War Diaries Talk

Field Service Regulations, Part II (first published 1909, reprinted 1913)

  • eatyourgreens by eatyourgreens moderator, admin

    Thought this might be of interest. These are the Field Service Regulations referenced on the Field Guide page http://www.operationwardiary.org/#/guide
    Essentially, guidance as to how the daily diaries should be recorded. Cut and pasted from MS Word, so apologies if the formatting is a bit off.

    Field Service Regulations, Part II (first published 1909, reprinted 1913)

    Chapter 16, Article 140: War Diaries

    1. War diaries are confidential documents; their object is twofold, viz:

    i. To furnish an accurate record of the operations from which the history of the war can subsequently be prepared.

    ii. To collect information for future reference with a view to effecting improvements in the organization, education, training, equipment and administration of the army for war.

    1. A war diary will be kept in duplicate (by means of carbon paper) from the first day of mobilization or creation of the particular command or appointment, by:

    Each brand of the staff at general headquarters and at the headquarters of an army, and of all subordinate commands, including garrisons and posts;

    Commanders of permanent and provisional units, detachments from a unit, and base depots and the officer in charge of A.G.’s office at the base;

    Directors and heads of administrative services and departments, and their representatives; and Officers holding special and personal appointments.

    The original copy will be forwarded on the last day of each month, unless otherwise ordered, direct to the officer in charge of the A.G.’s office at the base, for transmission to the military authorities concerned.

    1. A war diary (A.F.C 2118) should be entered up daily and initialled by the officer detailed to keep it. It must always be carefully safeguarded.

    2. The cover will bear the following title:


    War Diary


    from __________________ to __________________

    (Volume .)

    1. A war diary will include a concise and accurate record of all matters connected with the campaign in so far as they relate to the duties and experiences of a commander, branch of a staff, administrative service, unit or individual.

    In so far as they apply to each case, the following points should be recorded when preparing a diary:

    i. All important orders, despatches, instructions, reports and telegrams issued and received, and decisions taken.

    ii. Daily situation, i.e., arrival at, departure from, or halt at a place; all movements and dispositions on the march, in camp, bivouac or billets.

    With large units a “Table of Marches” should be given. At places on the L. of C., arrivals and departures of officers and men, animals, stores, transports, &c., should be given.

    iii. All important matters relating to the duties of the staff under their respective headings.

    iv. All important matters relating to the administrative services and departments under their respective headings.

    v. Detailed account of all operations,* noting connection with other units in the neighbourhood, formations adopted, ranges at which fire was opened, &c. The hour at which important occurrences took place should be entered with exactitude. The state of the weather, condition of the roads and ground, and general description of the locality should be recorded. Clear sketches should illustrate or amplify the account in order to show the position of troops at important places.

    vi. Changes in establishment or strength. As regards casualties, the names and ranks of officers, and the number of other ranks and followers, and animals should be noted.

    vii. Nature and description of field works constructed or quarters occupied.

    viii.Meteorological notes.

    ix. Summary of information received and of all matters of importance, military or political, which may occur from day to day.

    x. In what respect organizations and regulations have stood the test of war.

    1. In all diaries writing will be on one side of the page only. Handwriting must be distinct and the names of persons and places given in block capitals (see Field Service Regulations, Part I, regarding framing of orders, &c.). The spelling of places will be that on the latest maps issued to the army, and the map referred to will always be indicated.

    2. References to appendices, such as orders, reports, telegrams, sketches, tabular statements, &c., will be made in the last column. Appendices will be numbered from 1 upwards, and each will have a brief heading stating the subject and naming the author.

    • In the case of important actions, of which a detailed account may cover much space, a short reference to the occurrence should be made in the body of the diary, and a complete report on the action added as an appendix.


  • makfai by makfai

    Are these available to view on line? I found the amount of detail in the Field Service Manual 1914 fascinating! The work which went into these documents is mind-boggling!


  • eatyourgreens by eatyourgreens moderator, admin

    I can't find a copy online, but that text came from the National Archives. I don't know if they've digitised the Field Service Regulations for download.


  • makfai by makfai in response to eatyourgreens's comment.



  • makfai by makfai

    Can't find them in NA. Have found the OPS one here https://openlibrary.org/books/OL7029903M/Field_service_regulations_..._1909