New Zealand Bomber Command Association




Bomber Command Service History

Ken Orman and the crew of HK 659 Queenie
(Credit: NZ Bomber Command Association Archives)

Researching Bomber Command Service History

Increasingly NZBCA is receiving enquiries from descendants of Bomber Command airmen, looking for information of their service history, so we thought it would be useful to compile a resource list for those wishing to find out more about the wartime service history of a family member, friend or relative.

Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources that can help. Thank you to Chris Newey and Carolyn Clark for compiling this set of resources.

We will keep this as a live resource and welcome further suggestions that may be useful for other researchers.

Please contact us at [email protected]

Online Rolls of Honour and/or Nominal Rolls for New Zealand, Australian and Canadian airmen are great starting points. Unfortunately, the UK does not have an equivalent online resource, so searching for RAF/RAFVR personnel can be more difficult.

It can also be very useful and rewarding to search for your person’s crewmates, as their families are the most likely to hold photos, log books, stories and other information directly relevant to your person’s service. Crews enjoyed a special bond that in some cases could still be felt 80 years later.

For even more detail such as postings, training, promotions and operations undertaken, you can also obtain copies of Service Records and squadron Operational Record Books.

Following is a list of suggested resources and links to help you research the WW2 wartime service of Bomber Command personnel.

RNZAF and New Zealanders who served in the RAF:

AWMM Online Cenotaph

Search by name or by Service Number (N.B., poor search function, Service Number works best). If multiple search results, look for initials and “Air Force”

– not all veterans are listed

– note that in the RAF, when commissioned as an officer, a new Service Number was issued, ie., officers may have two different Service Numbers

– entries for RNZAF personnel Killed In Action now include official RNZAF bios (see 2. below)

– entries often include photos and other items submitted by family or researchers

– many entries include details of embarkation from NZ and Canadian training (BCATP) prior to service in the UK

RNZAF Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 – 1945 (Bound Volumes)

– lost RNZAF airmen alphabetically by surname, 2-3 pages (“files”) of biography per airman.

– follow the “View Online” link to each set, eg., Ab to Bl

Air Force Museum of New Zealand Photograph Collection

Search by initials + surname (format e.g., “AB Smith”), and by surname only

– archive of official RNZAF portrait photos (ex-Weekly News, published for ROH and on occasion of promotions, decorations)

– RNZAF official course photos (taken during training)

– RNZAF official publicity photos

– photos from veterans’ photo albums

Auckland Council Libraries Heritage Image Collection

Search by initials + surname (format e.g., “A B Smith”)

– archive of official RNZAF portrait photos (ex-Weekly News, published for ROH and on occasion of promotions, decorations)

– other photographic collections and press photos

National Library of New Zealand Papers Past (online newspaper archive)

Search by full name (surname last and surname first), and by initials + surname (both before and after surname)

Filter by date range, newspaper titles and/or geographical regions

Filter by type of content – article, advertisement and/or illustration (image)

– articles include entrants to camp for training, course graduates, awarding of decorations, postings, promotions & appointments, lists of injured and missing, ROH, court appearances, weddings and births, personal family updates, return to NZ by ship

– articles displayed as both image and text transcription

– photographs are often poor quality

Request Service Records from NZDF Archives

– comprehensive documentary record of individual’s service from attestation to discharge. Colour photocopies.

– no cost, but may take 3-4 weeks.

– can also be viewed at NZDF Archives, Trentham

NZ War Graves Project

The New Zealand Bomber Command Assn Facebook Page

Australian Bomber Command personnel

Australian War Memorial

World War Two Nominal Roll

Canadian Bomber Command personnel

Canada’s Bomber Command Virtual Memorial – Canadians killed while serving with Bomber Command during World War II

Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM)

Canadian Fallen

All Bomber Command personnel

Google search

Search by all available details – rank, full name, RNZAF/RAF, Service Number, squadron

“NZ Gazette” and “London Gazette” entries for promotions, transfers, decorations

– newspaper & magazine articles

Ancestry (paid subscription)

Search on full name, place born, DOB, etc

– search results include available Military documents

– Family Trees sometimes include photos and war service details

– Electoral Rolls, Census

CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves)

IBCC (International Bomber Command Centre)

Air crew memorial sites – air force casualties database and forums

Squadron history websites, squadron associations, squadron Facebook Groups

– 75 (NZ) Squadron RAF site (Simon Sommerville) –

– 75 Squadron RAF/RNZAF Assn Facebook Group –

Bomber Command Facebook Groups

– Bomber Command History Forum –

– RAF Bomber Command –

– RAF Bomber Command Crews and Aircraft Pictures –

– RAF Bomber Command – The Aircraft & Personnel –

– No.3 Group Bomber Command –

European war graves & war memorial sites

– RNZAF War Graves in the Netherlands –

– Belgians Remember Them –

Specialist aviation and aviation history sites

– Wings Over New Zealand – – forums

Crash & accident sites

– Aviation Safety Network –

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