Ancestry - War Diaries

Discussion in 'Unit History' started by AB64, Oct 1, 2022.

  1. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Ancestry are showing WW2 War Diaries as "new" on their card catalogue - looking at UK, World War II War Diaries, 1939-1946 | Ancestry® they have loaded a few, but a bit haphazard in the listing without giving them useful titles, they seem to be from the WO169 series (Middle East) - at a glance it looks like about 29 files so far. When I get some time later I'll try add a list of what units they cover. Not sure if this mean they are going to start drip feeding WD's through.
    GeorgyB, lostinspace, Rothy and 8 others like this.
  2. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    British Forces, Middle East. 01 April 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 August 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 December 1940 - 31 July 1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 December 1941 - 31 December 1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 February 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 January 1941 - 30 September 1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 January 1942 - 30 November 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 January 1942 - 30 September 1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 January 1942 - 31 January 1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 July 1940 - 28 February 1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 July 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 June 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 March 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 May 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 November 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 October 1939 - 31 December 1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 October 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 01 September 1942 - 31 December 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 1939-1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 1939-1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 1939-1946
    British Forces, Middle East. 1940-1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 1940-1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 1940-1945
    British Forces, Middle East. 1941-1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 1941-1943
    British Forces, Middle East. 1942
    British Forces, Middle East. 1942-1943
    War Office: Army Medical Services: 149th Field Ambulance RAMC

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  3. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    44 & 51 Reconnaissance Regts are included.
    AB64 likes this.
  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Would somebody with a membership be kind enough to check whether 'British' refers strictly to British units and formations, or whether it stretches to 'British and Imperial'?
  5. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Links cover multiple units, a quick look through the first few show

    211th Field Park Coy RE/56th LAA Regiment RA

    69th Medium Regiment RA/66th CW Mortar Coy RE/5th Seaforths/51st Recce/7th A&SH

    12 Light Field Ambulance RAMC

    174 Field Ambulance RAMC

    10th Armoured Div Signals/5-6th Rajputana Rifles/505th Field Coy RE

    176 Field Ambulance RAMC

    2/8th Gurkha Rifles

    15 Light Field Ambulance RAMC

    11th Husars/8Light Field Ambulance RAMC

    7 Light Field Ambulance RAMC

    8th Armoured Div Signals/46th RTR/578 Field Coy RE/1-5th Queens Royal Regiment/1-7th Queens Royal Regiment/9 Field Sqn RE/44th Recce/53rd Field Regiment RA/1-1st Punjab Regiment/576 Corps Field Park Coy RE/34th LAA Regiment RA

    128th Field Regiment RA/51st Div Signals/ 1-7th Queens Royal Regiment/Matruh Fortress Signals/98th Field Regiment RA/5th Cameron Highlanders/1st Gordon Highlanders/4th Royal West Kents/111st Field Regiment RA/127th Field Regiment RA/126th Field Regiment RA/5th Royal Sussex/5-7th Gordon Highlanders/4tth Royal Sussex/5th Black Watch/1/6th Queens/274th Field Coy RE/239th Field Park Coy RE/209th Field Coy RE/2nd Seaforth Highlanders/78th Field Regiment RA/146th Field Regiment RA/1-7th Middlesex/40th RTR/7th Black Watch/275th Field Coy RE/276th Field Coy RE/57th Field Regiment RA/2nd Royal Sussex/1st Black Watch

    7th Armoured Div Signals

    44th Div Signals/45th RTR/41st RTR/30th LAA Regiment RA/2nd Gloucester Hussars/124th RTR/5th Royal West Kents/210th Field Coy RE/73rd AT Regiment RA/84th AT Regiment RA/1st Camoflage Coy RE/5th RHA/50th RTR/11th KRRC/2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry/57th AT Regiment RA/7th Rifle Brigade/14th Sherwood Forresters/11th Field Coy RE/53rd LAA Regiment RA/47th RTR/65th Field Regiment RA/2nd Buffs/58th Field Regiment RA/

    233rd Field Coy RE/1st Royal Northumberlnd Fusiliers/8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars

    2 Armoured Field Ambulance

    HQ 10 corps/154th Field Regiment RA

    577 Army Field Coy RE/21st Field Squadron RE/61st AT Regiment RA

    131st Field Ambulance RAMC/3rd Armoured Field Ambulance RAMC

    186th Field Ambulance RAMC

    132nd Field Ambulance RAMC

    200th Field Ambulance RAMC

    14th Light Field Ambulance RAMC/1st Light Field Ambulance RAMC/17th Indian Field Ambulance R(I?)AMC

    149th Field Ambulance RAMC/175th Field Ambulance RAMC

    26th Indian Field Ambulance R(I?)AMC

    166th Light Field Ambulance RAMC

    6th RTR/44th RTR/32nd Field Regiment RA/76th AT Regiment RA/4th Field Squadron RE/16th LAA Regiment RA/94th HAA Regiment RA/11th Field Coy IE/3rd Field Squadron RE/143rd Field Park Squadron RE/7th Medium Regiment RA/14th LAA Regiment RA/124th Field Regiment RA/4-7th Rajputana Rifles/121st Field Regiment RA/3rd Field Regiment RA/97th Field Regiment RA/149th AT Regiment RA/1-2nd Gurkha Rifles/4-6th Rajputana Rifles/295th Army Field Coy RE/3-10th Baluchs/3-7th Rajputana Rifles/88th HAA Regiment RA/570 Corps Field Park Coy RE/566 Army Troop Coy RE/12th Field Coy IE/573rd Army Field Coy RE/Royal Scots Greys/Warwickshire Yeomanry/3rd Hussars/50th Div Signals/4th RHA/30 Corps Signals/1st Field Regiment RA/11th Field Regiment RA/1st Royal Northumberland Fusiliers/13 Corps Signals/57th LAA Regiment RA/15th LAA Regiment RA/1-4th Essex/6th Green Howards/9th Field Coy IE/65th AT Regiment RA/2nd Field Coy IE/1st Armoured Div HQ Signals/5th Easy Yorks/4th Field Coy IE/102nd AT Regiment RA/9th DLI/1st RHA/69th HAA Regiment RA/2nd Cheshires/2nd Rifle Brigade/571st Army Feld Coy RE/Staffordshire Yeomanry/Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry/1 RTR/4th Field Regiment RA/8th DLI/64th Medium Regiment RA/Yorkshire Dragoons/SHerwood Rangers Yeomanry/9th Queens Royal Lancers/1st A&SH/6th DLI/3rd RTR/The Royal Dragoons/8th RTR/588th Army Troop Coy RE/1st Royal Sussex/1st Armoured Div RE HQ/7th Green Howards/3rd RHA/4th Survey Regiment RA/1st Field Park Squadron RE/1st KRRC/2nd KRRC/1st Rifle Brigade/The Queens Bays/42nd RTR/12th Royal Lancers/Household Cavalry/4th County of London Yeomanry/10 Corps Signals/4th Hussars/5th RTR/118th RTR/235th Field Park Coy RE/2nd Field Squadron RE/RHQ 27th LAA Regiment RA/2nd RHA/74th Field Regiment RA/1st Field Squadron RE/42nd LAA Regiment RA/2nd LAA Regiment RA/27th SL Regiment RA/11th RHA/4-16th Punjabs/141st Field Park Squadron RE/7th Field Squadron RE/572nd Army Field Coy RE/1-6th Rajputana Rifles/4th Indian Div Signals

    75th Indian Light Field Ambulance/151st Light Field Ambulance

    149th Field Ambulance

    So this looks a useful release if its 29 files each with a few diaries - I'll keep looking through them and update so people at least have an idea of what's covered
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2022
    mac657, Osborne2, CL1 and 7 others like this.
  6. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Almost done - the 3rd last file has 34,063 scans so is going to be a fair few diaries - when I started checking through I thought it'd be a 10 minute job with 1 unit in each link, but its been quite a trawl, but thats got to be a good thing as it seems a good range of WD's now available and hopefully they will follow up with more.
  7. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    I've quickly scanned through all the Ancestry links and completed the above list of Units that are covered, it wasn't always easy to see changes in units so I will have missed some but it's a decent start - I think I'll leave it for the night and go back tomorrow and check if any of these are ones I'm after. It's a pretty impressive list of units covered and wasn't something I was expecting, hopefully they are planning more big hits of WD's
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  8. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Thanks for finding this. We all appreciate your efforts.
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  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Much appreciated.

    Are these literal 'scans' or colour photographs of diary pages?

    I can only assume this is an official enterprise with the National Archives.

    Given your list, I fear I may have to sign up with them again.
  10. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    I have noticed on a casual browse that they have included all blank pages and the backs of typed pages where there is clearly no typing on it.

    Can't think of a reason why anyone would think we would like to see them.

    Not taking away from the fact this is probably going to be a great online resource eventually.

    However, as Ancestry Military records search form doesn't even have a service number box, I am not feeling confident about how I am going to be able to search for anything.

  11. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    An example page, I resized this to 50% as it was too big to upload

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  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Thank you—they look excellent.

    What would be extremely interesting is a photograph of the Kew copy to confirm that is indeed the source.

    Anyone have 2/8 GR for May 1942?

    Edit: if you're able to snag one of those 1/4 Essex diary pages, I can cross reference with my copy.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2022
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I will happily second that sentiment.
    AB64 likes this.
  14. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    In my view it is normal for blank pages to be scanned, it shows that all pages are accounted for and that whoever has scanned them hasn't used their own judgement on what to include - or leave out.

    As for the lack of service number field - just put it in the keyword box, work just fine.
    hucks216 likes this.
  15. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    I notice it says "Duplicate". Are all the diaries marked duplicate and do they include all appendices and field returns?

    If they are the duplicates then the source may not be Kew.
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  16. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    They seem to include all the appendices and Field returns (the lists of officers, the OR's whose return is desired etc) - I'm sure I have noticed others where they have "Original" written on the monthly cover sheet
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  17. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    That's great and, if originals, must be from Kew. I wonder if Ancestry are transcribing them as well to make the diaries searchable.
    AB64 likes this.
  18. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member


    I compared the Ancestry 1st/4th Essex to the copies you provided to me. They are identical - same source.

    Though the Ancestry copies appear to be a better quality copy.
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  19. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Ancestry also have:
    UK, D-Day War Diaries and Photographs, 1944 | Ancestry®

    1 Hampshire Regiment Infantry
    1 King´s Own Scottish Borders Infantry
    1 Royal Norfolk Regiment Infantry
    102 Anti-Tank Regiment
    114 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
    120 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery
    141 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps
    168 Light Field Ambulance
    186 Field Ambulance
    2 Essex Infantry
    2 Gloucestershire Infantry
    2 Lincolnshire Regiment Infantry
    203 Field Ambulance
    223 Field Ambulance
    224 Field Ambulance
    24 Lancers
    3 Commando Special Services
    33 Field Regiment
    4-7 Royal Dragoon Guards
    505 Company Royal Engineers
    53 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery
    6 Airborne Division Armoured Recce Regiment
    6 Airborne Division G
    6 Commando Special Services
    62 Anti-Tank Regiment
    7 Battalion Parachute Regiment
    716 Company Royal Army Sevice Corps
    73 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery
    76 Field Regiment Royal Artillery
    8 Brigade Field Ambulance
    90 Company Royal Army Sevice Corps
    HQ 185 Infantry Brigade
    HQ 231 Infantry Brigade
    HQ 27 Armoured Brigade
    HQ 5 Para Brigade
    HQ 8 Armoured Brigade GP
    HQ 9 BR Infantry Brigade
    Inns of Court Regiment
    Marines War Diary Landing Craft Reports Normandy area
    Staffordshire Yeomanry
  20. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    BTW, the selection for the first sets of war diaries published is listed at Ancestry as:

    "Please Note: In this first release, we have published diaries for the period covering The Second Battle of El Alamein (23 October – 11 November 1942)."
    Chris C, lostinspace and AB64 like this.

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