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Thread: Tips on searching AIR 2 for citations and recommendations

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    Default Tips on searching AIR 2 for citations and recommendations

    I am after some tips on helping searching these files.

    In the course of the little Short Sunderland project I am undertaken I have identified many officers and airmen that were awarded either the DFM or the DFC. I would like to identify all those citations or recommendations.
    Thus far I have identified:-

    56 out of 62 DFM awards largely thanks to the excellent Distinguished Flying Medal Register for the Second World War by Ian Tavender

    I am struggling, however with tracing many of the DFC awards having only identified 89 out of 132.
    Most of the Australian ones I have found at least something on the AWM site and the Trove.nla site
    All the Canadian ones I have identified from the excellent site run by Hugh Halliday

    I have now undertaken two frustrating visits to Kew viewing Air 2 files trying to find the rest. Having viewed 28 files I have identified only 4 or 5.

    Is there a trick to identifying which file is most likely to contain the records I am after. I have viewed every AIR 2 file that comes up when you refine the search with the word 'Coastal' and got very little.

    Thanks in anticipation

    Chris

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    You appear to be searching Air 2 correctly (using “Awards” and “Coastal” as key words). I have not had “hands-on” experience with Kew and these records in some 15 years, so there may be newer ways to ferret out the recommendations, but I will nevertheless suggest the following:

    1. Starting with Tavender and his DFM books. You may find that Sergeant XXX was awarded a DFM and he found the recommendation in Air 2/7000. There is a possibility that DFCs gazetted on or about the date of Sergeant XXX’s honour may also be found in the same Air 2 file.

    2. Air Ministry Bulletins. Published two or three times a week, they often (though not invariably) published citations which had not appeared in the London Gazette. This was especially true of the mid-war period (eventually the value of the AMBs also tapered off). The RAF Museum has these on microfilm, and I have a copy which I purchased about 2005 (although the quality of the microfilms is sometimes poor and one may ultimately have to resort to the hard copies in the museum).

    Send me the list of DFC recipients which currently trouble you and I shall attempt to assist you via the AMBs I have.

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    Hugh those are two great ideas I will PM you a list of my outstanding ones though this will take me a little time to put together.

    Thanks again

    Chris

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    Chris,

    I share your pain with this. The AIR2 files at TNA Kew must be worst class of documents I have ever worked with; seemingly randomly organised and awful file descriptions. For several years I have been looking for awards to 99, 159, 215, 355 and 356 Squadrons for their operations from India. I am getting there slowly, but it has been a slog with a lot of unnecessary file handling of already fragile documents.

    I discovered for myself Hugh's work-round of using Tavender's DFM book. That works well but of course there are a lot of DFCs not linked to any DFMs.

    This really is an area which would make a useful 'project' and I wish I had the time. Last week I created a spreadsheet by searching TNA category 'Decorations, Medals, Honours and Awards. That pulled up some 1,200 relevant files which I'm trying to organise at the moment. It would all fit into this site's Awards Database very usefully.

    Feel free to email me and I will send you what information I have which may help.

    Regards,

    Geoff

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    On DFCs, it's several years since I looked at what is still (according to NLA Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/) the only Australian publicly available copy of N&C Carter The Distinguished Flying Cross: How It Was Won 1918-1995 (Savannah Publications 1998) - travelling to the State Library of Victoria to do so. So at this remove, I'm no longer clear on the level of detail and whether it, like Tavender, includes full AMB refs where only general LG notices exist. I expect that in the UK, the British Library holds a copy (and probably available nationally at some fee by Interlibrary Loan).

    This, though, is a good opportunity firstly to thank Hugh for his past help with a number of awards to 211 Squadron men (all recorded on my page Gallantry Awards page at http://www.211squadron.org/gallantry_awards.html) and secondly, to note the remarkable service of Savannah Publications and to note the unfortunate news that their publishing and orders are in abeyance, following the death of owner Diana Birch. However, the family hope to resume business at some future date, so keep an eye on http://savannahpublications.com/

    In the meantime, while Hugh continues his invaluable help, this digital archive development may be of interest to all, including him. At the University of Texas the Texas ScholarWorks digital collection includes what seems to be a complete run of Ministry of Information Daily Press Notices and Bulletins from 1939 to 1945. These include the Air Ministry Bulletins & Casualty Communiques, as well as MoI & other reports of the time (eg, on esoterica like Pig Club fodder!).

    In the Browse options, the set can be sorted by Date (the most useful
    option, seems to me). The AMB issue dates are not contiguous, but from
    another ref elsewhere the set does seem to be complete (at 987 issues
    in total).

    Copies are in both PDF and TXT format (the latter by uncorrected OCR
    and thus of variable quality but hence allows a "This Collection"
    search option).

    The text search is also hampered somewhat in that a result is apt to
    show an image that merely illustrates the first issue in a subset
    shown as a column of date refs: you may have to flick down through
    these to find the relevant issue.

    However, once a relevant result is found, image quality is quite good
    and given the file sizes downloads quite promptly.

    So, for what it's worth, here's a link. Seems to be the only British
    collection held by UT. It was rather slow to respond this am.
    Complete Set by date
    https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/...ype=dateissued

    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org
    Last edited by Don Clark; 27th February 2020 at 20:18.
    Toujours propos

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    Don

    I have been tracking the uploads of

    Air Ministry Bulletins & Casualty Communiques at Texas and they seemed to have stopped?

    I think they are mostly good and complete to end 1943 and then some scattered

    Paul


    Paul

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    The presentation and search options are tricky to use. Looking just now, managed to get it to disgorge 1944 and 1945 issues of Air Ministry Bulletins, partly be selecting year, partly by scrolling the side bar list, open item, and scroll further. I've not made an exhaustive issue by issue search. It's some time since I've used it extensively, open to correction, but it did seem to be complete...as far as I can see. It is tricky, though.

    Cheers
    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org
    Toujours propos

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    Thank you all very much

    There is a copy of The Distinguished Flying Cross: How It Was Won 1918-1995 book at Kew. Unfortunately it seems to be a direct lift from the London Gazette so only reproduces citations that were published in the Gazette. I'm glad it is not just me that has noticed how poorly described the Air 2 files are. I am working my way through same Gazette issue entries for DFMs and noting the file numbers if they are in there. There are a lot though that are just sourced as 'press release'. I was aware of the Texas files of Air Ministry Bulletins and casualty communiques but that too I have found fairly user unfriendly. I too couldn;t find anything after 1943. I must give it another go. I have PM'd my list of outstanding ones to Hugh (some 45 or them), so he may be able to assist on some of them. I wasn't aware until Hugh mentioned it they they are also on microfilm at Hendon. I may give that a go too. In the meanwhile I'll keep soldiering on.

    Thanks all again

    Chris

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    Chris, I sent you an e-mail yesterday about 8.30 p.m. your time - did you get it ?

    Hugh

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    I mentioned to Chris (by PM) that I obtained quite of few of the 35 Squadron citations from Fold 3 (subscription, but with a seven day free trial) ..... so that is one other option that can be pursued as an alternative source.

    I am now locked out having completed my trial ..... but for me, it was a few days well spent

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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