Source Information UK, British Air Force Lists, 1919-1922 and 1938-1945 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2022.
Original data: National Library of Scotland. British Air Force Lists. National Library of Scotland, 2020.

About UK, British Air Force Lists, 1919-1922 and 1938-1945

General collection information

This collection includes lists of people who served in the British Air Force between the end of the First and Second World Wars. The lists are dated between 1919-1922 and 1938-1945 and were produced monthly, bimonthly, and quarterly and were published in pamphlet form with a cover page. Names and information about Royal Air Force members are listed under headings for each military rank. In addition to service members who were active at the time of each publication, the lists also may include information about retired officers, medical staff, nurses and chaplains, decorations and awards, and holders of the Victoria Cross.

Using this collection

Records in this collection may include the following information:

  • Name
  • Rank
  • Date individual joined the Royal Air Force
  • Military unit or organization
  • Military occupation
  • The records in this collection can be used to verify that your ancestor served in the Royal Air Force at a specific time and the rank they had attained. The lists were produced at regular intervals, so your ancestor's military career could be traced over time by searching across multiple years.

    Collection in context

    The Royal Air Force lists were published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in London and could be purchased there or at bookstores. The price of the list published in February 1919 was one shilling and sixpence.

    The Royal Air Force (RAF) was established on 1 April, 1918, during the final year of the First World War. The RAF was the product of a merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. In the early 1920s, the peacetime RAF typically included 21 squadrons stationed overseas and 12 squadrons stationed in Great Britain. As concerns over a war in Europe increased during the 1920s, the RAF began to build its strength. By 1933, it included 87 squadrons at home and overseas. The military buildup shifted into a higher gear in 1936 due to the increasing threat from Nazi Germany, and the RAF soon formed the Volunteer Reserve and the Civil Air Guard to recruit and train civilians to supplement its ranks.


    Encyclopedia Britannica. "Royal Air Force." Last modified February 14, 2020.

    National Library of Scotland. "British Air Force Lists." Accessed June 17, 2022.