Source Information

Ancestry.com. UK and Allied Countries, World War II Air Combat Reports, 1939-1945 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2023.
Original data: AIR 50: Air Ministry: Combat Reports, Second World War. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives.

About UK and Allied Countries, World War II Air Combat Reports, 1939-1945

General collection information

This collection comprises reports of air combat activities by UK and allied forces during the Second World War from 1939 to 1945. The reports are related to the activities of squadrons, wings, and groups in British fighter, bomber, and coastal commands and of Fleet Air Arm squadrons. The collection also includes reports about individual senior or distinguished officers and reports related to Commonwealth and Allied units based in the United Kingdom, including the U.S. Army Air Forces. The collection includes images of the original documents, which are typed and include narratives of combat events.

Using this collection

Records in this collection may include the following information:

  • Name
  • Rank
  • Alias name
  • Combat date
  • Squadron
  • Service number
  • This collection can be used to verify that your ancestor was involved in air combat during the Second World War. You also may confirm the military rank your ancestor achieved and the squadron he flew with. The narratives in the documents could provide unique insights into what your ancestor experienced during air combat.

    Collection in context

    The documents in this collection were created by officials working for the British Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War. The combat reports are high-quality primary sources that may have information that cannot be found in other records. The original documents are housed at The National Archives.

    When the war began in Europe in September 1939, the Royal Air Force's ability to fight back against Nazi Germany was limited. The RAF was lacking in both personnel and aircraft and many aircrews flew multiple missions per day during the first years of the war when the RAF was concentrating on defending the United Kingdom. During the later years of the war, the RAF was on the offensive, routinely bombing military targets, fuel depots, and communication facilities inside Germany.

    The allied forces incorporated the air forces of the Commonwealth from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa. The air force units that were able to escape before their countries were occupied by Germany also joined the RAF, including Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Norwegian, and Polish airmen.

    More than 70,000 RAF personnel were killed during the war, and two-thirds of those casualties were suffered by the Bomber Command.

    Bibliography

    BBC. "Fact File: The RAF, 1918 to present." Accessed 16 March, 2023. https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/timeline/factfiles/nonflash/a6649248.shtml.

    Imperial War Museums. "RAF Bomber Command During the Second World War." Accessed 16 March, 2023. https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/raf-bomber-command-during-the-second-world-war.

    Spartacus Educational. "Royal Air Force." Accessed 16 March, 2023. https://spartacus-educational.com/2WWraf.htm.

    The National Archives. "Air Ministry: Combat Reports, Second World War." Accessed 16 March, 2023. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C2105.