Guidance

Request information held on the RAF Casualty Files

Information and forms for requesting information held on the Royal Air Force Casualty Files.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) Air Historical Branch (AHB) is the custodian of the RAF Casualty Files. These historical records include details of aircraft losses from 1940 to the present day and are held in MOD archives until they are transferred and opened to general public at the National Archives as historical records under the Public Records Act.

Subject to certain conditions, as specified below, information in these files is available on request from members of the public under MOD’s publication scheme.

What is held

Casualty files contain varying amounts of information, depending on the incident and the amount of detail collected at the time. Generally the record may contain some of the following information:

  • aircraft type
  • squadron
  • take off time and date
  • target
  • bomb load
  • special equipment carried (if any)
  • names of crew members
  • details of burial(s) (if not in a field grave)
  • cause of loss where known
  • crash location where known

Some of this information will already be in the public domain.

Details of Second World War burials relating to air crew losses may be held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Their website address is: http://www.cwgc.org/

Limitations on disclosure

Under the publication scheme, and in recognition of MOD’s duty of care to the next of kin, for a period of 25 years following the date of death of any person involved in the incident, personal information relating to that person will only be released to the next of kin or those who provide evidence of their consent to disclosure. If you are the next of kin (or can obtain their consent) you can obtain information before the end of the 25 year period by completing the Certificate of Kinship. Unless an individual’s death occurred in the incident, proof of death is required, before any personal information contained within a Casualty file can be disclosed to any person, although other non-personal data will normally be releasable.

Reproduction of information

It should be noted that, for conservation reasons, the AHB do not routinely provide photocopies of information held on the casualty records where the original copies are fragile or in a very poor condition. Information about 2nd World War losses is recorded on poor quality wartime paper and may be partially or wholly illegible. The original copies are susceptible to damage by modern reproduction processes such as photocopying. Information in these cases will be extracted from the files and provided to the requestor. Should you wish to use this service to obtain information held on the RAF Casualty Files, please complete the Application and Search form.

Administration fee

There is an administration charge of £30 per record for provision of this service. Cheques should be made payable to “The Accounting Officer, Ministry of Defence”. These records relate primarily to aircraft losses which frequently involved sacrifice by the crew and their families as a result of injury or loss of life. In recognition of this, charges are waived for requests for information made by survivors, the spouse of a crew member, or their children (or parent and sibling where there is no spouse or children).

Until the search has been undertaken there is no way of knowing what information is held. In some cases little or no information will be held; if a search is unsuccessful we are unable to refund payment.

How to apply

If you wish to apply for a search you should download, complete and send to MOD the following forms:

For those who are not the immediate next of kin, and who are applying without the consent of the immediate next of kin , download and complete the Application part 1 General Enquirers RAF Casualty File form and the Application part 2 form:

General enquirers RAF casualty file form (application part 1) and application part 2 form (PDF, 209KB, 3 pages) or
General enquirers RAF casualty file form (application part 1) and application part 2 form (MS Word Document, 146KB)

For those who are the immediate next of kin or who are applying with the immediate next of kin’s consent, download and complete the Application part 1 Next of Kin RAF Casualty File Consent form and the Application part 2 form

Next of kin RAF casualty file consent form (application part 1) and application part 2 form (PDF, 232KB, 3 pages) or
Next of kin RAF casualty file consent form (application part 1) and application part 2 form (MS Word Document, 167KB)

Published 9 November 2016
Last updated 24 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated all forms in line with the new GDPR regulations that come into force on the 25 May 2018.
  2. First published.