• Royal Flying Corps •

• File format •

The files contain extracts from original documents, although not necessarily all of the information in the document has been included. For example the Aircraft Park records of receipts and deliveries often give the name of the pilot, but I have generally not transcribed this information.

Series of documents relating solely to RNAS aircraft have been excluded as this information is available elsewhere, although individual entries relating to RNAS aircraft are included where they form part of a larger collection.

All files are in comma separated value (.csv) format which can be edited with a text editor or loaded into a spreadsheet.

The majority of files are in a standard format to aid analysis. These files contain the following columns:

Field Details
SerialRFC Serial
SFAFrench serial or non-RFC serial. In a few cases this is a German serial
TypeAircraft type - see 'Aircraft Types' below
EngineEngine type - see 'Engine codes' below
Engine no.Engine no. - generally the manufacturers no. followed by the WD no.
FromOriginal location (if an aircraft movement)
ToDestination or current location
DateDate in the format dd.mm.yy
CommentsComments or narrative. My comments appear in square brackets i.e. [...]
SourceNational Archive box or file reference
ClassClass of document
ImageMy internal document reference
LineSequential line number
NotesOther notes
DateDate in Army format YYMMDD for text sorting purposes

'00' within a date means the day or month is uncertain i.e. 00.00.14 means some time in 1914.

All dates should be treated with caution.

If two names are given, the first is the pilot and second the observer. Otherwise the observer is identified by (Obs) after the name.

Aircraft Types

I have generally shown the type as it appears in the original document. The RFC referred to aircraft by their common names, which is often not the type designation that we recognise today. The most common names appear below.

Name in file Actual type
AWArmstrong Whitworth FK3 or FK8
DH FighterDH1
DH ScoutDH2
Sopwith 1strSopwith Pup
Sopwith 2strSopwith 1 1/2 Strutter
Sopwith F1Sopwith Camel
Sopwith ScoutSopwith Pup
Vickers FighterVickers FB

1str means single-seater. 2str means 2-seater

The BE2 series of aircraft were often recorded by a phonetic version of their designation as follows. In each case I have recorded the actual designation

Name in file Actual type

Similarly the RE8 was sometimes recorded as 'Reait'. I have recorded this as RE8.

For a short period in 1914 the RFC introduced a code system for aircraft types. This was soon abandoned as more types were introduced. The nomenclature was:

Code Aircraft type
RCAvro (50 Gnome)
RDAvro (80 Gnome)
RGSopwith 2 seater
RKMaurice Farman 1913 (Longhorn)
SASopwith Scout
MAHenry Farman
MBMaurice Farman 1914 (Shorthorn)

Engine codes

Engines are generally shown with the horse power followed by a manufacturer code.

I have used the following codes to identify the more popular engine types:

Code Engine type
BdBeardmore (British built Austro-Daimler)
BRBentley Rotary
Cl-LSClerget long stroke
Cl-SSClerget short stroke
CUCanton Unne
EagRolls Royce Eagle
FalRolls Royce Falcon
HSHispano Suiza
LRLe Rhone
MonoGnome Monosoupape (single valve). E refers to English built, F is French
RafRoyal Aircraft Factory
RRRolls Royce
SDSiddeley Deasy
ViperWolseley Viper

View a list of other abbreviations