Who would have written unit war diaries?

Discussion in 'Unit History' started by cmc39v, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. cmc39v

    cmc39v Junior Member

    I have received some war diaries for my grandfathers unit (1561 rasc arty pl) from Drew5233. When I showed them to my dad today straight away he said that that was his fathers writing in the diary. I was just wondering who would have typically written the war diaries? Would it have always been an officer or would he have dictated to a regular soldier? My grandfather was a corporal. Thanks
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I was a Corporal in Iraq and wrote many entries in my Troop diary as I was the Troop Cpl.

    Is there any signatures at the end of entries?

    A lot of the diaries are a collection of papers written by different people so IMO there is no reason why it might be him. He may have been responsible for doing some admin stuff which the diary may have been part of.

    A
     
  3. cmc39v

    cmc39v Junior Member

    Thanks Andy,
    No signatures that I have noticed. I remember in one of my previous posts that one of the pics I put up of him, someone commented that there were pens in his pocket suggesting a possible admin role.
     
  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Ossifers!
     
  5. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    The content of War Diaries were compiled by the Adjutant. The physical act of writing them is another matter; I suspect all the typed ones were done by battalion HQ staff in infantry battalions. It wouldn't be impossible for a Corporal to actually write out material dictated by a officer, or write up an officers notes, but the words would not have been his.
     
  6. cmc39v

    cmc39v Junior Member

    Thanks for this.
     
  7. NPMS

    NPMS Junior Member

    In the Army Film & Photographic Unit, its War Diaries were usually written in behalf of the Section C/O by a staff officer or adjutant.
    In Cairo, the main diarist was Captain the Marquis of Ely (that's Ely in Ireland, not Cambridgeshire, and his real name was George Loftus) with either Major David Macdonald (C/O AFPU) or Captain Geoffrey Keating (C/O 1 AFPS) looking over his shoulder. However, once he inherited command of 1 AFPS, Captain Basil Keys might do the scribing himself.
    In NW Europe, various officers juggled the job for 5 AFPS until Captain DT Thorne was seconded to the job under Major Hugh Stewart.
    Not sure who did the work for 2 and 9 AFPS, but somebody similar.
     
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    All the non-operational diaries I have seen, have been compiled by the Adjutant of the battalion. In theatre diaries tend to be the unit C/O. But this is only my limited experience.:)
     
  9. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    In the Army Film & Photographic Unit, its War Diaries were usually written in behalf of the Section C/O by a staff officer or adjutant.
    In Cairo, the main diarist was Captain the Marquis of Ely (that's Ely in Ireland, not Cambridgeshire, and his real name was George Loftus) with either Major David Macdonald (C/O AFPU) or Captain Geoffrey Keating (C/O 1 AFPS) looking over his shoulder. However, once he inherited command of 1 AFPS, Captain Basil Keys might do the scribing himself.
    In NW Europe, various officers juggled the job for 5 AFPS until Captain DT Thorne was seconded to the job under Major Hugh Stewart.
    Not sure who did the work for 2 and 9 AFPS, but somebody similar.

    Geoffrey Keating is my favourite of the photographers who were with the BEF, (mainly because he seems to have had an interest in vehicles and to have ridden a motorcycle whilst in France.). Have your researches uncovered any detail about him or his subsequent career ?
     
  10. NPMS

    NPMS Junior Member

    My research has revealed a fair amount about Geoffrey Keating within the context of the Army Film & Photographic Unit.
    In Cairo, he combined being O/C 1 AFPS with being a Public Relations Officer gallivanting with all the bigwigs. This was brilliant for Monty, who was a bit of a show-off, and for the AFPU, which needed Top Brass supercharge.
    More about Keating in my forthcoming book "When You're Smiler" about Sgt Eddy "Smiler" Smales who served in the AFPU from its origin in 1941 to its end in 1946.
     

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