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Thread: 'RAF in Maritime War' narrative at the N.A. When was it written?

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    Default 'RAF in Maritime War' narrative at the N.A. When was it written?

    Can anybody tell me when this RAF narrative along with the one on the Bombing Offensive was compiled? I think it was in the 1950s. I know when it was declassifed (1969) but not when it was written.

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    These have been re-published by MLRS http://www.mlrsbooks.co.uk/ and on their site they indicate that most volumes were published in 1947.
    Steve

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    Hello Barnsley,
    The source material for 'RAF in Maritime War' and other official histories is cited in the margins of the original volumes held at Kew. I understand this is not reproduced in the MLRS reprints and probably just as well, since it uses 'old' file references that do not immediately relate to the file names in use at Kew.

    My point is, if you follow the references (original) you will find most of it was based on contemporary intelligence material. I have on severeal occasions found the 'RAF in Maritime War' account of events extremely useful and then used it as a basis for further research based on their cited sources. I have not yet found it be inaccurate beyond a few ommisions of ULTRA and other SIGINT sourced material which was not made clear at the time of writing.

    Hope this helps,
    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Just for the record the MLRS documents are from my experience exact facsimiles of the original narratives that can be found in AIR 41 including the source references. However as has been said these refs are less and less helpful now that they are no longer included in Discovery. The only link I have with MLRS is as a customer - when it normally costs 40 to 50 simply in fuel to visit Kew the cost of researching a 4/500 page AHB narrative can quickly mount up.

    Steve

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    Steve, thanks for clarifying the point about the old references.
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Many thanks Gents, for some reason I thought that the narratives were compiled in the 1950s, not immediately post war.

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    To be pedantic (those who know me will groan), they WERE compiled in the '50s, but from material that was gathered and created during and immediately after the war. The Official Histories that were available to the public were 'sanitised' by censors of sensitive intelligence related material, RAF in Maritime War was not so closely edited: it contained much that was still classified and was not for general distribution.
    I will double check soon but I believe RAF in Maritime War was published around 1951, perhaps a year or so earlier.
    Hope this helps,
    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    Many thanks Bruce, you are not being pedantic, you are answering the question I asked! I thought that they were produced in the 1950s not immediately after the war. Those were the White Papers compiled by the Heads of Bomber, Coastal Command etc.
    Last edited by barnsley; 4th January 2016 at 14:29.

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    The copies of these narratives that I have seen were all individually numbered (for security control purposes) and were identified by CD (Confidential Document) numbers, so were clearly never intended (at least initially) to be read by the general public. However it was hoped that having these volumes of the very varied operations recently concluded all over the world, they could be read by serving career officers within the RAF for information on the evolution of tactics and strategy, and to provide a detailed enough account to show the mistakes made and the frustrations inherent in fighting a world war - in other words a reasonably deep education for future leaders to draw upon. Of course much later their security status was downgraded to a level which ensured they could be given wider readership (good job too!)
    David D

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    I can't be certain but I suspect a lot of the source files used in those narratives no longer survive or at least not at TNA. As you can't easily search on the old AHB references it is difficult to be sure. In my research I try to use primary sources and a number of comments in those narratives I failed to find in any TNA. Having said that I have found a lot of useful information in files on an unrelated subject, even on the back of a reused memo which was crossed out!

    The narratives are a good source in their own right and sit just a tad below primary but do they become primary if the real primary has been destroyed?

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