Westmount, Quebec – 05 June 2023: The RMR’s war diaries from WW1 have been transcribed into Word and Excel formats to make it easier for researchers. Jane and Hamilton Slessor undertook this project, and while they did not attempt to transcribe the many hundreds of pages of Orders and Reports attached to the Diary as Appendices, they did transcribe a dozen Appendices which record names of Officer Reinforcements, Casualty Reports, and Lists of Honours and Awards. The hope is that this transcription may prove useful as a teaching tool to remind the younger generation of the Regiment of the hardships our forefathers endured and the sacrifices they made. The files can be downloaded from Dropbox here:
- 14th Bn CEF War Diary in WORD format
- 14th Bn CEF War Diary in EXCEL format
- Scans of original 14th Bn CEF War Diary – 1914-1915 – in PDF format
- Scans of original 14th Bn CEF War Diary – 1916 – in PDF format
- Scans of original 14th Bn CEF War Diary – 1917 – in PDF format
- Scans of original 14th Bn CEF War Diary – 1918-1919 – in PDF format
During World War I, war diaries played a crucial role in documenting the activities, experiences, and operations of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) from 1914 to 1919. These diaries served as a primary source of information for understanding the day-to-day life, strategies, and challenges faced by Canadian soldiers on the Western Front.
The war diaries were official records maintained by Canadian military units, ranging from infantry battalions to artillery batteries and support units. They were typically written by officers or designated personnel and provided a detailed account of the unit’s activities during a specific period, usually on a daily basis. The entries in these diaries covered a wide range of topics, including troop movements, combat engagements, casualties, weather conditions, supply logistics, and administrative matters.
The primary purpose of war diaries was to serve as a historical record for the military. They documented the chronology of events, outlined the tactical decisions made by commanders, and recorded the outcomes of battles and operations. These diaries were intended to be used for future reference, analysis, and to aid in the writing of official reports.
The war diaries were structured and standardized to ensure consistency across units. They typically included sections for administrative details, operational summaries, intelligence reports, and appendices containing supporting documents such as maps and orders. This standardized format facilitated the gathering of information from various units and allowed for a comprehensive overview of the CEF’s activities as a whole.
The diaries were not intended for public consumption during the war. They were considered internal documents, meant for military use and access only. However, their importance as historical records became recognized over time, and efforts were made to preserve and organize them after the war.
Today, the war diaries of the CEF are invaluable resources for researchers, historians, and individuals interested in studying Canada’s involvement in World War I. They provide firsthand accounts of the war experience, offering insights into the soldiers’ perspectives, challenges they faced, and the evolving nature of warfare during that period. These diaries help shed light on the strategies employed by the CEF, the conditions at the front lines, and the overall impact of the war on Canadian Forces.
The war diaries of the Canadian Expeditionary Force from 1914 to 1919 served as important historical records that documented the activities and experiences of Canadian soldiers during World War I. They continue to be essential sources for understanding the war and its impact on Canada, offering a window into the past and preserving the memory of those who served. Thank you to the Slessor’s for making this history that much more accessible!