‘RAFCommands’ first site presence can be traced back to 1999. (See ‘archived‘ page on Wayback Machine). Even prior to that year, it existed as part of a free website without a dedicated domain. ‘
The man behind the site is Ross McNeill, an RAF researcher and established author. Ross is well known as the author of “RAF Coastal Command Losses Volume 1” (Ian Allan, 2010). Ross was the founder, owner and administrator of the website for nearly fourteen years since it was founded.
‘The main site has hardly changed over the past ten years. The life of the site was the discusison forum. The first forum was a cgi-bin based threaded format being run on discserver (See ‘Web Archive from 2001‘ ) This was upgraded to DCBoard Forum in June 2001 (‘Web Archive 2001 December‘ ) . One of the first posts can still be found at ‘Post No.2
The DCBoard forum ran well for many years, but in 2007, it was overtaken by a flood of spammers who had beaten the authentication system of the forum software. Ross was compelled to close the DCBoard forum and open a new forum based on the commercial vBulletin software which was an expensive investment. This forum was started in ‘November 2007 . You can catch a preview of it at ‘Web Archive 2007 November
The forum is still active and running on the vBulletin software
In 2013, due to personal commitments, Ross wanted to let go of RAFCommands and concentrate on other projects. The site with forum was offered for sale in late August 2013. The deadline for the site to be sold was November. If a reasonable offer did not materialize, then Ross felt that the site will be turned into a read only site.
A consortium of seniors members led by Jagan Pillarisetti raised the funds to purchase the domain and site. The transfer of the site, domain and the forum was completed by early September 2013, and its administration was taken over by Jagan.
During his time Ross focussed mostly on the forum. Under the new management it was felt that there was potential in the main site as well. Thus one of the first changes made to the site as soon as the transfer took place was to establish a front end site as well as an Image Gallery. Work also went into restoring the broken down archive of the DC Board posts. A new archive was converted out of the old board data to make it more readable and searchable.
The primary focus of the website is still the forum and it continues its objective of being a meeting place for anyone with an interest to research about the Royal Air Force in the second world war. And it is hoped that this will continue for years