Photograph of WAAFs refuelling a Hurricane (Catalogue reference: INF 2/42/93)

This is a brief guide to researching records of the Women's Royal Air Force, also known as the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

While some relevant documents are available online, the majority of records are held by the Ministry of Defence.

  • 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
  • What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?

    • Selected medical records of the Women's Royal Air Force (1919)

      Consult MH 106/1497 for selected medical records of the Women's Royal Air Force. MH 106 is a representative sample and is not complete.

  • What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

    • Service records (1939-present)

      Visit the Veterans 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.

  • What other resources will help me find information?

    • Websites

      Read the Royal Air Force museums's history on the Women's Royal Air Force for information on the service.

    • Books

      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).

Did you know?

The Women's Royal Air Force was formed in 1918 though records of its predecessors go back to 1914.

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. The Women's Royal Air Force officially merged with the Royal Air Force in 1994.

No First World War service records for Women's Royal Air Force officers are known to survive.