WW1 Service Records for British Air Personnel
Depending on which arm of the Service an airman served with before the Royal Air Force was created on 1st April 1918, that is, if he was with the Royal Flying Corps or the Royal Naval Air Service, and also if he continued service after 1922, the records may currently be held in different archives.
Information and guidance to look for Service Records of airmen who served in the Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.), Royal Naval Air Service (R.N.A.S.) and Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) after it was formed on 1st April 1918, can be found on the National Archives' website at the following links.
Royal Flying Corps (RFC) Records
Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk Looking for Records of an Airman in the Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force (RAF) Personnel Records
Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk Research Guide for Royal Air Force Personnel
Royal Air Force Officers' Service Records
Over 99,000 Service Records for Royal Air Force officers who served during the First World War are currently held at the National Archives in Kew, Surrey, England. The records also include the service of officers who served in the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. They are held in the series AIR 76.
Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk Royal Air Force Officers' Service Records 1918-1919
Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) Service Records
Website: www.nationalarchives Women's Royal Air Force Service Records 1918-1920
Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) Rating Records
Register records for RNAS Ratings who served before 1st April 1918 can be searched and downloaded online from the National Archives collection in Registers of Seamen's Services (1853-1923). They are held in the series category ADM 188.
See the page on the National Archives website for information:
Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk Looking for Records of a Rating in the Royal Naval Air Service
Online Air Personnel Records
If you are looking for the Service Records of an airman who served during the First World War they are not yet all available online.
However, it has been announced in July 2013 that the family history website www.findmypast.co.uk has been awarded a tender to scan and digitize all the airmens' Service Records held by the National Archives in the series AIR 79. This is excellent news and in due course will enable family historians to search online and download records. The date of completion of the project is yet to be announced.
See these links for more information on this project:
Website: www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com Airmen's Records To Go Online
Website: www.findmypast.co.uk Military, Armed Forces & Conflict Records
Tracing Your Air Force Ancestors (Paperback)
by Phil Tomaselli
Guide for family historians to point you in the right direction for air service records, medals, archives to visit or find online. 192 pages. Published by Pen & Sword Aviation (19 July 2007). ISBN-10: 1844155730; ISBN-13: 978-1844155736
Air Force Records: A Guide for Family Historians (Paperback)
by William Spencer
Guide for family historians wanting to find out about a person who served in the Royal Air Force. 162 pages. Published by The National Archives. 2 Revised Edition (30 Jun 2008). ISBN-10: 1905615256; ISBN-13: 978-1905615254