On Monday 9 October, Discovery (our online catalogue) and our Record Copying service will be closed for essential maintenance between 08:30 and 17:30 BST. If you have booked a visit to one of our reading rooms for Friday 13 October, please ensure you submit document orders by Sunday 8 October.
This short guide gives you an idea of what to expect from a typical record, and shows you an example of what one might look like. We can’t guarantee you will unearth what you are looking for, but we can try to help you enjoy the process of finding out.
Some diaries record little more than daily losses and map references, while others are much more descriptive, with daily reports on operations, intelligence summaries and other material. The digitised diaries cover activity in France and Belgium.
The diaries sometimes contain information about particular people but they are unit diaries, not personal diaries. Some contain details about gallantry awards and many include maps, plans and other documents as appendices.
What do the records look like?
With each download, you will typically see a unit diary that may cover a period of several years. This may be divided into several PDF files, which you can save to your computer. You can then scroll through the PDF files to locate the battalion and dates that you are interested in.
Many of the war diaries were scribbled hastily in pencil and use obscure abbreviations, whilst some are the second carbon copy of the original, so they may be difficult to read.