The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was created in 1921. The National Archives holds RAAF service records from this year onward.
Each service record documents an individual's career with the RAAF.
Other useful records include casualty files, also known as accident reports, and unit records.
Records of members of the Australian Flying Corps, which preceded the RAAF, are included in the collection of first Australian Imperial Force (AIF) records. For more information, see Army – World War I.
Some of the records we hold are:
- RAAF officers personnel files 1921-48 (Series A9300)
- RAAF personnel files of non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and other ranks 1921-48 (Series A9301)
- RAAF service records, all ranks 1949 onwards (Series A12372)
- RAAF casualty files 1922-60 (Series A705)
- RAAF unit records 1937-61 (Series AA1969/100)
- RAAF unit history sheets (Series A9186)
We are currently digitising World War II service records and they will be progressively made available online. Some records may be temporarily unavailable to the public while they are being digitised.
What’s in a RAAF service record?
You will find a record of service form. This sets out details such as:
- next of kin
- marital status
- training and promotions
The records often contain other material, such as:
- enlistment forms
- conduct sheets
- records of leave
- head-and-shoulders photograph of the enlistee
Find and view a RAAF record online
You will find RAAF records under 'Air Force personnel records' or 'RAAF accident reports'. There's a 'help' tab if you have any questions.
Buy a copy
If the record you're after is not already digitised on RecordSearch, you can pay to have a digital copy made.
View an original record
You can view a RAAF personnel record in the National Archives' Canberra Research Centre.
If you wish to view a service record, submit a request to view records form before your visit. Please advise us if the service person is living or deceased.
If the record is 'open', your request can be processed in 5 business days. Many records are 'not yet examined' and need clearance before they can be publicly viewed. This can take up to 90 business days, so please submit your request well in advance of your visit.
You can also ask us a question about accessing records.
Other RAAF personnel information
Every member killed or severely wounded will have a casualty file.
The file contains details of the incident, along with reports from:
- Squadron personnel
- war graves investigators
- the Red Cross
You can find casualty files from 1922 to 1960 in RecordSearch. Go to the NameSearch tab and enter the surname of the person whose record you are looking for. On the drop down 'category' menu, select RAAF accident reports.
Court of Inquiry files
Courts of Inquiry investigate the cause of accidents and incidents. This includes the loss of aircraft during air operations or through enemy action. As well as a report with the findings, the file may contain reports from:
- Squadron personnel
The RAAF has destroyed many files with straightforward or minor inquiries, as they were of no ongoing use. Most of those that remain are unusual cases, such as:
- those involving experimental aircraft
- incidents where members of the public have been killed
- cases which attracted publicity in the press
- incidents when many lives were lost
If you can't find what you are looking for, you can ask us a question.
Service records may include reference to service medals.
However, service records may not include information about which service medals a person was entitled to, or if they were ever issued.
Defence Honours and Awards can help with such enquiries:
Department of Defence
CANBERRA BC ACT 2610
Phone: 1800 333 362
Medals are generally only 'reissued' to a service person or their next-of-kin if the medal has never been issued.
You can buy replicas of medals that have been issued from medal makers. Look for medal makers in your local Yellow Pages, or online, under 'Medals'.
Pension information and entitlements
For information on pensions and entitlements, contact the Veterans' Affairs Network
Phone: 133 254 or 1800 555 254