Public Record Office Kew Records
The Unit F540 and F541 Operations Record Books have been photographed from the micro-filmed records
held at the Public Record Office Kew. These digital photographs have been transcribed and displayed on
this site. These texts are therefore not subject to copyright (see below) other than that belonging to
Michael Ryan who did the transcription.
Sometimes it may be necessary to display an actual image from the Kew Records. In that case the
following copyright notice is required by the PRO and the image will be so marked on this site:
"These images must not be used for commercial publication without written permission from:
The Image Library,
The National Archives,
For those items for which the copyright belongs to Michael Ryan, Web Master, they may not be used in
any commercial way without permission. They may be used on non-commercial sites with acknowledgement but
please do not link directly to them.
Most records in The National Archive are in Crown Copyright. There are no restrictions on the use of
copies for non-commercial research or private study. Copies, and copies of those copies, may also be made
and used for education purposes: this covers both teaching and preparation for teaching and/or examination
by either teacher or student.
The use of copies for publication (including web-site publication), exhibition or broadcast or any
other purpose requires permission from The National Archive's Image Library whose address is:
The National Archives,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org A reproduction fee will be payable.
The Web Master has checked with Mr Tim Padfield and having explained the purpose of our site, he
has approved the use of the transcribed documents for no charge.
Access to Unit Operations Record Books - F540s
The F540 and F541 Operations Record Books for squadrons, wings, stations, groups, and commands that
are older than 30 years are held in The National Archives at the Public Record Office at Kew, Surrey.
They generally do not go back beyond the middle 1930s. Most of them have been micro-filmed and are freely
available. The later ones that have not been micro-filmed can be requested and the original viewed. If
necessary, it can be photographed. Some of the micro-film readers can print photocopies, A4 or A3, for
20p a copy. Copies of the original documents can be purchased and ordered while you wait.
The various "Series" of interest that are held by Kew are as follows:
AIR27 - RAF Squadron F540 Operation Record Books.
AIR24 - RAF Command F540s.
AIR25 - RAF Group F540s.
AIR26 - RAF Wing F540s.
AIR28 - RAF Station F540s.
AIR29 - Miscellaneous RAF Unit F540s.
There are Index Books to these records. The indices show the breakdown of the Series in to "Piece"
numbers. For example, in the AIR27 Index the 93 Squadron entry states that "It was formed in September
1917. Disbanded in August 1918 and re-formed in December 1940". Piece 751 is the first one available for
93 Squadron and covers the period October 1940 to December 1943. It has a PRO reference number IIM/E93/1.
Other Piece Numbers for 93 Squadron are as follows:
752 - January 1944 to November 1946 PRO reference number IIM/E93/2
753 - April 1941 to November 1946
2636 - April 1941 to December 1955
2803 - January 1956 to December 1960
Having established which Piece Number is required, there are then further indices on display which
tell you in which Row of filing cabinets and in which Drawer Number the micro-film of that Piece is held.
For example, Piece 751 is held in Row 1, Drawers 52 - 71.
Only Piece numbers from 1 to 2894 have been micro-filmed. For Piece Numbers above 2894 the original
F540s must be ordered. This can take up to an hour for them to be recovered from the underground vaults.
You are issued with a pager to tell you when your document has been recovered and is ready for collection
in the Reading Room.
If you wish to photograph the F540 pages then you must declare your camera and sign to say you
understand the very simple copyright rules. The micro-film readers project a copy of the pages that is
sufficiently well lit to enable you to take a photograph of the image. Using a digital camera, the results
can be downloaded at home and are clear enough to be transcribed. This procedure, effectively, costs
nothing but your time. Photocopying at 20p per page could become expensive if a large number of pages are
required. There are typically 3 to 6 pages for each month.
Some of the F540s contain photographs. These do not photo-copy or photograph well. In this case the
Kew desk will arrange for you to have access to the original documents, even if they have been micro-filmed,
and it should be possible to make reasonable photographs of these. There may be a charge for this service.
The transcribed F540 texts on this site have been annotated with the AIR series and Piece numbers in