How to look for records of... Royal Air Force officers’ service records 1918-1919

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

How many are online?

  • All

What are these records?

These are service records of officers who served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the First World War (1914-1918). This collection in series AIR 76 consists of the records of over 99,000 men.

The records were created from the inception of the RAF in April 1918. However, they include retrospective details of earlier service in the Royal Flying Corps or Royal Naval Air Service, where appropriate.

How do I search the records?

You can search the records in Discovery, our catalogue, by filling in the form below.

You don’t need to complete every field to find a record.

  • The date of birth was not always recorded, so try leaving this out if you don’t get any results. Where there is no date of the birth, the record description will say ‘1918-1919’
  • The way officers’ names were recorded varies. Try searching by first initials if you don’t get any results by first name
  • Your download might contain the records of several individuals with the same name. This is because the nature of these documents sometimes makes it hard to distinguish between the records of officers with the same name

What information do the records contain?

The records usually provide the following information:

  • full name
  • date and place of birth
  • next of kin
  • occupation
  • date of commission
  • subsequent promotion(s)
  • the units the officer served in (including the dates he joined and left the units)
  • the date the officer relinquished his commission, his date of death or his retirement date

The records may also contain the following information:

  • details of specialist courses attended
  • information about the type of aircraft flown
  • details of any honours and awards and the dates they were announced in the London Gazette
  • next of kin (although the relationship may not always be specified)

In the case of aircrew, the record will note any Royal Aero Club certificate numbers and the dates they were granted.

What do the records look like?

Look at the service records below of officer James Francis Mason (AIR 76/338/38) or officer Philip Young (AIR 76/567/11), which show what a typical service record looks like.

Service record of James Francis Mason (PDF, 0.48MB)

Service record of Philip Young (PDF, 0.50MB)

The records, in the form of double-sided sheets, were originally arranged in alphabetical order. In many cases there is more than one sheet for an officer.

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 held the forms before it became the Directorate of Personnel within the Department of the Chief of Air Staff by June 1919.