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Updated but not wholly checked, 3 March 2020

A guide to acronyms - A guide to code names and RAF vocabulary

1. Those who died

1.1 Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The CWGC provide the magnificent Debt of Honour on-line database for Unit and Grave information on those who have a resting place and those for whom there is no known grave. This was launched in November 1998 and has been extremely busy ever since.

It is a good starting place for finding out about someone who died.
The CWGC website is at

1.2 Armed Forces Memorial, National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire

Lists all those who died on duty in the UK Armed Services since WW2, go to the Roll of Honour link on this UK Veterans Agency Armed Forces Memorial page:

1.3 RAF Casualties

Information on Royal Flying Corps casualties is held by the RAF Museum at Hendon. The Air Historical Branch holds information on RAF casualties although, prior to 1939, the amount is very limited. The AHB, now based at RAF Northolt, has the responsibility for responding to requests from members of the public enquiring about historic RAF casualties.

1.4 Other similar databases

New Zealand >

2. Aircraft Losses

2.1-2.4 - go to Ian Allan site search page and do a search on the author

2.1 RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War W R Chorley (Ian Allan Publishing)

Bill Chorley's series of books covering Vol 1 1939-1940, Vol 2 1941, Vol 3 1942, Vol 4 1943, Vol 5 1944, Vol 6 1945, Vol 7 Operational Training Units 1940-1947, Vol 8 Heavy Conversion Units and Miscellaneous Units, 1939-1947, Vol 9 Roll of Honour 1939-1947 is an indispensable source of information for finding out about individual Bomber Command aircraft losses.
Crew details, base, take off time, aircraft details, task and fates are given where known.

On-line additions and amendments to the series are provided via [FWH0708]

2.2 RAF Bomber Command Losses in the Middle East & Mediterranean

David Gunby & Pelham Temple: Vol 1 covering 1939-42 was published by Midland Counties Publishing in 2006 and Vol 2 covering 1943-45 was published in 2018 by Air Britain.

2.3 RAF Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War

Norman L R Franks (Ian Allan Publishing): this has been published in three volumes.

2.4 RAF Coastal Command Losses of the Second World War

Ross McNeill (Ian Allan Publishing): Vol 1 covering 1939-41 was been published in 2003.

3. Bomber Command War Diaries

Martin Middlebrook & Chris Everitt (Penguin), provides background information on each of Bomber Command's operations 1939-45.

4. Those who served and what they did

4.1.1 Advice on researching someone who served in the Royal Air Forces

General information: National Archives at Kew, London

RAF: Requests for personal data and service records: a detailed guide:

Australians: The Department of Veterans' Affairs World War Two Nominal Roll website was created in November 2002 to honour and commemorate the men and women who served in Australia's defence forces and the Merchant Navy during this conflict. This site contains information from the service records of some one million individuals who served during World War Two. Australians enlisted in other Commonwealth or Allied forces are not included.

Australian War Memorial - equivalent to the UK's Imperial War Museum and has a Research Centre and Library, and a set of searchable online databases, for decorations, casualties, images, library catalogue, and personal records, plus online copies of war diaries and official histories.
Australian War Memorial
Collections search
War History

The National Archives of Australia RCAF: Library and Archives Canada - Second World War: 1939-1945


SAAF: SANDF Documentation Service Directorate, (Personnel Division), Private Bag X289, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa: fax: +27 12 323 5613: "Documentation Centre of the Department of Defence houses military archives and records dating back to the period when the Union Defence Force was formed in 1912.  This does include personnel files of SAAF members that served during the First and Second World War.  Service Records for members that served in the South African Forces can be obtained from Documentation Centre (Personnel Archives).  Unfortunately the Documentation Centre does not maintain a web-site or the facilities to answer enquiries by e-mail.  You are requested to forward any such enquiries or request to Documentation Centre by postal service or facsimile."

SAAF website [FWH0114]

Women's Royal Air Force, World War I

In 2011 The UK National Archives made it possible to search and download the records of around 30,000 women who served with the Women's Royal Air Force during the First World War.

The Women's Royal Air Force was formed on 1 April 1918. At the same time the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) came together to form the Royal Air Force (RAF). The WRAF included volunteers from the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), Women's Legion drivers and the Women's Civilian Subordinates.

Although the WRAF was created to free up men for active service, at first the RAF did not appear to support the WRAF, even at the highest levels. The first commanders were not offered administrative staff and were not given staff vehicles to travel on official business. Following a Ministry of National Service investigation, Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, Overseas Commander of the WAAC, was appointed as Commandant of the WRAF in September 1918.

Women performing a variety of roles such as drivers or mechanics as well as the more 'traditional' roles such as cooks or office clerks at first were based in Britain. Later around 500 women served in France and Germany. After the war Helen Gwynne-Vaughan was awarded the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in recognition of her work. The WRAF was disbanded on 1 April 1920.

No Officers' records are known to have survived.

The Women's Auxiliary Air Force (World War II)
The Women's Auxiliary Air Force was formed in 1939 and it was renamed the Women's Royal Air Force on 1 February 1949. Later service records are still held by the Royal Air Force and information can be released to former service personnel and next of kin. See 4.1 above - RAF

4.1.2 Help in the UK for those who served

This seems a comprehensive collection of help resources: if you know of a better one for the UK please let the editor know.
For other countries please do a web search for equivalents:

4.2 Operational Records of the RAF

Guidance is at

5. Bomber Command

International Bomber Command Centre: This project was launched in May 2013. The site at Canwick Hill overlooking the city of Lincoln covers just under 10 acres. It honours all who served, supported or suffered in the bombing campaigns of WWII. Over 500 volunteers, from 9 different countries, have been involved so far. The Walls of Names at the IBCC carry the names of almost 58,000 men and women who lost their lives whilst serving Bomber Command. The IBCC is the only place in the world where you can bear witness to all the sacrifices of this unit. This figure is higher than the number of people serving in today’s RAF and Royal Navy combined.
Since inception IBCC has been working with veterans, recording their stories and preserving their documents and photos. Their support during the creation of the project has been astounding.

Rob Davis's website on Bomber Command is a 'must' for those researching bomber crews, with very useful Bomber Command information

and more specifically 'finding out' help, which is at this page:>
There was an excellent 60th Anniversary Bomber Command website on the RAF website. This has been archived as far as possible by the National Archives.

Other Bomber Command sites that are particularly worth visiting are:

Larry Wright's Avro Manchester and Lancaster Archive:

and Bob Baxter's

6. RAF Structure and records

6.1 Air Historical Branch: this is now based at RAF Northolt:

Air Historical Branch(RAF)
RAF Northolt
West End Road

6.2 Air of Authority

Malcolm Barras' site on the History of RAF Organization

6.3 RAF Commands

Ross McNeill's pages are a growing movement and equipment history of the squadrons and associated units forming RAF Commands during the period September 1939 to August 1945.

6.4 RAF Ranks

7. Museums

7.1 Imperial War Museum

The IWM provide useful general guidance and a search function:

7.2. RAF Museum Department of Research & Information Services

The Department (known as "DoRIS") houses the Library and Archives of the Museum, as well as providing reader and enquiry services about the history of the Royal Air Force. Based at the RAF Museum, Hendon, facilities exist for viewing items from the archives and library:

8. Honours and awards

8.1 London Gazette

World War issues: This searchable database is not the easiest to use and ideally you will need the service number of the person you are searching for.

8.2 to those in the Royal Canadian Air Force

Composed by Hugh Halliday and hosted on the Air Force Association of Canada's most useful website [The RCAF Association website was temporarily unavailable when checked]

          8.3 Service Records and entitlement to Medals, Veterans' Badge

8.3.1 If you served in the British Armed Forces you can apply for either:

8.3.2 You can get an armed forces Veterans Badge if you’ve served in any of the UK armed forces - there’s no fee.
For link see 8.3.3

8.3.3 Apply for a medal
You can apply for a medal if you served in the UK Armed Forces and are eligible.

Find out the types of medal the Ministry of Defence (MOD) issues.

You can only apply for World War 1 medals if the original was returned.

You can apply if you were awarded a medal for service in any of the following:

the Army
the Royal Navy
the Royal Marines
the Royal Air Force (RAF)
the Home Guard
the reserve forces

You must meet the eligibility requirements for the medal you’re applying for.

If you’re applying for someone else’s medal
You can apply on behalf of a veteran if you have lasting power of attorney.

If the veteran has died, you must be the official next of kin. The general rules for the official next of kin are:

the person’s spouse or civil partner has the first claim to the medal, and then the eldest child
if there’s no spouse or child, the parent is entitled to apply
if there’s no spouse, child or parent, the eldest grandchild is entitled to apply

9. Finding people

click on the roundel for more information on Aircrew and Groundcrew Search Aircrew and Groundcrew Research - primarily WWII focussed - looking for someone you served with, or for those from a unit or an aircraft you are researching?

Also these (please note: no responsibility can be taken for the content or services offered by these external websites, some of which make charges for some of their services):

RAF News - click on the banner for more information
RAF News is another way of keeping in touch and also provides a penpals section.

for all the armed services, for those seeking to regain contact with those they served with, with many other facilities

The Royal British Legion also have a section for those seeking to regain contact provides an on-line search facility for people resident in the UK.

10. Family records

An archived BBC page on family history on-line:

11. Luftwaffe Historical Associations

In some cases families and researchers may be seeking information on which Luftwaffe units or pilots were involved in the shooting down of particular aircraft. I am grateful to Gert Overhoff for the list which he has compiled for me from Jaegerblatt.

Information via Cross & Cockade International Association of WWI Air Historians: Germany has put their full war graves register on line. It helps if you speak German - but if you don't just click on "Grabersüche Online" from the home page, then "Zur Onlinesuche".

It's a good quick search engine giving you the full name, precise memorial location, date of birth and death, and home town.

12. Explanatory note on RAF Squadrons

Wing Commander C G Jefford's book 'RAF Squadrons, a comprehensive record of the movement and equipment of all RAF squadrons and their antecedents since 1912' (Airlife 1988, ISBN 85310 053 6) is another useful source of information about the aircraft and stations which RAF squadrons have used.

In compiling the Register I have shown those units which Wg Cdr Jefford listed. If a squadron is missing, either it never actually formed or I have made a mistake (if so, please email the editor, Frank Haslam, with any corrections).

13. Where else to look

If you are not having much luck, you can try doing a search on the Internet. There are many search engines, I happen to find Google easy to use and quite good. You can do your searches from here.

For example if I was looking for 207 Squadron RAF I would simply put that in the 'search box' below and then click the Google Search button.

If you come up with information that would be useful for the Register, please let me know. Good luck!


14. Google News™

On the RAF, RAAF, RCAF, RNZAF - if you click the News Alert button you can request Google to email you when they pick up a news story on any of these.


TEE-EMM was issued as a restricted document to RAF aircrew during the Second World War. The 60 issues contain a variety of articles and cartoons, especially of Pilot Officer Prune, to illustrate how others have got things wrong or how they should be done, written and presented in easygoing way but nevertheless very much to the point.

Available from Cleaford Services Ltd on CD as Acrobat™ pdf files.










Luftwaffe Historical Associations

These contact are now well over 10 years old: please advise of any updates.

[Mar 2003] courtesy of Mr G Oberhoff
to send an email replace AT by @ and take out spaces

JG1/JG11 Theo Nau, Rheinblickstr. 12, D-55422 Bacharach
Tel/Fax +49-6743-1827

JG2 Richthofen Paul Müngersdorff, Zum Mühlenberg 58, D-53844 Troisdorf
Tel +49-2241-404249 Fax +49-2241-409210

JG3 Udet Gerhard Baeker, Immelmannstr. 10, D-53757 St.Augustin
Tel +49-2241-27189 Fax +49-2241-204600: gerhard.baeker AT

JG5 Eismeer Ernst Scheufele, Kastanienweg 8, D-64546 Mörfelden-Walldorf
Tel +49-6105-74477 Fax +49-6105-455470

JG26 Schlageter Werner Molge, Schenefelder Platz 4, D-22869 Schenefeld
Tel +49-040-8305872

JG27 Sighart Dinkel, St.Ilgener Str. 66, D-69181 Leimen
Tel +49-6224-72075

JG51 Mölders Dr. Heinz Lange, Freiheit 1, D-51429 Bergisch-Gladbach
Tel +49-2204-55154

JG52 Alfons Altmeier, Dohrer Weg 4, D-56814 Faid
Tel +49-2671-4865

JG53 Pik Ass Walter Seiz, Am Schieferbuckel 24, D-72760 Reutlingen
Tel +49-7121-346822

JG54 Grünherz Hermann Hammerstein, Joseph-Schmid-Weg 25, 87700 Memmingen
Tel +49-8331-928961 Fax +49-8331-928962: h.merstein AT

JG77 Jakob Müller, Boninstr. 4, D-64546 Mörfelden-Walldorf
Tel +49-6105-44602

JG301/302 Willi Reschke, Gartenstr. 3, D-99105 Stotternheim
Tel +49-36204-50989

JG400 Dr. Reinhard Opitz, Hermann-Fleitmann-Weg 9, 44265 Dortmund
Tel +49-2304-68629

Me 262 Wings Alfred Ambs, Harztalstr. 51, D-83714 Miesbach
Tel +49-8025-1532

Night Fighter Wings Herbert A W Thomas, Velsstr. 46, D-44803 Bochum
Tel +49-234-352539

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