RAF Officer Service Number and Joining Dates?

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Tom OBrien, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    My great uncle Richard Brendan O'Brien served in the RAF during WW2 and I am just about to apply for his service records as he died in 1987 and I have just received a copy of his death certificate. The RAF request form asks for some details which I don't have though, including joining and leaving dates.

    I have only very sparse details culled from a late war RAF List which recorded him as:

    Flying Officer - service number 118986 - RAF Technical Branch (Signals) - Seniority 12 Feb 1943.

    Is there any way that I can use his service number to identify when he joined up?

    From a letter to my Great Grandfather we know he was in Ceylon in 1943 and I found a tantalising reference to him in the ORB (AIR29/186) of No. 2016 AMES for 15 July 1944 which records that "F/O R.B. O'BRIEN (Sigs. Radar) proceeded on attachment to 205 Squadron" but I couldn't find any other reference either in the AMES ORB or in 205 Sqns.

    Do you think I should include those details on the application or is it best just to let them search without any possibly confusing details?


  2. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Just give his date of birth , full name and date of death as known fact.

    Say possibly served in Ceylon 1943 but only known from family correspondence.

    With the DOB and full name Disclosures will find the service records and Ceylon will aid in narrowing down if needed.

    My reason for this is that you can use London Gazette/Air Force list to confirm seniority in rank and back track to when first commissioned but this will not usually be the date that the serviceman enlisted.


    Most Hositilities Only sevicemen entered as ACH/GD enlisted, carried out basic training then were selected for commission. This means they had previous service under an OR service number before being discharged for admin purposes then immediately commissioned with a personal number. The service number and personal number would be different.

    As the Gazette entry for Acting Pilot Officer only shows Personal Number it is most likely that he was directly commissioned due to prior experience - but disclosures will sort this out.

    ozzy16, Tom OBrien, CL1 and 2 others like this.
  3. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    Hi Tom,
    The last 2 RAF records I obtained in 2017, I couldn't answer the last 2 questions in part 2 just left them blank, still had a successful outcome.(takes about 4-5 weeks)

    I currently have another application (army) waiting to be posted sitting on my desk,it's been there nearly 2 months, sadly it seems nobody in the family is prepared to pay the £30 fee.

    Tom OBrien, Tricky Dicky and CL1 like this.
  4. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Ross, Graham,

    Thanks for the advice. I'll get cracking.


    ozzy16 likes this.

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