90% accounted for – Cause of RAF Deaths in WW2

Back in October 2019, we reached a milestone of 100,000 airmen accounted for in terms of cause of death. It has been six months since then, and we now have hit the major milestone of 90% accounted for.  Thats 90% of all 122357 RAF and Commonwealth Air Forces airmen who died in the Second World war have a cause of death identified.

110,130 records (90.01%) are “Accounted for”.
  98,554 are related to aircraft incidents and
    11,578 are non-aviation deaths..

Year wise metrics are as below


Year 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947
Total Records 689 6887 13016 21390 29783 33061 13727 2385 1419
Accounted 675 (97.97%) 6460 (93.80%) 12228 (93.95%) 19803 (92.58%) 27805 (93.36%) 30074 (90.97%) 10923 (79.57%) 1374 (57.61%) 790 (55.67%)
Unaccounted 14 (2.03%) 427 (6.20%) 788 (6.05%) 1587 (7.42%) 1978 (6.64%) 2987 (9.03%) 2804 (20.43%) 1011 (42.39%) 629 (44.33%)

No photo description available.

Where do we go from here?

The next milestone for us is to get the number of unaccounted for airmen to dip into 4 digits – thats 9,999 or below.  We are less than 2200 odd records away.

At some point we will hit a wall, where the number of updates that can be done will come to a stop – unless a new trove of archives is dug up.  I estimate that point to be about 4000-5000 records away. Ultimately 5000-7000 airmen may never fully be “Accounted For”.  Time will tell.


4 thoughts on “90% accounted for – Cause of RAF Deaths in WW2

  1. This data base is a fantastic resource.

    I have been using it in the writing of the Mediterranean Air War series, the current Volume at least as its exceptionally useful not to have to stop, refer to Chris Dobsons books or the CWGC etc. I always try to use a ORB and or casualty reports as a basis, and then check names etc from your exceptional site. I can add some updates and corrections to the matching of a/c serial numbers to fatal casualties, and in some cases to what happened where all you have is missing. The other info we have for the Med is those who were POW and those who survived being shot down. A lot of these matches are tentative pending the release of the rest of Air 81, and it is so far surprising just what differences there are between ORBs and Air 81.

    Whats the best way to assist?

    Time pressure to finish MAW Vol 5 is off as its nearly finished and as it won’t be published to next year, so I have some spare capacity.

  2. Thank you for all the information that is helping me trace RAF WW2 dead of Runnymede on behalf of Chertsey Museum. In case it is helpful, I have discovered that a Bryant family entry on the Ancestry site records that Edward Cecil Bryant RAFVR service no. 1381681 died on 23rd May 1941 at “East Elloe Out Marsh Dawsmere Gedney R.D. Blown up on beach along with 6 other people after finding object lying there”.

  3. My uncle Patrick Michael Dunne is unaccounted forand the link url is http://www.rafcommands.com/database/wardead/index.php?qname=dunne&qnum=116458&qdate=1943&qunit=29&qcntry=&qregion=&qappt=&qmem=&serialno=&srname=beau&qforce=RAF&qt=&cur=0

    I have read the 29 Sqn ORBs and also got some information from the AHB. Here is my information:
    Fg Off Dunne was posted missing on 21 Jan 1943 whilst flying Bristol Beaufighter VB281 of 29 Sqn. He was tasked with undertaking an interception patrol off The North Foreland from which he and his Navigator Plt Off Cyril Heywood never returned and were subsequently posted as missing.

    According to the 29(F) RAF Form 540 there was no enemy activity that night.

    He is remembered on Panel 124 of the Runnymede Memorial to missing aircrew.

    He is also remembered on his father’s grave:
    Municipal Section BC Cemetery, Staines, Middlesex

  4. Hello–I’m new to this site, but have spent 18 yrs creating a Familiy History tree; part of which, was tracing and recreating, the last days of my half brother’s life, as a member of Squadron 199, Group 100, based at North Creake. He was, F.O183376, V R. Kenneth Norman Joseph Croft, Who died, age 22, on that fatal last RAF heavy bombing raid, of 2/3 may. 1945 , on Kiel Germany. Only recently, the cause of the two Halifax Mk3 Bomber’s colliding, has been established. Researched Luftwaffe documents show, that a JU88 night fighter, fired on RG 373, damaging flight controls, causing it to collide with RG 375.
    All crew member’s of both planes died, except 3, who baled out–2 of RG 375, and one of RG 373. At least, that has been the official explanation.
    The widow of Kenneth Croft, who is still alive, has recently confessed to knowing, that her husband kenneth Croft, had actually survived the crash , inside the aircraft, along with other’s, who subsequently, were all murdered ( shot) by persons unknown. This information , had been given by one of the three surviver’s ( Kenneth N Crane ) P.O. R/ G. who had baled out, hidden in undergrowth, witnessed the killings. Kenneths wife Irene, along with Kens brother Stanley, had travelled to Australia in the 1950’s, to meet up with ,and interview kenneth Crane; and that is what he told them. Having read Cranes official account in John Reids Book. he made no mention of it. Was there a official cover up on such reports ? There were many such attrocities in Nazi Germany , committed against downed Allied Air Crew. The ”Russelsheim ” case is the most discussed, and there were many War crime hangings for this crime. I would be grate ful for any comments on this evil , and would apprciate it if my message could reach John Reid, for his opinions. Philip Croft.

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