Knowledge of defence history often starts from the documents which record that history – the specifications, manuals, operating instructions, lecture notes and record books which frequently escape official files or archives, and often vanish without trace.

DEHS helps inquirers make full use of published work and public archives, such as the UK National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) at Kew; we also take action to make accessible documents from private collections. At present, we are cataloguing the 3,000 documents of the Winbolt Collection of UK Air Publications (APs) and US Technical Manuals (TMs) and Technical Instructions (TIs), so that these can assist researchers and inquirers in the future.

The archive originally built up by CHiDE at Bournemouth University has been transferred to the Imperial War Museum, London; DEHS holds a catalogue and can help inquirers access documents relevant to their interests in that archive.

DEHS continues to seek, receive, list and make accessible documents relevant to defence electronic history, for the benefit of all enquirers, whether family historians or academic researchers. Questions recently handled ranged from the service history of a veteran servicing radar equipment on airfields in East Anglia in 1944, to identification of Cold War electronic counter-measures equipment.

If you have documents to donate, or if you have queries you’d like to resolve, please contact our Archivist, Phil Judkins, who would be happy to receive help or input to assist in this exercise.