A further selection of recently released files

May 2008

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Catalogue ref. Date Description
Records created or inherited by the Air Ministry, the Royal Air Force, and related bodies
AIR 8/2399 1950 - 1956 Hong Kong: photographic reconnaissance

This file looks at discussions around setting up reconnaissance flights over the islands around Hong Kong in order to obtain up-to-date information on the positioning of guns and other Chinese military activity in the area. Correspondence in the file looks at the debate that ensues between the advantages of gathering this information, and the risks of provoking the enemy if perceived to be flying in their airspace.

Records of the Ministry of Defence
DEFE 11/724 1970-1972 Special projects: deception

This file outlines the findings of the UK's Defence Deception Advisory Group trip to the United States in April 1970. This includes a computerised "subject analysis" of the Soviet spy, Victor Louis. Also included is a breakdown of the various successful deception operations that occurred during the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War. The British contingent concluded that the British should follow the Americans in developing the deception capability of the Armed Forces.


DEFE 71/226 1978-1979 Sexual equality: arming of WRAF personnel

In the wake of the passing of the Sexual Equality Act in 1975, the British Armed Forces were made to reconsider their position on arming their female staff. This file contains correspondence from high-level RAF personnel discussing operational outcomes and weighing these up against any possible backlash from the public. In the words of one Air Commodore, the RAF was largely supportive of arming WRAF staff for "defensive" purposes: "While not wanting to emulate Amazons, they generally do want to play as full a part as possible in the station's role." The possibility of allowing women full "combatant" status was never in question.

Records of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and predecessors
FCO 69/575 1976 Sale of Rolls-Royce RB 211 engine to the Soviet Union - part 1

In 1976 Rolls-Royce were approached by Soviet representatives to look at providing engines for a new aircraft being built in the USSR. The following four files look at the correspondence between Rolls-Royce and the Foreign Office during this time, discussing the potential risks of allowing such a commercial transaction. Much of the discussion is around the possibility of such a deal giving the impression that relations are starting to warm between the UK and the Soviet Union, and what potential consequences that may bear upon transatlantic relations.


FCO 69/576 1976 Sale of Rolls-Royce RB 211 engine to the Soviet Union - part 2
FCO 69/577 1976 Sale of Rolls-Royce RB 211 engine to the Soviet Union - part 3
FCO 69/578 1976 Sale of Rolls-Royce RB 211 engine to the Soviet Union - part 4
Records created or inherited by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and of successor and related bodies
HLG 126/2247 1980 - 1984 London Borough of Westminster: relocation of the Shaftesbury Memorial (Eros), Piccadilly Circus

In looking to modernise Piccadilly Circus, proposals were put forward to move the Shaftesbury Memorial (Eros). This file looks at the plans and discussions around the move. Contains images and architectural drawings of the area.