Obtaining RAF service records - The Rules....

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Peter Clare, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    hello Lizrc

    quite possibly he has his name on a Memorial away from the area.
    Have you tried St James Gerrards Cross

    I have checked the local memorials I have Amersham/Beaconsfield/Chalfont/Chalfont St Giles/Chalfont St Peter/Denham/Loudwater just in case he was on.


    Flying Officer
    Service No:
    Date of Death:
    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

    57 Sqdn.
    Grave Reference
    11. G. 7.
    Additional Information:
    Son of Ralph Paul Levy, M.C., and Olive Louise Levy, of City of London.

    link below to apply for his service records
    Error pages


    Hello Lizrc, welcome to the forum. I have the following details of the loss although they are very sparse.

    27-28 August 1943

    57 Squadron
    Lancaster III W5008 DX-B
    Op. Nuremberg

    Took off from Scampton at 2131 hrs. Those who died are buried in Durnbach war Cemetery


    F/O. P A. Levy +
    Sgt. W S. Lynn +
    Sgt. W. MacKillop RCAF +
    Sgt. R. May pow.
    Sgt. W C M. Thomas +
    F/S. J C. Perry RAAF +
    Sgt. T R. Crowther +

    Source - RAF Bomber Command Losses Vol.4 - W R. Chorley.

    The Nuremberg raid of 27/28 August 1943

    674 aircraft - 349 Lancasters, 221 Halifaxes, 104 Stirlings - to Nuremburg. 33 aircraft - 11 of each type on the raid - lost, 4.9 per cent of the force.
    The marking for this raid was based mainly on H2S. 47 of the Pathfinder H2S aircraft were ordered to check their equipment by dropping a 1,000-lb bomb on Heilbronn while flying to Nuremberg. 28 Pathfinder aircraft were able to carry out this order. Nuremberg was found to be free of cloud but it was very dark. The initial Pathfinder markers were accurate but a creepback quickly developed which could not be stopped because so many Pathfinder aircraft had difficulties with their H2S sets. The Master Bomber could do little to persuade the Main Force to move their bombing forward; only a quarter of the crews could hear his broadcasts.

    Source - The Bomber Command War Diaries - M. Middlebrook / C. Everitt
  2. lizrc

    lizrc Junior Member

    Thanks ever so much for your quick response. I'm a little overwhelmed and very moved at all the information you supplied and am very grateful for your help.
  3. lizrc

    lizrc Junior Member

    Mr. Clare,
    Thanks so much for your help and all the information you posted regarding aircraft loss. I am most appreciative.
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Hello Liz

    There is a War Memorial in Gerrards Cross
    I will check it out for you next week

  5. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    As there was an Aussie on board there is a synopsis of the crash available from the research of a bloke called Alan Storr from Canberra - both Spidge & I have the info on our computers, but he has a better program to format the info.

    I will drop him a PM to see if he has spotted this thread....

    PERRY, John Charles - (Flight Sergeant) 410721 RAAF

    Lancaster W5008

    Zeckern, Germany


    57 Squadron
  6. spidge


    I am at work until 1900 so will post later this evening.


  7. londoner

    londoner Member

    I applied for my father's RAF service record last year and was very pleased with the service from Cranwell. I could not supply his service number and only gave them his name, date of birth and RAF trade. I had read that, at the time, the wait was 6/8 weeks and was presently surprised when a package arrived in 3 weeks. I received a copy of form 543 and noted there was a TNT sticker on it, I did wonder if this was just to with the post or whether TNT are involved with the archiving.
    I am doing a history of his life, much of which was unknown prior to 1945, and this form did provide some very useful "titbits" of information like his occupation and place of work prior to joining up in 1939, pre and post war addresses etc.
    Unfortunately, and not Cranwell's fault, his record is a blank between October 1942 when arriving in India/Burma and March 1945 when arriving back in the UK, this is the bit I was most interested in as his time in Burma had a big influence on the rest of his life (and indirectly mine).
    By luck, shortly afterwards I was able to trace children of his uncle (who he thought was his brother, but that is another story). His uncle was in Army intelligence all over North Africa, Greece and Italy and it seems they had corresponded on a weekly basis. Although my father's letters are long lost his uncle's letters to his wife survive and often refer to my father so via these I have been able to gain an insight to what happened to him in Burma, albeit they have raised more questions than they have answered. Given uncle moved around a lot and my father,going by the squadron history, moved very frequently from one airstrip to another, I have been truly amazed at the efficiency of getting post to our troops.
    A few abbreviations and notes on his record remain a mystery despite help from this forum and other sources. David
  8. spidge


    As there was an Aussie on board there is a synopsis of the crash available from the research of a bloke called Alan Storr from Canberra - both Spidge & I have the info on our computers, but he has a better program to format the info.

    I will drop him a PM to see if he has spotted this thread....

    28th August 1943 - 57sqn - Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.

    :poppy::poppy::poppy: :poppy::poppy::poppy:
    On this day there were 224 Commonwealth Air Force Deaths.


    RAF Iraq Levies

    RAF 169

    RAAF 20

    RCAF 29

    RIAF 2

    RNZAF 4


    Rhodesia Air Askari Corps






    410721 Flight Sergeant PERRY, John Charles


    AWM 237 (65) NAA : A705, 166/32/1176 Commonwealth War Graves records
    W R Chorley : RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, Page 289,
    Volume 1943
    Aircraft Type: Lancaster
    Serial number: W 5008
    Radio call sign: DX – B
    Unit: ATTD 57 SQN RAF


    Lancaster W5008 took off from RAF East Kirkby at 2131hours on the night of 27/28th
    August 1943, detailed to bomb Nuremburg, Germany. Nothing was heard from the
    aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.


    RAF FO Levy, P A Captain (Pilot) †
    RAF Sgt W S Lynn, (Flight Engieer) †
    RCAF Sgt W MacKillop, (Navigator) †
    RAF Sgt R May, (Air Bomber) (POW)
    RAF Sgt W C Thomas, (Wireless Air Gunner) †
    RAAF 410721 Flt Sgt J C Perry, (Mid Upper Gunner) †
    RAF Sgt T R Crowther, (Rear Gunner) †

    The aircraft crashed near the village of Zeckern presumably as a result of enemy action.
    Zeckern is 18 miles north west of Nuremburg.

    Six of the crew were killed and Sgt May was a POW.

    Those killed are buried in the Durnbach War Cemetery, Locality Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany.

    Durnbach is a village 16kms east of Bad Tolz, a town 48kms south of Munich.

    120 Commonwealth Airmen were buried in Durnbach cemetery this day.

    Durnbach COS.JPG

    In Memory of
    Flying Officer Pilot
    Paul Albert Levy
    127244, 57 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    who died on 28 August 1943 Age 20
    Son of Ralph Paul Levy, M.C., and Olive Louise Levy, of City of London.
    Remembered with Honour
    Durnbach War Cemetery

    In Memory of
    Sergeant Flt. Engr.
    Walter Stanley Lynn
    1615745, 57 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    who died on 28 August 1943 Age 20
    Son of Katherine Emma Lynn, of Deeping Gate, Northamptonshire.
    Remembered with Honour
    Durnbach War Cemetery

    In Memory of
    Flight Sergeant Nav.
    William MacKillop
    R/124707, 57 (R.A.F.) Sqdn., Royal Canadian Air Force
    who died on 28 August 1943 Age 28
    Son of James and Mary Bell MacKillop, of Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Remembered with Honour
    Durnbach War Cemetery

    In Memory of
    Sergeant W.Op./Air Gnr.
    William Charles Marcus Thomas
    1203830, 57 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    who died on 28 August 1943
    Son of Charles and Jane Thomas; husband of Lilian Marjorie Thomas, of Holborn London.
    Remembered with Honour
    Durnbach War Cemetery

    In Memory of
    Flight Sergeant
    John Charles Perry
    410721, Royal Australian Air Force
    who died on 28 August 1943 Age 24
    Son of Rupert John and Ruby Amelia Perry, of Carnegie, Victoria, Australia.
    Remembered with Honour
    Durnbach War Cemetery

    In Memory of
    Sergeant Air Gnr.
    Thomas Raymond Crowther
    1414489, 57 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    who died on 28 August 1943 Age 20
    Son of Francis Edwin and Florence Eliza Crowther, of Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire.
    Remembered with Honour
    Durnbach War Cemetery

    Attached Files:

  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    I have just joined this site and am wondering how to start research on a family friend who was in the RAFVR. He was from Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire and died in WW2. How can I find out more about him, where he served, where he died, and if there is a war memorial with his name on it. I searched the Buckinghamshire War Memorials list for Gerrards Cross but didn't see his name on any of them. His name is Paul Albert Levy.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    Hello Liz

    I have photographed and checked the Gerrards Cross Memorial and he is not on there.

  10. Blue drummer

    Blue drummer Junior Member

    What do you typically receive for your money?
    Is it a one page document, joining date, name, DOB, etc....or is it a detailed history of all missions and postings?
  11. JJ334

    JJ334 Junior Member

    My father trained allied pilots to fly B-17's in Alabama in 1943. We're trying to find an RAF pilot named ANGUS WATSON who became a family friend while he was in training there. Over the years we've lost track of him and would like to know more about him and where he was from. I was a young lad at the time and over the years we lost track of him. I'm sure he's deceased by now but would like to find out more.

    I don't remember the name of the unit in Alabama and am researching that separately. Perhaps someone could help by telling me how to access RAF records to find those pilots who trained here in the U.S.


    Hi Fred,

    The name 'Angus Watson' rings a bell with me.
  12. AWatson

    AWatson Junior Member

    He was my father.

    Angus Watson
  13. JJ334

    JJ334 Junior Member

    He was my father.

    Angus Watson

    He would have been my Father-in-law!

  14. Trooper Kerry

    Trooper Kerry Junior Member

    Looking for some advice please? I am looking into a missing headstone for my dads cousin, Sgt John Kerry RAFVR KIA 27/01/44. I have found the grave site in a civvy cemetery but no stone. I have reported in to the CWGC but as my dad has passed away and Sgt Kerry has no known next of kin i am starting for scratch as far as what Sqn etc he was with.
    Anyone suggest any website etc

    It is sad as both Sgt Kerrys brothers, Sgt Richard Kerry RAFVR was KIA in a on raid on Bremen & Gunner Joe Kerry KIA in Italy. This ended that line of Kerrys & i have only just found this out a couple of weeks ago.

    Any help/advice would be most welcome.

    martin kerry
  15. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Hi Martin

    I'd recommend you apply for his service records as detailed in this thread.

    Otherwise, you should also start your own thread in the Research & Genealogy section of this Forum. That way it will attract those who have books on RAF losses who may be able to track down what unit he may have served in. It might get missed in this thread, as that query is not to do with applying for service records.

    In regard to the missing headstone, you have done the right thing in telling the CWGC. Just make sure you get a reply indicating what they intend to do.

    Cheers - Rob
  16. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Hello Martin, welcome to the forum. The following re the loss of Sgt. John Kerry is taken from RAF Bomber Command Losses Vol.8 - W R. Chorley.

    Its possible that the reason there is no CWGC headstone is that members of the crew were buried by their family's thus the CWGC would not have been involved.

    26-27 January 1944

    1660 HCU
    Stirling III EH933
    Op. Training.

    Took off from Swinderby for a night cross-country, with two flight engineers including the crew of eight. While flying at high altitude, just inland from the south coast of Devon, a sudden and terrible disasters overtook the crew and their aircraft dropped from the sky, breaking apart as it fell. Thus at 0004 hrs the fuselage and most of the mainplane crashed into a hillside at Coppleham Cross, north of Exton and a mere six miles south south east from the city of Exeter. Eventually debris was recovered from along a path stretching three and a half miles eastwards from the main impact point. Air Investigation Branch specialists later determined that the rear fuselage had detached at around 14,000 feet, following at circa 10,000 - 11,000 feet by the elevators and rear turret.

    Following identification, the eight airmen were buried under private arrangements by their next of kin.


    Sgt. R A. Partridge +
    Sgt. A. Thursby +
    Sgt. H. Hewitt +
    Sgt. C V. Tomkinson +
    Sgt. T H. Jones +
    Sgt. B. Ackroyd +
    Sgt. J. Kerry +
    Sgt. R. Street +
  17. Dubman

    Dubman Well-Known Member

    How can you find out someone service number.
    we have full name, date of birth and we know which squadron he served with for at least part of his service, but we have no service number. Any help would be much appreciated.
    dp_burke likes this.
  18. dp_burke

    dp_burke Junior Member

    Can you give us the details and we can show you how. As long their not John Smith or a name like that.

    There is a database if sorts called AIR78 in the UK national archives, I assume your taking about a member of the RAF and not Canadian or Australian etc?

    Give us tge name and we can help
  19. dp_burke

    dp_burke Junior Member

    And the squadron/unit you know he was with.
  20. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    As far as I know there were seven British Flying Training Schools they were as follows:

    •  1 BFTS, Terrell, Texas

    •  2 BFTS, Lancaster, California

    •  3 BFTS, Miami, Oklahoma

    •  4 BFTS, Mesa, Arizona

    •  5 BFTS, Clewiston, Florida

    •  6 BFTS, Ponca City, Oklahoma

    •  7 BFTS, Sweetwater, Texas (May 42)
    I don't know of a BFTS in Alabama perhaps it was introduced after 1942. My second cousin trained as an RAFVR bomber pilot on the no 2 course from 6 Dec 1941 at No 1 BFTS Terrell Texas. If you get his record it may show No. ? BFTS USA and the date. However it may not be a BFTS Angus Watson was at , it may have been an US airforce training base not a British one. Maxwell Field Alabama trained US Army Airforce B17 pilots, so may have trained Angus Watson as well.

    Angus Watson was an ex Essex Police Officer who became a Pilot Officer in the RAF and trained Craig Field Alabama
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020

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