Hellenic Air Force Air History Service

Hellenic Air Force Air History Service

Historical Background

The Hellenic Air Force Air History Service was established at 1950 as a department of Branch A of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, under the title «Section of Military Reports».

Already before 1949 orders were issued for officers, that had taken part in the 1st World War, to compile military reports, while the Operations Directorate of the HAF General Staff had undertaken the subject of compiling, keeping and submitting the Diaries of the different Units.

The section of Military Reports had to deal with functional problems, because it was put under different directorates of the HAFGS, and as a result it was abolished in August 1956 and a new special one was created under the Chief of Branch A. The new Section of Military Reports was responsible for:

Concentrating the necessary data for the composition of the annual historical report, concerning HAF’s activities in war and peace.
The monitoring, study and conclusion drawing from the Unit Diaries.
The publication of historical descriptions concerning the development and action of the HAF in the past.
The concentration of information and issuing certificates concerning units in battle zones.
In 1961 the Section of Military Records became a Directorate of Military Records, while in 1962 it was renamed Directorate of Air Force History, under the Chief of Branch A at the beginning and from 1969 under Branch B of the HAFGS (B7), including section 1 (history), section 2 (Photography) and section 3 (general archives).

In 1974 the Air Force Archives Service was established, with the concentration, classification and preservation of the Hellenic Air Force Archives as its mission, as well as the storing of Museum material.

The Air Force Archives Service was administratively and executively under the History Directorate, which included a Section of Historical Material – Museum – Monuments, an office of Photographic – cinematographic Material and a Section of General Archives.

In 1983 the Directorate of History became History Office under the Vice Chief of the Air Force General Staff, while in 1987 the History Office, the HAF’s Museum Organization Office and the HAF Archives Service were unified and constituted an administrative independent unit of the HAFGS named «Air History Service, HAF», under the General Staff.

Today the service includes two basic Offices, History and Archives, since the HAF Museum was established as an independent unit in Dekelia Air Base from 1992.

Location

The Air History Service is housed in an old and preserved building of the Air Force in the Delta of Palaio Faliro. This building along with the space around it, as determined with ministry decisions, were preserved in HAF’s occupation after long lasting efforts in order to be used for its promotion.

The building was constructed at the end of the 19th century, as a summer residence of Andreas Sygros. It repesents a rare example of neoclassical architecture in a privileged area, with a remarkable surrounding space. The purity of the symmetrical plan, the proportions of the volumes, and generally all the architectural details (roofs covered with tiles, cornice, parapets, lintels, columns, staircases of the main entrance), as well as the use of different traditional materials on the front view (stone and marble elements, different layers, wooden embrasures, neoclassical doors) make the building one of the most important samples of the neo-classical order. For this reason it has been characterised as «Preservable» by the ministry of Culture.

The area of Palaio Faliro is closely related to the history of the HAF. It was used as a landing ground in 1912 by two civilian pilots, Em. Argyropoulos and Alex. Karamanlakis. The first military airplane flew from there, with 1st Lt D. Kamperos as the pilot. The naming of the first four military planes took place in Palaio Faliro. One of them, Daidalos, after it was converted to a hydroplane, carried out its first test flight. The naming of the first hydroplane of the Naval Component of the Air Force, named Nautilos, also took place in Faliro.

In 1914 the Navy School for pilots operated in Faliro, while from 1915 the organization of the Army Component contained the Air Force Squadron of Palaio Faliro, which possessed an aircraft-repairing workshop (wooden propellers were constructed).

Α pilot training School of the Naval Air Component operated in the area from 1917, while in 1924 a pilot School was established for the «production» of N.C.O pilots.

In 1925 an aircraft factory operated in Palaio Faliro, from which the first line of the torpedo plane Blackburn T.3A «Velos» was created in 1926, for the supplying of Naval Air Component Squadrons.

The Aircraft factory, after it was renamed State Aircraft Factory, stayed in this area until 1981. Faliro was also the headquarters of the Naval Air Command from 1926, while three years later the Central Depot of Air Force Supplies was established in the area.

In 1931 the Second Air Force Command was created (Law 1521 concerning the Organization of the Air Force), with Palaio Faliro as its Headquarters. With the same law the Air Force Technician School was created in the area. The 12th Squadron of Naval Cooperation was based in Faliro Air Base in 1940, while from some time before the General Depot of Air Force Supplies, was based there and after that, the Depot of Air Force Supplies (until 1974). In 1953 the 30th Air Force Supply Command was established and settled in the neoclassical building of the Faliro base. Also in 1953 the Faliro Air Base was reorganized as 127 Air Force Base Group. The 30th Air Force Supply Command remained in the building until 1975. After that all the area around was given to the state and the beneficiaries, so that avenues and athletic installations could be constructed.

From 1977 to 1985 the newly formed Air Force Technology Research Center was settled in the neoclassical building in Faliro. Finally from 1987 up to the present the building is used by the Hellenic Air Force Air History Service.

Mission

  • The concentration of historical material, concerning fields of Air Force Activity.
  • The writing of the History of the HAF, historical monographies and studies, as well as providing of historical data to official agents and civilians.
  • The concentration and micro – photography of the Air Force Archives.

The Air History Service collaborates with the Hellenic Commission of Military History (HCMH) and the International Commission of Military History (ICMH), taking part in the organization and attendance of congresses and other activities.

Major Collections

The Air Force Historical Archive is organized in chronological periods (A. 1908-1918, B. 1919-1929, C. 1930-1940, D. 1940-1944, E. 1945-1949, F. 1950-1967, G. 1967-1974, H. 1974-1989, I. 1990-2001), including official documents, operational commands, war and peace time diaries, lists of dead persons in war and peace time and also photographs, films and videotapes.

There are also some individual flight books of 2nd W.W. pilots, Squadrons’ flight books and reports, Operational reports of various periods, the personal Archive of Aristidis Moraitinis and an original draft of the tour of the Mediterranean.

Most of the documents of the Air Force Archive are originals, signed by members of the Government or the Leadership of the Air Force. The Air History Service also keeps a collection of laws and decrees published by the previous Air Force Ministry, the Air Force General Staff and a number of Air Force magazines and publications.

Library

The Air History Service maintains a library that includes over 600 books, old and new editions, Greek and foreign, arranged in sections, concerning military history of various periods, mostly Air Force History but also Army and Naval publications.

The Library is available to researchers (books are not to be borrowed).

Access – Information Provision

The Air History Service, HAF provides information and data to official agents and civilians. The applications are submitted by mail or telephone. The researchers can use the archive and the library, having arranged an appointment.

The Service operates from 07:30 to 14:30 and the entrance is permitted by showing an identity card. Access is allowed to the Archive concerning facts that happened 30 years ago and before, and have been published by the Air History Service. In any other case access to the archive is not permitted to civilians.

Contact Info

1 Moraitini
17561 P. Faliro – Athens
GREECE.
Tel: +30-2109411000
Fax: +30-2109423030