Heritage Canadiana War Diaries Updated

Discussion in 'Canadian' started by dryan67, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Thank you for your unceasing work!

    I am looking at T-18373 for the 11th (Lambton) Field Company RCE. It seems to start in October '41 rather than March but maybe I did something wrong?
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    You have not done anything wrong. The listings in the spreadsheet are based on what is listed in the LAC (Library and Archive of Canada) holdings. They are based on Volumes. Since the reels were from microfilm, there is often some of one Volume on one reel and it is then continued on the next reel. The only way to tell what is exactly on a reel is to examine its contents. They put break sheets in the reel to show where one Volume ends and another begins, but this data can only be found by going through the reel. I just finished doing this for the reels that I am interested in. It took me most of today. Here is a sample of what I did to resolve the Volumes with the actual content of the reels. The example if for Force W GS and AQ files. You can see that June 41 is listed on two reels since it was split. This happened for August 1942, etc. Seldom does a reel end exactly at the end of month.

    Good luck in your research,


    Headquarters Force W Newfoundland GS

    T-10564 - pp. 1019-1745 (16_Oct_40-30_Jun_41)

    T-10565 - pp. 9-1781 (1_Jun_41-31_Aug_42)

    T-10566 - pp. 9-1786 (1_Aug_42-31_Aug_43

    T-10567 - pp. 9-1810 (1_Aug_43-30_Jun_45)

    T-10568 - pp. 9-970 (1_Jul_45-31_Oct_45)

    Headquarters Force W Newfoundland AQ

    T-10568 - pp. 972-1463 (4_Jan_42-30_Jun_42)

    T-10569 - pp. 10-962 (1_Jun_42-31_Aug_45)
  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Thanks David, good to know!

  4. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Heads up to all interested parties. Today (March 13, 2017) an additional 125 reels of war diaries have been posted at the Heritage Canadiana site. This pretty much completes all the reels in the War Diaries Not Posted section of my spreadsheet. I am working on categorizing the new reels and adding them into my spreadsheet and should have it ready in about a day. Luckily (??) a blizzard is arriving tonight in New England, so I should be snowbound and working on the update over the next day or so. You can check the <Update> button on the site to see the changes in the meantime.
    17thDYRCH likes this.
  5. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    A huge task about to become completed.
    Well done and thank you for your efforts.
  6. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I have updated the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet reflects updates to the Heritage Canadiana War Diaries as of March 13, 2017. There are now 1353 reels online with only four remaining. This weeks updates are color-code red for those uploaded on March 10, 2017 and blue for those uploaded on March 13, 2017. There are four reels that are misfiled. They are T-10017, T-12022, T-12023, and T-12024. The reels not yet uploaded are T-10629, T-12393, T-12418, and T-18395.
    17thDYRCH, stolpi, Chris C and 3 others like this.
  7. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member

    Good stuff!
  8. horsapilot

    horsapilot Member

    Good job !
    Any idea if RCAF documents are also available ?
    Especially the 6 RCAF Bomber Group 1jan1943-8may1945 (HQ) ?
  9. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    There are no RCAF diaries at Heritage Canadiana. Sorry.
  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    There are RCAF Orbs and BCATP records at Heritage Canadiana. I'm not sure how complete they are? See here:

    6 RCAF Bomber Group

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
    17thDYRCH likes this.
  11. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member

    When is the next update?
  12. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I apologize regarding the RCAF war diaries. I was not familiar with that area of Heritage Canadiana.

    Regarding updates, I am not sure if there will be any more for the Canadian Army war diaries. Since they are based on microfilm reels, I think that all the microfilm reels have been posted. For example, the majority of the infantry battalions that served do not exist on microfilm reels. This is the case for other units such as RCASC, RCAMC, training centres, etc.

    If you are not sure use the LAC search engine to see if a microfilm reel exists. For example, here is the entry for one of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade volumes:

    601 Reference: RG24 , National Defence , Series C-3 , Volume 14129 , Reel T-12015
    Serial : 730 , Access code: 90
    File Title: Headquarters, 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade
    Outside Dates: 1944/07
    Finding Aid number: 24-60

    Notice that a Reel number is listed.

    While here is a listing for a RCAMC unit:

    3602 Reference: RG24 , National Defence , Series C-3 , Volume 15944
    Serial : 483 , Access code: 90
    File Title: No. 2 Field Transfusion Unit, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps
    Outside Dates: 1943/02-1945/04
    Finding Aid number: 24-60

    Notice that no Reel number is listed.

    Here is the link for searching the LAC archives.

    Archives Search—Advanced - Library and Archives Canada
    17thDYRCH likes this.
  13. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member

    Since it has been over a year since anything has been posted it seems that there won't be anymore. Too bad since not all of the RCE files are online. However, since you stated that they are only doing the microfilms then they seem to be finished with this task. Mission accomplished. Now, I wonder if they will ever digitize the old files to complete the online records?
    17thDYRCH and Chris C like this.
  14. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Good question and one that would be worth posing to the archives.

    One of the most remarkable absences from a WW2 perspective is the infantry battalion war diaries.

    PS having seen the more modern devices they have for the microfilm - microfilm readers connected to computers so one can easily digitize a page by scrolling to the right spot and then just pressing a button - I have to imagine that digitizing paper records would be much more time consuming.
  15. Sailormannn

    Sailormannn Member

    I wonder who specifically we could ask for information and plans regarding completing this. Not having the Infantry Diaries digitized seems such a huge gap.

  16. JackGe

    JackGe Junior Member

    This is a great resource, thank you for creating the xls file/chart on the war diaries.

    One question, what does Column 3 represent - usually has one or two (sometimes three) serials composed of five numbers?
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
  17. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    The third column, or Volume Number, is the locator for the actual war diaries at the Library and Archives of Canada. If you were to go to the LAC to view the diaries, you would have to request them by Volume Number. For example, the war diaries for Halifax Fortress, by Volume, are:

    Halifax Fortress
    13859 – 1939/08--1940/03
    13860 – 1940/04-1940/09
    13861 – 1940/10-1941/03
    13862 – 1941/04-1941/09
    13863 – 1941/10-1942/03
    13864 – 1942/04-1942/09
    13865 – 1942/10-1943/04
    13866 – 1943/05-1943/11
    13867 – 1943/12-1944/05
    13868 – 1944/06-1945/04
    13869 – 1945/04-1945/11

    Here is a picture of a box at the LAC that contains Volume 15166, which are the war diaries of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada from June 1940 to November 1941:

    JackGe likes this.
  18. The Excel file is indeed a huge help in finding the specific file one is looking for! David, have you thought if proposing it to the Heritage Canadiana? If posted on their website this would benefit everybody.

    I find that these Canadian archives have the extraordinary advantage of having apparently conserved all the appendices and small scraps of paperwork where the most valuable information often lies, whereas the British National Archives scrapped many of these when moving to their current location years ago. An irreparable loss for History, and in my view nothing short of a crime against the memory of all those whose actions where described in those records now lost forever...

    Well done David and the NAC/LAC/Heritage Canadiana !

  19. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member


    Thanks for your kind comments. I was in contact with Heritage Canadiana for a number of years and they were pretty responsive at the time. I believe I did offer them the spreadsheet, but I don't remember getting a response. At the time, I noted a number of errors in their postings, such as reels that were not war diaries and belonged in another area as well as a couple of reels that were duplicates. They never made those corrections so I let it go.

  20. ducatim901

    ducatim901 Junior Member

    This is great!
    Is there also material about the German fortifications of the Atlantikwall?
    I have not yet searched which divisions (I presume 1st and 2nd Can.Inf.Div.) actually fought on the Atlantic coast (where the fortifications were built).
    Did the Canadians also keep German maps of the fortifications they found and used?
    And did they also did their own research for the fortifications like the Americans and British did, if so where can i find these (not in a war diary i assume)?

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