While some relevant documents are available online, the majority of records are held by the Ministry of Defence.
How to look for records of... Women’s Royal Air Force personnel
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
How many are online?
This is a brief guide to researching records of the Women’s Royal Air Force, also known as the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.
What do I need to know before I start?
Try to find out:
- the name and rank of the person
- a date range to help focus the search
Airwomen’s service records (1914–1918)
The Women’s Royal Air Force was formed in 1918, though records of its predecessors go back to 1914. Search the Women’s Royal Air Force service records (AIR 80) for a person who served as an airwoman.
No First World War service records for Women’s Royal Air Force officers are known to survive.
Records available only at The National Archives in Kew
Selected medical records of the Women’s Royal Air Force (1919)
Consult MH 106/1497 for the admission and discharge register of 4th Stationary Hospital, April to September 1919, listing women of the Women’s Royal Air Force.
MH 106 contains a representative sample of medical records of servicemen and servicewomen and is not complete. Search MH 106 admission and discharge registers by name or regimental number on FindmyPast in the collection British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers’ Medical Records.
Records in other archives and organisations
Service records (1939–present)
The Women’s Royal Air Force was disbanded in 1920 and then reformed in 1939 as the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. It reverted to its original name in 1949, and finally merged with the Royal Air Force in 1994.
Visit the GOV.UK website for information about how to request a summary of a service record from the Ministry of Defence. These are not available to members of the general public, but next of kin may request access to them.
Read the Royal Air Force museums’s history on the Women’s Royal Air Force for information on the service.
Some or all of the recommended publications below may be available to buy from The National Archives’ Bookshop. Alternatively, search The National Archives’ Library to see what is available to consult at Kew.
Read ‘Family history in the wars: Find how your ancestors served their country’, William Spencer (The National Archives, 2007).
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