Obtaining RAF service records - The Rules....

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Peter Clare, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. dgladstone

    dgladstone Junior Member

    got sidetracked while doing some research for a history paper and joined the website today

    Anyways, I have some questions. Both my grandfather and his brother were British citizens and fought in ww2. My great uncle was killed, and after a little bit of research, I found him on the CWGC. I would like to find out his full records though.

    The same goes for my grandfather. After the war, he moved to America. How easy would it be for me to get both his records, and my great uncles records through the MoD, since I live in America, and am an American citizen? Would it be possible to do it through an embassy (I live in NYC)?
     
  2. Keith_H

    Keith_H Junior Member

    How easy would it be for me to get both his records, and my great uncles records through the MoD, since I live in America, and am an American citizen?

    Hi,

    I don't think that your nationality is an issue; posts 4 and 5 in this thread should be of use when applying.

    The MOD has very archaic working practices. I think the first hurdle is to get their service numbers. Your second hurdle will be to get a cheque for £30 sent to them. If they find the records, they will send them to you.

    If you have family in the UK, why not ask them to make the application?
     
  3. Keith_H

    Keith_H Junior Member

    Posted: 26-03-2011, 10:02 PM
    I've had a negative and a positive experience with the RAF, and I want to share this with fellow genealogists.



    An update:
    I contacted RAF Cranwell, and to their credit they arranged for the record to be retrieved, and sent out. Nothing was received.
    I got in contact, and I was advised that a second record had been sent. At the time, their computer system wasn't working for a few weeks, and by the sound of things, they were logging everything on individual post-it notes, with a view to keying it in their system at some point in the future. (This same system advised me that the service record I requested had not survived.)
    I have been told that for a third time, the record will be ordered, only this time it will be put in an envelope by someone at Cranwell, and sent by recorded post. Hopefully I will get it in 2 weeks time.

    In the same way that it is possible to pay £30 for a service record request, and be given the brush-off, there is a similar situation whereby you can pay the NHS £42 for details from the 1939 Registration
    1939 Register Service | Services | The NHS Information Centre
    Having trawled some forum posts, it would appear that some people who have used this service have had negative experiences, in a vein similar to my dealings with Cranwell. Given that the electoral rolls are going to be digitised next year (not sure what date range), I am thinking it will be better to wait for this, rather than to give my money to the NHS for a lacklustre service.
    Findmypast.co.uk and British Library project to digitise 5 million pages of records
     
  4. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    My father joined the RAF in 1923 and left in the 1930's then was recalled again in 1938 and was demobed in 1947. Well they dug his record up okay mind you it took a few months.
     
  5. Keith_H

    Keith_H Junior Member

    The following is useful for interpreting abbreviations, and associated locations:
    Ground Units
     
  6. Nicola_G

    Nicola_G Senior Member

    I got my uncle's service records but it took about 3 months and required many phonecalls to badger & otherwise chivy them along. The chap I dealt with was called Adrian Lambert & he was very helpful. I have his direct number should anyone require it.
     
  7. tulip

    tulip Junior Member

    I had been thinking about applying for my Grandfather's records as I had no idea what he did,however the £30 was putting me off.Really off putting now reading other posts and finding that the RAF can't really be bothered.I don't even think he got any medals,so no point looking there.It's a shame really,Im quite interested in finding out more about what he did in India Command.

    Angela
     
  8. Nicola_G

    Nicola_G Senior Member

    I had been thinking about applying for my Grandfather's records as I had no idea what he did,however the £30 was putting me off.Really off putting now reading other posts and finding that the RAF can't really be bothered.I don't even think he got any medals,so no point looking there.It's a shame really,Im quite interested in finding out more about what he did in India Command.

    Angela

    Don't let the wait put you off Angela, even on the Records with the smallest details, you will find info that you probably won't find anywhere else, such as where he Enlisted, where he did his initial training, any punishments he may have incurred, any awards he gained and so on. Its definitely worth it.

    You can also check if he got any medals, by contacting the MOD, they have a medal section.
     
  9. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    I had been thinking about applying for my Grandfather's records as I had no idea what he did,however the £30 was putting me off.Really off putting now reading other posts and finding that the RAF can't really be bothered.I don't even think he got any medals,so no point looking there.It's a shame really,Im quite interested in finding out more about what he did in India Command.

    Angela

    Angela,

    I think you will find that in most cases the RAF are very helpful, why not give then a call and see what they have to say for yourself. If you are serious in your quest for information then the service record is the next logical step forward
    If you don't ask, you don't get.

    At the very least your grandfather will be entitled to campaign medals. 1939 - 1945 War Medal / 1939- 1945 Star. In some cases the Burma Star was awarded for service in India.

    Regards
    Peter
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I had been thinking about applying for my Grandfather's records as I had no idea what he did,however the £30 was putting me off.Really off putting now reading other posts and finding that the RAF can't really be bothered.I don't even think he got any medals,so no point looking there.It's a shame really,Im quite interested in finding out more about what he did in India Command.

    Angela

    You get very little for free in this game. In fact I would say its only forums like this where you will find information for free and the odd museum that is willing to help.
     
  11. tulip

    tulip Junior Member

    I have had a wee look on the medals front and spoke to mum,she never saw a medal,so doesn't think he applied for it,so I am going to give it a go,hopefully,I have enough info for them.I noticed an email address,so will give it a try.

    Thanks Angela
     
  12. Jeanieallergy

    Jeanieallergy Junior Member

    I have just discovered that you can now download the AIR 78 index cards from The National Archives website free of charge in the form of pdf files, so you can search them at home. These and several other free files are known as Digital Microfilm

    I have found two entries for the name I am interested in. One has got a large F in a circle stamped on it, and the other has the letters KD typed at the bottom. Does anyone have any idea what these two additions mean?

    Many thanks.

    Rosie
     
  13. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    Please see the expanded post below re obtaining RAF records. Thnx

    peaceful :poppy:
    Chrissie
     
  14. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    I should add to my recent posting on obtaining RAF records.

    I have read that WWII officers' records and service personnel killed on duty are open to the public and have seen some of this information on the web, especially pilots killed in action.

    Of course WWI records are no longer sealed.

    peaceful :poppy:
     
  15. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    I have just discovered that you can now download the AIR 78 index cards from The National Archives website free of charge in the form of pdf files, so you can search them at home. These and several other free files are known as Digital Microfilm

    I have found two entries for the name I am interested in. One has got a large F in a circle stamped on it, and the other has the letters KD typed at the bottom. Does anyone have any idea what these two additions mean?

    Many thanks.

    Rosie
    Thanks, I'm going to try this site!
    peaceful
     
  16. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    For WWII Records
    Perhaps I can give a bit of information obtaining WWII records as I have been through the whole process about 6 months ago.

    THIS PROCESS APPLIES TO WWII BRITISH VETS WHO ARE DECEASED FOR
    LESS THAN 25 YEARS

    I figure I make a decent test case because I did it successfully all on line and by post from Canada. If you go into the Royal Air Force web site, you can down load the application form. I found the instructions to be quite straight forward. They want a lot of documentation because they have a mandate to keep the records sealed and they need to do due diligence to be sure they are releasing the records to the right individual.

    1st. You must be the the next of kin to apply-no exceptions.

    2nd. You must send an original death certificate of the subject to prove the vet is in fact deceased.

    3rd. Since my father had a spouse, I needed to send a copy of my mother's death certificate.

    4th. You must prove your identity and your relationship to the vet as the next of kin. I am a daughter, and so I required copies of my birth and marriage certificates (my maiden name was different from the name on my I.D. and birth certificate) plus copies of my I.D. with signitures (I used my passport and drivers' licence).

    Note: You will notice that the only original document required is the vet's death certificate. All other documents can be photocopied.

    5. Fill in application with as much as you have and mail it in with the 30 pound fee.

    (Check on line to answer your queries about having enough information).

    Outcome of my search: I was fortunate enough to have my father's Service and Release Book, therefore, I could answer every question.
    (I photocopied it and sent it with my application). They will do their best to find the records with whatever information you have.

    My father's records came in approx. 3 months, along with many pages of abbreviations and their meanings.

    Just as a little side note: Patience is required because these are all paper documents that need to be searched through, miles of them, by human beings doing their best. All the mentioned documents must be verified. Then there's the postal service ..........

    Wishing all lots of success in accessing the information you need.



    [​IMG] Yesterday, 12:37 AM
     
  17. tulip

    tulip Junior Member

    Has anyone tried emailing MOD regarding medals?Just wondered how long they take to reply!

    Tulip
     
  18. peaceful

    peaceful Senior Member

    I have had a wee look on the medals front and spoke to mum,she never saw a medal,so doesn't think he applied for it,so I am going to give it a go,hopefully,I have enough info for them.I noticed an email address,so will give it a try.

    Thanks Angela

    :poppy:
    Hi Angela

    Any luck?

    I came across some correspondence I received from RAF, originally included in the service records mailingr, egarding medals from Ministry of Defense Medal Unit in Gloucester.

    They're asking for a photcopy of the service records with a request quoting the reference number that was assigned with the service record request.

    peaceful
    Chrissie
     
  19. lizrc

    lizrc Junior Member

    I have just joined this site and am wondering how to start research on a family friend who was in the RAFVR. He was from Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire and died in WW2. How can I find out more about him, where he served, where he died, and if there is a war memorial with his name on it. I searched the Buckinghamshire War Memorials list for Gerrards Cross but didn't see his name on any of them. His name is Paul Albert Levy.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.
     
  20. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    hello Lizrc

    Quite possibly he has his name on a Memorial away from the area.Possibly he will be on a memorial in the City of London area.
    Have you tried calling into St James, Gerrards Cross.

    I have checked the local memorials I have Amersham/Beaconsfield/Chalfont/Chalfont St Giles/Chalfont St Peter/Denham/Loudwater just in case he was on.He isn't I am afraid

    LEVY, PAUL ALBERT

    Rank:
    Flying Officer
    Trade:
    Pilot
    Service No:
    127244
    Date of Death:
    28/08/1943
    Age:
    20
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    57 Sqdn.
    Grave Reference
    11. G. 7.
    Cemetery
    DURNBACH WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information:
    Son of Ralph Paul Levy, M.C., and Olive Louise Levy, of City of London.
    CWGC - Casualty Details

    link below with information to apply for his service records
    service records sar form requests

    I am sure a forum member will be along shortly to give more details of the aircraft loss

    regards
    Clive
     

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