Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds medal registers, citation cards and other records of various military awards. As there are no service files for the Canadian military in the 1800s, those records often provide the only proof of service for 19th century conflicts. Many of the medals were awarded to recognize active service rather than acts of bravery. For example, all those who served in the North West Rebellion, 1885, were entitled to the North West Canada Medal.
List of records indexed in this database:
- Military General Service Medal, War of 1812, Lower Canada (RG 9 IIA5, volume 1)
- Military General Service Medal, War of 1812, Upper Canada (RG 8, C series, volume 1202, microfilm C-3519)
- Military General Service Medal, War of 1812, First Nations Warriors (RG 10, volume 264, microfilm C-12650)
- Canada General Service Medal, 1866-1870, Fenian Raids and Red River Expedition (RG 9 IIA5, volumes 2 to 10, microfilms C-1861 to C-1863)
- Egypt Medal, 1882-1889 (MG 13, WO 100, volume 68, microfilm C-12585)
- North West Canada Medal, 1885 (RG 9 IIA5, volume 11, microfilm C-1863)
- North West Canada Medal, 1885, Transport Service (RG24, volume 5916, file HQ51-4-64,
volume 4) (Coming soon)
- North West Canada Medal, 1885, North West Mounted Police Recipients (RG 9 IIA5, volume 12, microfilm C-1863)
- Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal, 1902-1950 (RG 9 IIA5, volume 16)
- Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal, 1913-1916 (RG 9 IIA5, volumes 18 and 19)
- Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration; Victoria Decoration, 1902-1945 (RG 9 IIA5, volume 20, microfilm C-6770)
- Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900-1969 (Accession 2004-01505-5, volumes 1 to 75)
The names of the recipients of the Queen's South African Medal are indexed and digitized in our South African War database.
Not all of our records have been indexed. To find out what other records we hold, see Other Resources at Library and Archives Canada.
Information about the Military General Service Medal (War of 1812):
- This British medal was issued in 1848 and covered various campaigns (1793-1814), including the War of 1812 in Canada.
- Only those still alive in 1848 were eligible to apply for the medal.
Information about the Canada General Service Medal (1866, 1870):
- General Order 22: Canada General Service Medal
- Only those still alive in 1899 were eligible to apply for the medal.
- These medal registers (RG9 IIA5) include the names of Canadian and British military personnel who served in Canada in the Fenian Raids and the Red River Expedition. There is also another list of the British officers who served in 1866 and 1870 (MG29 E26); that list was not indexed in this database.
Information about the North West Canada Medal (1885):
- Some men received their medal after the register was compiled and so their names do not appear in the volumes indexed in this database (RG 9 IIA5). See Other Resources at Library and Archives Canada and Published Sources.
- Members of the Transport Service were considered civilian employees. Surviving members finally became eligible for the medal in 1945 by Order in Council (P.C. 2794).
Information about the Citation Cards, 1900-1969 (Accession 2004-01505-5):
- These relate mostly to the First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945). The collection consists of 75 boxes of 5 x 7 inch cards. Most references relate to a single card and some have notations on the back side.
- Not all of the cards explain the reason why the honour or the award was granted. For example, in the First World War, after March 1918 commanding officers did not provide specific details relating to the men they recommended for the Military Medal.
- Some citations can be found in the London Gazette or in records not held by LAC. See Resources in Other Institutions and Resources Online.
- With a few rare exceptions, the citation cards relate only to the Canadian Army. For the Air Force and Navy, consult the links at the end of this page under Resources Online.
- The citation cards do not include references to service and campaign medals for the First and Second World War, such as the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. Those medal entitlements were recorded in the individual’s service file.
See the List of Records indexed in this database to find out which sources are included. The names and details were entered in the database as they appear in the actual documents. Many of these records contain only an initial, not the full given name. Keep in mind that this is an index to the archival records rather than a biography or summary of service.
The search screen enables you to search by:
- Given name(s)
- Regimental or service number
- Event/time period
Some entries only include an initial for the given names. Try searching by surname only. Names can also be spelled different ways. The entries reflect the spelling of names as they appear on the documents. You can try spelling variations of names or use the * wildcard character, e.g. W* for William or Thom* for Thomson/Thompson.
Also, the Citation Cards cannot be searched by regiment because that information was not captured when the database was created.
When you have entered your search terms, click on "Search". The number of hits found will be shown at the top of the results screen.
How to Interpret the Results
Your search results will be posted as a results summary list from which you will be able to obtain an item description.
Search Results Page
The search results page displays some or all of the following fields:
- Item Number
- Given Name(s)
- Regimental or Service Number
- Event/Time Period
Click on the underlined Item Number of a record to access the Item page, which contains additional information specific to that record.
The item page will include some or all of the following fields:
- Given Name(s)
- Regimental or Service Number
- Event/Time Period
- Microfilm Reel Number
- Item Number
For some records, there will also be a digitized image.
To suggest a correction, click on the Suggest a Correction link to access an electronic form.
To return to the Search Results page, click on the Back button of your browser in the upper left corner of your screen.
How to Obtain Copies
For database entries that include a direct link to a digitized record, you can print the images or save them on your computer.
Some records are digitized, but not linked to the database entry:
- The following microfilm reel is digitized on our website:
War of 1812, Upper Canada: RG 8, C series, volume 1202, microfilm C-3519. That volume starts on image 978.
- The following microfilm reels are digitized on our partner website Héritage:
War of 1812, Medals to Aboriginals: RG 10, volume 264, microfilm C-12650. That list starts on image 857.
Egypt Medal, 1882-1889: MG 13, WO 100, volume 68, microfilm C-12585. That volume starts on image 330.
For records that are not digitized, you can order a copy or visit LAC to view the records on site. If you order a copy, be sure to include all the information in the database entry.
For the Citation Cards, you also have the option of viewing the documents on our partner site www.ancestry.ca. That subscription website is available free at many public libraries.
Other Resources at Library and Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada holds other records relating to medals, honours, awards and Coronation Contingents that are not included in this database. Most of those references can be found in the records of the Department of Militia and Defence (Record Group 9), National Defence (Record Group 24) and Veterans Affairs (Record Group 38). Use the Archives Search database. Enter keywords such as a surname and the word medal, e.g. Henderson medal RG38.
There are also many files relating to medals that do not include a name of an individual in the title of the file. Try searching with keywords, e.g. RG24 Distinguished Conduct Medal. Some files contain only general correspondence or administrative records; others may include lists of names or correspondence from or about an individual.
The records of the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada (Record Group 6) includes the Honours and Awards series (volumes 359 to 388). See Finding Aid 6-10 PDF 9.32 MB for a list of the volume titles and dates.
Find out how you can access the records.
Consult our Military Heritage pages for information about other military records.
South African War, 1899-1902 - Service Files, Medals and Land Applications
Resources in other institutions
For information about medal entitlements and replacements for the Second World War (1939-1945) and Korean Conflict (1951-1953), contact the Honours and Awards Section at Veterans Affairs Canada. Go to that department’s Medal Contact Information page. Scroll down past the reference to service records at LAC to the section called Medal Information.
That page includes contact details for Canadian and foreign offices that hold information about Jubilee Medals, the Murmansk Run Medal, the Liberation of Kuwait Medal, etc.
Note that Veterans Affairs Canada no longer issues replacement medals for the First World War. You might be able to purchase replicas or miniatures from a militaria dealer.
The Veterans Affairs Canada website provides descriptions and illustrations of medals, orders, decorations and war service badges.
See: Medals and Decorations.
The Directorate of History and Heritage at National Defence has digitized the 54 volumes of the Canadian Army Overseas honours and awards citations for the Second World War. The images can be searched by name in the DHH database.
See: Canadian Army Overseas Honours and Awards (1939-45).
The Royal Canadian Air Force Association’s website includes transcripts of citations relating to RCAF personnel and also to Canadians who served with the Royal Air Force and Royal Flying Corps.
See: Honours and Awards
Transcripts are available for citations relating to Canadians who served with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy.
See: Awards to the Royal Canadian Navy
Information about modern Canadian honours and awards can be found on the website of the Governor General of Canada. It also includes some lists of names of recipients and a partial database for other recipients.
On citation cards, the abbreviation L.G. refers to the London Gazette and C.G. refers to the Canada Gazette. Lists of military awards were published in those gazettes. Citations were included for awards of gallantry and meritorious service. Those gazettes are available online:
1000 brave Canadians: the Canadian gallantry awards, 1854-1989 / Francis John Blatherwick
A guide to the war medals and decorations of Canada / Ross W. Irwin
British Battles and Medals / Lawrence L. Gordon
Canada General Service Medal roll, 1866-70 / John R. Thyen
Canadian Army honours, decorations, medals, 1902-1968 / John Blatherwick
Canadian recipients of the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers' Decoration and the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal / Stephen M. Pallas
Canadian welcome home medals, 1899-1945 / George A. Brown
Canadian-foreign awards, awards to nursing service, mentioned in despatches, World War I (1914-19) / Jim Wallace
Courage & service: Second World War awards to Canadians [CD-ROM] / John Blatherwick, Hugh Halliday
Honours and awards: Canadian naval forces, World War II / Edward R. Paquette, Charles G. Bainbridge
Mentioned in despatches of the Canadian Expeditionary Force including names brought to notice to the Secretary of State for War A and B lists / Edward H. Wigney
Military General Service, 1793-1814 (Canadian recipients); Egypt Medal, 1882-1889 (Canadian recipients); North West Canada, 1885 / Barbara M. Wilson
Not in the face of the enemy: Canadians awarded the Air Force Cross and Air Force Medal, 1918-1966 / Hugh A. Halliday
Royal Canadian Air Force honours, decorations, medals, 1920-1968 / John Blatherwick
Royal Canadian Navy honours, decorations, medals, 1910-1968 / John Blatherwick
The Canadian honours system / Christopher McCreery
The Canadian medal rolls, Distinguished Conduct and Military Medal (1939-45 & 1950-53) / Martin Ashton
The Canadian medal rolls, Distinguished Flying Medal (1939-1945) / Martin Ashton
The Canadian military register of foreign awards / Francis S. Dowe
The Distinguished Conduct Medal to the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1920 / David K. Riddle, Donald G. Mitchell
The Distinguished Service Order to the Canadian Expeditionary Force and Canadians in the Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, 1915-1920 / David K. Riddle, Donald G. Mitchell
The medal roll of the Red River campaign of 1870 in Canada / Graham H. Neale, Ross W. Irwin
The Meritorious Service Medal to Canadians: including awards to the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1916-1921 / Paul Wallace, Ed Paquette, Chris Enslen
The Military Cross awarded to the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1915-1921 / David K. Riddle, Donald G. Mitchell
The Military Medal: Canadian recipients, 1916-1922 / Harry and Cindy Abbink
The North West Mounted Police and the North West Rebellion / Donald J. Klancher
Valour in the victory campaign: the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division gallantry decorations, 1945 / T. Robert Fowler
Valour on Juno Beach: the Canadian awards for gallantry, D-Day June 6, 1944 / T. Robert Fowler
Worthy investments: Canadians decorated by the King, 1915-1919 / Kevin J.P. Joynt