As men holding an officers' rank, and there were fewer officers to be named than the other ranks in the Battalion, this type of information was useful for senior commanders to know.To illustrate the sort of information to be found from a War Diary, the following extract is taken from the War Diary of the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers in October 1916.War Diaries were written by units on home service in the United Kingdom and when serving in the following theatres of war during the First World War: The period covered by the WW1 War Diaries also includes the time when the British and Commonwealth Armies were in post-war occupation of Germany.
Another interesting factor about the War Diaries is that the reports are often a reflection of the individual who was writing them.
Some are descriptive, full of detail, map references, names and are also in clear handwriting.
Nevertheless, soldiers' names are occasionally recorded in the account of an operation such as a patrol, a raid on an enemy trench, or the award of a Military Medal.
The names of officers may be recorded in a Battalion War Diary when they join a unit, go on leave, take command or become casualties.
The battalion was preparing to make an attack on the German Front Line within the next few days.
The battlefield here had been fought over in the preceding weeks and the ground was devastated.
In addition to the completed official War Diary Army Form, there might also be sketches, messages, maps and Operational Orders included as appendices.
The purpose of the War Diary was to create a record of the operations of the unit on active service.
It would record the part it was playing in a battle and would usually list the number of men who went into action and the number of casualties when the unit came out of the action.