The Regimental Number List of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF)., is a guide which links a soldier’s regiment number to his assigned military unit. With the military unit’s name, a researcher can then search the War Diaries database. Please note, however, that many soldiers were transferred to other units or Battalions during the course of the war. Consult the individual’s service file for postings.
From 1914 until 1917, the Canadian Expeditionary Force was composed of men who had volunteered to fight. Able-bodied men were actively encouraged to enlist by Recruiting Officers who worked throughout the country. In larger urban areas, Recruiting Officers often worked from stationary recruiting centres, while in rural areas they travelled to many towns, counties or, in the west, large sections of provinces. Individual Recruiting Officers were told to recruit a specific number of men for a specific unit.
Before setting out to recruit their men, Recruiting Officers were assigned a block of regimental numbers. They assigned one regimental number to each man that enlisted. The Regimental Numbers list of the Canadian Expeditionary Force matches the military unit assigned to each block of regimental numbers. Therefore, the Regimental Number list can be used to identify the unit in which a man initially served.
Because regimental numbers were assigned sequentially, it is possible to use the Soldiers of the First World War database to search the numbers immediately before and after the regimental number of the person you are looking for. These numbers would have been assigned to the men who stood in front and behind of your ancestor in line at the Recruiting Depot. Given that men often enlisted in groups of friends, co-workers or family members, knowing who enlisted at the same time as your ancestor may reveal interesting aspects of his war service. This will not apply to men who were conscripted into the military in 1917. After that date regimental numbers were given to men in the order in which they were called up for service.
Many men served under more than one regimental number. Therefore, you may have to look through this list of regimental numbers to find the appropriate section.
Note that commissioned officers did not have regimental numbers. They were identified by rank.
Link to List: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/a…2015203_e.html
Image Source for ID Private 157082 George Frederick Hatch, the 81st Infantry Battalion.