• Royal Flying Corps •
• People Index •
I have produced a data file comprising RFC/RAF aircrew names from a variety of documents and databases, presented in a standard format. The data file can be downloaded and browsed. This has a number of advantages over specific searches in that differences in spelling are highlighted, and there is a greater chance of obtaining all the relevant records compared to specific searches of a database.
The files comprises mainly officers and non-officer aircrew. There are generally multiple entries for each individual. It does not include rank and file unless they died in service or were employed as pilots, observers or aerial gunners. The database does not give a complete history of each individual - you can download the Military record from the AIR 76 series in the National Archives for the full service history of an Officer.
The original data contains a large number of errors and many remain. The data is provided for information only with no warranty as to its accuracy or completeness.
The combined data file can be downloaded in seven parts:
Surnames A-B (csv format 42,000 entries. version 3 January 2015)
Surnames C-F (csv format 58,000 entries. version 3 January 2015)
Surnames G-K (csv format 61,000 entries. version 3 January 2015)
Surnames L-O (csv format 54,000 entries. version 3 January 2015)
Surnames P-R (csv format 33,000 entries. version 3 January 2015)
Surnames S-V (csv format 45,000 entries. version 3 January 2015)
Surnames W-Z (csv format 25,000 entries. version 3 January 2015)
Alternatively you can download individual source files in csv format from the explanation sections below.
View a list of abbreviations used in the files.
In addition there are indexes in html format on this website which simply show initials and surname. These are large files and are provided simply to allow search engines to find this page. Do not download these pages - use the .csv files above, and load them into a spreadsheet or text editor for searching or analysis. Right click on the links and select 'Save file/link as...'
Click here for Searching/Browsing tips.
The data file has the following fields:
|Rank||Rank at date of report/incident|
|First names||First names if known|
|DOB||Date of birth in format dd.mm.yyyy|
|Sq||Squadron or RFC/RAF Unit|
|Date||Date of report/incident in format dd.mm.yy|
|Source||Source document/index - see below for an explanation of sources|
|Ref||Document or Internal image reference|
|Line no.||Sequential Line number|
|Notes||Comments and notes|
The following references are used in the 'Source' field of the data files - see below for a detailed explanation of each source.
|AIR 76||RFC/RAF Officer records|
|WO 339||Army Officer records|
|ADM 273||Royal Naval Air Service military records|
|WO 372||RFC/RAF Medal Index|
|PoW||Prisoners of War (all theatres)|
|Fatalities||Notifications of death|
|Casualty Book||All names mentioned in the RFC/RAF casualty books (Western Front only)|
|Casualty Reports||All names mentioned in the RFC/RAF Form W3347 aircraft casualty reports|
|Gazette||London Gazette entries for RFC personnel (currently to Dec 1917). The Reference field shows the Gazette year and page number|
|Army List||Army List March 1918|
|RAF List||RAF list April 1918 (currently incomplete)|
|Routine Orders||Names mentioned in Administrative Routine Orders|
|RAeC Certificates||Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificates|
|Embarkation||Unit Embarkation Lists|
|Nominal Roll||Lists of Officers and Aircrew by Unit at various dates|
|Log books||Details extracted from Aircraft and Pilot log books|
|Misc||Names extracted from Miscellaneous documents|
Detailed explanation of Sources
The combined file above comprises the following individual files, each of which can be downloaded separately.
The primary source of personnel information is the RFC/RAF service record.
Records of service for the First World War are held in the National Archives ('TNA'). The records are incomplete.
Army officer records appear in the WO 339 series and RFC/RAF officers in the AIR 76 series. The latter documents have been digitized and can be downloaded online for a small fee or viewed at Kew at no charge.
The WO 339 records are in the process of being digitized. Copies can be ordered from Kew, but the WO 339 record does not normally contain a complete service history and the contents of the file are often disappointing.
If an officer transferred from the Army to the RFC/RAF then he will have both an Army (WO 339) and RFC/RAF (AIR 76) file.
Royal Naval Air Service ('RNAS') personnel files are in the ADM 273 series.
RFC/RAF NCO and rank and file personnel records appear in the National Archives AIR 79 series, indexed in AIR 78. Army rank and file are in WO 363.
An index to Australian personnel appears on the Australian War Memorial site.
The AWM site also contains embarkation lists, War Diaries and other digitized documents.
Similarly, Canadians can be found on the Canadian Library and Archives site.
The TNA has a number of online guides to searching for personnel.
Note that some records are indexed by surname and initials, and some by surname and first names.
There are spelling variations in the TNA data - I recommend you browse my database in the first instance to identify the relevant TNA records.
Service record downloads:
AIR 76: This is the complete (as at March 2014) AIR 76 index to officer service records from the National Archives.
The original data comprises a mixture of records showing surname+initials and surname+firstnames. This makes searching the TNA database tedious. For example if you search for 'Armiger W AIR' on the TNA site you will retrieve his military record but not his medal card. However if you search 'Armiger William AIR' you will find his medal card index entry but not his military record. I have enhanced the TNA index files by including an additional 'initials' field so that all entries can be browsed by surname and initials.
You can download the AIR 76 index individually as .csv files below:
AIR 76 index part 1 (version 3 January 2015)
AIR 76 index part 2 (version 3 January 2015)
In addition I have transcribed a small number of AIR 76 officer files to show the complete history of each officer:
AIR 76 detailed histories (version 3 January 2015)
WO 339: This is the complete (as at March 2014) WO 339 index to Army officer service records in the National Archives, as far as they relate to individuals who served with the RFC and RAF, and enhanced by the creation of an 'initials' field.
WO 339 index (version 3 January 2015)
ADM 273: This is the complete (as at March 2014) ADM 273 index to RNAS officer service records in the National Archives, enhanced by the creation of an 'initials' field.
ADM 273 index (version 3 January 2015)
MEDALS AND AWARDS
Most individuals who served during the war were awarded a service medal. An index to awards appears in the TNA WO 372 series.
Awards were given for specific acts of gallantry or for general meritorious service. Awards were published in the London Gazette (see below) along with details of the act of gallantry, where applicable.
This is the complete (as at March 2014) WO 372 index to Medal card entries in the National Archives, as far as it relates to individuals who served with the RFC and RAF, and enhanced by the creation of an 'initials' field.
WO 372 index (version 3 January 2015)
1918 MUSTER ROLL
Rank and file who transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918 were listed on the RAF Muster Roll.
The Muster Roll has been digitized by the RAF Museum and is available here
PRISONERS OF WAR
The National Archives only have limited information on Prisoners of War, but a few interviews with repatriated prisoners are available.
Cox & Co, who acted as agents for many officers, produced a book listing Officers who had been taken PoW (although the book contains errors).
Weekly communiques from the War Office listed casualties, including PoW. This was reproduced weekly in 'Flight' magazine, which is available online.
At the end of the war enquiries were made in order to ascertain the fate of missing aircrew. Lists of missing men were produced and the results of enquiries recorded. These lists are held in the AIR 1 series at the National Archives, particularly AIR 1/162, /435, /963, /1790, /1973, /1976, and /2395.
In addition there is a card index for each officer listing intelligence information on the fate of individuals.
The RAF Museum Casualty cards (see below) contain details of PoW's and their date of repatriation.
The International Red Cross have made all their WW1 records available online and these can be searched at International Red Cross
I have produced a partial list of aircrew Prisoners of War:
Prisoners of War (version 3 January 2015)
The Commonwealth War Graves site lists all war casualties, often with some background information in respect of next-of-kin. Not all personnel who died whilst serving with the RFC/RAF are identified as such in the CWGC database: do not select the 'Air Force' checkbox when searching.
A list of casualties has also been published as 'Airmen died in the Great War 1914-1918' - see Reference section. Some of the aircraft serials quoted in the book are incorrect.
A partial Roll of Honour also appears in 'De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, which includes biographies and photographs.
HMSO also published lists of casualties in 'Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919' and 'Officers Died in the Great War 1914-1919'.
You can download a complete list of RFC/RAF fatalities as an individual .csv file below:
Fatalities (version 3 January 2015)
When an aircraft was seriously damaged a Form W3347 Casualty Report was completed. If personnel were also injured this was also mentioned. The report would not be compiled if the accident only related to injuries to personnel.
Transcripts of all the available Casualty Reports can be downloaded from the Aircraft section of this site, which includes an example report.
The following file reformats the casualty report file by surname. The majority of entries relate to the Western front, but there are some reports for home-based units and other theatres of war.
Casualty Reports (version 3 January 2015)
A Casualty book was maintained by RFC HQ in France listing serious injuries to personnel incurred whilst flying, and missing aircrew. The book was updated if further information came to light, such as a German report on the fate of missing aircrew. It only includes Western Front casualties
All the available Casualty Book entries can be downloaded from the Aircraft section of this site, which includes an example page from the book.
The following file reformats the Casualty Book data by surname.
Casualty Book (version 3 January 2015)
Casualty Cards were maintained for each RFC/RAF individual whenever they were injured or killed.
The RAF Museum recently digitized the cards and they are available here
The existing Museum database contains a number of errors and as with any WW1 data you should check alternative spellings of names and different initials when searching.
An enhanced and corrected version of the data will be available on this site once the cards have all been transcribed.
All Officer appointments and promotions to the Armed Services were printed in the London Gazette which is available for free download online. Rank and file appointments were not published, but lists and citations for significant honours and awards in respect of rank and file were included.
Extracts from the Gazette were printed in Daily Routine orders by each unit and in 'Flight' magazine - see below.
The Gazette database relies on digitized pdf files and is not 100% accurate. Make searches as wide as possible. When specifying a date range remember that an announcement could appear many months after the date of appointment/promotion.
The file below is a near complete extract of London Gazette entries from 1912 to December 1917 (the data range will be extended in due course).
I have converted Gazette announcements to a standard format and consequently the entries are non verbatim. I have not included the full text of award citations.
The Gazette was originally referenced by page number, and this is what is used in the indexes produced by the London Gazette. Unfortunately the new Gazette website uses Issue numbers rather than page numbers. However, specifying a single year in the date range and entering the page number in the search field generally returns the relevant page. If not, enter the previous or next page number and scroll backwards or forwards once you retrieve the document.
Gazette extract (version 3 January 2015)
MONTHLY ARMY LIST/RAF LIST
The monthly Army List recorded all officers of the Army, including the RFC.
The list showed the Army unit from which the officer had transferred, or whether he was a member of the RFC Special Reserve or on the General List. His date of appointment is also recorded.
From April 1918 RAF (and former RNAS) Officers were shown in the Royal Air Force List, and the former Army unit and date of promotion was no longer listed. The March 1918 Army list is thus in many ways more useful than the April 1918 RAF list, except that the latter confirms the names of the officers who transferred to the RAF.
Note that both lists show appointments and promotions that have appeared in the London Gazette (see below) up to the date the list was published. As there could be a delay of several months, and sometimes up to a year, before an announcement was made in the Gazette the lists do not reflect the complete status of the Army of RAF on any particular date.
The Army and RAF lists are available at the TNA, Imperial War Museum and some public libraries.
The RAF List for April 1918 has been digitized by the RAF Museum and is available here
A quarterly list was also published but this did not give a complete listing of Officers. Post-war quarterly lists are available online.
The following is the complete Army list for March 1918 as far as it relates to the RFC.
Army List March 1918 (version 3 January 2015)
This updated version is not yet reflected in the combined files above.
All postings of officers to individual units appear on their military record (see above). A ledger containing details of the posting of Officers during 1915 appears in AIR 1/2432 in the National Archives.
Individual posting orders appear in the voluminous correspondence files from AIR 1/362 to AIR 1/407.
Postings also appear in each units Routine Orders, or the Routine Orders of the Administrative Wing.
The following file comprises entries from the Postings ledger (AIR 1/2432) as well as some miscellaneous postings from correspondence files.
Postings (version 3 January 2015)
Each unit of the RFC prepared daily routine orders which included movements of personnel. The RO's give an interesting insight into daily life. A detailed explanation of the entries and an example page appears in the 'Aircraft' section of this site.
The RO's are held in the AIR 1 series at the TNA but are incomplete.
The file below includes names mentioned in various Routine Orders, in particular early orders from the Administrative Wing. It is not a complete list.
Routine Orders (version 3 January 2015)
ROYAL AERO CLUB CERTIFICATES
Lists of RAeC certificates for 1910 to 1916 appear on Wikipedia and Graces Guide online.
They were also published weekly in 'Flight' magazine which is available online - see below.
Most of the ancestry and genealogical websites also have lists of RAeC certificates, which included a photograph of the aviator. Some of these sites can be accessed without charge at public libraries.
This is a summary of Royal Aero Club Certificates up to 1915 with a few later entries.
RAeC Certificates (version 3 January 2015)
Some embarkation lists for officers appear in the correspondence files from AIR 1/362 to AIR 1/407.
Embarkation lists for Australian personnel on departure from Australia, including rank and file, appear on the Australian War memorial website in the AWM8 series.
All of the Australian officers (but not rank and file) shown on these rolls have been included on this website.
The following file gives the names of Officers mentioned on various embarkation lists appearing in the correspondence files. Later data comes from schedules of recipients of secret maps, issued for the flight across the Channel.
The lists represent the names of officers who were scheduled to leave and consequently due to accident or illness some officers may not have made the crossing.
The lists include some Kite Balloon sections and also Australian Officers embarking in Australia for Britain and Egypt.
Embarkation lists (version 3 January 2015)
Nominal Rolls of Officers and aircrew for each Squadron or Unit were produced at least monthly.
Sadly few survive and the quality of many is very poor. I have transcribed the majority of surviving lists.
Due to the quality of the original documents (particularly June 1917), some errors remain in these documents.
December 1914 (version 3 January 2015)
March 1915 (version 3 January 2015)
May 1915 (version 3 January 2015)
June 1915 (version 3 January 2015)
October 1915 (version 3 January 2015)
March 1916 (version 3 January 2015)
October 1916 (version 3 January 2015)
January 1917 (version 3 January 2015)
March 1917 (version 3 January 2015)
June 1917 (version 3 January 2015)
September 1917 (version 3 January 2015)
January 1918 (version 3 January 2015)
These are the names extracted from various Aircraft and Aircrew log books.
A few aircraft log books are held by the National Archives and transcripts appear in the 'Aircraft section of this site. The majority of personal log books are held by the RAF Museum and I am very grateful to Mick Davis for providing copies of a large number of books.
This section will be added as time permits.
This weekly magazine published RAeC certificates, appointments and promotions, a roll of honour and obituaries as well as extracts from newspaper reports on the progress of the war and general aviation topics.
The Flight archive is available online at Flightglobal.
(Note that when using a search engine to find information you can limit your search to a specific site by using a search string such as: 'Flying Corps' site: www.flightglobal.com)
Several squadron/unit records include details of personnel:
A 'Field Report/Return' was prepared weekly showing personnel movements, sick lists and casualties.
A War Diary was prepared daily which would include details of significant operational activities, movements and casualties in narrative form.
The 'Record Book' listed the aircraft and crews participating in each mission or flight (The term 'Record Book' is however sometimes also used to describe other miscellaneous ledgers).
Post-war the War Diary and Record Book were combined into a single document referred to as the Operations Record Book ('ORB') and a few early documents survive in this form in the AIR 27 to AIR 29 series.
Reports were filed recommending personnel for promotion or recording conduct.
All of these records are incomplete. Surviving records are mainly in the AIR 1 series at the TNA. War diaries and some routine orders for Australian units are held by the Australian War memorial and are available online.
COMBATS IN THE AIR
Aerial combats were recorded on Army Form 3348. These are held by the TNA in various files in the AIR 1 series, and have been collated into the book 'The Sky Their Battlefield' -see Reference section.
MISCELLANEOUS OTHER SOURCES
The following file comprises names extracted from the miscellaneous file in the Aircraft section of the site. It includes data from operations record books and correspondence files.
Miscellaneous data (version 3 January 2015)