Early military aviation was the responsibility of the army who established the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in 1912. The naval wing moved to the control of the Admiralty when the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) was formed in 1914. The two organisations combined to create the independent Royal Air Force (RAF) on 1 April 1918. Those who served in the RFC or RNAS and then the RAF may have records in more than one place.

Download a copy of our guide to tracing your Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force ancestry.

You can also search for information about First World War servicemen and women in our permanent digital memorial, Lives of the First World War.