Aircrew logbooks

We have an extensive collection of aircrew logbooks, covering all aircrew trades, periods and theatres, although the majority are from the two World Wars. These form a very useful resource for those researching the history of a particular unit, station or aircraft, or an operation or campaign. Many of the logbooks in our collection are originals, but we are also grateful to those who have allowed us to microfilm or photocopy logbooks in their possession. We welcome all offers to donate or lend logbooks, and are particularly keen to add material which relates to operations in the Middle and Far East, Special Duties and flying in the post-1945 period.

We are often asked whether we hold a specific person’s log book. When aircrew were reported missing their effects were collected together and held in a central depository. Whilst in most cases their property was later handed over to next of kin, unclaimed logbooks were retained by the Air Ministry. By 1959, these unclaimed logbooks covered some 6500 feet of shelving. It was decided that representative samples would be preserved in the Public Record Office and the remainder destroyed at the end of 1960. This decision was announced in the Press and a number of people claimed logbooks. But the vast majority were destroyed, ironically just a few years before the RAF Museum was founded.

Our archives also include small numbers of logbooks for fighter controllers and air ambulance orderlies, as well as members of the Air Transport Auxiliary and some civil logbooks.