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Thread: Primary Historical Documents on Bomber Command

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Lions Bay, BC
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    Default Primary Historical Documents on Bomber Command

    There has been a recent thread on “Operations Record Book R.A.F. Form 541:”
    I thought it would be useful for the various researchers, amateur or otherwise to weigh in and discuss the various sources of primary information available at both the National Archives in the UK and also in the other Commonwealth Countries—in my case, Canada.

    Middlebrook and Everitt list the following public records that they have consulted in their book “The Bomber Command War Diaries”
    Public Records office, Kew (Now known as the National Archives, Kew)
    Air 14/2664-2680 Night Bombing Sheets
    Air 14/3360-3368 Day Bombing Sheets
    Air 14/3408-3412 Final Raid Reports
    Air 22/31-49 Aircraft Seviceability Returns
    Air 22/203 War Room Manual of Bomber Command Operations
    Air 24/200-209 Bomber Command Headquarters Operations Records Books
    Air 24/214-319 Bomber Command Intelligence Reports
    The AIR 25 class of records for group Operations Record Books
    The AIR 27 class for squadron Operations Record Books
    The AIR 28 class for station Operations Record Books
    The AIR 29 class for Operations Record Books of 1409 (Meterological) Flight and of training units.

    In Canada, I am aware the 6-Group Squadron operations records books are available on microfilm and I have learned (at least for 419 Squadron) the original (non-carbon copy) record books are also available in repository in Ottawa.

    Lionel Lacey-Johnson “Point Blank and Beyond” cites documents known as Bomber Command Executive Orders (for example AC504 for the raid on the Chambly Depot, May 1-2 1944). In the References, he sites the Air Series:8, 14, 20, 22, 24, 25, 27, 34, 37, 40 and 41. In his Appendix on Schrage Musik, he references Air 14/3272, Air 14/3274, Air 14/364, Air 14/276, 24/276 and Air 40/196. Another document, the Air Historical Branch Narrative (Air 41/56) relates to tonnage of bombs dropped, aircraft sent, aircraft bombed and aircraft missing for both RAF and USAAF missions for May-July, 1944. Air 37/504 refers to a higher level document on the transportation plan prior to D-Day.

    To conclude, higher level information, other than the standard Squadron ORB’s, contain the strategic and tactical information on methods and motives of particular operations. These include the Air 22s, 24s. However, comments at the crew level would be contained in the records of Aircrew debriefings. This latter series of documents I have never seen referenced by anyone. Any clue if these exist anywhere?

    I would welcome scholarly discourse on this topic and any experience that people have with researching these documents. I should add that I do have copies of the 419 Squadron 540/541's for my father's operations.

    Last edited by JDCAVE; 4th December 2008 at 18:28.

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