Royal Air Force

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Records

The Lists were initially published on a monthly basis. Currently available (at April 2012) are
February 1919, Contents March 1919, Contents April 1919, Contents
May 1919 , Contents June 1919, Contents July 1919, Contents August 1919, Contents
September 1919 Contents October 1919, Contents November 1919, Contents December 1919, Contents
  • 1938 January-September, November, December
  • 1939 January-August, October-December
  • 1940 February-June, August, October, December
  • 1941-1943 January, March, May, July, September, November
  • 1944 January, March, May, July, October
  • 1945 January, April, July.
The above, and additional editions, are also available (free) on the website of the of the NLS as Air Force Lists: 1919-1922 and 1938-1945, which may be read online or downloaded. Also there are transcriptions available, together with a Search facility.
Data from most of the editions (possibly all) from the NLS are also available on findmypast in a database "Royal Air Force Lists 1919-1945",[2] located in Armed Forces & Conflict/Regimental & Service Records. However, it does not seem possible to browse the editions.
  • TheGenealogist, pay website, in its Diamond subscription,[3] currently (2018/03) includes some monthly Air Force Lists, some of which are also held by the NLS, but additionally
    • 1918, April. Also available in the Gold subscription, and elsewhere as a CD or pay download.[4]
    • 1933, October. Also available in the Gold subscription, and elsewhere as a CD or pay download.[5].
    • 1936, May
    • 1937, April
Note, it is unclear in what form these lists are held.
  • Held on the pay website findmypast (see External links section), are datasets in the category Armed forces & conflict, titled
    • British Royal Air Force, Officers' Service Records 1912-1920 (sub category: Service Records)
    • British Royal Air Force, Airmen's Service Records 1912-1939 (sub category Service Records). There is a dataset on Ancestry (pay website) UK, Royal Air Force Airmen Records, 1918-1940 (category Military, released 2017/7), which appears to consist of a transcription on Ancestry, with images available on the associated fold3 (pay) website.
    • British Women's Royal Air Force Service Records 1918-1920 (sub category: Service Records)
    • British Royal Air Force, Gallantry Awards 1914-1919 (sub category: Medal rolls and honours}
    • Royal Air Force Muster Roll 1918 (sub category: First World War). This database is also on Ancestry (category Military, released 2016/10).
    • Airmen Died In The Great War, 1914-1919 (sub category: First World War). Transcripts. The source is data from a Naval & Military Press DVD "reprint"[6] of the book Airmen died in the Great War, 1914-1918 : the roll of honour of the British and Commonwealth air services of the First World War by Chris Hobson, published in 1995.
  • Held on the pay website Ancestry, with images on the Ancestry owned pay website fold3, a database "UK, WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923", which includes Royal Air Force personnel. For more details about these records, see the page British Army - WFA WW1 pension record cards.
  • RAF Records Office for personnel enquiries can be contacted at:
RAF Disclosures
Trenchard Hall
RAF Cranwell
Sleaford
Lincolnshire
NG34 8HB
Telephone 01400 261201
a. Extension: 8161/8159 for Officers
b. Extension: 8163/8168 for Other Ranks
See the web page Requests for personal data and Service records (gov.uk) for forms to download. Veterans:UK
Also refer to the equivalent section on the Fibiwiki page British Army for some hints which possibly also apply to Royal Air Force records such as requesting FULL records.
  • The Royal Air Force Museum, London, refer External links below, holds some records including First World War Casualty Cards, which extend to 1928 and cover all theatres of operations. Casualty Cards records and Officers' Casualty Forms (the latter service records) have now been digitised, and are freely available.
  • The website Royal Flying Corps, refer External links below, includes a People Index, derived from a number of different sources.

Also see

Indian Central Flying School (Sitapur)

An Indian Central Flying School was established at Sitapur in December, 1913, commanded by an officer of the 29th Punjab Regiment. [7] Prior to establishment it was stated that "we propose... to confine the work in the first instance to experiments and not to include the tuition of beginners. It is intended to begin with four officers, all of whom are in possession of pilot certificates. They will be provided with six aeroplanes for experimental purposes".[8] The School was part of the Royal Flying Corps, Military Wing, part of the British Army, although details appear in the Navy Lists.[9]. The School was closed on mobilisation.[10]

First World War

The outbreak of World War I saw a small Indian Flying Corps assigned for defence of the Suez Canal against a Turkish attack.[7]

In January 1915, Captain P W L Broke-Smith, Assistant Director of the Indian Flying Corps, set to work to establish an airfield at Basra, in Mesopotamia.[11] A small group of pilots from the Indian Army operated in Mesopotamia, described both as the Indian Flying Corps,[12] or the Mesopotamia Flight, Royal Flying Corps[13], to which was attached an Australian contingent, known as the Mesopotamia Half Flight, or Australian Half Flight.

31 Squadron Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force

31 Squadron, formed in 1915, was the first operational military unit in Indian skies. During the First World War it was operational in the North West Frontier region of India . During the Second World War it saw action in Iraq and Burma. For details see The History of No. 31 Squadron Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force in the East from its formation in 1915 to 1950.[14] A later history is First in the Indian Skies by Norman Franks, 1981.[15] (British Library UIN: BLL01011032123)

114 Squadron, originally RFC, was formed at Lahore in September 1917, from a nucleus provided by 31 Squadron. See the letters of Thomas Gilbert who was posted to 114 Squadron in late September 1917, below under "Individuals".

Other Squadrons in India

20 Squadron arrived in India May 1919, and received the following battle honours Mahsud 1919-1920, Waziristan 1919-1925, Mohmand 1927, North West Frontier 1930-1931, Mohmand 1933, North West Frontier 1935-1939, North Burma 1943-1944, Arakan 1943-1944, Manipur 1944, Burma 1944-1945[16]

The RAF units which operated the Westland Wapiti in India were Nos 5, 11, 20, 27, 28, 31 and 60 Squadrons.[17]

A squadron history is The flying elephants : a history of No. 27 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, Royal Air Force, 1915-69 by Chaz Bowyer 1972 (British Library UIN: BLL01008362080).

North West Frontier

India’s North-West Frontier (now modern-day Pakistan) was divided into three areas for the RAF. The northern area comprised the region to the north of the Khyber Pass up to the foothills of the Himalayas – referred to as the ‘Roof of the World.’ The second or central area lay south west of the Khyber Pass roughly between the rivers Kabul and Kurram. This was universally mountainous, criss-crossed by deep valleys and dried up water courses. The third region was the southern area which lay to the south west of Kohat, from the Kurram River down towards Fort Sandeman and Baluchistan. This was dominated by Waziristan, the storm centre of the frontier and stronghold of tribal resistance.[18]

Also see North West Frontier Campaigns

RAF Chaklala

RAF Chaklala was located in part of Rawalpindi. During World War 2, from 1942 RAF Chaklala was the location of a Paratroopers Training School[19]

Second World War

  • RAF bases at Fazilpur and Feni were forward bases for the invasion of Burma, located in the area of Bengal which is now Bangladesh.[20]
  • There were many airfields in Bengal and the Calcutta area, such as Digri, Salbani, Jessore, Dum Dum, Piardoba, Kharagpur, Alipore, Dhubalia, Pandaveswar, and Barrackpore.[21]

External links

Records available from the RAF Museum which provide useful information include Casualty Forms (which are different records from the Casualty Cards) and also Medical Cards (Form 6495).[22]
Update 2018/03: Online Officer’s Casualty Forms. Consists of records relating to the service of Royal Air Force Officers with the Expeditionary Force. Searchable. A companion website of the Royal Air Force Museum. Tips for searching,[23] including advice that some digital records actually have two digital images. The second digital image may be located by increasing the number in the record URL by 1, which is not currently (2018/03/22) otherwise stated. Also applies to records with more pages, keep increasing the number in the record URL by 1, until you come to a different record.
This collision is the subject of this article by DN Singh July 25, 2011, which appears to use details from the report by Matthew J Poole. The article briefly mentions the Air Fighting Training Unit - 228 Group and the Tactical & Weapons Development Unit based at Amarda Road, Orissa and the names of surrounding airfields- Dalbhumgarh, Dudhkundi, Salua, Digri, Salbani and Chakulia
  • With The Royal Air Force In India, [1919] Everyday life for members of 99 (Madras Presidency) Squadron RAF at Ambala, India, June-September 1919. A silent film from Imperial War Museums (retrieved 27 June 2014)
  • Medal Roll for India General Service Medal with clasps 1919-1935: RAF personnel. Surnames A-Brymer only. Includes the Squadrons present. html version pdf version naval-military-press.com. Retrieved 9 August 2014
  • Cross & Cockade International (CCI) Journal of the First World War Aviation Historical Society. Cross & Cockade GB was formed in, and published from, 1970 as the British arm of Cross & Cockade in the USA, which was formed in 1960. The name changed to Cross & Cockade International when the US society ceased in 1986. In 1986 Cross & Cockade [USA] amalgamated with/became associated with Over the Front, Journal of the League of WWI Aviation Historians, which holds the archives of Cross & Cockade [USA] 1960-1985. The British Journals are available at the British Library and Imperial War Museums. The IWM catalogue lists the USA Journals holdings as C&C Vol 1 1960- Vol 23 1982 (LBY E.J. 5156 but also see LBY E. 45573), OTF Vol 1 1986- Vol 11 1996 (LBY E.J. 64).
CCI Journal Index. CCI Journals include a series of articles "Gazetteer of Flying Sites in the UK and Ireland 1912–1920", catalogue details.
CCI website includes a Forum.
C&C [USA] Index: Volumes 1-26 1960-1985 missing 5 quarterly issues. Over the Front Index: Volumes 1-16 1986-2001 toto.lib.unca.edu. University of North Carolina at Asheville holds the volumes listed.

Individuals

Page 49 30.12.16 Notified he is to be posted to Egypt for training in flying; Page 53 28.1.17 He commences training at Aboukir, Abbasia, Heliopolis; Page 67 23.6.17 Advised he is to be posted to England; Page 75 9 Sept 1917. He receives notice he will be posted to India; Page 82 27.11.17 114th Squadron. R.F.C. Lahore; Page 92 18.3.18 Transferred to Sibi, Baluchistan The war against the Marris; Page 96 23.4.18 Harnai; Page 97, 6.5.18; The squadron prepare to leave for Quetta; Page 112 10.11.18 The squadron moves to Lahore.
  • Sgt Reginald White, 48 Squadron RAF took part in the Third Anglo-Afghan War. 48 Squadron arrived in India by sea and by June 1919 were based in Quetta.[27]
  • Charles Frederick Langley (born 1889). He was in India 1920-23 with the Royal Air Force. His final posting was the RAF base at Risalpur, the new home for 27 Squadron. He was in charge of the base’s three pigeon lofts containing several hundred birds and one of his jobs was to teach the pilots how to handle and release the homing pigeons from the aircraft.[28]
  • John G Walser MC was in India from 1922 to the end of 1925 with the Royal Air Force, including a posting to No. 31 Squadron which was stationed at Dardoni, in Waziristan. He wrote letters to his family detailing his experiences[29]
  • Listen to the 1975 Interview with John William Easton, British NCO who served with 1 Wing, RAF at Miranshah Fort, 1928-1930 including contact with T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Imperial War Museums
  • Memoirs: Malcolm Macdougall. He was posted in January 1938 to 20 A.C. Squadron, Northwest Frontier, where he spent two years at Peshawar and one year at Kohat, with occasional detachments to Miramshah (Miranshah?). In 1941 he was posted to 27 Squadron Risalpur which later went to Singapore and Malaysia, then Ceylon. Website of RAF Cranwell Apprentices Association, 29th Entry, all archived webpages.
  • Listen to the 1977 interview with Wilfred Randall Page British aircraftman and photographer served with RAF in GB 1933-1935; served with Photographic Section, 28 Sqdn, RAF at Ambala and in Waziristan, India, 1935-1939 Imperial War Museums
  • Listen to the 2008 interview with Gawain Thomas Alexander 'Gavin’ Douglas , born 1914. British officer served in India, with British and Indian Army, 1935-1940; trained as pilot with RAF in India, 1941-1942; served as flying instructor with RAF in India, 1943-1944, served with 28 and 60 Sqdns, RAF in Burma, 1/1945-5/1945; commanded 34 Sqdn in Burma, 5/1945-10/1945; commanded 28 Sqdn, RAF in Burma and Malaya, 1945- 1946; commanded 152 Sqdn, RAF on North West Frontier of India, 1946-1947 Imperial War Museums.
  • A Story of War Colin Diarmid Campbell Dunford Wood, kept war diaries continuously from early 1939. Initially with the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment in Waziristan, he later joined the Royal Air Force, flying in Iraq, India and Burma (where he flew the last Hurricane out, before the advancing Japanese) and Europe.
  • Squadron Leader Jack Storey - obituary [1915-2015] 08 February 2015 The Telegraph. He was with No 135 Squadron and fought in the Burma Campaign January 1942 - August 1943, where he accounted for eight Japanese aircraft and was then a gunnery instructor in India for a period.
  • The Mumblings of Edward Sparkes Contents page Flt Lt Edward D S N Sparkes was in the RAF and arrived in India in the latter part of 1943 in the chapter Ashore in Bombay. He subsequently joined X Squadron Royal Indian Air Force and served in Burma until he was invalided back to England in 1945.
  • Listen to the 2003 interview with Jack Gabbutt, British NCO photographer served with 681 and 81 Sqdns, RAF in India, Burma, Malaya and Java, 1944-1947 Imperial War Museums
  • W/O Roy Woodcock was called up in July 1942. Later he was sent to India. Scroll down approximately half way for his account. war-experience.org, now an archived webpage.
  • Recollections of Sgt Mike Hall, India, 1944-46 paradata.org.uk, now an archived webpage.
  • "Last stop Karachi 1946!" by John ‘Dusty’ Miller Part 1, Part 2. He was a driver in the RAF and was in India 1945-1947, his last posting in Karachi. www.qissa-khwani.com, now archived.
Indian Air Force

Historical books online

Fiction

For younger readers.

  • Biggles Pioneer Air Fighter by Captain W E Johns 1954. Archive.org, Digital Library of India Collection. Set in WW1. Contains thirteen short stories, eleven of which were originally published in The Camels Are Coming (1932) and two of which were originally published in Biggles Of The Camel Squadron (1934), originally written for older adolescents. Note however Wikipedia states "The early First World War books were reprinted in the 1950s, when the Biggles books had acquired a younger readership, and were bowdlerised".
  • Biggles Sees It Through by Captain W E Johns 1941 Archive.org, Digital Library of India Collection. Set in WW2.

References

  1. Post dated 1 July 2018. Royal Artillery Museum Archive on Facebook
  2. Royal Air Force Lists 1919-1945 findmypast
  3. TheGenealogist Diamond Subscription.
  4. Air Force List 1918 - April genealogysupplies.com
  5. Air Force List 1933 - October genealogysupplies.com
  6. Airmen died in the Great War, 1914-1918 : the roll of honour of the British and Commonwealth air services of the First World War by Chris Hobson. Naval & Military Press DVD.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Flying high at 75" by B. G. Verghese August 5, 2007 Spectrum: The Tribune
  8. "The Indian Budget 1913" page 216 The Rt. Hon. Mr. E. S. Montagu on Indian Affairs, published 1917. Archive.org.
  9. Page 431f Monthly Navy List August 1914
  10. Page 431k The Navy List January 1915
  11. "Only A Sideshow? The RFC And RAF In Mesopotamia 1914-1918" by Guy Warner. Refer External links
  12. Old Man. Seeking Info On R.N.A.S. Unit In Mesopotamia, Sept. 1915;June 1916 Great War Forum thread 27 April 2014, quoting "The Indian Flying Corps and the Australian Half-Flight", by Dr. Brian P. Flanagan. Cross and Cockade Journal (Summer, 1976, vol 17 no 2) , the US journal, now renamed Over the Front
  13. Page 142, Cavalry Of The Clouds Aspects of the Air War in the Eastern Theatre,1914-1918, by CH. Whitley 1997 . Refer External links
  14. Naval and Military Press publication History of No.31 Squadron Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force in the East from its formation in 1915 to 1950
  15. Lindsay, Kimberley John. NW Frontier photo of 2Lt D. Thomson, RAF, 31 Sqn Obs Great War Forum 6 October 2018. Also contains an image of a Gooli Chit. Retrieved 7 October 2018
  16. 20 Squadron raf.mod.uk.
  17. A flight of Eagles : The Westland Wapiti in Indian Air Force Service bharat-rakshak.com.
  18. "“Good God, Sir, Are You Hurt?” The Realities and Perils of Operating over India’s Troublesome North-West Frontier" by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Roe Air Power Review Volume 14 Number 3 Autumn/Winter 2011 Centre for Air Power Studies, Royal Air Force, page 78 (computer page 89)
  19. Paratroopers Training School indianairforce.nic.in
  20. High Wood RAF Fazilpur under construction 1943 WW2Talk Forum 24 December 2014. To view the photographs, you must be logged into WW2Talk Forum. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  21. Poole, Matt, airlana et al RAF Airfields in Bengal and Arakan WW2Talk Forum 11 December 2009 et al. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  22. quemerford. RAF service record: can you help decipher? Great War Forum 1 April 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  23. Ross_McNeill et al. RFC/RAF Casualty Forms Royal Air Force Commands Forum 29th January 2018. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  24. Pre WW2 British No.1 Rolls Royce Armoured Car Company RAF Iraq 1920 Photo Worthpoint
  25. kopite. Waziristan in 1937 WW2Talk Forum 28 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  26. Wings over Waziristan airminded.org
  27. Sgt Reginald White, 48 Squadron RAF in the Third Anglo-Afghan War, archived webpage.
  28. Charles F Langley D C M and Photographs (retrieved 18 April 2014)
  29. My Father: John G Walser Scroll down for his account of this period. Family website, now archived, (retrieved on 18 April 2014)