Tag Archives: War Diaries

QOR WWII War Diaries Now Completely Online

Our museum is extremely lucky in having original copies (i.e. one of three copies made when then were first typed) of the World War II war diaries for what would become the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada (CASF).

These documents provide a wealth of information about the regiment’s participation and progress throughout the war – from the efforts to form the battalion in June 1940, through duties in Newfoundland, training in New Brunswick and England, the successful but devastating landing on D-Day, the continued fight through Europe, to finally to the German surrender on 8 May 1945.

We are also very lucky to have most of the Routine Orders issued during the war and while often administrative in nature, they help to fill in some of the gaps left by the war diaries – particularly in regards to personnel postings and casualties within the battalion.

Unfortunately the original documents are fragile and not particularly user friendly as there is no way to easily search through them.  So in order to protect them, and at the same time make them more accessible, we have undertake to transcribe and post on our website all these war diaries. We’ve also scanned all of the routine orders and posted them into the war diaries at the appropriate places.

And if that wasn’t enough, we added maps to help illustrate where the battalion was at various times and where it was headed, and inserted photos from our collection into the appropriate location in the timelines. These photos add some amazing sense of place and time. Lastly we added links to more detailed profiles on our website for many of the key soldiers mentioned in the diaries by name.

Now when I say we, I really mean one of our curatorial assistants, Sgt Graham Humphrey and more recently, with the help of Kate Becker. Graham and Kate have spent literally hundreds of hours on this project over the past three and a half years – scanning, transcribing, creating maps, and inserting photos. The result though is a spectacular resource that serves to both protect our archival documents while sharing them with the world.  Even without any official announcements, these page have been viewed over 16,000 times to date.

And the importance of making this information available today is even more critical as fewer and fewer WWII soldiers are left to share their stories first hand.

Bravo Zulu to Graham and Kate on their outstanding work to see this project through to the end, and I strongly encourage you to take some time read through this important story of some of our regiment’s finest hours:

D-Day Rifleman

Here is a visual of what a Rifleman would have looked like on D-Day.


Field Service Marching Order with respirator slung. Gas cape rolled on Belt. Veil camouflage around neck. Shell dressing under netting of helmet. Emergency rations in hip pocket.

A.V. Battle dress will be worn, patches, (Canada & QOR), sewn on, when other collected.

The A.V. Battle dress will be worn for a minimum of 48 hrs, as soon as possible. If any effects on body are noticed, they will be reported immediately.


  • Mess tins
  • Holdall (towel, soap, razor, etc.)
  • Knife, fork and spoon
  • 24 hour rations
  • Cardigan
  • Beret
  • Boot laces
  • 4 x 2
  • Cigarettes
  • Pair of socks
  • Brown mug


  • Leather jerkin
  • Boots (anklets if required)
  • Cap comforter
  • Towel
  • Boot brush, dubbin & polish
  • Canvas shoes
  • Shirt, Angola
  • Boot laces
  • Drawers, Celular
  • Writing kit
  • Vest, Summer
  • 3 pairs socks
  • Housewife
  • Cigarettes
  • Greatcoat packed on outside of pack, held on by kicking straps


  • Respirator of Assault marching personnel only attached to pack.
  • G-1018 blanket, folded as for kit layout rolled in ground sheet, strongly lied and properly labelled. (This makes a roll about 2 ½ feet long.)
  • All packs, Haversacks, Greatcoats (inside belt), ground sheet, to be marked with Rank, Name, Number and Coy mark.
  • Assault troops are all that land on “D” day.
  • 1 suit of denim to be collected at a later date.
  • Serge suit for all assault personnel, both riding & marching, less those with coys, will be turned in when notified to coy stores. They will be marked as laid down. They will be returned after “D” day.
  • Serge suit for those on follow up vehicles will be put in their Blanket rolls.

Here are some Pre Invasion photos from our Archives:

May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
May 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo
Pioneer Cpl 1944 - QOR Museum’s Photo
Pioneer Cpl 1944 – QOR Museum’s Photo

To see the War Diaries for Pre and Invasion visit the link below



MCpl Graham Humphrey

3rd Bn CEF War Diaries Online

Perhaps not surprisingly, as the centenary of the First World War approaches, some of the most popular pages on our website are the transcribed war diaries of the 3rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Libraries and Archives Canada had scanned several hundred pages of these diaries and posted them on to their website as jpeg photos. As valuable as this was, they were impossible to search and the way they were listed on their site made it a challenge to find a particular date quickly.

First entries in the 3rd Battalion, CEF War Diaries
First entries in the 3rd Battalion, CEF War Diaries

So in the Fall of 2012, we undertook to crowd-source the transcriptions of these pages and were very pleasantly surprised by the results! Within just eleven weeks, 27 volunteers all recruited online and some from the far corners of the world, had transcribed 53 months of diaries and they were posted on our website! This has also allowed us to link to other information on our website such as specific soldier profiles and to include photos of relevant artifacts. We continue to add to these pages as we can.

I highly encourage you to check them out if you have not already done so because they give, in concise military way, a chilling perspective on this horrible war.

We’ve received some positive feedback on this resource but I was particularly pleased to see the recent comment reprinted below, from a US Army Lieutenant Colonel whose Scottish grandfather crossed the border from US to join the 255th Battalion, CEF. He eventually see combat with the 3rd Battalion. His story also illustrates how the war continued to impact families long after it had ended.


Thanks for transcribing the 3rd Bn war diaries. In August 1913, my grandfather, John Denning Wallace, immigrated from Paisley, Scotland to Kearny, New Jersey. In April 1918, he crossed the border and joined the Toronto Regiment to fight with the CEF in WWI. He served with the 3rd Bn on the front lines near Arras, France, from November 1917 until July 15, 1918, when he sustained a gunshot wound in the left arm. In February 1919, he was medically discharged for the “GSW left arm” and for “trench exposure.” A few years later, he died from the trench exposure at age 30 [1926].

On review of my grandfather’s CEF discharge certificate and military records, they did not reveal how he sustained his combat wound, and for many years I often wondered. Thankfully, the 3rd Bn war diaries provided me with some background. The 3rd Bn war diaries for July 14-16 1918, and the 3rd Bn end of month casualty report for July 1918, reveal that my grandfather, “Wallace, J.D.”, and three other 3rd Bn soldiers were wounded by machine gun fire whilst “laying wire ” near Post 7 in the Fampough sector near Arras. The next day, one had died from his wounds.

Now I know.

Wayne S. Wallace,
LTC, U.S. Army

Update on our Transcription Project for 3rd Bn War Diaries

You may recall in that on September 3rd we launched an appeal on our website, Facebook Page and Twitter account for volunteers to assist with our project to transcribe scanned versions of the 3rd Battalion, CEF war diaries which were available online at the Library and Archives Canada website. The diaries consisted of 53 months of entries from October 19, 1914 when the battalion landed in England, to February 28th, 1919.

Today I’m pleased to announce that we received the final month’s of transcription which is now posted on our site! You can find them on our timeline or link to them directly: 1914 — 1915 — 1916 — 1917 — 1918 — 1919.

Twenty-seven people from around the world, volunteered to help with the project – especially after we posted our project on the “micro-volunteering” site Sparked (with many thanks to friend of the museum, Mr. Matthew Cutler for that suggestion!) International volunteers came from Chile, Australia, France and across the USA in Oklahoma, New York City, Pennsylvania, California, District of Columbia, Washington State, Colorado, and North Carolina. Many of Canadian volunteers come through the Museum Management and Curatorship Program at Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough. Only two of the volunteers are involved with the military!

Although there were some challenges in interpreting handwriting or imperfectly scanned documents, many of the participants indicated how interesting (and in many cases sad) this project was and how it gave them a better understanding of day to day life in an allied infantry battalion of the First World War.

There is still a bit of tidying up to do on the pages and more links and a few map images to add but this now searchable transcription will definitely serve as a valuable research tool.

A big thanks to all those who volunteered:

  1. Captain Rita Arendz
  2. Catherine Caughell
  3. Shawn Mingo
  4. Private Michael McLean
  5. Tanya Probert
  6. Kathleen Watt
  7. Meg Dallett
  8. Katy Shaw-Kiso
  9. Meggan Green
  10. Emily White
  11. Elizabeth Harless
  12. Chauncey M. J.
  13. Emily Hamilton
  14. Leah-Ann Logel
  15. Hilary Lister
  16. Briar Sutherland
  17. Sarah McGall
  18. Bethany Kearsley
  19. Megan White
  20. Zoe Reilly-Ansons
  21. Ruth O’Connell
  22. Alison Dingledine
  23. Ruth Marie O’Connell
  24. Caylanne Lyall
  25. Filomena Pingiaro
  26. Ceci Leung
  27. Geraldine R.

3rd Battalion CEF War Diaries Transcription Project

Help Needed!

We’re looking for assistance in transcribing digitized copies of the 3rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Forces War Diaries for posting on this site. The 3rd Battalion, known as the Toronto Regiment, is perpetuated jointly by the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and the Royal Regiment of Canada. Transcribing the diaries allows us to easily search them and link to specific names and events in the battalions history.

How this works:

  1. Review the list of scanned pages on our 3rd Battalion War Diaries Transcription Project Page. Pages in italics indicate that someone has already committed to transcribe them. Pages that have been completed will be removed from the list.
  2. Note that the diaries up until April 30, 1915 have already been transcribed by the Canadian Great War Project and are in the process of being posted onto our site.
  3. It is not necessary for everyone to transcribe chronological order – if there is a time period you are interested in feel free to take that on – however to keep things simple, please complete the transcription for at least a complete month at one time.
  4. We DO want to transcribe all pages entitled WAR DIARY. For this stage of the project we DON’T need to transcribe all appendices. “Messages” generally should be transcribed – Operations Orders should not – however please reference untranscribed appendices so that we can provide links to them.
  5. It is NOT necessary to transcribe index pages – We’ll try to remove them from this list when we have time.
  6. Send an email to museum@qormuseum.org to tell us you are interested in participating. In your email indicated which months/year you will be working on so we update our list and avoid duplication of effort.
  7. Please send you transcription in text format (not tables). You use Word or simply paste them into the text of your email. See the format to be used in this example for November 11, 1918. Please make sure you review or better yet, have someone else review your transcription for accuracy. Typed entries are pretty easy to copy but transcribing handwriting entries can sometimes be tricky!
  8. You do not need to save up all your transcriptions and send in at once. If you finish a month, please send them to us. We’ll try to post as quickly as possible.
  9. If you have any questions, please email us at museum@qormuseum.org and we’ll do our best to respond as quickly as possible with the caveat that we too, are all volunteers!

Thanks in advance for assisting us with this exciting project!!

Major John Stephens, CD (Ret)

3rd Battalion at Vimy Ridge April 9, 1917

“On April 9, 1917, the famous Vimy Ridge attack took place. This had been planned and practised most carefully. The 3rd Battalion was on the extreme right of the Canadian Corps and so had the longest distance to go. Nevertheless it took its first objective on time and captured four guns, the first to be taken by Canadians. The casualties were, for World War I, light – 6 officers and 179 men. During the new few days the gains were extended to the flat country east of the ridge.”

From Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, 1860-1960: One Hundred Years of Canada,
by Lieutenant Colonel W. T. Barnard, ED, CD – 1960

Major W. E. Curry of the Queen’s Own Rifles was one of the six officers killed in action on June 9th.

See also the appendices to the April War diaries – 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion for Orders and reports during the Battle for Vimy Ridge.