According to the latest news from The National Archives website, a collection of Second World War RAF casualty records has now been released to view.
The records were produced by the Air Ministry’s casualty branch following the loss of an aircraft or personnel. They include accident reports and correspondence with next of kin.
Known as the AIR 81 series, the first tranche contains 316 packs dating from the beginning of the war in September 1939 to May 1940. However, many of the files contain correspondence which runs into the 1950s and even the 1960s.
This first collection of records does include some notable RAF raids from the early years of World War 2, such as the raid on the Albert Canal Bridges in Belgium in May 1940 when five aircraft from RAF No 12 Squadron were lost and the first Victoria Crosses of the war were awarded.
A handy tip for all those new to family history research is always be alert to the fact an ancestor could appear on a census listing more than once. If your ancestor moved around a bit, or lived an unconventional lifestyle there is always the chance they may have ended up listed in the census more than once.
A case in point is that of daring early aviator and showman, Samuel Franklin Cody. American born but living and working in Britain around the turn of the 20th Century. Before becoming employed by The British Army, he worked with his family on a wild west show and regularly toured around Britain and Europe. Samuel Cody then became interested in aviation and subsequently became one of the leading pioneers of British aviation.
However, around 1901, the Cody family, with their show and their lifestyle, inevitably meant moving about quite a bit which may explain his two entries in the 1901 census. Both entries are from the Cheshire census and it looks like the Cody family may have had two temporary places of accommodation as they took their show around the North West of England. Both Samuel (senior) and his son Samuel Frank Leslie Cody appear listed on the 1901 census records in the screenshot below from TheGenealogist.
Samuel Cody 1901 census entries on TheGenealogist
This famous example shows what can occur so always look out for those duplicate records!
There’s an extensive range of pilot records now on TheGenealogist ranging from 1909 to 1926, looking at Aero Club members, Aeronaut certificates, airship certificates and the all too frequent fatalities as our forebears strove to master the skies and to get their places in the history books. From Geoffrey de Havilland, to Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame, Samuel Cody to war veterans Edwin Moon and Albert Ball, TheGenealogist can now provide a number of fascinating records of the race for the skies.
The new releases now join the ‘Who’s Who in Aviation’ record sets and the Air Force lists in a comprehensive aviation collection on TheGenealogist.