View Full Version : Obtaining copies of Sqn ORB's - Now £10 from TNA

spitfire 243
28th January 2012, 17:59
Having read through this forum, it is obvious that copies of ORB's are available from TNA.
Could you advise me how this is done?
Can you request specific dates/ years, as opposed to the complete ORB?
How much will it cost? I have read some threads saying it could be £20 others talking of hundreds.
Many thanks, any advice you can give would be much appreciated.

28th January 2012, 18:14
Basically ORBs on microfilm (AIR27) are available in digital format for approx £20 per reel.

Paper format ORBs are costed per page.

This may help

To get small sections of an ORB you will need to go and copy this yourself or employ a paid researcher.


28th January 2012, 21:14
Just to add to what Ross has already said. Please remember that some ORB's are "complete" but others are in yearly format, which means you could be paying £20 for each year needed. For example, i have the 161 and 296sqdn ORB's which were both complete, and cost £23 each. I also have the complete 61sqdn ORB, but this came in 5 separate yearly books at £23 each.
If i'm assuming rightly by your username, that you are intersted in 243sqdn, then it will cost you approx £43 for the 2 Orb's which cover from March 41 to April 46
AIR27/1474, March 41 to Dec 43
AIR27/1475, Jan 44 to April 46.

spitfire 243
29th January 2012, 09:34
Thankyou for your advice gentlemen, it is most welcome.
Yes, I do have a particular interest in 243 Sqn, mainly it's service in Tunisia. So the first of the two ORB's quoted would be ideal.
Thanks again.

20th December 2012, 16:17
A few months ago we had a few posts saying AIR 27 digital images were being supplied at £10 for the complete AIR 27 document.

This was for both Form 540 and 541 and covered several months rather than the £3.30 down load of either events for a month on the summary.

I've been using this form of order for a time now and each estimate for AIR 27/XXX is being delivered at £10 plus the UK postage cost of just £2.24.

A note in the left hand side of the estimate page says £10 for copying of digital images so this means that if the document you want is already in digital form then the max cost is £10 not the previous £20.

Order confirmation for an order today as way of example

Your copies will be produced with the following options:
Medium option: Digital Images
Colour option: Monochrome
Delivery option: By post
Postage method: Royal Mail First Class (No compensation or insurance available)

Documents to copy:
1. AIR 27/760
2. AIR 27/344
3. AIR 27/345
4. AIR 27/346
5. AIR 27/347

Charge: £52.24

To get this service DO NOT go through Online ordering GO TO:


Select Digital Images, Monochrome, by post (I've not tried any other delivery option) CD

Be sure to also click the "copy all pages" once you add the AIR 27 reference.

Takes a few days to get the estimate back and about a week for the disk to be posted but worth the wait.


20th December 2012, 17:02
Hello Ross,

That's most useful info to know.

Is there an online index to sort possible purchases, such as RAF bases and non squadron ORBs (i.e. 3 FTS, 12 PAFU, etc - probably in AIR 29) ?

All the best (including the Festive Season)


20th December 2012, 19:24
I hope to be proved wrong on this, but i think you will only get squadron ORB's in the package detailed. As far as i know, all other units such as covered by AIR29.... OTU's, HCU's FTS's etc, are still in their original book format, and will therefore cost a good deal more for putting to digital images.

20th December 2012, 21:16
Hello Alan,

Thanks for the update, I thought it might have been too good to be true. At least what we have from the NA is good for short sqdn queries, give them another 10 years !

All the best,


Alex Crawford
3rd November 2013, 17:13

All very interesting. I've just ordered up some ORB copies, the first for a number of years. Still can't get any of the cheap options. I did an estimate for a CD but it ran into £hundreds, so reverted back to paper copies. If I get a reel does that mean I have to get something to read the film on or can I use a scanner?

The ORBs I'm after are from 1961-69 so they are not on the NA website. They only have digitised docs up to 1960.


3rd November 2013, 19:22
Hi Alex

If you get the ORBs on microfilm format then you will need a 35mm microfilm viewer to see them. A microfiche machine will not do the job unless it has a reel to reel attachment.

Two local sources are

1 Larger local library can reel to reel microfilm readers.
2 Local historical society may have a reader.

Stepping out the box

1. Digitise the reel to jpeg images by using a third party firm (approx. £70 per reel)
2. Cut each frame and mount as 35 mm slide. Then use slide projector to view.


Alex Crawford
11th November 2013, 19:07
Hi Ross,

Thanks for your reply. Looks like I'm stuck with paper copies for a while.


9th May 2014, 02:30
Does anyone know if this fixed pricing is still in effect?

I just put in a quote for some ORBs that are already digitized but got back a "can't do, initial estimate in excess of £500".

I was hoping for the £10/ORB type pricing.

I can't find anything about it only being £10. Their pricing page (now in effect April 2014) doesn't seem to have anything similar.


9th May 2014, 05:54
It's all come to an end a couple of months back, and you now have to do it the expensive way, due to the N/A finding it more cost effective to let a computer dish them out at £3.30 a time, (better for them) rather than paying a human to copy them to disc for £10 (better for us).
What ORB were you looking for......

9th May 2014, 13:23
Thanks Alan,

That's a pity.. I should have jumped at the time.
It's really frustrating how they price the scans.. it's all already digitized, yet they still charge want to charge it out a £2.80 a page, unless I buy it monthly x 2.
I hate how they split a monthly ORB into 2 x £3.30.

Anyway.. a monopoly is a wonderful thing.

I was after some 12 Sqn ORBs.

I even put in for the combat reports, thinking they might be a tenner as well since they're already scanned.

I will resubmit for 1 ORB and see if they don't dismiss it straight away.


9th May 2014, 14:12
They will dismiss it, telling you that the ORB in question is available to download via their website. You could try going onto the main forum, and ask if anyone has the 12sqdn ORB.

10th May 2014, 16:03
So.. just an update.

I requested 1 year of the squadron ORB.

Got an email backing saying too big, over £500 are you sure you want to proceed with quote.

I asked them to provide an actual quote.

They replied with link to download them monthly @ £3.30.

Disappointing really to see the service degrade over time.

10th May 2014, 17:25
What period are you looking for, for 12sqdn, as it has occurred to me, that although i do not have digital copies of the ORB, i have paper copies in the attic for Ja to March 43, and Feb to April 42.

16th May 2014, 03:38
Thanks for the offer Alan.

I'm not in urgent need for them at the moment, so won't ask you to venture into your attic :)