
Joyce Hibbert Fonds (contains war bride correspondence and recollections) MG30 C170Open; some restrictions
Peggy O'Hara Fonds (contains war bride correspondence, research material, and photographs) MG31 K20Open; some restrictions
Policy, wives and families overseas to return to Canada, 1943-1945 RG24, vol. 2051 (part 1), file HQS 54-27-1-58Open
Problem Cases - dependants Awaiting Transportation from Overseas, 1946-1947 RG24-C-1, file 8536-1-8, microfilm C-5223Restricted
Entry of Alien Fiancées (Fiancés) – Policy and Instruction, 1934-1946 RG76-I-A-1, Vol. 188, file 67967, pt. 2, microfilm C-7343Open
Army - Repatriation - dependants of Canadian Army Personnel in Canada - Social-Services Policy, 1945-1947 RG24-C-1-a, vol. 66, file HQS 650-124-2Open
Repatriation of Members of Canadian Forces Discharged from British Army, 1943-1946 RG24-C-1, file 8536-5, microfilm C-5225Restricted
Repatriation to Canada of Soldier's dependants, 1940-1954RG76-I-A-1, volumes 460 (pt.1-2), 460 (pt.3), 460 (pt.4), 461 (pt. 5), 461 (pt.6), 461 (pt.7-8), 462 (pt.9), 462 (pt.10-11), 462 (pt.12), file 705870 (pts. 1-12), microfilms C-10400 to C-10402Open
Return of CWAC Officers from Overseas Posting, 1944-1945 RG24-C-1, file 8536-8, microfilm C-5226Restricted
Return of CWAC Personnel from Attachment Overseas, 1943-1944 RG24-C-1, file HQS 8536-4, microfilm C-5225Restricted
Return of dependants of Canadian Servicemen, 1945 RG19, Volume 662, File 186-5-2Restricted
Return of Ex-Servicemen to the United Kingdom, 1945-1947 RG24-C-1, file 8536-1-7, microfilm C-5223Restricted
Return of families of Canadian Officers and Service Personnel to Canada, 1940-1951 RG24-C-1, file 8536-1, microfilms C-5218 to C-5220Open
Return of Officers to Canada from UK, 1944-1947 RG24-C-1, file 8536-11, microfilm C-5227-5233Open; some restrictions
Return of Other Ranks.  Rotation Leave for Overseas Troops, 1945 RG24-C-1, file 8536-12, microfilm C-5233Open
Return of Personnel to Canada from Overseas - Welcome Home Arrangements - Generally, 1944-1946 RG24-C-1, file HQS 8536-9, microfilm C-5226Restricted
Return of Units from Overseas, 1945-1946 RG24-C-1, file 8536-15, microfilm C-5233 and C-5234Open; some restrictions
Return to Canada of GOC in C, First Canadian Army, 1945 RG24-C-1, file 8536-16, microfilm C-5234Restricted
Returning Canadian Army Personnel, Shipping Arrangements, 1945?= RG24-C-1, file 8536-13, microfilm C-5233Open
Servicemen's and Canadian Residents' dependants and Fiancées—Admission to Canada of, 1940-1962 RG26-A-1-c, vol. 122, file 3-32-7 (parts 1-2)Open
Social Service - Repatriation - Social problems, General, 1944-45 RG24-C-1-a, vol. 66, file 650-125-15Open
Transfer to Canada of dependants of Members of the Armed Forces Serving Overseas - Canadian Red Cross Society, 1944-1946 RG24-C-1, file 8536-1-1, microfilm C-5220Open
Transfer to Canada of dependants of Members of the Armed Forces Serving Overseas - Voluntary Organizations other than the Canadian Red Cross Society, 1944-1945 RG24-C-1, file 8536-1-2, microfilm C-5220Open
Transportation to the U.S. of fiancées of U.S. servicemen or fiancées of servicewomen from the U.K. and Europe, 1946 RG25-G-2, vol. 3825, file 8807-40Open
Use of Quebec as a Port Disembarkation, Service Personnel, 1945 RG24-C-1, file 8536-17, microfilm C-5234Restricted
War Brides—Widowed or Deserted—Mothers' Allowances—Family Allowances, 1945-1947 MG28-I10, vol. 58, file 489AOpen; some access to be determined
Policy - Wives and Families Overseas Return to Canada, 1943-1945  RG24-C-1-a, vol. 2051, file 54-27-1-58Open
Policy - Wives and Families Overseas Return to Canada, 1943-1945  RG24-C-1-a, vol. 2051, file 54-27-1-58Open
Regulations to control travel of women and children entering or leaving Canada during wartime. 1940-1946RG76-I-A-1, volumes 455 and 456, file 694686, microfilm C-10397 and C-10398 (includes lists of names)Open

Canadian Wives' Bureau

From 1944 to 1947, the Canadian Wives' Bureau oversaw the transportation of women and children to Canada and supported local war brides associations across England and Scotland. Library and Archives Canada's files on the Canadian Wives' Bureau cover the period from 1939 to 1947. Other Second World War records also address the transportation and repatriations of war brides and children of Canadian servicemen.

SubjectReference
Aberdeen, part 1RG24 C2, vol. 10324
Aberdeen, part 2RG24 C2, vol. 10324
Admin. CWBRG24 C2, vol. 10324
AyrRG24 C2, vol. 10324
BirkenheadRG24 C2, vol. 10324
BirminghamRG24 C2, vol. 10324
Birth statistics, CanadianRG24 C2, vol. 12444
BlackpoolRG24 C2, vol. 10324
Bognor RegisRG24 C2, vol. 10324
BradfordRG24 C2, vol. 10324
BrechinRG24 C2, vol. 10324
BrichtonRG24 C2, vol. 10325
BromleyRG24 C2, vol. 10324
Canadian Wives' BureauRG24 C2, vol. 10324
CardiffRG24 C2, vol. 10324
ChichesterRG24 C2, vol. 10325
Christmas EntertainmentsRG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club /17RG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club ConventionRG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club GenRG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club HollandRG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club LecturersRG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club /12RG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club /13RG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club /29RG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club /33RG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club /7RG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club /8RG24 C2, vol. 10325
Club/AccommodationRG24 C2, vol. 10325
Clubs Organization?=RG24 C2, vol. 10326
Clubs ReportsRG24 C2, vol. 10326
Club /11RG24 C2, vol. 10326
Coupons, parts 1-3RG24 C2, vol. 10326
DarlingtonRG24 C2, vol. 10326
Deps. ShippingRG24 C2, vol. 10326
DerbyRG24 C2, vol. 10326
Destination/BCRG24 C2, vol. 10326
Destination/Ont.RG24 C2, vol. 10326
DorkingRG24 C2, vol. 10334
DumbartonRG24 C2, vol. 10326
Dundee, parts 1 and 2RG24 C2, vol. 10326
East GrinsteadRG24 C2, vol. 10326
EastbourneRG24 C2, vol. 10326
EdinburghRG24 C2, vol. 10327
Enq/1, parts 1-4RG24 C2, vol. 10327
Enq/1, parts 5 and 6RG24 C2, vol. 10328
Enq/2, parts 1-3RG24 C2, vol. 10328
Enq/3, part 1RG24 C2, vol. 10328
Enq/3, parts 2-4RG24 C2, vol. 10329
Enq/4, parts 1 and 2RG24 C2, vol. 10329
EpsonRG24 C2, vol. 10327
Expenses GenerallyRG24 C2, vol. 10327
FilmsRG24 C2, vol. 10329
Foreign Marr.RG24 C2, vol. 10329
General, parts 1 and 2RG24 C2, vol. 10329
General, parts 3-5RG24 C2, vol. 10330
Glasgow, parts 1 and 2RG24 C2, vol. 10330
Glasgow/2RG24 C2, vol. 10325
GooleRG24 C2, vol. 10330
GreenockRG24 C2, vol. 10330
GuildfordRG24 C2, vol. 10330
HastingsRG24 C2, vol. 10330
Haywards HeathRG24 C2, vol. 10331
HorshamRG24 C2, vol. 10331
HostelsRG24 C2, vol. 10331
HullRG24 C2, vol. 10331
InvernessRG24 C2, vol. 10331
KilmarnockRG24 C2, vol. 10331
LancasterRG24 C2, vol. 10331
Lee Gen.RG24 C2, vol. 10331
LeedsRG24 C2, vol. 10331
LibRG24 C2, vol. 10331
Library, parts 1 and 2RG24 C2, vol. 10331
Library, parts 3 and 4RG24 C2, vol. 10332
LincolnRG24 C2, vol. 10332
LittlehamptonRG24 C2, vol. 10332
LiverpoolRG24 C2, vol. 10332
London N. and NW.RG24 C2, vol. 10332
London S.W.RG24 C2, vol. 10332
London W.RG24 C2, vol. 10332
London WestRG24 C2, vol. 10332
LutonRG24 C2, vol. 10332
Manchester, parts 1 and 2RG24 C2, vol. 10332
Marriages, generallyRG24 C2, vol. 12497
MiddlesboroRG24 C2, vol. 10332
MotherwellRG24 C2, vol. 10332
NewcastleRG24 C2, vol. 10333
North AllertonRG24 C2, vol. 10333
NorthamptonRG24 C2, vol. 10333
NorwichRG24 C2, vol. 10333
NotthinghamRG24 C2, vol. 10333
OxfordRG24 C2, vol. 10333
PaisleyRG24 C2, vol. 10333
PamphletRG24 C2, vol. 10333
PerthRG24 C2, vol. 10333
Policy, parts 1-3RG24 C2, vol. 10333
PressRG24 C2, vol. 10333
PrestonRG24 C2, vol. 10333
ReadingRG24 C2, vol. 10333
ReigateRG24 C2, vol. 10334
Remain UK, parts 1 and 2RG24 C2, vol. 10334
RepatRG24 C2, vol. 10334
ReturnsRG24 C2, vol. 10334
RG24RG24 C2, vol. 10324
RotherhamRG24 C2, vol. 10334
SheffieldRG24 C2, vol. 10334
SouthamptonRG24 C2, vol. 10334
Spare Cables and TelepsRG24 C2, vol. 10335
Spare Cables and Tell FileRG24 C2, vol. 10334
Spare Cables and Tels.RG24 C2, vol. 10335
Stirling and FalkirkRG24 C2, vol. 10334
SwanseaRG24 C2, vol. 10334
TripsRG24 C2, vol. 10335
Tunbridge WellsRG24 C2, vol. 10335
WatfordRG24 C2, vol. 10335
WokingRG24 C2, vol. 10335
WorthingRG24 C2, vol. 10335
York and DistrictRG24 C2, vol. 10335

Additional resources for the Canadian Wives' Bureau

DescriptionFile Number and LinkStatus
Organization and administration - Canadian wives bureau, 1944-1947 RG24-C-2, vol. 12546Open
Canadian Wives Bureau fortnightly newsletter, 1946 RG24-C-2, vol. 12357, microfilm T-17960Open
Canadian Wives Bureau London – Establishment and Activities of, 1945-1946 RG25-G-2, vol. 3625 (Part 1), file 2964-D-40 Restricted
Irregularities – Canadian Wives Bureau, 1947-1948 RG24-C-1, file 8536-1-9, microfilm C-5224Restricted

Use Archives Search to find other possible records. Try keywords such as soldiers' wives.

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