War Diaries

Discussions related to specific battles of the first world war.
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BFBSM
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War Diaries

Post by BFBSM » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:21 pm

The War Diaries of Canadian Units written during the First World War can be found here: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/m ... aries.aspx
Introduction
From the start of the First World War, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) units were required to maintain a daily account of their "Actions in the Field." This log was called a War Diary. This database contains the digitized War Diaries of CEF infantry, artillery and cavalry units, Brigade, Division and Corps commands and support units such as Railway and Forestry troops. The site also includes the War Diaries of several British units that served under Canadian command. For other British units, visit the website of the National Archives.

This site does not include documents relating to the Royal Canadian Navy or Canadians in flying corps, except for two pages from June 1916 for the Royal Flying Corps. In addition, units were only required to record their "Actions in the Field." Therefore, you will find very few Diaries for periods during which units mustered in Canada, shipped to Europe, or trained in England.

These are not personal diaries. War Diaries rarely record information about individual men. This is because War Diaries were never intended to document individual service and also due to the size of the unit to which a single War Diary referred. For example, Infantry Diaries were recorded by battalions, which consisted of approximately 1,000 men. Artillery Diaries were most often kept by brigades, which numbered about 4,000 men. Command-level diaries record tactical and strategic information. Once you have identified the unit in which you are interested, War Diaries provide the most complete first-hand record of how and where that unit was deployed and the wartime experiences of its individual members.

The information found in the War Diaries varies greatly, and is dependent on the ability of the junior officer responsible for writing the diary on a day-to-day basis. Because of this variation, one may find a detailed account of a battalion's involvement in a battle, a description of training exercises, or simply a sentence describing the weather.
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/m ... aries.aspx
Last edited by BFBSM on Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BFBSM
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Re: War Diaries

Post by BFBSM » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:28 pm

The War Diaries of the British Army, 1914 - 1922 can be searched for at: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help ... 1914-1922/. Each diary costs £3.5, the period covered can vary from 5 months to the entire war. The search engine is relatively easy to use, and a guide is given to aid the search.

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Re: War Diaries

Post by BFBSM » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:31 pm

The Australian Imperial Force unit war diaries, 1914-18 are available here: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1338583.

The information contained can be quite variable. Access is free, and copies are downloadable as PDF documents.

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Phil
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Re: War Diaries

Post by Phil » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:39 am

BFBSM wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:21 pm
The War Diaries of Canadian Units written during the First World War can be found here: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/arch ... 202_e.HTML
This link is 404, typo? Or out of date perhaps?
Phil

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BFBSM
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Re: War Diaries

Post by BFBSM » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:20 pm

Thanks, Phil.

The broken link is strange, as it was working when I posted.

Anyway, the link to the Library and Archives Canada War Diary Information page, with instructions on how to search can be found here: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/m ... aries.aspx.

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