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British Battles

British Battles
 
   

Military ancestors

Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force came into being on 1 April 1918. Prior to that date, aviators saw service either in the Royal Naval Air Service or in the Royal Flying Corps.

In order to trace an individual it is vital to know whether he or she served as an officer or as an airman/airwoman. As with all the armed services, the records of officers and other ranks were kept separately and it is essential to know which rank an individual was. The fact that a man served as a pilot does not necessarily mean that he was an officer. NCO pilots served in the RAF until after the Second World War.

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It should be remembered however that the relevant records will not be at The National Archives. Enquiries from the individual concerned or, if deceased, from the next-of-kin should be directed to the Ministry of Defence.

Records of service in the RAF Nursing Service are not at The National Archives. Enquiries from the individual concerned or, if deceased, from the next-of-kin should be directed to the Ministry of Defence.

The records of airwomen have survived, but not those of women who were officers.

  • Read the guide for information about women who served in any of the armed forces during the First World War
  • Read the leaflet to find out about British or Commonwealth airmen who were prisoners of war during the First World War
  • Read the guide for information about British airmen who were prisoners of war during the Second World War
  • Read the guide to find out about prisoners of war held by the British between 1698 and 1949

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