Jump to Archive links
The ATA Museum and Archive at Maidenhead Heritage Centre is the world’s largest collection of artefacts and digital copies from the Air Transport Auxiliary. There are other collections – notably at the RAF Museum Hendon – but a lot of material is in private hands. We hold logbooks for around 15% of the pilots.
The aim of the museum is to tell the story of the ATA to a new generation. We believe the best way to achieve this aim is by making the archive fully available and enlisting the help of researchers worldwide. Many of the artefacts can be viewed in the gallery at Maidenhead Heritage Centre but, whilst we encourage visitors, space is limited and documents are generally only accessible via this online service.
Items such as logbooks and badges come up for auction from time-to-time. We do not have the resources to acquire them for accessioning into the collection; instead, we encourage owners to loan their documents for digitisation, to make the information available to researchers worldwide. Maidenhead Heritage Centre is an accredited museum, with staff and volunteers skilled in handling historical documents.
Much of the ATA archive material is made up of two-dimensional items such as logbooks, operational documents and photographs. These are currently organised by Person but we hope, with the assistance of volunteer researchers, to add other indexes to the online archive. A future project to transcribe the logbooks would enable users to search and analyse the records by aircraft, by airfield and the like.
Two online databases are provided:
- All flyers and ground staff known to have been employed by the ATA is available for searching and analysis. We would encourage researchers to add additional biographical information where available
- All known airfields. The data is available to search and analyse, and is also presented on an interactive map that enables researchers to zoom into the detail of any one. We hope this data will be useful in future when transcribing the logbooks.
A small number of audio files are available, which are well-worth listening to, and some video files.
For the three-dimensional objects, the museum catalogue is available to search. It contains a description of each object and, in most cases, a record photograph. Many of the objects are on display at Maidenhead, but others must be requested, and some may be out on loan to other museums.
The archive is accessed from these links:
- ATA personnel database
- Digitised materials – high-resolution scans of paper records , including flying log books, personnel data, photographs, personal ephemera etc.
- Transcribed stories & diaries
- Audio recordings
- Video recordings (to follow)
- UK airfields database (courtesy of John Woodside) with interactive map
- US ATA website created by Anne Wood-Kelly (formerly airtransportaux.com)
Registration and access
The archive is free to use.
Thumbnail images can be viewed freely but we require free online registration to view the images in detail. Your details are recorded to encourage fair usage and avoid uncontrolled copying and are not made available to any third parties.
Previously, charges were made to access the archive. Now, we prefer to encourage researchers to become Friends of Maidenhead Heritage Trust, the charity behind the ATA Museum). It costs £20 per annum for individuals (or your currency equivalent). Membership helps to fund the archive work and entitles you to several other benefits and discounts. Please visit the Support Us page to join and pay online.
Researchers are encouraged to explore the online archive themselves. We have a group of very knowledgeable volunteers who can help with your researches and may be able to add additional information. We make a charge for queries that take more than an hour to answer. Please refer to the Research Service page for more details.
Enjoy the archive…