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History belongs to all of us and we can each play our part by recording what we know of our relatives' or friends' involvement. If you don't do it, chances are that whatever part they played will be lost as time passes.
We encourage you, therefore, to research your own family histories. Collect together letters, photographs, and write down personal accounts from those still living. Find newspaper cuttings and relevant parts in published works and whatever you can find on the web. It's especially important to identify everyone you can, whilst you can, in your photos because it's usually the case that only the living will know the names.
Put your research in a family binder, or even consider self-publishing the material in a proper book (we give you advice on this) and giving a copy to every living family member. Make a note in your will who you want your copy to be passed to, otherwise it might just get tossed in the bin.
Here are some of the research tools we use in our own work. If you know of others you think we should know of, please tell us by sending us email from our Helpdesk.
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
General Advice on Family History Research: Your Essential How-To Guide