A Soldier’s Diary
16 July 2020 – Today we were witness to a historic moment for 2 Fd Amb, the Petawawa Garrison, and the Canadian Armed Forces. Units, formations and museums across the CAF are home to numerous historical documents from the First World War, but unique among them is The Raine Diary. William Raine enlisted in No 2 Canadian Field Ambulance in Toronto on December 1st, 1915, and served in England, France and Belgium, and was medically repatriated to Canada on Nov 19th, 1917. During the entire first year of his service, which included 10 days at the front at the Battle of the Somme, William Raine kept a detailed personal diary, faithfully writing every day, recording events, thoughts, and emotions, as he, his brother Norman, and his fellow orderlies lived through 1916.
The Raine Diary is remarkable in several ways: the contents offer an uncensored and unfiltered perspective on the events of 1916, it is both well-written and legible, and it has suffered very little physical damage. After consulting with experts in Canadian world war one artefacts and antique books, it was determined that the Raine Diary is a unique document, with no other personal war diaries from that era that are known to exist, let alone from an enlisted member of the health services, making it a document of national historical significance!
Today, William Raine’s grandson, Mr. Chris Raine, gifted his grandfather’s diary to the care of 2 Field Ambulance in perpetuity. The Raine Diary will be held, preserved, and eventually displayed at the Petawawa Garrison Museum.
Capt Adam Goule
Outgoing Unit Historical Officer
2 Field Ambulance

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