What is a Duty Officers Log..? It is an Australian requirement that when on active service headquarters, formations, and units are required to keep war diaries recording their daily activities.  The purpose of the diaries is twofold: to provide data on which future improvements in training, equipment, organisation, and administration can be based; and to provide future historians with a record of activities of units and formations in operational periods.  The war diaries generally consist of war diary or intelligence summary sheets located at the beginning of each diary.  The sheets record the date of each entry, the unit’s location, a summary of events, and any remarks or references to appendices.  The appendices, which make up the larger part of each diary, may include:

  • strength and casualty returns
  • routine orders and administrative instructions
  • operation orders and instructions
  • reports
  • messages
  • location statements
  • intelligence summaries
  • photographs, sketches, maps, and traces

The war diaries vary greatly in the amount and level of detailed information they contain.  Their quality reflects the dedication and interest of those in charge of compiling them.  There will be errors in the narrative, due to either difficulties experienced at the time of recording, or transcription errors when the detail is later typed into a consolidated record.