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Thread: Mysterious Air Ministry Orders regarding details of operational losses

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    Default Mysterious Air Ministry Orders regarding details of operational losses

    I one of books with biographies of Polish airmen flying in UK and KIA/MIA during WWII I have come across an interesting information that details of their losses may be found in certain Air Ministry Orders, for example: Order no. P-355430/40 - regarding Sgt Egierski killed on 13/14.10.1940 or Order no. P-376334/42 - regarding Sgt Furmaniak shot down on 5/6.12.1942.
    Does anyone know if such Orders (or perhaps rather Reports?) may be found in National Archives at Kew and what reference they may have?
    Any assistance would be appreciated.

    Regards,
    Greg

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    Not an Order but a file reference.

    When an incident happened that caused injury or death the procedure was to automatically inform Air Ministry Casualty Section and for a file to be opened.

    In the early part of the war these files were given the prefix P for Personnel rather than the more usual A for Air Ministry and issued from Registry on a sequential basis.

    The final suffix is a designator of the year the file was opened eg /40 for 1940.

    The Personnel files are generally not open for inspection and are rarely transcribed in response to enquiry.

    A small amount have been transferred to the TNA under the Casualty File release AIR81 but this transfer is currently stalled. Some files can be found in related Archives eg RAAF and RCAF.

    Ross
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    Ross thanks for the very interesting explanation out of interest do you know why transfer is stalled ?thanks Paul

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    Hi Paul,

    I've not formally asked the question of the TNA but in line with all new transfer from Gov departments they need to be handed over in a fully prepared state eg indexed, labelled, photos and delicate enclosure in archive envelops etc so all the TNA staff needs to do is stuff them on the shelf and declare ready.

    I suspect the delay is the tasking and control of the contractor employed by the MoD to prepare for release.

    The ones I've seen have had no noticable redaction to the extent of having original wrappers with registry transfer dates/signatures. All Minute Sheet contents and actions still match so nothing has been removed as part of the transfer to archive action.

    Most still have the TNT sticker on the wrapper.

    All the above suggest that the delay is the extent of the task rather than individual file censorship.

    One recent file I had copied was for a crash that was witnessed by a front line soldier during the May 1940 withdrawal.

    The soldier had returned to the UK, presumably after evacuation, and then written up the events and included a section of aircrew uniform that he had removed from one of the bodies in the aircraft to aid identification.

    This fragment of uniform was included in the released Personnel File along with the eyewitness account so in this case no redaction on sensitive relative issues occurred.

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 24th August 2016 at 17:06.
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    Hello Ross

    We may have looked at the same casualty pack ! One of those I asked during my last visit at Kew indeed contained a piece of uniform stuff. Dunkirk period.

    A few AIR 81 files contain dog tags, I've even seen one with partially burnt forms, or plate from the lost aircraft.

    Joss

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    Ross thanks for the comprehensive reply Paul

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    Ross,
    Many thanks for your detailed and satisfactory explanation.
    Hopefully in the future, the task of moving the files to TNA will be resumed and they will become available to the public.

    Regards,
    Greg

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    I spoke to AHB today and they told me that the P4 (Cas) file from 1940 to 1942 had been transferred from AHB to a separate review section (at RAF Northolt) in preparation for sending to the Archives at Kew.

    Also an email from Kew told me the following:

    Regarding: Air Casualty Packs (April 1944)

    Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to me to answer.

    AIR 81/1489-1741 were delivered to The National Archives on 23 March 2016, and these cover the period September to December 1939. We are looking to have these available to the public as soon as possible.

    With regard to future AIR 81 transfers, the records AIR 81/1489-3329 have been split into four batches to make the transfers more manageable and these are 1489-1741, 1742-2479, 2480-2983 and 2984-3329. At the moment we have not confirmed the covering dates for these records (as they have not been transferred), but it is expected to be from Dec 1939 to September 1940.

    The Ministry of Defence and our Transfer team are currently working on these and the Transfer Team are expecting the packs covered by AIR 81/1742-3329 to be transferred to TNA in November or December 2016.

    We are currently liaising with MoD as to the transfer planning for future batches at this stage, we have no information as to when the packs for April 1944 will be transferred to The National Archives. These Casualty Packs are of course still held by the Ministry of Defence.

    I am waiting for April 1944 casualty packs to become available and that'll be years!

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    Hello

    AIR 81/1488 covers a loss on 16th August 1940 (Dewhurst). Indeed, it will be a long long wait until 1944 and 1945, but there's already plenty to see which was has been made public. It obviously depends on one's interest.

    Joss

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