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 the United Kingdom.

Army

War diaries are a day-to-day description of unit activities for army units in active service, and they contain information about the location of a unit 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 using Collection Search.

  • Enter RG24-C-3 and a keyword; for example, the name of a unit: "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

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.

First World War (1914-1918)

Ship logs for Canada's naval vessels (RG24-D-2) can be identified using Collection Search.

  • Enter RG24-D-2 and a keyword; for example, the name of a ship: "Niobe."
  • This series is not available on microfilm.

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

Ship logs for Canada's naval vessels (RG24-D-2) can be identified using Collection Search:

  • Enter RG24-D-2 and 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 (e.g., 419th Squadron), the books 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 the United Kingdom.

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

References to operations record books (RG24-E-7) can be identified using Collection Search.

  • Enter RG24-E-7 and a keyword; for example, the name of a unit (or a finding aid number or a 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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