The First World War
An RCR Officer's Diary 1914-1918

An Officer's Diary

N.B.: These diary notes should be read in conjunction with the War Diary and the published regimental history.

In the basement of The RCR Museum is an interesting document from the First World War titled "Historical Notes, The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1914-1918". In rough shape, it consists of a few dozen hand-writtten ledger sized sheets which were much more recently crudely bound between two sheets of heavy cardboard. Unfortunately the first page (if not more) is missing, so any direct evidence of who penned these notes has been lost.

In the first volume of the regimental history (Fetherstonaugh, 1936) there is at least one quote described as recorded by "one officer in his diary." The same comment is also found in these pages. From that we can surmise that these notes have been taken from that same diary and, although the notes follow the published history closely, they also include much detail which didn't make it into the published work. The notes appear to have been produced in part by transcribing diary notes, but also with added commentary that could only have been included afterwards.

The diary notes do not cover the entire war period in detail but some sections obviously benefited from the personal observations of the author. Notably, the period of service in Bermuda and the attack at Vimy Ridge each have considerable detail. In comparing the lists of officers who served in Bermuda with that of battalion officers at Vimy, only one name is on both lists, that of A.E. Willoughby (as a Lieutenant in Bermuda and a Major at Vimy). Willoughby also served with the Regiment after the war and would have been aware of the requirement to record the Regiment's wartime activities.

Although not conclusive, it is possible that this officer's diary, and the expanded notes transcribed in the following pages, were written by Willoughby.

Pro Patria