Here you'll find advice on how to start your research, links to researchers, research and honorary websites and a battlefield tour guide in Ieper (Ypres). These are followed by a Bibliography, containing a short but growing list of books specifically mentioning the 4th CMR. If you come across any other helpful links, books or publications, please do let me know and I'll share them here. If you find any broken links here, please, again, do let me know.
Research - what do I do next?
Click here for a quick Beginner's Guide to the basic, first on-line steps in researching a relative or research subject who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in WW1.
Arnie Kay for Canadian Military or RCMP research you can do no better than Arnie, who has been of considerable help to me with 4th CMR, 9th Mississuaga Horse and galantry medal research over the years. If you need somebody "in the know" to help with gaining copies of Canadian military records, citations, or for looking into specific matters of military research, Arnie is your man. Click on Arnie Kay to email him, and please do say where you heard about his services from.
George Auer is one of the researchers who has contributed a number of detailed and well researched articles to this site, specifically concerning 147th (Grey) Battalion and 248th Battalion men, and has been the link that has allowed many of the extended 4th CMR family to stand beside their relatives. George is in the midst of compiling a book which is entitled, "Soldiers of the Soil / Grey County goes to War". I would like to support his efforts by requesting that if your 4th CMR family member or research subject hailed from Grey County, Ontario, that you share with George any pictures, letters, diaries and oral histories that you may have on your relative. Please do email 4cmr.com via the Contact page, and your correspondence will be forwarded to George directly.
Research and Honourary Websites
1st Canadian Mounted Rifles - Peter Maxfield has provided this link to his building work on the 1st CMR. With the War Diaries transcription well under way, this link provides access to a growing set of photos and artifacts that aspires to be the basis of a proposed 1st C.M.R. website. Recent additions include a panoramic glass plate of the officers and men outside Brandon Armoury in early 1915, and scans of a handwritten Nominal Roll of "A" Squadron (Company).
Peter Maxfield is a grandson of Major (Lt.-Col) W.E.Maxfield D.S.O. (won at Vimy Ridge). 4cmr.com wishes Pete all the best for the coming website and invites 4cmr.com visitors to support the work in progress by dropping in to see the material and records concerning this sister CMR regiment.
2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles - a tribute website in honour of 227635, Pte. Ernest Henry Borrow. 4cmr.com also wishes this sister CMR regiment site well.
4th Canadian Mounted Rifes - War Diaries, this link takes you right to the 4th CMR diairies. The first reference covers the period 30th July 1915 to 28th February 1918. Dates before this are only covered in overview by the Regimental History. Other references listed cover small chunks of time after February 1918, up to dismissal of the men on 20th March 1919. Each page of the diary is listed (without description), and even blank pages are offered. A wealth of information is contained within each diary, so do take your time scanning the whole of the period you are concerned with. There are some very interesting additional pages, including operations reports, occasional casualty lists, letters (amazingly there is even one from the German Flying Corps to the British Flying Corps routed through the 4th CMR) and an occasional photo.
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles - an overview - CEF Study Group - Matrix Project CEF Military Organization - framework regimental history of the 4th CMR. Very helpful in gaining an insight into where the 4th CMR fitted into the 8th Brigade, 3rd Division of the CEF.
Battle for Mount Sorrel - is a very useful link to Chris Baker's 'The Long, Long Trail' website, for a very detailed account of the June 2nd, 1916, Battle for Mount Sorrel; a devastating day in the history of the 4th CMR.
The Books of Remembrance are available on-line through 'Veterans Affairs Canada', and contain the names of the Canadians who fought and lost their lives for their country. This link takes you to the First World War books. Just click on the year of your relative or research subject's loss, and the relevant page with their name on will be presented.
The Canadian Great War Project, run by the helpful Marc Leroux, is intended to promote interest in Canada's participation in World War 1, and to research the Canadians and other nationalities who served with the CEF in the First World War.
CEF Soldiers' Attestation Papers can also be accessed on 'ArchiviaNet', part of 'Library and Archives Canada'. This searchable database provides digital images of a soldier's attestation papers. Unlike the CWGC (below) this is for ALL Canadian soldiers, not just those who were lost. If they signed on with the CEF, chances are you should be able to locate their attestation papers here.
The Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group is a website administered by Neil Burns, and brings together a group of enthusiasts interested in the widest range of aspects concerning the CEF in WW1. They run a very helpful Forum, where you will receive a warm welcome and an open door to reach people who want to help with any query you might have.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission - the CWGC is doing immeasurably invaluable work to commemorate the war dead, through the building and maintenance of cemeteries and memorials around the word, and with the preservation of records. A searchable database is available via a "Find War Dea" search box on their home page to track down known individuals or general surname searches of those who died serving in both World Wars.
Duty & Valour, the Canadian military history encyclopedia, is webmastered by Aaron Greyling and is an online repository of information about the history and current on-goings of the Canadian Forces. This is a worthwhile and building project, so do lend it your support by visiting the Duty & Valour website.
Faces of Holzminden is a book dedicated to illuminating the personal stories of the officer POWs held in the notorious Kaserne Holzminden camp, in Lower Saxony, Germany, between September 1917 and December 1918. Linked to an up and coming feature film, entitled "The Enemy Within" which dramatises the famous Allied tunnelling escape of July, 1918, Faces of Holzminden is aiming for a release to coincide with the centenary anniversary of the commencement of the Great War in 2014.
If a relative or research subject spent any time at Holzminden, or even if they didn't, do drop in on this fascinating body of work, lend your encouragement to its progress, and contribute if you can via the email addresses on their website of via their Facebook page.
The Governor General's Horse Guards perpetuates the 4th CMR today as part of the 32nd Canadian Brigade Group.
Originally formed as a troop of dragoons in 1822, the troop became independant of its parent battalion in 1839, and was named the Governor General's Body Guard in 1866. The GGBG had an illustrious history to 1914, when along with the 9th Mississuaga Horse, the 2nd Dragoons and the 25th Brant Dragoons, 28 officers and 577 non-commissioned officers and men formed the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles. After WW1, the GGBG and the 9th Mississuaga Horse combined to perpetuate the 4th CMR as The Governor General's Horse Guards in 1936. The regiment went on to see action in Italy and NW Europe in WW2.
The regiment has an active Association, so please do visit the GGHG website and that of the Association, to learn more about their history and current active service.
Hellfire Corner is a fantastic site to get Great War news and information, which also links into Tom Morgan's own superb on-line military books sales service. There are lots of specialist and general interest articles by many contributors, and this site is well worth a look-see in respect of its prominence and length of service in providing a point of focus for the Great War on the web.
The Heritage of the Great War is a website dedicated to the events and consequences of World War One. Dutch based, and run by journalist and author, Rob Ruggenberg, the site provides a wealth of pictorial resources and study material, in both English and Dutch. In Rob's own words this is an unothodox website, which pulls no punches with the sometimes explicit nature of material available. Word of warning then to the younger visitor or the faint of heart. However, an excellent website, well worth a visit.
The Long, Long Trail is a cracking site - this one run by Chris Baker - which gives you a great spread of WW1 material specific to the British Army. Rarely does a site go into specifics, but here Chris has produced an invaluable and in-depth information source on all aspects of the War. There is an enviably detailed account of the 'Battle of Mount Sorrel' (listed separately below), which I urge you to explore in addition to the rest of Chris's site.
Maple Leaf Legacy Project (MLLP), receives a special mention here, as its goal is to image every Canadian headstone of the 20th Century around the world. The project is run by Steve Douglas, who also owns and runs a great bookshop in Ieper that you must visit, 'The British Grenadier Bookshop', on Meensestraat - the main walk up to the Menin Gate from the town - and the 'Salient Tours', battlefield tour company.
The MLLP's success is due to a large, multi-national volunteer force, which I have the pleasure being a part of. The project's website has a searchable database to help find an image of a particular Canadian headstone.
Matrix Project blogs. Richard Laughton manages the Matrix Project - formed by members of the Canadian Expeditonary Force Study Group - which creates blogs about men who served with the CEF in the Great War. A stunning body of work and collective research, which will be of great value and interest to anybody wishing to learn more about the men who served with the CEF.
War Diaries of the First World War - Housed within the 'Library and Archives, Canada', the war diairies have been scanned in and are part of it's 'ArchiviaNet' on-line resource tool. Principally covering Canadian regiments (there are a few British ones now), this is an invaluable source of information, if you have the patience to navigate its waters.
World War in-depth - BBC - World War One is a detailed and very informative website, taking a look at all aspects of WW1, and also includes a virtual tour of the trenches. There is a good deal of detail and subject focus for all levels of interest in the "war to end all wars".
Salient Tours runs professionally organised and informatively guided tours in the Ypres and Somme areas, Salient Tours is dedicated to helping people understand the events of the First World War, whether through their guided tours, their specialist bookshops at Ypres and on the Somme, or simply through offering advice and information.
This is a list of books or publications (printed or web based), which specifically mention the 4th CMR. This list is fledgling, and I welcome your contributions to it.
4th Canadian Mounted Rifles - S. G. Bennett - Murray Printing Company Ltd, Toronto - 1926 - is a Regimental History, with a full and detailed account of the 4th CMR from 1914 to 1919. A rare and expensive book. Grab it if you see it.
Alternatively, and of great news, is that this book is now available, free, on the web: 4th CMR Regimental History will take you there. Select from any of the varied formats now available from the menu on the left of their page. An invaluable development for 4th CMR researchers.
An American Soldier - Houghton Mifflin Co, USA - 1918 - A collection of letters from Lt. Edwin Austin Abbey to his family. Lt. Abbey was assigned to the 4th CMR in December 1916, following his return to the Front from England after being wounded. He fell at Vimy Ridge in April 1917. An interesting account of an American who, eager to join the war, does so like many others via Canada, who then falls at the largest of the Canadian victories.
Captured - Lt. J. Harvey Douglas - McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart Ltd, Toronto - 1918 - written by Lt. Douglas, who also survived the onslaught of June 2nd 1916, and too was taken as a POW. He was held for the next 16 months, finally being interred in Switzerland before being repatriated in late 1917. This book is in contrast to that of McMullen & Evans, in that the life of an officer POW was somewhat different to that of the ordinary soldier.
Clarence McCabe - A Canadian Soldier of the First World War - by Bryan Joyce, is a well written biography, giving a further and valuable insight into the lives of ordinay men joining up to fight in the Great War. Clarence McCabe's story is one of leaving farm home life and with the 4th CMR enduring some of the most significant action in Europe, only to be lost to a most unfortunate accident. In 52 pages, this is a detailed and moving biography. 4cmr.com highly recommends this well researched book and is available through Blurb.com .
The Governor General's Horse Guards - Second to None - John Marteinson - RBS 2002 - is the story of Canada's senior militia regiment. A book containing rich narrative and plentiful in maps and photographs, this book has a depth of detail rarely found in regimental histories. The book covers the period from the regiment's earliest roots to its activities as at 2001.
Relevant to the 4th CMR is the extensive section on the First World War, with an in-depth focus on the darkest days of the regiment in the Battle for Mount Sorrel in June, 1916, and its involvement in the pivotal actions on the Somme, at Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Amiens, and the final 100 days of the war at Arras, Cambrai and finally when the Armistice was announced, at Valanciennes (8km from Mons). The 4th CMR marched into Mons on November 12th, 1918. The war was over.
Whilst I am sure the book will be available through the 'Kit Shop' section of the GGHG's Association website in due course, for now any enquiries for the purchase of the book should be put through to the Kit Shop's email. This exceptional book is a MUST for 4th CMR researchers at all levels.
Out of the Jaws of Hunland - McMullen & Evans - William Briggs, Toronto - 1918 - written by Cpl. Fred McMullen and Pte. Jack Evans, who both survived the Battle for Mount Sorrel on June 2nd 1916, and were subsequently taken prisoner. An amazing tale of their survival of that awful day, their capture, life as POWs, their escape bids, and final escape into The Netherlands.
Prisoner 5-1-11 - Norm Christie - CEF Books © 2006 - The personal recollections of 112079, Pte. Harry Laird's joining up, training, posting, life in the trenches, his survival of the Battle of Mount Sorrel on June 2nd, 1916, his wounding, subsequent capture, and life as a POW. This is an amazing account of that most horrendous of times for the 4th CMR, and is told in vivid and often harrowing detail. It is clear from this account that those few who survived June 2nd, 1916, were indeed miracles in their own right. Written in 1919, this memoir hides none of Harry Laird's bitterness, who wrote it "like it was", that is honest to his feelings in that immediate post-war period. For Harry's picture of what June 2nd, 1916, was like, life as a wounded and slow to recover POW, and the sheer indignation that some soldiers felt about their treatment in captivity, you must read this book.