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Advanced search

Search items

Seaching for a specific term will retrieve all the terms containing that query. For instance, if you type ‘bomb’ the results include ‘bomb’, ‘bombs’, ‘bombing’, ‘bomber’, etc. Should you get too many irrelevant hits, please use ‘Search by tags’.

The search box default is a keyword search. If ‘ground personnel’ is typed in, the archive will be searched for both ‘ground’ and ‘personnel’. The search can be refined to an exact match by clicking the three dots to the right of the search box and selecting ‘exact match’. Exact match searches will look for the exact string given.

Combinations of keywords, narrowed by other fields and / or tags can be used to perform focused searches.

Scroll to the first ‘Narrow by specific fields’ box. In the drop-down menu next to ‘select below’ you will see ten possible options. Each of these is a search option and you can choose just one, or select two or more in combination by using the ‘add a field’ button.

Title: This narrows searches to words that occur only in the title.

Description: This narrows searches to words that occur only in the description field.

Creator: This narrow searches to the person or entity responsible for creating an item. For example the creator of a log book is recorded as ‘Great Britain. Royal Air Force’.

When item was created (yyyy-mm-dd): This is the actual date the item was created, the date a letter was written, or a photograph taken. All dates are recorded in the format yyyy-mm-dd. Partial dates can be searched for. For example, June 1943 should be entered as 1943-06.

Language: the archive uses ISO 639-3:2007 codes for the representation of names of languages.

For example:














Type: items can be searched for by their type. These are:




Moving image

Navigation chart and navigation log


Physical object

Physical object. Clothing

Physical object. Decoration


Technical aid


Text. Correspondence

Text. Diary

Text. Log book and record book

Text. Memoir

Text. Personal research

Text. Poetry

Text. Service material

Text. Training material


Force: items can be searched for by their relevant military force. These are:


British Army


Polskie Siły Powietrzne

Regia Aereonautica

Royal Air Force

Royal Air Force. Balloon Command

Royal Air Force. Bomber Command

Royal Air Force. Coastal Command

Royal Air Force. Fighter Command

Royal Air Force. Training Command

Royal Air Force. Transport Command

Royal Australian Air Force

Royal Canadian Air Force

Royal Indian Air Force

Royal Navy

Royal New Zealand Air Force

South African Air Force

United States Army

United States Army Air Force


Wehrmacht. Kriegsmarine

Wehrmacht. Luftwaffe


Where: The Archive uses Library of Congress Subject headings for all geographical locations. See:  http://fast.oclc.org/searchfast/. For example Berlin is recorded as Germany--Berlin.

When (yyyy-mm-dd): This is when an event took place. For example, an interview recorded in 2017 can discuss events in 1945. All dates are recorded in the format yyyy-mm-dd. Partial dates can be searched for. For example, August 1944 should be entered as 1944-08.