Friday, 6 November 2009

First World War RAF officers' records online

Almost 100,000 service records of officers who served with the Royal Air Force in the First World War have been made available by the National Archive's Documents Online service. The records, catalogued as AIR76 at TNA, can be searched by first name, surname and date of birth and downloaded at a cost £3.50 each. The website suggests however that many of the records do not record the officer’s date of birth, so it may be worth omitting that if no results are returned.

The site notes that the records contain the following:

At the top of the record are the officer's forename(s) or initial(s), surname, date and place of birth and next of kin.

Spread across the remaining side(s) of the record sheet are usually the date the officer was initially commissioned, any subsequent promotion(s), the unit(s) which the individual served in (including the date of arrival at the unit and the date they left), and details of specialist courses attended. In the case of aircrew, the record will note any Royal Aero Club certificate numbers and the dates they were granted.

Usually found on the back of a record sheet is information about the type of aircraft flown, details of any honours and awards and the date they were announced in the London Gazette.

Many of the sheets are pre-printed with the references MGPRI or AM60. MGPR probably refers to the Department of the Master-General of Personnel, which would have held the forms prior to it becoming the Directorate of Personnel within the Department of the Chief of Air Staff by June 1919.

Finally the record will note the date when an individual relinquished their commission, the date of death or a date of retirement.

Further information at

(With thanks to Simon Fowler's
Ancestors magazine blog.)

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