Airmen Died in the Great War

Records: 7,371 · Complete: 100%


The airplane was invented just 11 years before the start of WWI, but airmen and the personnel who supported them, would play a pivotal role during the Great War. At the beginning of the war, airplanes were unarmed (though some pilots carried weapons). Aircraft were used to drop messages and perform reconnaissance through aerial photography. By 1915, this evolved to dropping projectiles and then mounting machine guns onto aircrafts. In 1916-1917, aerial warfare developed, and fighter aces became heroes. Bombing became an important part of warfare. Airplanes were initially used to support ground troops by dropping bombs and grenades from low altitudes. Over time, tactical bombing, such as targeting factories, became increasingly effective. The increasing demand for pilots led to insufficient training and this resulted in heavy losses.

This archive contains records of 9,350 British and Commonwealth airmen (both men and women) who died during WWI, either from action, accident, or illness. They served in many theaters of the war and came from the following branches and arms:

  • Royal Naval Air Service

  • Royal Flying Corps

  • Royal Air Force

  • Women’s Royal Air Force

  • Australian Flying Corps

  • United States Air Service airmen attached to these divisions

The indexed collection is organized first by war theater, second by arm or branch, and finally by individual surname in alphabetical order. Individual records generally contain name; rank; cause of death; age at death and death date; birthplace; military unit; honors; and war theater.