FOI for Sqn records

Has anyone ever used an FOI to get a Sqns history?

Or does anyone know how to get records on a Squadrons full history.

What kind of records are you looking for I guess would be the start point?

A complete list of Sqn ocs and adjutants.
Sqn HQ locations.
Personnel numbers.
Cadet numbers.
Any other history on file.

You won’t get a list of OCs by FOI because it breaks their data protection. The other information you might get some.

Sounds like a waste of time asking for that on FOI, would be better approaching the unit in a friendly manner and asking surely?

Some of it might not exist above unit level anyway.

HQAC claim not to have that data anyway, so unless the Squadron has had the foresight to keep a record it won’t exist.

Also at this current time units may have more pressing matters than looking up old COs etc. As a relative newcomer to my unit, I’d struggle to find that information easily.
I’ve been asked for info by an ex cadet dating from the 1950s. I may be tasking some cadets with a project!

It’s for my unit…

They didnt have the foresight.

This FOI might be of interest

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An FOI is a waste of time. HQAC list all units as formed in 1941
Any info before this went to Hendon apparently.
Hendon said they sent it to Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens said they never got anything.

The above Request was by someone I knew well and we were doing it about the same time. We never got much info but gave them more…

For anyone looking for some ADCC info
This link is for National Library of Scotland which has a full cadet list from an old magazine.

If interested in old Scottish squadron names,
Note how squadrons were split between Scottish and highland.

Library and old local newspaper microfiche or however these may be stored now. If you have access, old online papers, but this does need these to be online for the area and years of interest. Overall unless you’re lucky and someone was active on putting things in papers it may not bring what you expect. Even then, ATC squadrons like a lot of “good” things get lost in the murk and overlooked when it comes to news.
Put an article in the local rag and ask if any old staff or cadets have info, these may have other things as well. I got chatting to an old cadet from the 60s at a Remembrance Parade a few years back, who was a wealth of info and gave a good chat to the cadets.

From experience Wing may have a list of OCs with dates, but that’s it. HQAC wouldn’t waste your breath. I asked them for info on the sqn and you could sense the tumbleweed had been blowing around.

Whichever way you do it, be ready to the put the hours in for not a lot of return.

This was something I did a few years back for my Squadron. We didn’t event know when the Squadron was formed let alone having a list of COs.

Don’t expect military levels of record keeping.
There is no central archive to access. Archives cost money and there has never been money for that.

HQAC do not keep (and never have as far as I am aware) lists of COs for each Sqn.

My wing did have some history but under orders from HQAC had destroyed most of their archive (GDPR reasons apparently) about a year before I started asking. Even their photo archive was destroyed.

Older members of staff throughout the Wing were good sources for recent history. I was lucky in that I was a cadet at my sqn in the late 70s early 80s so could fill in some gaps as could other ex-cadets I was in contact with.

My main source was the local county archive, where I accessed the archive for the local paper.

Also the London Gazette was a good secondary source as you can cross check when officers received/resigned their commission.

Also put out the word if you can (get in touch with the local paper) and ask local residents for any memories they have. You will be surprised how many people will come forward.

I spent many many hours/days reading back copies of the local paper starting at 1941!

I achieved my goal.
First parade 25th March 1941.
Name of every CO and dates of command.

I won’t lie it was extremely hard work and took so much time but uncovering those long lost pieces of information is very rewarding.


What sort of info? Do they (HQAC?) have a way to retain it now?

I spoke to them and they said the squadron began
1-Feb-41… highlighted it was stood up prior to this as it was a ADCC unit. Then they had the locations for the sqn I correct and we had again to share our knowledge. They just said they would update the records.

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Reminds me of the 75th anniversary, I replied to lots of Dawns #aircadet75 with #aircadet78 I’m surprised I never got blocked lol


Others have given good advice: ask Wing Adj if there is any data. I rather expect there is none. Certainly I cannot remember submitting any data. Moreover, having read many books about RAF Sqns, researchers depended on “incidental” records, like ORBs and Sqn Diaries, and these varied according to the vagaries of the diarist. I recollect a book - but not its title -about the Corps written by VR(T) officer which included probably as much data as is available.

What is this?


Anyone logged in to access this document?

Notwithstanding the source, this has got some interesting (general) timeline information.

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