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Canada, Certificates of Military Instruction

Fold3 Image - Short course, first class certificate, 1879
Come look for your Canadian ancestors in our collection “Canada, Certificates of Military Instruction,” which includes records from 1867 to 1932.

In 1864, a Militia General Order announced the establishment of Schools of Military Instruction in Toronto and Quebec. These schools were intended to help company- and battalion-level militia officers and candidates for a militia commission learn about their military duties, as well as about drills, discipline, and other skills. After the creation of these schools, it became a requirement that candidates for militia commissions attend one of the Schools of Military Instruction and receive a certificate before they could receive a commission. A candidate was not allowed to stay at the school longer than 3 months.

There were initially two types of certificates: First Class and Second Class. First Class Certificates were for battalion-level officers. The certificate certified that the man was able to drill and handle a battalion in the field and was familiar with other aspects of running a battalion. Second Class Certificates were for company-level officers and showed that the man was able to—among other skills—command a company at battalion drills, as well as drill a company at company drills.

Schools of Gunnery for militia were also established in Quebec and Kingston in 1871. These schools, open to all ranks, had both “short courses” (3 months) and—for the top students selected by the school’s commandant—”long courses” (an additional 12 months). These schools had their own certificate system; for example, the short course had 4 certificates: First and Second Class for officers, and Third and Fourth Class for non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and other ranks.

This short and long course system was extended to the infantry, cavalry, and mounted infantry schools beginning in 1883. Among the certificates offered at these schools were certificates for short, long, and special courses, with such certificates typically designated as either Grade A or B (A for officers and B for NCOs and other ranks) and either first class (battalion level) or second class (company level)—though the certificates varied over the years in format and classification scheme.

Information you can find in the certificates in this collection typically includes the man’s name, rank, and residence; the certificate type and date; and the name and location of the school.

Included in this collection on Fold3 are:

  • Artillery and Gunnery Certificates, 1869-1905
  • Certificates from All Schools, 1884-1932
  • Registers of Artillery Certificates, 1895-1900
  • Registers of Certificates (Non-Commissioned Officers), 1905-1912
  • Registers of Certificates (Officers), 1895-1916
  • Registers of Certificates of Qualification, 1884-1906
  • Returns of Men Granted Certificates, 1899-1905

Get started searching or browsing the Canada, Certificates of Military Instruction on Fold3!


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