Saturday, 23 May 2015

CONFIDENTIAL: BURN BEFORE READING: WW2 war diaries


Out of curiosity I opened up T-1847, the first digital microfilm in Canadiana.ca's collection of war diaries from WW2, and got a surprise. Classified as CONFIDENTIAL, BURN BEFORE READING, it's "Intelligence Summary 199 (Christmas Edition), based on information received until the bar closed. SPECIAL NOTICE. This summary is to be taken as completely unreliable, and the resemblance of any facts stated therein to the truth is purely coincidental. The summary expresses the views of no one -- not even the writers."
 Read the full item at  http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_t1847/9?r=0&s=3

Canadiana.ca's WW2 and later war diaries from LAC are on digital microfilms T-1847 to 1882, T-6669, T-6675 to 6679, T-6681 to 6689, T-6693, T-6695 to 6696, T-7071 to 7114, T-7599, T-7612 to 7620, T-10017, T-10564, T-11053, T-11342, T-12160, T-12403 to 12406, T-12649 to 12650. T-12657 to 12659, T-12661 to 12662, T-12689, T-12695 to 12697, T-12714 to 71715, T-12722, T-12724 to 12731 ,T-12764, T-15887 to 15888, T-15902 to 15907, T-15911 to 15913, T-16363, T-17822 to 17824, T-18345 to 18351, T-18380 to 18381, T-18389 to 18390, T-18625 to 18627, T-18810, T-21318 to 21321.
The microfilm numbers by themselves don't help much. Searching on the microfilm number at LAC, starting from http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/lac-bac/search/arch, brings up a list of contents, some are linked in the list above.
A better approach is to search for the unit of interest at the same url. Enter, for example, 103rd Coast Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery and the result tells you there are records from 1941 to 1945 at T-15888 and T-15887.


1 comment:

Glenn W said...

A finding aid (index) for the Second World War diaries is available by going to the Military Heritage page on the LAC website. On the left side, scroll down to "War Diaries, Ships' Logs and Operations Record Books". By clicking on War Diaries, one is led to a link and explanation of how to access the finding aid. The process is not entirely clear, but a finding aid does exist. One can search by name of unit or keyword. The results will indicate whether or not there is a microfilm version of the diary. If the diary has been digitized by Canadiana, I believe there is a link to the item. There is a very good paper finding aid to the Second World War diaries at LAC - if it was online in pdf format and obvious to researchers, using the diaries would be a lot easier than is the case now. It is encouraging to see so much of the LAC collection digitized and online. The process for accessing, understanding and using these resources, however,is much in need of improvement.