Research Information on the Great War

Here is a list of some of the books that Benjamin Keevil has read and the research sources on the web that Benjamin Keevil has visited on the Great War. Because we are mainly interested in the 58th Batallion from Central Ontario at Passchendaele on October 26, 1917, the information is separated into the following categories:

There are thousands of books and articles published on the Great War. If you have other useful research sources that relate directly to the Canadians at Passchendaele, send us an email and we will add the source to the list. It took us about a year, working part time, to find, read, and analyze these research sources. By using the Internet, our research time was cut in half. Thank you to all the people in Canada, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom who helped to locate the information.

For a list of other Canadian and WW1 Web sites, see our Links page.

Books on Passchendaele published by Canadian authors

Here are some of the books that are directly related to the Canadians at Passchendaele:

  1. Canada in Flanders the official story of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Volume I, by Sir Max Aitken, M.P., 243 pages, 1916. [Volume I covers the first years of the war, we bought this book for $15.00 CAD in a used book store but have not found volume II... yet]
  2. Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919, by Colonel G.W.L. Nicholson, Ottawa, 1964.
  3. Slaughter in the Mud The Canadians at Passchendaele 1917, by Norm Christie, CEF Books, ISBN 1-896979-12-2, $9.95 CAD, 36 pages, 1998.
  4. The Canadians at Passchendaele October to November 1917, by Norm Christie, CEF Books, ISBN 0-9699039-7-9, $14.95 CAD, 81 pages, 1996.
  5. The Canadians at Ypres April 22 to 26, 1915, by Norm Christie, CEF Books, Winnipeg Manitoba, ISBN 0-9699039-3-6, $14.95 CAD, 88 pages, 1996.
  6. The Canadian Corps and its part in the war, by Sir Arthur Currie, 1875-1933, call number 940.91 C79
  7. Ghosts Have Warm Hands, by Will R. Bird, republished by CEF Books in 1997, ISBN 1-896979-00-9, originally published by Clark, Irwin & Company, $19.95 CAD, 192 pages, 1968.
    [A very alive and fascinating true story by Will Bird from Nova Scotia in the 42nd Battalion, The Black Watch of Canada. He fought at Vimy, Passchendaele, Amiens, Arras, and Cambrai. Will Bird died in 1984.]
  8. Legacy of Valour: The Canadians at Passchendaele, by Daniel G. Dancocks, published in Edmonton Alberta by Hurtig, ISBN 088830305X, 289 pages, CAN $24.95, 1986.
  9. Surviving Trench Warfare, Technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918, by Bill Rawling, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-6002-1 (paper), $ 21.95 CAD, 325 pages, 1992.
  10. When Your Number's Up, by Desmond Morton, Random House of Canada, ISBN 0-394-22388-8 on back cover (ISBN number inside book is 0-394-22288-1), $19.00 CAD, 354 pages, 1993.

Books on Passchendaele published by other authors

  1. The Road to Passchendaele - The Flanders Offensive of 1917 - A Study in Inevitability by John Terraine, published by Leo Cooper Ltd., ISBN 085052-299-3, 1977.
  2. BATTLEFRONT: 6th November 1917, The fall of Passchendaele, by Lt.-Col. C.E.L. Lynne R.F.A.), a study pack that contains copies of19 color and black and white documents such as maps, aerial reconnaissance photographs, Cabinet War Policy Committee (WP3) on 12 June 1917, war diaries, and a Canadian recruiting poster. Most of the original documents can be seen at the Public records Office, Kew, Richmond, TW9 4DU. To order email, costs about CAD $29.95 (12.99 British pounds). ISBN 1-873162-42-1, 1999.
  3. In Flanders Fields, by Leon Wolff, Penguin Books, $13.99 CAD, 363 pages, 1958. Has anyone read this book?
  4. The Third Ypres, Passchendaele The Day-by-day Account, by Chris McCarthy, Arms & Armour Press, ISBN 1-85409-217-0 (the ISBN on the back cover is 1-85409-405-X), $750 BF (Belgium Francs), 158 pages, 1995.
    [This book, purchased at the Shell Hole in Ypres, contains the maps and description that allowed us to find the exact battle site of the 58th Battalion on October 26, 1917 as shown on our Pilgrimage page.]
  5. Passchendaele The Fight for the Village, by Nigel Cave, Battleground Europe series, Pen & Sword Books, $25.95 CAD, 144 pages, 1997. [This book has excellent maps and photos.]
  6. Passchendaele and the Battles of Ypres 1914-18, by Martin Marix Evans, Osprey a division of Reed Books, $28.95 CAD, 111 pages, 1997. Many photographs and hard-to-get maps are included.
  7. Passchendaele - the untold story, by Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson, Yale University Press, 237 pages, 1996.
  8. They Called It Passchendaele, by Lyn Macdonald, Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-016509-6, $13.99 CAD, 261 pages, 1978.
  9. Passchendaele, the story behind the tragic victory of 1917, by Philip Warner, Sidgwick and Jackson, London, call number 940.431 W13, 1987.
  10. Battle Passchendaele 1917, evidence of war's reality, by Paul Wombell, Travelling Light, London, call number 940.431 W58, 1981.
  11. Haig's Command A Reassessment, by Denis Winter, Penguin Books, 362 pages, 1991.
  12. Passchendaele, The Sacrificial Ground by Nigel Steel and Peter Hart, Cassell Military Paperbacks, first published in Great Britain by Cassell 2000, is of extraordinary value with soldiers' frontline accounts of the Third Battle of Ypres.
  13. Canadian Troops Storm PASSCHENDALE RIDGE - 1917 A fantastic 22x16 inch centerfold page trimmed from The Illustrated London News (a leading illustrated British news magazine of the day), DEC 1, 1917. The title is "BY HINDENBURG'S ORDERS, "TO BE HELD AT ALL COSTS": PASSCHENDALE RIDGE STORMED BY CANADIANS", and it features a incredibly detailed illustration depicting a ferocious battle.
  14. SOME DESPERATE GLORY: the Diary of a Young Officer, 1917. by EDWIN CAMPION VAUGHAN, with a foreword by John Terraine, first published by Fredrick Warne (Publishers) Limited, 232 pages, 1981. Also published in 1985 by Macmillan Papermac.

    Vaughan was in the 1/8th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment or 'Warwicks'. Although Vaughan survived the war, the diary only covers the period from Jan 4, 1917 to August 28, 1917. Intensely honest and revealing, the diaries evoke the day to day minutiae of trench warfare: its constant dangers and mind-numbing routine interspersed with lyrical and sometimes comic interludes. Vividly capturing the spirit of the officers and men at the front, the diaries grow in horror and disillusionment as Vaughan's Company is drawn into the carnage of Passchendaele starting on August 16, from which, of his original "happy little band" of 90 men, only 15 survived.

  15. Poor Bloody Murder by Gordon Reid Editor, Oakville, Personal Memoirs of the First War, Mosaic Press, 1980, 3rd Ypres -Passchendaele pages 161 to 173.

Books on WW1 published by Canadians authors

  1. Second to None -- The Fighting 58th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force by Kevin R. Shackleton, 320 pages, 65 illustrations, 1-55002-405-1, $28.99 CAD, paper, September 2002, Dundurn Press in Canada.

    One of only fifty infantry battalions to see action with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I, the 58th nevertheless had no official history. Second to None tells the story of this important, yet forgotten, battalion. The soldiers who formed the 58th exemplified the ideal citizen soldiers and later evolved into the tough, battle-savvy veterans who destroyed the cream of the German Imperial Army and won battle honours. The author uses the men's letters and diaries and family oral histories to amplify the terse account of the 58th's war diary, bringing to life once more the men who paid the price for freedom.

  2. The C.E.F. Roll of Honour, lists members and former members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) who died as a result of service in the Great War 1914-1919, compiled and edited by Edward H. Wigney, and published by Eugene G. Ursual.

    This book lists every Canadian servicemen who died during WWI. The 880-page book took seven years of research to catalog previously disjointed and unknown information into one substantial text. All 67,000 names are listed alphabetically! This book is a limited quantity printing and is a necessary addition to any library, beautiful hardcover, 67,000 names, full Christian name, rank, serial number, place of burial, honours and awards, cross-referenced alias names, and cause of death (for example, KIA, DOW). Canadians who died serving with British, Australian, New Zealand, South African and U.S. forces, identification of all North American Indians, POWs, are also included. The book costs $135.00 CAD ($102.00 USD).

  3. Officers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, by Norm M. Christie, 1988, a 116-page hard-cover book that lists the rank, name and honours, unit, date of death, cemetary or memorial.

  4. Marching to Armageddon, Canadians and the Great War, 1914 -1919, by Desmond Morton and J.L. Granatstein, Lester & Orpen Dennys Limited, Toronto, Canada, 288 pages, 1989.

  5. Canadian Corps Trench Standing Orders, Army Printing and Stationary Service, - these orders were in operation at all times and covered conduct from rations and cooking to arrangements in the case of attack. You can get a copy of these orders in the book, A Call to Arms, by David Love.

  6. Flowers of the Forest, 2019, by Rick Law, historical fiction, Tellwell Publishing, available at Amazon and Indigo. Tells the fascinating story of Private Farquhar McLennan of the CEF 58th Battalion who In the summer of 1915 embarked on a journey into WW1 with his two best friends. It was not just a journey of longitude and latitude, but also a transformation of youth into manhood. The starting point was a place called Paradise. The destination was called Hell.

  7. Back to the Front, by Stephen O'Shea, Douglas & McIntyre, ISBN 1-55054-577-9, $16.95 CAD, 205 pages, 1997.
  8. Books of Remembrance, 52-page pamphlet, Vetran Affairs, Government of Canada, 1984.
  9. But This Is Our War, by Grace Morris Craig, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-2442-4, 148 pages, 1981.
  10. The Canadians on the Somme September to November 1916, by Norm Christie, CEF Books, ISBN 0-9699039-4-4, $14.95 CAD, 91 pages, 1996.
  11. From the Forks to Flanders Field, by Bruce Tascona (, the story of the 27th City of Winnipeg Battalion 1914 to 1919, 128 pages, $25.00 CAD, 1995.
  12. The Human Side, by U.N.C. Dudley, Toronto, Canadian War Press, 1915.
  13. My Grandfather's War, by William (Bill) D. Mathieson, ISBN -0-394-22288-1, Macmillan of Canada.
  14. Temoins Silencieux, adaptation française de "Silent Witnesses" par Jacques Gouin, Musee de guerre du Canada, 249 pages, en français, 1974.
  15. Silent Battle, Canadian Prisoners of War in Germany, 1914 to 1919, by Desmond Morton, ISBN 1-895555-17-5, Lester Publishing Limited, 1993.
  16. The Wars, by Timothy Findley, Penguin Books Ltd, ISBN 0-1400.50116, $2.25 CAD in 1977, 191 pages, 1977. [A novel by Timothy Findley who was born in Toronto.]
  17. My little wet home in the trenchs, by Roland D. Lemmon, published in Nova Scotia, probably in 1919. - prints the unvarnished truth, unlike most cheery letters from the Front.
  18. Worthy Investments, lists the Canadians decorated by the King, 1915 to 1919, edited by Kevin J.P. Joynt, $12.00 CAD, 65 pages. This alphabetically organized list provides a researcher with an accurate account of when, where, and how many times an individual was decorated at a Royal Investiture. Recipients who do not appear on this roll were either killed in action, or sent home before they could be invested.
  19. Task of Gratitude, Canadian Battlefields of the Great War - by Stephen Mills, $24.95 CAD.
  20. CANADA'S SONS AND GREAT BRITAIN IN THE WORLD WAR - by Colonel George G. Nasmith, C.M.G, with an introduction by General Sir Arthur W. Currie, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., Commander of the Canadian Army Corps, published by the John. C. Winston Co., Limited, Toronto, over 600 pages, 1919. - "A complete and authentic history of the commanding part played by Canada and the British Empire in the World's Greatest War". Illustrated with reproductions from the official photographs of the Canadian and British Governments. - In 1919, the "Montreal Gazette" said "No better book could be put in the hands of young Canadians", the "Toronto Globe" said "Well illustrated and carefully compiled. Sir Authur Currie's introduction is a fine piece of direct, soldierly narrative", the "Vancouver Daily Sun" said "Colonel Nasmith's access to official documents, photographs and maps guarantees the correctness of the book as a history of the great war".
  21. THE BANTAMS: The Untold Story Of World War One by Sidney Allinson ( Published by Howard Baker, London, England, 1981 Mosaic Press, Oakville, Ont., 1983. 287 pages, illustrations, index. Tells the little-known history of the 50,000 British and Canadian volunteers of below the minimum regulation height of 5 ft. 3ins. who volunteered to fight in "Bantam Battalions" during the First World War.
  22. The Roll of Honour of the ONTARIO TEACHERS WHO SERVED IN THE GREAT WAR 1914/1918 This book lists the teachers who served their country, it lists those that came home as well as those that died in honour of freedom.
  23. Book Art & War (Canadian War Memorials) Published for the Canadian War Records Office shortly after WW1. HB with 48 color and 8 black and white plates. Artists featured include Munnings, Jackson, and Barraud. Worth $75 to $100 CAD. The poppy was officially adopted by the Great War Veterans Association in 1921 on the suggestion of a Mrs. E. Guerin, a French citizen.
  24. A Call to Arms, The Organization and Administration of Canada's Military in World War One, by David W. Lowe, Bunker to Bunker Books, $41 CAD, ISBN 1894255-03-8, 349 pages, 1999.
  25. The People's War Book, James Martin Miller (ed.), published in 1919.

Books on WW1 published by other authors

  1. Private Memorials of the Great War on the Western Front by Barrie Thorpe of the Western Front Association. First published in 1999.
  2. King Albert's Book, produced ca 1915 in London England to benefit the Daily Telegraph Belgium Fund, 17 tipped-in pictures, 10 full-page pictures and music. Tributes from many people including Claude Monet, Andrew Carnegie, Hon. William H. Taft, Sir Wilfred Laurier, The Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden, The Right Hon. David Lloyd George, and The Right Hon. Winston S. Churchill.
  3. Official History of the Great War, by Colonel A Fortescue-Duguid.
  4. Above Flanders' Fields, by Walter M. Pieters, Grub Street, London England, 123 pages, 1998. A complete record of the Belgian fighter pilots and their units during the Great War, 1914-1918.
  5. 1915 The Death of Innocence, by Lyn Macdonald, Headline Book Publishing, ISBN 0-7472-7834-2, purchased used for $5.00 CAD, 625 pages, 1993.
  6. Before Endevours Fade, by Rose E.B. Coombs, MBE, Battle of Britain Prints International, ISBN 0-900913-85-1 (paper), 176 pages (with lots of photos), 1994.
    ["You haven't talked to THE expert on the Great War until you have talked to Miss Coombs", she constantly revised and updated this book until her death in 1991.]
  7. Fricourt-Mametz, by Michael Stedman, Battleground Europe series, Pen & Sword Books, $25.95 CAD, 144 pages, 1997.
  8. World War I, The Western Front, by Peter Simkins, Bramely Books, 221 pages, almost 400 photographs, $29.00 CAD.
  9. The Story of the CANADIAN CORPS 1914-1934, published by Canadian Veteran Associates, 146 King Street West, Toronto, Canada, 1934, 87 pages. Editor-in- Chief Ven.-Archdeacon (Col.) F.G. Scott, C.M.G., D.S.O., Senior Chaplain, First Canadian Division. Includes a record of the Canadian Corps Re-Union August 4, 5, and 6 1934 and the story of Canada in the Great War as recorded on the walls of the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower at Ottawa.
  10. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT - by Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970), 1928, translated from the German by A. W. Wheen. The greatest war novel of all time.

Books to Read

Here are the books that Benjamin Keevil needs to borrow or buy to get more background information on the events at Passchendaele on October 26, 1917:
  1. Historical Records of Number 8 Canadian Field Ambulance 1915-1919, by Gunn. In June 2002, Angus Army Surplus, 300 Bath Road, Unit E1, Frontenac Mall, Kingston, Ontario, tel 613.531.4040, owner Sr. D/M Bud Fields had a copy for sale for $60. CAD.
  2. The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman (Preface), Robert K. Massie (Paperback - April 1994). Apparently according to the book Inside the White House during the Cuban Missle Crisis in 1962, the US President Kennedy used a tactic from The Guns of August book to help understand the missle crisis. In 1962, one tactic was to establish a shipping blockade but one Soviet ship got through the blockade on October 26, 1962.

    The Guns of August only covers the first thirty days of the war, until the eve of the Battle of the Marne, but is still a wide ranging book. It covers in great detail the nationalism, diplomatic maneuvering, and military planning which seemed to lead the European continent to war; as well as the military maneuvers and battles of the first thirty days both on land and sea. The author's focus on a limited time period, rather than the entire war, allows her to delve into detail on the war's causes and the key decisions and actions that occurred early in the war. She places great emphasis on, and explores in detail, the personalities and governments she feels were instrumental during the crisis that led to the war and whose actions, during the first weeks of the war, contributed greatly to its future course.

  3. Hints on Reconnaissance for Mines and Land Mines in the Area Evacuated by the Germans, S.S. 163, May, 1917, British publication, 11 pages. This original publication has two original stamps on the front cover, one in purple to the General Staff of the Canadian Corps, May, 1917 and the other in red to the Canadian Corps M.G.O. 11 Oct 1917. This manual discusses such topics as: dug-outs, houses, railways, wells, bathing places, general information on where booby-traps may be encountered and the type of explosives used by the Germans. There are also several high quality diagrams as well as an elevation and sectional elevation drawings of the German Automatic Detonating Device.

  4. Art or Memorial? The Forgotten History of Canada's War Art by Laura Brandon, 168 pages, University of Calgary Press. Laura is the curator of the war museum in Ottawa.

Ordering books on the Internet

Ordering books using the Internet is fast and easy, we ordered Fricourt-Mametz, by Michael Stedman from Amazon Books in California and it arrived in Toronto by surface mail 10 days later. The cost to buy the book in a Toronto bookstore is $25.95 CAD (but the book is not available and would have to be ordered) and the total cost from Amazon was $29.26 CAD ($20.34 for the book plus $8.92 for shipping).

Publishing books in Canada

Research sources on the Web in Canada

This part lists the primary Canadian organizations with Web sites that have WW1 information available:

Research sources on the Web at other locations

Other 58th information sources

Canadian casualties

According to the book, "Legacy of Valour: The Canadians at Passchendaele", by Daniel G. Dancocks and published in 1986, the Canadian casualities at Passchendaele were:

In the future, more research data will be added and analyzed.

Order of Battle, Canadian Army Corps

Here is part of the Order of Battle, Canadian Army Corps from the book, "Legacy of Valour: The Canadians at Passchendaele", by Daniel G. Dancocks, 1986.

Corps Headquarters

Third Canadian Division

Ninth Infantry Brigade

- 58th (Central Ontario) Battalion

- 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Canada)

- 52nd Battalion (New Ontario)

- 116th Battalion (Ontario County)

An infantry battalion was commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel and each battalion was made up of four companies (about 200 men), commanded by a Major or Captain. Then, a comany was broken into four platoons commanded by a Lieutenant and each platoon into four sections commanded by a sergeant. A battalion consisted of about 1,000 men but after the headquarters staff, ill, and wounded are subtracted about 650 men were on active duty.

If you have other useful research sources that relate directly to the Canadians at Passchendaele, send Benjamin KEEVIL an email and we will add the source to the list.