Second World War RAF ancestors

This guide was last updated in 2012

If, like Minnie Driver, you have RAF kin who served during the Second World War, there are plenty of records for you to discover as Phil Tomaselli explains...

More than 1.25 million men and women served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Most famous, perhaps, for the epic defence of the Battle of Britain and Bomber Command’s long assault on Germany, units of the RAF fought in all theatres of the war.

They fought the Japanese in the Far East, the Italians in East and North Africa and even sent squadrons to North Russia to protect Murmansk. Coastal Command aircraft patrolled shipping lanes from the first to last day of the war.

The aircraft and aircrew were supported by a huge network of training units, repair depots, hospitals, transport pools and their own soldiers – the RAF Regiment.

Records survive for most units – there are a few gaps – and some are now online. Full service records can be obtained by next of kin, or in reduced form by others.

Other vital records are now online, too. In fact, it’s never been easier to research RAF personnel from the Second World War.

Photo © Getty Images

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