UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium, and Germany)

Records: 1,529,699 · Complete: 100%


These war diaries document operations for British and colonial units serving France, Belgium, and Germany between 1914 and 1920. They can provide an on-the-spot description of what your ancestor experienced. The range of dates shown for individual items does not mean there is a document inside the file for each day  between the two covering dates.

As required, all units on active duty kept a daily record of events. They were written by a junior officer, then approved by a commanding officer. Some diaries contain more information or are more descriptive or detailed than others, though most if not all record at least the date and location. While some diaries contain daily reports, intelligence summaries, tactics, and general observations, others merely record things like daily losses and map references. Likewise, the format in which the information was recorded can vary widely from diary to diary, as can the types of supplementary documents included. Though individuals may be mentioned by name, the purpose of these diaries was to record information about the movements and actions of the unit as a whole, not to focus on particular people.

On Fold3, these records are organized by regiment, division, then sub unit. Some records may be difficult to read as they might be handwritten or may be carbon copies of the original records. This may require you to browse through the documents for a sub unit page by page rather than relying solely on search results when researching a topic.



Description sources:

"UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920.", n.d. Web.

Gallagher, Brian. "Reports from Gallipoli, The Dardanelles and The Western Front: WWI Military Diaries Go Online." Ancestry Blog., 22 Apr. 2015. Web.

"British Army War Diaries 1914-1922." The National Archives of the UK, n.d. Web.

"War Office: First World War and Army of Occupation War Diaries." The National Archives of the UK, n.d. Web.