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Royal Naval Air Service - Airmen Service Records - (Military)

Nature of Source

Service records of airmen serving with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), established in 1914. The airmen formed part of the Royal Navy and are therefore officially ratings with the records found amongst Royal Navy records.

For more details see Royal Navy - Registers of Seamen's Services

Those that joined on or after the creation of the RNAS in 1914 were issued with a service number prefixed with an 'F'. Ratings who transferred from another service into the RNAS retained their original service numbers and may have been given a different prefix or none at all.

The Royal Air Force was founded in 1918 following the amalgamation of the Royal Naval Air Service (established 1914) and the Royal Flying Corps (established 1912).

Service records for all ranks who served after 1920 remain with the Ministry of Defence with each military service maintaining its own record office. The Veterans UK web site provides contact details of where to apply for service records for each of the services.

Where Found

The National Archives (See Royal Navy - Registers of Seamen's Services)
Fleet Air Arm Museum (The museum hold material relating to the Royal Naval Air Service and the Fleet Air Arm from official and private sources including service records, squadron line books, aircraft accident records, air stations, operations, ships and equipment. The museum also has custody of Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service Documents)
Royal Naval Museum (The museum houses a collection of naval related books, manuscripts and images, including the collections from the Admiralty Library formerly housed in London. The museum library offers a number of resources for those researching family histories with a number of Information Sheets available online including a guide to naval rankings. The Online Catalogue provides access to the Manuscript, Oral History, Photographic and WRNS collections)

Period Covered

1914 - 1918

Genealogical Value

Further References

Bevan, Amanda. Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives: The National Archives, 2006


Blank, Dr. Stuart. Researching British Military History on the Internet: Alwyn Enterprises, 2007


Cooksley, Peter G. The Royal Flying Corps 1914-1918: The History Press, 2014 Buy Now on Amazon

Fowler, Simon. A Guide to Military History on the Internet: Pen & Sword, 2007


Fowler, Simon. Tracing Your First World War Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen & Sword, 2013


King, Brad. Royal Naval Air Service, 1912-1918: Hikoki Publications, 1997


Spencer, William. Family History in the Wars: The National Archives, 2007


Storey, Neil. Military Photographs and How to Date Them: Countryside Books, 2009


Usher, George. Dictionary of British Military History: A&C Black Publishers, 2006


TNA Research Guides:
RAF, RFC and RNAS Personnel after 1913
Royal Naval Air Service Ratings

See Royal Navy - Registers of Seamen's Services


Online Databases (Royal Air Force Museum Storyvault: Muster Roll: The Muster Roll was compiled in 1918, and lists the men who transferred into the ranks of the Royal Air Force from the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. It is arranged by their service number, but can also be searched by name)
See also Royal Navy - Registers of Seamen's Services

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