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Thread: Operations Record Book R.A.F. Form 541

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    Default Operations Record Book R.A.F. Form 541

    I understand that O.R.B.'s were compiled by all units not just Squadrons. Is this correct?

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 2nd December 2008 at 18:36.

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    Yes (as far as I know). I have certainly looked at ORB's for HCU's, AGS's, and one of the Lancaster Finishing Schools. However it must be said that quite often they don't contain as much information as the ORBs of Operational Squadrons (although these can vary
    depending on who is filling them in).

    Johnnie

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    Thank you Johnnie,

    Would non-flying units, e.g. R.A.F. Station Headquarters, raise O.R.B's?

    Norman

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    Hello Norman
    Most RAF stations would have compiled an ORB.
    However the quality is often questionable.
    An example would be the one for RAF North Weald in May 1944.
    An aircraftman was accidentley killed by cannon fire from a grounded Spitfire but the ORB just reports on the score of a cricket match.
    A list of the ones that have survived can be found at the National Archives Catalouge AIR 28.
    You will also find the ORB's of the following at the National Archives.
    AIR 24 - Commands
    AIR 25 - Groups
    AIR 26 - Wings
    AIR 29 - Misc. Units

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/browser.asp?CATLN=3&CATID=478&GPE=False&MARKER=0

    Regards
    Andy
    Last edited by Andy Ingham; 2nd December 2008 at 19:27. Reason: Extra info

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    Thank you Andy, most interesting.

    Norman

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    it might also be worth mentioning that should you wish to view the ORBs at the PRo that most operational squadron ORBs have been copied to micro film, while other units (such as HCU's and AGS's) have not been copied so you view the original documents.

    Johnnie

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    Thank you Johnnie,

    Could you explain the difference between R.A.F. Form 540 & R.A.F. Form 541 ?

    Norman

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    This is taken from RAF Records at the PRO by Fowler et al

    Page 62

    Form 540: For monthly summaries, by Commands, Groups, Wings, Squadrons and smaller units.

    Form 541: For the daily details, mostly kept by Squadrons. In the early days of the war, the accuracy and content of these reports varied considerably, depending on the person allocated for this duty.


    Johnnie

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    From my own observations, Form 540s were of a more general nature, but should still carry daily summaries, postings of officers (if not NCOs), notes on important visitors, daily weather conditions (sometimes), notes on deaths and accidents, notes on operations, appointments and promotions of personnel. They could then be completed with a monthly summary. Form 541s on the other hand were specifically intended only for the purposes of providing "details of operations carried out", which is where you go to find out about actual flying operations, as this is the only place where you can find details of aircraft serial numbers, times of take off and landing, all aircrew by rank and their positions in aircraft (if you are lucky, although initials are frequently absent) and sometimes even the code letters of the aircraft (again if you are lucky). Also usually provided on these forms are the bomb load (where applicable), targets information, and summary of attack including time of bombing, also details of losses, comments on opposition, navigation methods, results of attack where known, and other interesting observations. Sometimes all these details (apart from aircraft numbers, crew and times) are repeated verbatim on the Form 540. Early in WW2 on Bomber Command ORBs, crew captains submitted detailed individual attack reports which were sometimes retyped into the ORB as all night attacks at this time were individual attacks, frequently on different targets.
    David D

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