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Air Force Lives (Kindle)

A Guide for Family Historians

Family History RAF

By Phil Tomaselli
Imprint: Pen & Sword Family History
File Size: 6.4 MB (.prc)
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781783378036
Published: 4th February 2013

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What was it like to serve as an airman in the Second World War, as a pilot, a bomb aimer, or aerial gunner, or as a trainee pilot in 1913, a Zeppelin chaser during the First World War, or serve as a Wren fitter in the Fleet Air Arm or as a member of the ground crew who are so often overlooked in the history of Britain's air arm? And how can you find out about an individual, an ancestor whose service career is a gap in your family's history?

Phil Tomaselli, in this readable and instructive book, shows you how this can be done. He describes in fascinating detail the careers of a group air force personnel from all branches and levels of the service. Using evidence gleaned from a range of sources – archives, memoirs, official records, books, libraries, oral history and the internet – he reconstructs the records of a revealing and representative group of ordinary men and women: among them an RFC fitter who won the Military Medal on the Somme, an RAF pilot who flew in Russia in 1919, an air gunner from the Second Word War, a Pathfinder crew who flew 77 missions, a Battle of Britain pilot and a typical WAAF.

In each case he shows how the research was conducted and explains how the lives of such individuals can be explored.

A useful guide.

Forces Pension Society

Using evidence gleaned from a range of sources - archives. memoirs, books, libraries, oral history and the internet - he reveals how the lives of such individuals can be explored.

Britain At War

Pen & Sword has already built an extensive series of books on tracing ancestors who lived in particular areas or had specific occupations. Now it has a series of books on 'How your ancestors lived', delving more into the social history, underpinned with a wealth of first-hand accounts. This title in the series by well-known military historian Phil Tomaselli, applies this approach to the history of the British air services...Tomaselli begins with a brief survey of the history of the organisations in question, but the majority of the book consists of a series of nine extensive case studies. Collectively they provide a good range of different lives, and reveal a similar variety of sources used to learn about them. Read it for a rich and detailed picture of the different lives of air force ancestors.

Your Family Tree

Pen & Sword has already built an extensive series of books on tracing ancestors who lived in particular areas or had specific occupations. Now it has a series of books on 'How your ancestors lived', delving more into the social history, underpinned with a wealth of first-hand accounts. This title in the series by well-known military historian Phil Tomaselli, applies this approach to the history of the British air services...Tomaselli begins with a brief survey of the history of the organisations in question, but the majority of the book consists of a series of nine extensive case studies. Collectively they provide a good range of different lives, and reveal a similar variety of sources used to learn about them. Read it for a rich and detailed picture of the different lives of air force ancestors.

Your Family Tree

Air Force Lives is the latest addition to Pen and Sword's series of books for family historians based around real case studies. The concept of using case studies to illustrate the lives of our ancestors and how archival sources can be used to create a fuller picture is not a new one. The nine cases presented here are very interesting although they don't fully represent the personnel of the Air Forces-there are no cases for the Fleet Air Arm or Army Air Corps. The range of archival sources used is heavily reliant upon the operational records held at TNA, simply because the personal records of the majority of the subject individuals are still held by the MOD. While there is advice on obtaining an RAF record of service in chapter five, there is no similar advice about obtaining one for the Wren case study. Tomaselli does an interesting job covering military aviation from the Bleriot to jet engines and does include officers and other ranks and not just aircrew, but perhaps it would have been nice to start with the Balloon Section of one of the Royal Engineers. The difficulty with a case-study format is that, although each case is packed with information about various archival sources and published works, this information is scattered throughout the book. As a result, you have to read every study in order to get an idea of what is available. Also, there is some lack of attention to detail regarding orders of precedence for honours and awards and he fails to mention that the RAF Muster is available on findmypast.co.uk. However, if you use this book in conjunction with Tracing Your Air Force Ancestors by the same author, the case studies will give you an idea of what is possible.

Who Do You Think You Are Magazine, May 2013

What was it like to serve as an airman in WWII, as a pilot, a bomb aimer, or as a trainee pilot in 1913, a Zeppelin chaser during WWI, or serve as a Wren fitter in the Fleet Air Arm or as a member of the ground crew? Military historian Phil Tomaselli explores all of these roles and the records available Read it for a researchers guide to the many aspects of the air force.

Your Family tree, April 2013

What was it like to serve as an airman in the Second World War, as a pilot, a bomb aimer, or aerial gunner, or as a trainee pilot in 1913, a Zeppelin chaser during the First World War, or serve as a Wren fitter in the Fleet Air Arm or as a member of the ground crew who are so often overlooked in the history of Britain’s air arm? And how can you find out about an individual, an ancestors whose service career is a gap in your family’s history?
Phil Tomaselli, in this readable and instructive book, show you how this can be done. He describes in fascinating detail the careers of a group of air force personnel from all branches and levels of the service. Using evidence gleaned from a history of sources- archives, memories, official records, books, libraries, oral history and the internet – he reconstructs the records of a revealing and representative group of ordinary men and women: among them an RFC fitter who won the Military Medal on the Somme, an RAF pilot who flew in Russia in 1919, an air gunner from the Second World War, a Pathfinder crew who flew 77 missions, a Battle of Britain pilot and a typical WAAF.
In each case he shows how the research was conducted and explains how the lives of such individuals can be explored.

Kent FHS Journal

About Phil Tomaselli

Phil Tomaselli has written extensively on military and family history and he has made a special study of the Western Front, in particular the decisive campaign of 1918. He has published many articles on aspects of army and air force history.

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