Catalogue description Mediterranean Allied Air Forces: Microfilmed Files

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Details of AIR 51
Reference: AIR 51
Title: Mediterranean Allied Air Forces: Microfilmed Files

Microfilms of the papers of the Mediterranean Allied Air Force headquarters and its subordinate headquarters which together formed the airforce component of the Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ). The films deal with Allied air operations in the Mediterranean during the Second World War and cover the campaigns in Sicily and Italy.

The series was retained in department until its release in 1996.

Date: 1941-1945

Each microfilm contains the images of a several separate files. Each file has been numbered and briefly described as a separate item. The item numbers are derived from the contents lists that appear at the beginning or end of many microfilms. In very many cases a single sequence of item numbers runs across several microfilms.

Note that in many cases the images are in reverse order on the microfilms, i.e. the back of the last item is at the beginning of the reel and the front of the first item is at the end.

Related material:

Records of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force and 21 Army Group are in

WO 229

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 463 microform
Physical condition: The image quality is variable. In some cases it is very poor, making the text difficult or impossible to read.
Access conditions: Available in microform only
Immediate source of acquisition:

1971-2009 Ministry of Defence

Selection and destruction information: Many of the records of the Allied Command were deposited, after microfilming, with the United States' Department of the Army. The records of Headquarters Mediterranean Allied Air Force (MAAF) were originally microfilmed by the MAAF Historical Section but inspection of these films by the Allied Forces Records Administration (AFRA) resulted in a decision to re-film the records to the technical standards prescribed by a Combined Chiefs of Staff's directive. Both sets of film eventually came into the hands of the Ministry of Defence, Air Department who were then able to make a direct comparison and, having established that there was complete duplication between them, they elected to destroy the AFRA microfilm in February 1973. The original paper files have not survived.
Administrative / biographical background:

The joint Allied air command was established on 17 February 1943 under the name "Mediterranean Air Command", but was re-named "Mediterranean Allied Air Forces" with effect from 10 December 1943. Mediterranean Allied Air Forces was dissolved into its constituent parts: US Army Air Forces, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations and Royal Air Force, Mediterranean and Middle East on 31 July 1945.

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