Background

This project started off as a way of sending information to my Dad on the other side of the world. As with many researchers, I had taken digital photographs of the ORB straight off the projector at The National Archives and, at 4MB a shot, the files were both unwieldy and difficult to read. Having completed my initial area of interest (June 43 - June 44) I decided to keep going, largely to see what had happened to my grandfather's friends. And having reached the end of the War, it was logical to go back and do the preceding months for completeness.

The end result is the complete Operations Record Book AIR 27/1548 from January 1942 through to May 1945. Having gone through the pain of around 18 months of typing I thought I would share with the wider community, partially inspired by the outstanding work of a group of Polish enthusiasts who have completed a similar task for 300 - 318 (Polish) Squadrons.

Then, in a fit of enthusiasm, I went back to complete the record of the War years by transcribing Operations Record Book AIR 27/1547 which runs from the formation of the Squadron on 2nd October 1939 through to the end of 1941.

Related to the ORB are the accompanying volumes of Appendices, comprising signals and combat reports, Nominal Rolls of pilots, annual "histories" of the Squadron, and more. This runs to over 800 pages and I have transcribed a few of these, available on the "Appendices" page. I will add to these from time to time as interest takes me, but I can't see myself managing the whole lot!

Finally, there are a few interesting documents from the WO 208 and WO 344 series' for Pilots of the squadron who were shot down behind enemy lines and either captured or evaded.

Does it really look like that?

The original ORB was recorded on pre-printed, double-sided, B4-sized sheets. Generally they were typed so that they could be carbon copied, although some pages have been hand-written. In this transcription, the general layout of the form resembles the original with typewritten information in Courier font and handwritten information in Monotype font. Particularly later in the war when there were a large number of operations to record, information was closely spaced so that there were two lines of text per line of the ORB form. This has meant that I was unable to fit everything on a sheet of A4 and maintain legibility, hence being forced to use A3.

The Appendices were recorded on paper of all shapes and sizes, and frequently include hand-drawn sketches of the targets. Everything here is on A4.

Does it really say that?

Yes - or at least I hope so! I have tried to follow the original spelling - and mis-spelling, typos, and crossings-out - present in the original. In particular, spelling of names and place names can be quite variable. I have tried to proof-read my work as best I can but given that there are nearly 400 pages of material, I am sure a few mistakes of my own are present.

The quality of the original records varies from very good to almost unreadable. I have taken some pains to decipher the worst sections and am confident I have succeeded. In a very few places I have been defeated, and this is clearly marked.

Can you help me with...?

Unfortunately, probably not. I am not an author, historian, or professional researcher - just someone with a little natural curiosity, some spare time, and a fair bit of patience! If it is of general interest and publically available, it's already on this website.

I have added a links page listing some general resources which may help you.