Diaries in the VWMA

Diaries are a tremendous resource for learning about the experience of war for those who fought it. While there are many published diaries from servicemen and women, families have uploaded many more to the Virtual War Memorial. These are in a wide variety of formats: some are simply scans of the original handwritten diaries, while others are typed Word documents with explanatory comments added by an editor.

This list will continue to grow; look in the future for learning resources to accompany them.

Here is a list of diaries on the VWMA, arranged by conflict. If you are aware of any we have missed, please let us know: schools.program@vwma.org.au.

Diary of Claude Bibb


Boer War

George Wilson (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/794472). Typed, Boer War 1901.


World War I

Walter Allen 1612 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/229323). Jan-July 1918 (killed at Hamel). Typed, not much detail.

Lorna Backhouse (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/243904). Typed. Nurse in Egypt 1915.

Edward Cairns 1021 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/225185). May-Oct 1915, KIA at Gallipoli. Typed.

John Coventry 6063 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/48505). From enlistment Nov 1916 to return 1919. Typed.

Hedley Cullen (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/215302). Typed, from embarkation to death at Gallipoli in August 1915.

Frank Dunstan 5003 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/253514). Typed, 1916-1919. Supplemented with maps and supporting materials.

Leslie Dunstan 2628 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/221757). Typed, interesting from a stretcher bearer, all through 1916-1918.

Arnold Easther 2637 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/184192). Typed, two short entries around day of death (Sept 1916).

George Gilham 1041 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/311398). Photocopied handwritten, poor quality images. 1914-1919.

Robert Haines 4790 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/233601). Handwritten with accompanying typed transcript. Jan-April 1917 (KIA).

Melvin Harrigan 150 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/55623). Typed, 1915-16 Light Horse and Australian Flying Corps.

Rowland Jones 6760 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/371730). Typed transcript of 1917. Quite brief entries.

Charles Kirkham 3153 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/357599). Typed and handwritten, very cursory entries.

Ernest Limbert 515 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/232622). Handwritten 1917-1919, but fascinating end matter - letters written, reflections on gas bombardment etc.

John McKenzie (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/57076). Only single-page extracts of handwritten diary, very difficult to decipher.

John Noakes 2719 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/78724). Typed, extensive 1915-19.

James Nowlan 1763 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/127715). Gallipoli, handwritten.

Thomas O'Brien 44 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/273200). Handwritten, 1914-1916.

Victor O'Connor 1904 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/374633). Typed with editorial expansion, 1915 (also includes letters).

Patrick Ohlstrom (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/218858). Western Front, handwritten. Also accompanying animation.

Arthur Oxer 1333 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/122416). Short diary on Gallipoli, handwritten.

John Leslie Partridge 963 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/150830). Embarkation to 30 April 1915 at Gallipoli. Includes training. Typed.

Percy Pelham 478 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/149032). Scans and typed transcript with photos. From embarkation in Dec 1916 until Sept 1917 (KIA).

Clemens Reiners 5091 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/542570). Jan-July 1917, typed, with good details.

Thomas Schofield 4339 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/209851). Typed, diary covers most of 1916.

William Spurling 4275 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/218645). Photocopied typescript, 1915-1917 (died of wounds).

Gilbert Stephenson 14925 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/190729). Typescript, New Guinea/Rabaul Sept 1914-Feb 1915.

Leslie Stirling 15649 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/359977). Typed, Oct 1916-Oct 1917 (KIA). Quite detailed, lots on the weather. Typed.

Lyell Swann 2156 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/31013). Typed, 1916-1918. AFC. Died in aircraft accident 14/11/18.

Reginald Telfer 1081 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/69366). From Gallipoli to Villers-Bretonneux 1915-1918. Huge typed collection of diaries (over 300 pages). Very detailed.


World War II

Horace Baker SX7433 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/601802). Typed transcript (? possibly summary) 1940-45. Deals with operations in Egypt and Lebanon and then in New Guinea and surrounds.

Claude Bibb 22088 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/800420). RAN, served on HMAS Sydney. Diary Jan 1940-Feb 1941. Handwritten but clearly printed and very legible.

Keith Edmonds 27733 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/532069). Comprehensive typed diary. RAAF, POW in Changi and Japan.

Robert Macdowell 146077 (https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/800396). RAAF WW2, covers 1945. Handwritten.

Ohlstrom Diary Snippet