Ancestry has added the UK RAF Airmen records 1918-1940 collection to its database.
More than 616,000 servicemen are included in these records, and nearly 4,000 of them are Irish-born.
The original records, which are held in AIR 79 by The National Archives in Kew, London, have been partially transcribed by Ancestry. Typically, a search delivers name, gender, age, birth date and place, service number and start date, next of kin and relationship to the airman. Sometimes the mother's name is also provided. See examples (right) of the search results for Bernard Trayner (sic) and William Carroll.
For additional details of the serviceman's record, you need to shift over to Fold 3, Ancestry's specialist military database. (A US$30 discount offer expires tonight, by the way.)
So what extra information is held in the full record? Here's the additional details discovered by viewing the images for these two randomly selected servicemen:
Bernard was born in Tullow, not Tollon as the transcription would have it (no such place exists). The transcription of his surname is incorrect, too. His religion was Church of Ireland and he was an insurance agent when he joined the RAF. A physical description is provided but there are no details regarding his service because it lasted no longer than three and a half months; he deserted on 12 January 1919. His brother James was noted as living at 1 McGowen Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin.
William's birthplace was noted as Kilcormac (again, the transcription is not correct), a town in King's County, now County Offaly. He was a Roman Catholic and a shop assistant when he enlisted for a two-year engagement as a Rigger. His character was good and his trade proficiency fair or satisfactory. He required treatment for a gum condition and spent part of his service in Egypt. A personal description is provided of William, while the address of Peter, his father, is written as Ballinacorry, which is probably Ballynacarrig, a townland about 4km outside Kilcormac. William was discharged in May 1921 with a total service towards a pension of 2 years and 220 days.