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WW2 RAF service records

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WW2 RAF service records

Postby Jenaheldd » Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:39 pm

I recently received a copy of my Uncle Bobs service record from the RAF (he was killed in active service) and was curious as there isn't much to it. My other uncle signed the next of kin approval so I'm presuming the RAF would have sent me everything they had ? All I actually got was Bob's service record that says the date he enlisted, a description of him, date of death and on the reverse (that I haven't deciphered yet), his units and promotions etc.

When I got my dads army record, it contained other info eg. his enlistment papers, copy of certificates for courses he completed, a report on him as a solider (although I believe this was done when he was discharged) and a couple of other bits.

Bob enlisted in March 1942 and died in October 1945 so I would have thought there would be a bit more to it or was it just that the RAF didn't fill in and keep as much paper as the army?
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Re: WW2 RAF service records

Postby ermin79 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:59 pm

In my (albeit very limited ) experience the three service records I have seen (2 for the RAF and 1 for the Navy ) cWW2 were minimal compared to, for example, the detailed Army service records for WW1 that are online.

A couple of years ago we received my grandfather's and my late father's RAF records. Neither had any more detail than that which you describe, my father had only national service so i didn't expect much, but grandad was in the Far East and missing presumed dead for 6 months so i thought there may have been more notes.

The Navy records were also limited to postings and change of rank, that individual had married whilst abroad so i was surprised no mention was made of it as I thought it could have bearing on his NOK / pension post war etc

Having said all that the names of places / postings etc have meant i could do further research to get a better understanding of what the individuals did. As a non-military person its all new to me!

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Re: WW2 RAF service records

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:16 pm

I have never obtained any post WW1 service records so can't comment from experience. I'd only say that the Army seemed to keep a lot more paper for its WW1 personnel than the Royal Navy or RAF seemed to. Maybe the habits continued?

Bear in mind that instructions dictate what survives - all 3 might start from the same position but maybe more weeding out went on in the Navy and RAF????

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Re: WW2 RAF service records

Postby Sylcec » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:27 am

If you know Uncle Bob's Unit in the RAF, then this TNA guide may be of some help to you (or not!) http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/raf-operations-record-books-1939-1945/
or maybe this one about RAF Personnel:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/royal-air-force-personnel/

TNA have a number of helpful guides, so suggest you check through all those relating to the RAF for any clues.
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Re: WW2 RAF service records

Postby Jenaheldd » Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:09 pm

@ Ermin79. I'm glad to hear that you received similar information to me. At least it doesn't seem that I've been short changed! ;)

@ Adrian. Think you are definately right in that the Army keep more paperwork - mores the pity.

@ Sylcec. Thank you for the links - just looking on TNA site and it seems they may have some details!

I do know Bob was in 230 Squadron (the flying boats) and he was in Ceylon in early 1945 (I have a couple of letters he sent my dad). According to the info on line (not sure how official the sources are at the moment), the Short Sunderland he was in crashed into a hill in bad visibility near Jahore in Malaya. Bob, 4 other crew members and 17 civilians were killed. He is named on a memorial in Kranji, Singapore.
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Re: WW2 RAF service records

Postby Jenaheldd » Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:53 pm

Sylcec wrote:If you know Uncle Bob's Unit in the RAF, then this TNA guide may be of some help to you (or not!) http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/raf-operations-record-books-1939-1945/


Thank you again Sylcec....

TNA had the Operation book I needed, so Bob's death is documented.
The plane left Singapore at first light on 15 October 1945, heading to Redhills Lake, Madras and was carrying the crew and 15 ex-POWs. Contact was lost shortly after take-off & weather was reported to be very bad. Extensive searches were carried out & it was 2 days before the plane was found and identified as the missing one. It was completely burnt out and the bodies that they found were unrecognisable.

I'm glad I've found the details, but it's put a right old lump in my throat
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Re: WW2 RAF service records

Postby Sylcec » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:31 am

Delighted to know that you found some relevant details using the TNA guides - its always worth checking these out, if only for advice and background info.
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