War Diaries

During the First and Second World Wars, units were required to maintain a daily account of their "Actions in the Field." This log was called a war diary.

The War Diary is not a personal diary as they rarely record information about individual men. The purpose of the war diary is to provide a first-hand record of how and where a unit was deployed and that actions it carried out. The information found in the war diaries varies greatly from unit to unit and is dependent on the ability of the junior officer responsible for writing the war diary on a day-to-day basis. Because of this variation, you 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.

Use these links to find War Diaries to help understand and gain some context of the environment in which a particular soldier may have served.

War Diaries of the First World War

War Diaries of the Second World War