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Clive Hawkins 25 November 2011 Defending the Skies A project to index by name the records of 329,000 airmen in AIR 79.

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Presentation on theme: "Clive Hawkins 25 November 2011 Defending the Skies A project to index by name the records of 329,000 airmen in AIR 79."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Clive Hawkins 25 November 2011 Defending the Skies A project to index by name the records of 329,000 airmen in AIR 79

3 Royal Air Force Formation The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was in existence from 1912 to 1918. In July 1914 the RFC's naval wing was detached to form the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) On 1 April 1918 the two services were merged again to form the Royal Air Force (RAF). Men of both services who continued after this date transferred into the new service and were joined by new entrants. Records of those men who went on to see service in the Second World War, as well as records of men whose service number was 329001 or higher, are still maintained by the RAF disclosures

4 Where are the Service Records? The first 329,000 airmens records are held at TNA in Series AIR 79 These are contained in 2807 files Arranged chronologically by Service Number, not by name Necessary to consult the microfiche name index to identify service numbers in Series AIR 78 The microfiche index is of poor quality and difficult to read; the original card index was destroyed by RAF

5 The AIR 78 index is in microfilm format only 5

6 The Project: Indexing AIR 79 by name will mean: Researchers will no longer need to consult the AIR 78 microfiche index to first find the airmens service number The whole series will be easily searchable by name on the catalogue Fewer speculative requests for AIR 79s, will reduce unnecessary original document productions

7 The indexing has been carried out by over 20 volunteers from: Staff from across ARK Teams and PSD External volunteers Interns from the American University in London 7

8 What can the Service Records contain? Birth details Religious denomination Current and prior engagement in HM forces Civilian occupation Marriage details Details of children Person to be informed of casualties Description of airman on entry Service history Details of discharge 8

9 William Frederick Hearn 9

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15 Where are we now ? Air 79 pieces 1 to 1080 comprising 120,700 service records are currently on the catalogue and are fully searchable by name We have transcribed a further 62,000 service records that are awaiting transfer to the catalogue 15


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