Finding unit records

This guide was last updated in 2012

Squadron Records (Operations Record Books or ORBs) for the Second World War are available online via the TNA website at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/raf-operations-record-books.htm.

These can be used to create a list of all the flying operations that RAF aircrew completed as aircrew are usually named. They’re also an excellent source for building a picture of squadron operations.

The Squadron ORBs can be downloaded remotely but as they’re arranged and divided into months and cost £3.36 per month, it can be expensive if you’re not sure exactly when you’re looking for. They can be downloaded free at TNA if you have a wireless-enabled device.

Records for RAF Stations and the many other support units (the RAF Regiment, training schools, wireless stations, headquarters, transport units etc) aren’t online so you’ll have to visit TNA to see them. Station records are in the AIR 28 series and other miscellaneous unit records are in AIR 29 series.

You can search for them using TNA’s Discovery system – stations are usually locatable by name but miscellaneous units can be harder to find. The Advanced Search facility is useful for this but you may have to search by both the correct name and the acronym to find the ORB. These ORBs will give a day-to-day picture of events.

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