Military Monday: Abbreviations and Acronyms

FHS, FMP, FS, FTDNA, FTM — are some of the common abbreviations used by our family history community.  They were included in a list of common abbreviations and acronyms for newer members in the most recent Journal of One Name Studies.

All disciplines have their share of these conveniences, seemingly more abbreviations (OGS) than acronyms (BIFHSGO).

For the military, you don’t need to be told the meaning of RCAF. Beyond that, it rapidly gets complicated.  Terms in a service file, on a soldier’s medals or in a war diary can be terra incognito.

Modern Canadian military abbreviations are found in the 610-page MANUAL OF ABBREVIATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE AND THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES (BILINGUAL). The latest online edition is dated August 2018.

Library and Archives Canada offers Military abbreviations used in service files.

For the British military there are long lists of First World War and Second World War abbreviations and acronyms that include Canadian terms.

You can often find lists in military publications like the three pages in Nicholson’s Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: CANADIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 1914-1919, starting on page 557


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