Who Lived and Who Died? the Experience of Death in the Canadian Army 1914-1918

Luiza Luiza Antonie, University of Guelph
Kris Inwood, University of Guelph

The extent of death during the First World War 1914-1918 was a dreadful shock to the participating countries. This paper investigates the likelihood of survival for soldiers in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). We match a list of those who died to all soldiers, who are also linked to a 1901 census index giving us records for 123,867 soldiers, of whom 11,470 died. The number of covariates is sufficient to show that province and date of birth, ethnicity, religion and rank at enlistment all exerted a powerful influence on the odds of surviving the war. We sharpen the analysis by examining additional characteristics retrieved from the full census and enlistment record for a subset of soldiers. Among the factors considered at this stage is social class as suggested by the occupation of adults in the 1901 census household. We also correct for the under-representation in our analysis of the foreign-born (many of who were not yet in Canada in 1901). In a final analysis, we take account of enlistment and death dates to identify a time-varying survival function. We are especially interested to observe the experience of two subgroups defined by ethnicity: Francophone and Indigenous soldiers.

Presented in Session 1237: History