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Military


War Diaries

Army

War diaries are a day-to-day description of unit activities for army units in active service, and contain information about unit location and the military operations in which it may be involved. The diaries rarely mention individuals by name, with the exception of some references to officers.

Navy

Ship logs constitute a ship's official record, containing information about routine shipboard activities at sea and in harbour, as well as weather and sea conditions, all movements of the ship, details of operational exercises and special events such as visits by senior military personnel. Little or no personal information about individuals is entered in these records.

Air

Operations Record Books outline the activities and flying operations of a Royal Canadian Air Force unit. If the unit is an operational one (i.e., 419th Squadron), they will include details of missions flown and lists of aircraft and aircrew involved.

Research at Library and Archives Canada

First World War (1914-1918)

Army

War diaries for the Army in the First World War (RG 9 IIID3) are being digitized and can be viewed online by using the Advanced Archives Search. Records not yet digitized are available on microfilm.

  • Select Finding Aid Number in the pull down menu, and enter: 9-52
  • Enter a keyword, for example, the unit name or battalion number: "102nd" or "Royal Canadian Dragoons"

Navy

Ships logs for Canada's naval vessels can be identified by using the Advanced Archives Search:

  • Select Finding Aid Number in the pull down menu, and enter: 24-87
  • Enter a keyword, for example, the name of a ship: "Niobe"

Air

Operational records for the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Naval Air Service/Royal Air Force are in the custody of the National Archives in England, formerly the Public Record Office (Military Records Information Leaflet 70 [www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/]).

Second World War (1939-1945) and Korean Conflict (1950-1953)

References to some diaries can be located by using the Advanced Archives Search.

Army

  • In the pull down menu, select Finding Aid Number, and enter: 24-60
  • Enter a keyword, for example, the unit name: "Royal Canadian Dragoons" or "Princess Patricia's"
  • Some volumes are available on microfilm.

Navy

  • In the pull down menu, select Finding Aid Number, and enter: 24-87
  • Enter a keyword, for example, the name of a ship: "Beaver"
  • This series is not available on microfilm.

Air

  • In the pull down menu, select Finding Aid Number, and enter: 24-104a
  • Enter a keyword, for example, the unit name or number or date: "Royal Air Force Bomber"
  • Some volumes are available on microfilm.