Royal Australian Air Force

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:

What’s in a RAAF service record?

You will find a record of service form. This sets out details such as:

  • age
  • next of kin
  • marital status
  • postings
  • 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

Digital copies of more than 40,000 RAAF service records are available, with more added each week. Visit RecordSearch. Use the NameSearch function to search for the member.

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

You can buy a digital copy of a service record on RecordSearch, .

Find the record using NameSearch. On the 'item details' screen, select 'request copy' and follow the instructions. Copying charges apply.

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

Casualty files

Every member killed or severely wounded will have a casualty file.

The file contains details of the incident, along with reports from:

  • survivors
  • eyewitnesses
  • 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.

We also hold later casualty files covering the period 1949 to 1975. You can search RecordSearch using the service member's name. If you can't find what you are looking for, you can ask us a question.

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:

  • survivors
  • eyewitnesses
  • Squadron personnel
  • engineers
  • coroners

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

Court of Inquiry files can be found in series A705 and A703. You can search RecordSearch using the service members' name or type of aircraft.

If you can't find what you are looking for, you can ask us a question.

Other contacts

Medals

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:

CP2-1-016
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

Further information

For more information on finding RAAF records see Researching war service.