War Diaries, Ship Logs and Operations Record Books

Note: Many Canadians served with the British Forces during both wars. Those war diaries, ships' logs and air operations records are held at the National Archives in England.

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.

First World War (1914-1918)

The war diaries for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (RG9-D-III-3) have been digitized. See War Diaries of the First World War.

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

References to War diaries (RG24-C-3) can be identified by using the Advanced Archives Search.

  • 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.
  • Some of the microfilm reels have been digitized on our partner site Héritage.

Navy

Ships 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.

First World War (1914-1918)

Ships Logs for Canada's naval vessels (RG24-D-2) 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"

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

Ships Logs for Canada's naval vessels (RG24-D-2) can be identified by using the Advanced Archives Search:

  • 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

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.

First World War (1914-1918)

Operational records for the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Naval Air Service/Royal Air Force are in the custody of the National Archives in England.

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

References to the Operations Record Books (RG24-E-7) can be identified by using the Advanced Archives Search.

  • 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.
  • Some of the microfilm reels have been digitized on our partner site Héritage.
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