Wednesday, 25 April 2012

the Veteran Guards of Canada

As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, my paternal grandfather, Alfred Burrows, fought in the Australian Armed Forces during World War I.  Shortly after World War II began, Canada began creating units across the country of mostly WW I veterans who assumed responsibility initially for guarding prisoner of war (POW) camps but a little later also guarded important potential military targets such as dams, power plants and government facilities.  These units were collectively know as the Veteran Guards of Canada (VGC).

I know my grandfather volunteered for the VGC - I have his service pin, but I know little of what his duties were.  Family lore has him guarding POW camps in Canada.  An accomplished horseman, I have heard he also taught Canadian troops how to ride, though I have exchanged e-mails some time ago with a VGC expert who had never heard of VGC members performing anything other than guard duties.

So, I have some research to do.  Last week on a visit to Library and Archives Canada, I submitted a request for his WW II records.  I will have to wait five to six months for the package, but I hope it provides greater detail on his role in the war.


  1. Good luck with your research! It sounds like an interesting project. :)

  2. Family research is notoriously difficult and is forever erectiing brick walls - its however great fun to do and my imagination always gets the better of me. I wish you luck with your research.

  3. Hey Geoff,

    Just stumbled across your paternal grandfather was also in the VGC in WWII and was a WWI veteran as well (tho' with the BEF in Palestine/Egypt)...I have just received his records from Ottawa after a year long wait...have some VGC contacts that you might be interested can contact me at:

    1. A number of coincidences - my grandfather also served in Palestine/Egypt with the Australian Imperial Force during the first world war. I also finally received my package from LAC and hope to write about it soon.