Finding Air Force records

[photo from airforcelive]
Defenders in the air.

The military organization of every country normally consist of the army, naval and air force units. The air force units of a military organization refers to the military personnel responsible for conducting and execution of the air defense warfare strategies of the military organization. Around the world, air force units of every country may consists a combination of fighters, bombers and other aircraft flight defense personnel and teams. The air force are the military’s defenders in the air.


How to find air force military records, including dicharge records (both honorable and dishonorable)

US Air Force military records.

In 1973, the US National Personnel Records Center or NPRC in St. Louis, Missouri was hit by a fire damaging many of the military records stored within including those of the air force military personnel.  Due to this incident, air force military records can either be those ablaze by the fire while many of the air force personnel records in electronic format by October 1, 2004 were still retained by the Office of the  US Air Force and other service personnel offices of the US Air Force.  Depending on the year of discharge or retirement, air force service records are held and compiled on several military records storage facilities.

The Royal Flying Corps(RFC)

Founded in the year 1912, the Royal Flying Corps was the United Kingdom’s first air service contingent. Starting from July 1914, the Royal Flying Corps became a separate unit from its former mother unit, the Royal Naval Air Service or RNAS. But on April 1, 1918, the unit was formed in alliance with the Royal Air Force or RAF as a unified contingent of the British army. As a result of the different mergers and transfers,  British airmen and other interest parties in search of the military records of the Royal Flying Corps may find them in one or more record repositories of the British military. It is, therefore, vital in the search to exactly determine information about the subject airman’s covering dates of services since only limited data may be readily available online.

The Royal Australian Air Force

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)was responsible for Australia’s foremost aerial defense unit responsible in providing military air support, surveillance, intelligence, mobility, reconnaissance as well as aid and humanitarian missions.  RAAF air squadrons, fighters, and bombers have been in the center of every major world battles such as the second World War, the Vietnam war and the Korean war. An active participant of the Desert Air Force in 1941 under the Royal Air Force Middle East command located in North Africa, RAAF provided and fielded approximately 1,000 combat squadrons of air support along with other Allied forces.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Formed from the contingents of the British Royal Air Force that served until the  end of the 1940s, the Royal New Zealand Air Force became officially New Zealand’s foremost air defense wing in 1923. The Royal New Zealand Air Force along with the Allied Forces have fought during World War II as well as in the Malaysian, Korean, Vietnam and the Gulf war. They were also participants in the various global peace keeping missions initiated by the United Nations. The Royal New Zealand Air Force’s combat duties have ceased to exist in the year 2001 upon the termination of the A-4 Skyhawks squadrons that dominated air defense during the World War II battles and other subsequent wars.

The Royal Canadian Air Force

Formed in the 1920 the Royal Canadian Air Force was incorporated in 1923 and granted the royal sanction by King George V in 1924. In February 1, 1968, the contingent was unified along with the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army to form the current mother unit of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Requesting Air Force personnel records.

Airmen and other interested parties requesting information about personnel records must have the following information along with a signed letter of request about the subject military personnel.

Basic Information Required

  • Name – Complete given first and last names including suffix or aliases like Jr., Sr., III
  • Rank- Last updated military rank or designation earned from the service.
  • Social Security Number
  • Inclusive dates of service
  • Address – Complete postal address including state, region and zip codes.
  • Other Contact information – Other contact details such as contact telephone or fax numbers that may be deemed necessary for communication.
  • Purpose and specifics about the requested record.

How Military Personnel Records Are Requested?

Depending on the country for which your request will be addressed to, the military personnel, its next of kin and other interested parties will start initiating their search through the designated government archive and repository.  The search normally start by researching through the internet.

Addresses of Military Archives in the World.

The following archive places are some of the most sought data banks and government archives:

United States of America:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138

United Kingdom:

The National Archives
Kew, Richmond, Surrey,


Treloar Crescent
Campbell ACT 2612

New Zealand:

Freyberg House
2-12 Aitken St
+64 4 496 0999


Service interministériel des Archives de France
56, rue des Francs-Bourgeois
75 141 Paris Cedex 03


Navy records

What are  navy records?

Navy records are registers of naval records of enlisted seamen personnel stored in official record repositories assigned by the government. Aside from the US Navy personnel’s military records, the US Navy archive system also include administrative, historical, medical records in both of its personnel as well as other related documents such as collected drawings and scrolls. Even including microfilms and microfiche reports of ship plans as well as submarines and other navy vessels.

Although many of the navy military records can be searched online. They were however held by several naval records online  search archives which are either available through subscription or on a pay per view option. The process could be tedious and most often requires time and research assistance before full disclosure an/or release to the next of kin of the subject navy records search.

The US Navy archive system.

Although Naval records or The official US Naval Military Personnel File are held on several official government repositories, all requests and securing of US navy records of US navy personnel discharged, deceased or retired are advised to address their concern through the Naval command. And  in order to properly address each search request for the US naval records of the military personnel concerned, it will be best that you are familiar with how the US military records are archived.

Since 1995,there has been an issued directive coming from the US Navy central command that US Navy personnel records shall no longer be maintained at the government’s central record repository. The US Navy instead have collaborated into an agreement updating its legacy department with a system administered by an SSP enterprise archive system.

According to the status of the US service personnel or veteran,  US Naval records are held by designated government repositories according to the period of service or type of enlistment files below:

  • US Navy enlisted before 1/1/1885
  • US Navy enlistments before 1/1/1903,
  • US Navy enlistments from 1885 – 9/8/1939
  • US Navy enlistments from 9/9/1939 – 1/30/1994
  • US Navy enlistments from 1/1/1903 – 1/30/1994
  • US Navy enlistments from 1/31/1994 – 12/31/1994
  • US Navy enlistments from after: 1/1/1995
  • US Navy enlistments from Active, reserve, or the temporary disability retirement list (TDRL)
  • Naval Reserve members NOT currently on active duty, including those in the Ready Reserve (SELRES/IRR) and Standby Reserves (USNR-S1/USNR-S2)

The role of the archivist and professional research partner.

Researching for US Navy personnel records generally entails manual and hands on search routine. Partnering with a research expert or archivist was a vital part in finding your subject US Navy personnel records.



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Canadian army records


All parties interested in finding or securing military and historical records of Canadian military personnel, always bear in  mind that fulfilling each request takes time since the process is no easy task and often requires meticulous and detailed accordance, discipline and adherence to guidelines and protocols being implemented within the system. We therefore request parties involved to accord patience and understanding and most of all discipline just like the way how each soldier understand following the chain of commands.

The Canadian archives & records repositories.

The Canadian government held its military records and documents can be found in several authorized repositories and information offices. It is therefore convenient and wise if the search can be conducted with an able and reliable search partner to help you locate the subject documents.



Pre-colonial & ancestral records.

In searching for Canada’s aboriginal, ancestral and pre-war registry records, it is best to know Canada’s roots and origins to find directions about the search. Some of Canada’s earliest known inhabitants were Indians(First Nations), arctic people (Inuit) and the aboriginal settlers (Metis). Indian First Nations were said to have entered into pacts and treaties with the Crown government or the United Kingdom which later on resulted to the creation of the so-called Indian Register that served as the registry of the Indian aborigines and early inhabitants of Canada used and being referred to in terms of granting of reserves, claims and entitlement to rights and benefits.


Canada’s military and war registry.

Canada’s history of documented military records dates back as early as the 16th century.

Tracing military records.

If you have someone in the family who was a war veteran and someone who have experienced serving during the war, most likely you might have been hearing over and over again tales and stories about the war. Stories, old memorabilia, letters and photographs can help in the search and can give clues and hidden information in tracing about the subject military record.Old photographs, war stories and  memorabilia can help reveal information about the search.

Canada and its war veterans.



Military records during the Colonial era.

WW1 Army Records

Army records for the first World War

The Great War

The so called Great War or more famously known in world history as World War I which ignited in Europe starting from July 28, 1914 up to November 11, 1918 involved both military and civilian war personnel. More than 70 million enlisted military men and women as well as 60 million Europeans took part into this global combat.  And when the war reached through the United States, more than 4.7 million military men and women were listed to join the combined US forces under its regular, national and draft units assigned in different posts and war assignments.

WW1 Army Records

Registries and records kept of these enlisted war personnel though survived during the havoc of the first world war, the same barely survived the damage done by the following World War II era. And these surviving records have been digitized for safekeeping and preservation, most of it were readily available online and can be researched by interested parties.

US Army Records

Due to the large scope of area where military listings and registries have been kept and recorded, the WW1 army records of military personnel who participated during the war are generally organized and kept by each state repository in the United States. Army records for WW1 were indexed on several online genealogy websites as research facilities on information and historical war records of US army records.

US army records for the first World War gathered and recorded over time generally involves an enormous amount of records due to the span of its coverage and the number of American men and women who have been part of the so-called Great War. US army draft records alone numbers  approximately 24,000,000 million cards.

How US Army records are archived?

The US government body involved in the archiving of WW1 army records indexed them according to each federal state. By the year 1917, the records involve millions of enlisted US military forces for national, guard and draft units including those killed while on duty, discharged due to medical care, died by diseases and any other causes of death and separation from the service. Army records ww1 usually hold information about the soldier’s basic information listed below:

  • Full name
  • Birth date
  • Race
  • Citizenship
  • Profession
  • Personal details
  • Signature

For guidance on how US Army records are archived, Army Records suggests that you include this guideline to your search plan for all your military records research activity.

British Army Records WW1

army records ww1

ww1 army records


british army records ww1

World War I & the Allied Forces

WW1 Propaganda
[image by Guided History of Boston University]
Although the first world war affected most European nations. Great Britain was a key player in the first world war in opposition to the ruling central powers or the Quadruple Alliance dominated by Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria in the early 19th century. Great Britain comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and was largely referred to as the United Kingdom or British Empire. British Empire was one of the core of the so-called original Triple Entente alliance or Allied Forces formed between the French Republic, the British Empire and the Russian Empire which later included Italy upon its defection from the then ruling central powers claiming it’s alliance with the central powers was just a defense tactics against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Italy’s defection soon made other countries like Japan, Belgium, Serbia and others follow alliance to become affiliates of the Entente against the central powers.