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RAF service records help


Magentamagic
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I am sorry to bother you guys but wondered if you could offer me some advice because I'm just confused right now... I am researching my family history for my mother and have gotten stuck when it comes down to my great grandfather, Archer (Archie) Tyrrell, born 1879 in Depwade, Norfolk. We have an RAF medal for him from WW1. The details shown are as follows: PTE2, A Tyrrell, 127628. This is the only information we have. We do not know what he did in the RAF and as far as we know he had no aviation experience of any kind. One or two people have even said that he must have been an engineer as he was too old to join the RAF at the time so I was hoping someone may be able to shed some light on matters for me because I'm clueless!! My mother thinks he told her he was in India for some time and I know that the RAF sent members to Gallipoli. But my brother has two brass candlesticks which my great grandad had pulled from the ruins of a demolished church in France during the war... Is it possible he was in both India and France? We also do not know what the PTE2 means... I understand that for soldiers PTE means "Private" but the "2" has confused us... We are desperate to find out as much information about his time in the RAF as possible. At present I am unable to travel the distance to the Kew as I am stuck in the house with a severe spinal injury but I know I can order copies and someone said that on the National Archives you can put in a search with the service number and name and it will show whether the records are there but I've got no idea how I'm meant to do that - I can't pull up any names at all for the RAF... Is it just me or have I been given wrong info?? And can any information be given just based on his number and rank? Because somebody said you can tell if they were a member of the RFC by their service number?? I am so sorry for sounding a bit slow on the uptake - WW1 is not something I am up on as it is and with no idea what Archer did or where he was based it is very difficult to pull up any information at all. If there is any advice you can offer me at all I would really appreciate it as I really am getting desperate and fed up!! Many thanks,

Fiona

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RAF Records are held @ the National Archive those including the number you give should be there:~

RAF Records

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1) Is it possible he was in both India and France?

2) PTE2

3) on the National Archives you can put in a search with the service number and name

4) can any information be given just based on his number and rank? Because somebody said you can tell if they were a member of the RFC by their service number??

Welcome to the forum Fiona

1) Yes, it was there were an huge variety of places men could serve in WWI.

2) It means Private Second Class.

3) You were misinformed, it is not possible to search for all the members on the RFC or RAF online.

4) He had previously served with the RFC. His service records should be in AIR 79/1144, if it has been released to the public yet. You can order a copy using the National Archives shop online facility. This is more expensive than the documents online facility as the originals are larger than A3.

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Welcome to the forum Fiona

1) Yes, it was there were an huge variety of places men could serve in WWI.

2) It means Private Second Class.

3) You were misinformed, it is not possible to search for all the members on the RFC or RAF online.

4) He had previously served with the RFC. His service records should be in AIR 79/1144, if it has been released to the public yet. You can order a copy using the National Archives shop online facility. This is more expensive than the documents online facility as the originals are larger than A3.

Wow! Thank you so much!! I thought I was misinformed - have been unable to get him up at all on the National Archives... Ended up just sending them a request... Well, that has definitely answered one question - he was definitely a member of the RFC... Until I get sorted with a copy of his service records is it possible to establish what his position might have been from his rank? I am assuming if he was a pilot his rank would surely say pilot?? Will have to go off and find out about the ranks now! Thank you - you've been very helpful!!

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One suggestion I can give to the "PTE2" is that one of the variants of the Army "Private" Rank in the RFC and RAF was Air Mechanic, which had 3rd, 2nd and 1st Classes. So it MAY be that they mean Air Mechanic 2nd Class, often abbreviated A/M 2.

Anyway, the service record should dispel the speculation!

Pilots were normally officers, but you do see Sergeant pilots (the McCudden brothers being famous examples), whilst an Observer (including Roles of machine-gunner and bomb-aimer amongst others) could really be any rank.

Steve.

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One suggestion I can give to the "PTE2" is that one of the variants of the Army "Private" Rank in the RFC and RAF was Air Mechanic, which had 3rd, 2nd and 1st Classes. So it MAY be that they mean Air Mechanic 2nd Class, often abbreviated A/M 2.

Steve.

Great stuff! Thank you!! I've been doing a search on RFC/RAF ranks and the lowest I seem to find any information for is an NCO... I'm also probably probably not searching in the right places - in all honesty I have no idea about any of this!! He did have mechanics experience as he used to repair farm equipment so my mum said so that could be a possibility which I will keep in mind!! Thanks!!

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Only a tiny percentage of members of the RFC or RAF have online Medal Index Cards; these show army awards and the bulk are for the Stars (they rarely show a trio as the Air Ministry issued the pairs) and gallantry medals. The RAF Medal Index Cards have not been released to the public however; for other ranks the British War and Victory Medals are usually shown on their service record.

The RAF introduced the graded Private rank after the merger for non technical positions. Air Mechanics 2nd Class were part of a separate rank structure. It is not possible to tell his position as there were several that could be done by privates, such as serving with kite balloons. Madingly the service records list many positions just as ‘labourer.’ The muster roll often reveals more:

AIR 1/819/204/4/1316 Three books: R.A.F. airmen muster roll

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It is not possible to tell his position as there were several that could be done by privates, such as serving with kite balloons. Madingly the service records list many positions just as 'labourer.' The muster roll often reveals more:

AIR 1/819/204/4/1316 Three books: R.A.F. airmen muster roll

Have requested an estimate from the National Archives for information for him from the muster roll if he's on there... I'm assuming he will be... Hopefully this will then shed more light on the situation!

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Pilots were normally officers, but you do see Sergeant pilots (the McCudden brothers being famous examples), whilst an Observer (including Roles of machine-gunner and bomb-aimer amongst others) could really be any rank.

Steve.

What rank were pilots newly-graduated from flight schools usually given, if they didn't transfer over from another branch of the army with a pre-existing officer's rank?

Best,

Jennifer

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What rank were pilots newly-graduated from flight schools usually given, if they didn't transfer over from another branch of the army with a pre-existing officer's rank?

Best,

Jennifer

Jennifer

In RFC days, most [but not all] would-be pilots who weren't already commissioned were usually commissioned as Second Lieutenants as they commenced their flying training. However, as the War progressed, the system was changed so that the trainee pilots were graded as Flight Cadets, with a commission to follow when/if they graduated as pilots. Officers who already held higher ranks prior to flying training retained them, even though they might be a Captain carrying out the duties of a Second Lieutenant.

I hope that this helps you.

Gareth

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Okay, back again!!

The RAF Museum have sent me a photocopy which gives me the following information about my great grandfather:

Air Force No: 127628

Name: Tyrrell. A

RNAS or RAF Trade Classification: Cook

Remustered to Air Force Trade Classification: Cook

RNAS rating or RAF Rank or Appointment: A.Mech.3

New Rank in Air Force: Private 2

Date of Last Promotion: 29/12/17

Normal Rate Air Force Pay: 1.6

Terms of Enlistment: D.W

So I am a bit farther forward. But now the RAF Museum have said that he may have documents if he served in the Second World War... I have no idea if he did or not and have got lost on the National Archives with WW2 Air Force searches as they seem to focus on generals, etc... It could just be me using it wrong...

I know this is a forum for the First World War but wondered if anyone had any idea where I continue my search now and what the likelyhood of him continuing to serve in the Second World War would be because he was born in 1879... Is this maybe not a bit unlikely?

Sorry for confusing matters but thanks to everyone for their help - it was amazing to receive the information about his time in the war from the RAF Museum!!

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Congratulations on getting details from the RAF Museum. How did you get on with getting his RAF service record at the UK National Archives in AIR 79/1144?

He would have been 60 in 1939, more likely to be in one of the organisations like the Home Guard (Dad's Army) than the regular forces in WW2.

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Congratulations on getting details from the RAF Museum. How did you get on with getting his RAF service record at the UK National Archives in AIR 79/1144?

He would have been 60 in 1939, more likely to be in one of the organisations like the Home Guard (Dad's Army) than the regular forces in WW2.

Thanks!! I couldn't have done it without help from you guys - I had no idea where to start!! I am still waiting for an estimate from the National Archives for a copy of his service records so as soon as they give me a price I shall order them.

Can I get info about the Home Guard, etc, on the National Archives or would I have to look elsewhere?? I'm still learning!!!

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If he was 60 in 1939 he definitely would have no regular military service, and I suspect that even the Home Guard might have considered him too old.

But he could have been ARP, or a Special Constable, fire watcher, etc.

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As far as I know Home Guard Records are not available at this time, but I do know they are part of an ongoing review and are one of the types of records the NA are keen to release to the public, but I fear it will be a few years yet before they will be available.

john_g

www.66squadron.co.uk

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My Grandfather also served in the RFC in World War 1, his name being Alexander Tyrrell 47292. As a result of this I am interested in the name during the war and have small collection of medals with the name Tyrrell, included 3 RAF officers with the name Tyrrell. As already stated the next step is Air 79, although the NA may not be the cheapest to use,should you wish I can send you the email of a very reasonable and good researcher. In case you dont already know he was probably awarded at least two medals-which one do you have?

His servce number indicates that he was a transfer from the Army in Feb 1918.

Jamie Tyrrell

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The UKNA copy costs for AIR 79 records are more expensive than their documents online downloads as the originals are larger than A3.

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