Air Power Archaeology

The Historical Archaeology of Second World War Air Power in Australia
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Glossary of Terms

Below is a list of terms, acronyms, and abbreviations identified throughout this project and used within this website. Where appropriate, terminology from the Second World War period has been used.

A

AAU
Air Ambulance Unit (RAAF unit type)
ABDA
American-British-Dutch-Australian
AC
Aircraftman (rank; see Wikipedia)
Companion of the Order of Australia (Australian honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
AC1
Aircraftman 1st Class (rank; see Wikipedia)
AC2
Aircraftman 2nd Class (rank; see Wikipedia)
ACW
Aircraftwoman (rank; see Wikipedia)
AD
Aircraft Depot (RAAF unit type)
AFC
Air Force Cross (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
Australian Flying Corps (see Wikipedia)
AFM
Air Force Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
AFRU
Advanced Flying and Refresher Unit (RAAF unit)
AGS
Air Gunnery School (RAAF unit)
AIF
Australian Imperial Force (see Wikipedia)
AM
Member of the Order of Australia (Australian honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
ANA
Australian National Airways (see Wikipedia)
ANS
Air Navigation School (RAAF unit type)
AO
Officer of the Order of Australia (Australian honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
AOP
Air Observation Post (RAAF unit type)
AOS
Air Observers School (RAAF unit type)
AP
Aircraft Park (RAAF unit type)
APU
Air Performance Unit (RAAF unit)
ARD
Aircraft Repair Depot (RAAF unit type)
ARRC
Associate of the Royal Red Cross (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
ASRF
Air-Sea Rescue Flight (RAAF unit type)
AWM
Australian War Memorial

B

BAGS
Bombing and Gunnery School (RAAF unit type)
BEM
British Empire Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
BG
Bombardment Group (USAAF unit type)
BPSO
Base Personnel Staff Office (RAAF unit type)
BS
Bombardment Squadron (USAAF unit type)
BTU
Base Torpedo Unit (RAAF unit)

C

CAC
Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (see Wikipedia)
CB
Companion of the Order of the Bath (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
CBE
Commander of the Order of the British Empire (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
CFS
Central Flying School (RAAF unit)
CGM
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
CGS
Central Gunnery School (RAAF unit)
CH
Companion of Honour (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
CMU
Care and Maintenance Unit (RAAF unit type)
CN
Construction number
Cpl
Corporal (rank; see Wikipedia)
CRD
Central Recovery Depot (RAAF unit type)
CRTC
Combat Replacement and Training Center (USAAF unit)
CU
Communication Unit (RAAF unit type)

D

DAP
Department of Aircraft Production (see Wikipedia)
DCM
Distinguished Conduct Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
DFC
Distinguished Flying Cross (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
Distinguished Flying Cross (US decoration; see Wikipedia)
DFM
Distinguished Flying Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
DSC
Distinguished Service Cross (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
Distinguished Service Cross (US decoration; see Wikipedia)
DSD
Department of Supply and Development (see Wikipedia)
DSM
Distinguished Service Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
DSO
Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)

E

EATS
Empire Air Training Scheme (see Wikipedia)
ED
Embarkation Depot (RAAF unit type)
EFTS
Elementary Flying Training School (RAAF unit type)

F

F/Lt
Flight Lieutenant (rank; see Wikipedia)
F/O
Flight Officer (rank; see Wikipedia)
Flying Officer (rank; see Wikipedia)
F/Sgt
Flight Sergeant (rank; see Wikipedia)
FAA
Fleet Air Arm (see Wikipedia)
FBMU
Flying Boat Maintenance Unit (RAAF unit type)
FBRD
Flying Boat Repair Depot (RAAF unit type)
FEAF
Far East Air Force
FG
Fighter Group (USAAF unit type)
FS
Fighter Sector (RAAF unit type)
Fighter Squadron (USAAF unit type)
FTS
Flying Training School (RAAF unit type)
FW
Fighter Wing (RAAF unit type)

G

G/Capt
Group Captain (rank; see Wikipedia)
GC
George Cross (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
GCMG
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
GM
George Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
GRS
General Reconnaissance School (RAAF unit)

H

HBRTU
Heavy Bomber Replacement Training Unit (RAAF unit)
HMAS
His Majesty's Australian Ship (see Wikipedia)
HMS
His Majesty's Ship (see Wikipedia)

I

IAF
Indian Air Force (see Wikipedia)
IAFD
Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot (RAAF unit type)
IJN
Imperial Japanese Navy (see Wikipedia)
ITS
Initial Training School (RAAF unit type)

K

KBE
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
KCB
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
KCMG
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
KCVO
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
KNILM
Royal Netherlands East Indies Airways (Dutch: Koninklijke Nederlandsch-Indische Luchtvaart Maatschappij; see Wikipedia)

L

LAC
Leading Aircraftman (rank; see Wikipedia)
LACW
Leading Aircraftwoman (rank; see Wikipedia)

M

MBE
Member of the Order of the British Empire (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
MC
Military Cross (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
MCS
Medical Clearing Station (RAAF unit type)
MCU
Malaria Control Unit (RAAF unit type)
MID
Mentioned in Despatches (British award; see Wikipedia)
MLD
Netherlands Naval Aviation Service (Dutch: Marineluchtvaartdienst; see Wikipedia)
ML-KNIL
Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force (Dutch: Militaire Luchtvaart van het Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger; see Wikipedia)
MM
Military Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
MRS
Medical Receiving Station (RAAF unit type)
MSM
Meritorious Service Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
MSN
Manufacturer's serial number
MTU
Medical Training Unit (RAAF unit)

N

NAA
National Archives of Australia
NEA
North Eastern Area
NEI
Netherlands East Indies
NLA
National Library of Australia
NWA
North Western Area

O

OAM
Medal of the Order of Australia (Australian decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
OBE
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (British honour; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
OBU
Operational Base Unit (RAAF unit type)
OG
Operational Group (RAAF unit type)
OTU
Operational Training Unit (RAAF unit type)

P

P/O
Pilot Officer (rank; see Wikipedia)
PD
Personnel Depot (RAAF unit type)
PG
Pursuit Group (USAAF unit type)
POW
Prisoner of war
PRU
Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (RAAF unit)
PS
Pursuit Squadron (USAAF unit type)
PTU
Paratroop Training Unit (RAAF unit)

Q

QANTAS
Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services (see Wikipedia)
QEA
Qantas Empire Airways

R

RAAF
Royal Australian Air Force (see Wikipedia)
RAF
Royal Air Force (see Wikipedia)
RAFVR
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (see Wikipedia)
RAN
Royal Australian Navy (see Wikipedia)
RANVR
Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve (see Wikipedia)
RC
Recruit Centre (RAAF unit type)
RCAF
Royal Canadian Air Force (see Wikipedia)
RD
Recruit Depot (RAAF unit type)
RIMU
Radio Installation and Maintenance Unit (RAAF unit type)
RNZAF
Royal New Zealand Air Force (see Wikipedia)
RPP
Reserve Personnel Pool (RAAF unit type)
RRC
Member of the Royal Red Cross (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
RS
Radar Station (RAAF unit type)
Reconnaissance Squadron (USAAF unit type)
RSU
Repair and Salvage Unit (RAAF unit type)
RVM
Royal Victorian Medal (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)

S

S/Ldr
Squadron Leader (rank; see Wikipedia)
SAAF
South African Air Force (see Wikipedia)
SD
Stores Depot (RAAF unit type)
SDF
Special Duties Flight (RAAF unit)
SFTS
Service Flying Training School (RAAF unit type)
Sgt
Sergeant (rank; see Wikipedia)
STF
Seaplane Training Flight (RAAF unit)
STT
School of Technical Training (RAAF unit type)
SWPA
South West Pacific Area

T

TAF
Tactical Air Force

U

USAAC
United States Army Air Corps (see Wikipedia)
USAAF
United States Army Air Forces (see Wikipedia)
USMC
United States Marine Corps (see Wikipedia)
USN
United States Navy (see Wikipedia)
USNR
United States Naval Reserve (see Wikipedia)

V

VAOC
Volunteer Air Observers Corps (see Wikipedia)
VC
Victoria Cross (British decoration; post-nominal; see Wikipedia)
VDC
Volunteer Defence Corps (see Wikipedia)

W

W/AG
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner
W/Cdr
Wing Commander (rank; see Wikipedia)
W/O
Warrant Officer (rank; see Wikipedia)
WAAAF
Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (see Wikipedia)
WAGS
Wireless Air Gunners School (RAAF unit type)

References

Dennis, P., J. Grey, E. Morris, R. Prior, and J. Bou 2008, The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2nd ed). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Gillison, D. 1962, Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942. Australia in the War of 1939-1945, s. 3, v. 1. Canberra: Australian War Memorial.

Database Updated:
4 April 2024

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and pay our respects to elders past, present, and emerging.