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Old 9th October 2012, 10:03
Andy Saunders Andy Saunders is offline
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RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

I have today heard again from the MOD regarding the possible release to Kew of RAF Casualty Records. The following e-mail refers:

Further to my e-mail below, approval to proceed with the limited public consultation has been received, and a description of the records and the sensitivity issues arising from them been issued to a range of ex service and RAF associations. We have asked for a response by mid November and would therefore anticipate (allowing for a consideration of the responses and further approval) to know an outcome by early 2013.

Last edited by Andy Saunders; 9th October 2012 at 14:47. Reason: typo
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Old 9th October 2012, 14:20
Buffnut453 Buffnut453 is offline
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Re: RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

Andy,

This is great news. I fully understand the sensitivity of these records but they truly are a goldmine of information for historians and genealogists, and often contain information that is not available from other Air Ministry records. I presume there would be a cut-off date that would increment forward each year (eg records must be at least, say, 70 or 75 years old before they'd be considered for release).

KR
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Old 9th October 2012, 14:45
Andy Saunders Andy Saunders is offline
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Re: RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

Buffnut - I am not sure this is such "great news". Not yet, anyway.

They had been 'scheduled' for release to Kew, but a block was then put on their release pending consideration as to sensitivity issues. That has now progressed to a "limited public consultation" which seems to be very limited indeed.

It looks as if this is limited to RAF and ex-service associations, and I think the sub-text here is that those invited to participate in the 'consultation' have been briefed as to the 'sensitivity issues'. The cynic in me is rather inclined to the view that a very definite steer will be given to those responding to the consultation, and will probably set out the desired response. Thus, some phoney legitimacy will be given to the inevitable decision to keep these records 'Closed'.

Isn't it time all interested parties got writing to their MPs?
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Old 10th October 2012, 19:53
Schenck Schenck is offline
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Re: RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

Does anybody know what those 'sensitivity issues' are, according to MoD at least?
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Old 10th October 2012, 22:52
SteveB SteveB is online now
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Re: RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

Andy

I have seen the more extended thread on the Flypast board but I am not registered there.

It seems to me the key issue is to try to lobby the ex-service associations to give the "right" answer and I am not sure why they would want to support the entrenched position of the AHB.

With regard to some of the points made on Flypast in my view the issue is not about "cost" in the sense expressed there. I am not a lawyer but I find it hard to believe that the provisions of the DPAct in the UK are significantly different from the legislation in Australia, Canada and NZ however I acknowledge that the Human Rights Act in the UK may have an additional unknown (to me) implication.

In my view the key issue in handing over this information to Kew is the implications for the structure of AHB within MoD. Even though AHB is generally unhelpful in responding to the public enquiries about the Casualty Records all of that postal traffic supports a level of staffing that has a knock on into the establishment of the Branch and which, I believe, supports an Air Commodore desk job? In my view that is almost certainly the key issue in "giving away" these records.

Sorry to be so cynical

Steve
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Old 11th October 2012, 00:26
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Re: RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

I am afraid that as a serving senior officer (soon to be retired) I too share Andy & Steve's cynicism
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Old 11th October 2012, 00:51
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Re: RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Goss View Post
... as a serving senior officer (soon to be retired) ...
... Next stop the House of Lords?
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Old 11th October 2012, 03:52
Buffnut453 Buffnut453 is offline
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Re: RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

AFAIK the "Air Commodore" desk job is actually a civilian and all RAF records remain under the "ownership" of AHB even though Kew looks after them. Given that these casualty records are, in reality, index cards, I do wonder how (assuming access is granted to the general public) Kew will make them accessible...unless they digitize the contents and turn it into an on-line database.
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Old 11th October 2012, 08:48
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Re: RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

No such chance Nick. Director of Business Development for an airfield support services company!
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Old 11th October 2012, 10:20
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Andy Fletcher Andy Fletcher is offline
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Re: RAF Casualty Records - Consultation on Public Release

According to the RAF website (http://www.raf.mod.uk/ahb/) the 5th bullet point of the "What we do" section states:

•We have the responsibility within the RAF to respond to historical RAF casualty enquiries made by members of the public.

The AHB do respond to enquiries on casualties but sadly they seldom provide the information the enquirer is after. The Data Protection Act (and perversely the Freedom of Information Act) are used as an excuse not to answer the questions asked.

So unfortunately cynicism is totally warranted.

Best Regards

Andy Fletcher
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