Demographics: Composition of the CEF

By the numbers

The CEF was comprised of men and women, some of whom served only in Canada, most serving overseas. The women in the CEF were almost exclusively in the Nursing Corps. A significant difference between the CEF and the British Army was that Nurses in the CEF were always given an officers rank.

Canadian Population1

Total Population: 8 Million

Males of Military age: 3.4 Million

Males served in the CEF: 617,000 (18%)

CEF Casualities2

Total Mobilized: 619,636

Killed or Missing: 58,990 (9.5%)

Wounded: 149,710 (24.1)%

Prisoner of War: 2,820 (0.5)

CEF Composition By Gender1

Total CEF

Gender Number Percentage
Male 616,782 99.54%
Female 2,854 0.46%
Total 619,636 100%

 

Serving Overseas

Gender Number Percentage
Male 422,181 99.43%
Female 2,411 0.57%
Total 424,592 100%

 

Serving in Canada

Gender Number Percentage
Male 194,604 99.77%
Female 443 0.23%
Total 195,047 100%

 

CEF Composition By Rank group1

 

Total CEF

Group Number Percentage
Officers 26,169 4.22%
Nursing Sisters 2,854 0.46%
Other Ranks 590,616 95.32%
Total 619,639 100%

 

Serving Overseas

Group Number Percentage
Officers 22,846 5.38%
Nursing Sisters 2,411 0.57%
Other Ranks 399,335 94.05%
Total 424,592 100%

 

Serving in Canada

Group Number Percentage
Officers 3,323 1.70%
Nursing Sisters 443 0.23%
Other Ranks 191,281 98.07%
Total 195,047 100%

 

CEF Composition By Maritial Status1

 

Total CEF

Married Single Widow(er)
  Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage
Officers
9,093
1.47%
16,943
2.73%
133
0.02%
Nursing Sisters
47
0.01%
2,790
0.45%
17
0.00%
Other Ranks
116,930
18.87%
468,042
75.53%
5,644
0.91%
Total
126,070
20.35%
487,775
78.72%
5,794
0.94%

 

Serving Overseas

Married Single Widow(er)
  Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage
Officers
7,375
1.74%
15,353
3.62%
118
0.03%
Nursing Sisters
42
0.01%
2,354
0.55%
15
0.00%
Other Ranks
80,930
19.06%
314,762
74.13%
3,643
0.86%
Total
88,347
20.81%
332,469
79.3%
3,776
0.89%

 

Serving in Canada

Married Single Widow(er)
  Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage
Officers
1,718
0.88%
1,590
0.82%
15
0.01%
Nursing Sisters
5
0.00%
436
0.22%
2
0.00%
Other Ranks
36,000
18.46%
153,280
78.59%
2,001
1.03%
Total
37,723
19.34%
155,306
79.62%
2,018
1.03%

 

1: Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War (Duguid)
2: The World War I Databook

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