© RAF Museum
Thousands of WW1 records will hit the web following the launch of a new digitisation project at the RAF Museum.
The Hendon-based organisation has received a £64,000 grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund
to digitise over 300,000 documents relating to men serving in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and its parent organisations, the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) between 1914-18.
Web users will be able to search for the names of servicemen via the RAF Museum website
, and download personnel records directly from the site.
At the heart of the collection is a set of casualty cards, which were created in the event of death, injury and illness. Although the cards have been available for visitors to view on-site since the 1970s, those behind the project hope that digitisation will enable the material to become more easily accessible to family historians worldwide.
"Our casualty records throw light on how someone died, and in some cases, give a map reference for their initial burial and the name of the padre who officiated”, says Peter Elliott, Senior Keeper at the RAF Museum.
“We hope that the data will also be of use to historians looking at wider aspects of the First World War in the air.”
The data release will coincide with the opening of a new permanent exhibition
, marking the centenary
of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014. Museum staff recently presented web users with a list of 100 unique artefacts
currently held in the collections, asking them to vote on which items they would most like to see displayed.