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Thread: RAF Casualty Packs 1939-45 Public Access

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    Default RAF Casualty Packs 1939-45 Public Access

    In 2012 the MoD undertook a consultation into the views of interested parties in releasing RAF Casualty Packs from the period 1939 to 1945 to public access at The National Archives.

    Please note the extent is limited to FB or Battle losses, FA or Accident Losses are excluded from the current consultation.

    The Outcome of the consultation has now been published.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...alty_Packs.pdf

    The headline is:

    "MOD will therefore commence transfer of the RAF casualty packs to The National Archives in 2013. The packs will be released in date order, commencing with those created in 1939."

    When I approached the TNA for confirmation the reply was

    "We have agreed with MoD to select the RAF Casualty Packs. AIR 81/1-1488 are currently in the process of being catalogued and prepared for transfer to TNA."


    Regards
    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 6th October 2013 at 10:17.
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    Dear Ross,
    This sounds like very exciting news. Are these the files that are currently held by the RAF AHB? If so I can see these answering many facts that have been elusive through the necessity of respecting the privacy of families and the casualties.
    Thank you for posting this.
    Best wishes
    James

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    Hello

    Too bad the Army and Navy documents have already been transfered to TNA, and that the RAF casualty packs are the last one of the series. If 1939 is covered by 1488 documents, the total number will be very high. I hope to be able to have a look at a sample during my next visit to Kew....

    Like James, this should answer some questions about all RAF crews, when there's no Canadian or Australian crewmembers, or fighter pilots.

    Joss

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    Thanks Ross

    But we are still not going to find out the final and any other contributory causes, as you quoted the following:-

    "Please note the extent is limited to FB or Battle losses, FA or Accident Losses are excluded from the current consultation."


    Officially according to an RAF file in TNA, at Kew, "FB" simply meant that the cause was still unknown and it appears on many early Casualty Signals in an Accident File, whilst the investigation was continuing. A Battle casualty is a battle casualty.

    I saw parts of my Grandfather's Casualty File and only saw some of the Casualty Signals as far as the FB Category Signal 28 August 1940 whilst the Inquiry was still awaiting even basic details and the time of the crash, so I wrote back asking to see the file information that changed both the Category from 'FB' to 'AO' and also the later information which brought about the Cause changes on the Accident Card to F4 (as there were no F4 night bomber causes recorded in the Statistics before the end of September 1940) and I never got the further information.

    As to the final causes for Flying Accidents and other accident causes, we are still going to be kept in the dark I fear, unless you can find some clues in TNA, at Kew. This is a 'whitewash' of the actual or full facts I fear, many of which will now remain on extended closure it seems, beyond the 75 year closure term.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 8th October 2013 at 21:44.

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    On your marks - get set - go!


    Checking the news feed at the TNA shows that AIR 81 is open to view.


    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/903.htm


    Check Discovery for the names and aircraft serials of the first tranche.



    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go.../C14141980?v=h


    Regards
    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 10th January 2014 at 13:22.
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    Hello

    Last time (two weeks ago !) I checked the date of access to AIR 81 was given as March 2013. Glad to see it's open to the public. I'm going to Kew tomorrow and will give it a try, I've noticed from the useful list compiled by Paul one case which is close to my home.

    Joss

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    Paul,

    Thanks for taking the time to transcribe this large list of files for all our benefit.

    Regards,

    Martin.

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    Great to see this information is now accessible. Hopefully the next batch of records will follow quickly as most of my research is from mid-1941 onwards.
    Hertfordshire Airfields Memorial Group - www.hamg.co.uk

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    Lee Richards on WW2 Talk took a look at one of the Files at the weekend. He posted the following on WW2 Talk AIR 81/1. This will give you an idea of what sort of info each one will contain though some will be more detailed than others


    The description for the AIR 81/1 casualty pack is:


    "Pilot Officer W J Murphy, Flight Lieutenant W F Barton, Flying Officer H L Emden, Flying Officer H B Lightoller, Flying Officer J F Ross, Aircraftman 1st Class R Evans, Sergeant L R Ward, Sergeant S G M Otty, Corporal J L Ricketts, Aircraftman 2nd Class E Pateman, Sergeant O L D Howells, Aircraftman 1st Class E W Lyon and Sergeant A S Prince: report of deaths. Sergeant G F Booth and Aircraftman 2nd Class L J Slattery: prisoners of war. Pilot Sergeant R C Grossey: missing presumed dead; raid by Blenheims N6199, N6184, N6186, N6189 and N6240 on Wilhelmshaven, 4 September 1939

    It makes rather sombre reading. The file is around 400 to 500 pages with varied contents including the identity disks of several of the aircrew. There are notifications from Germany sent via the Red Cross and even includes two post-mortem reports conducted by a German medical examiner. Correspondence with next of kin was the most harrowing parts to read. The file also contained exhumation reports of the deceased and details of their re-internment. There were notes that the deceased aircrew had been given a burial with military honours and photographs of it had been supplied through the Red Cross.

    A sticker on the cover of file said it contained distressing photographs but there were not any in this particular file. However, it is not difficult to imagine the nature of photographs likely to be present in other of the casualty packs that might accompany the exhumation reports."

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    Hello

    On Saturday I checked AIR 81/273, for Sgt Colling is buried in Fouquières cemetery, near Béthune, and I've visited his grave several times. There was also the sticker on the cover about "information of photographs which are of a distressing nature". I took 24 digital pictures (some papers were double-sided), so this reference was rather thin, compared to the example stated above. No picture, no objects.

    I didn't learn anything new about the location of the forced-landing, as Colling died in a clearing station where he had been brought. Interesting documents are "casualty verification sheet", which had full details (first names, service number, date and place of birth) of the other crew members, which in this case were safe. So it's a good starting point for some "genealogical" research.

    The U.S. Individual Deceased Personnel File also usually contains some forensic reports and description, while usually the MRES reports in the RAAF / RCAF records don't give these kind of details.

    Joss

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