How to look for records of... Fleet Air Arm personnel

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

View online

How many are online?

  • None
  • Some
  • All

Order copies

We can either copy our records onto paper or deliver them to you digitally

Pay for research

Use our paid search service or find an independent researcher

Visit us

Visit us in Kew to see original documents or view online records for free

This is a brief guide to researching someone who served in the Fleet Air Arm. Relevant records are kept in various places. This guide will help you to find out where the information you are looking for might be, and how to go about finding it.

What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:

  • the officers or ratings‘s full name
  • his dates of service

What records can I see online?

Air Ministry Combat Reports (1939-1945)

Search by surname or squadron number and download (£) Air Ministry Combat Reports (AIR 50). The records mainly consist of either a printed Personal Combat Report or a Fighter Command Combat Report.

What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?

Squadron diaries (1939-1957)

Browse Discovery, our Catalogue, for Fleet Air Arm squadron diaries in ADM 207. You will need to know the squadron number. The diaries sometimes mention people by name.

To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy (£).

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

Use the GOV.UK website to find out how to obtain the service record of a Fleet Air Arm officers or ratings.

What other resources will help me find information?


Look up an announcement of a person’s gallantry award in the London Gazette on The Gazette website.

Browse the websites of the Fleet Air Arm Museum and the Royal Aeronautical Society.


Search The National Archives’ bookshop to see whether any of the publications below may be available to buy. Alternatively, look in The National Archives’ library catalogue to see what is available to consult at Kew.

Bruno Pappalardo, Tracing your naval ancestors (The National Archives, 2003)

William Spencer, Air Force records for family historians (The National Archives, 2008)

Did you know?

Fleet Air Arm personnel service records are not kept at The National Archives.

The Fleet Air Arm is the air force of the Royal Navy.

The Fleet Air Arm was formed on 1 April 1924 from the Royal Air Force squadrons operating at sea.

The Royal Naval Air Service was the original air force of the Royal Navy. In April 1918 it merged with the Royal Flying Corps to become the Royal Air Force.