Papers of Jack Plymen

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive contains articles written by Plymen, 1948-1991; operational research reports and notes complied by Plymen and the Operational Research Section of the Second Tactical Air Force during the Second World War, 1941-1946, with some later OR material and papers, c. 1982-1997; and photographs dating from the war, c. 1945.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in 1915. Jack Plymen served in World War II as a Scientific Officer with one of the operational research sections attached to the Royal Air Force's 2nd Tactical Air Force. The Operational Research Section was formed in 1938 to assist the RAF with problems in the operation of a chain of radar stations, and it was to liaise with the Headquarters of Fighter Command who published its reports and helped to filter its results down to the pilots. From 1941 the Section was engaged in an analysis of fighter combat tactics and conditions from the study of thousands of films recorded in combat by a cine-camera synchronized with the guns. For each clear film the ORS assessors produced a report informing the pilot of the accuracy of the attack and what, if any, damage had been inflicted. Plymen played a central role in this work and worked on a report on the gyroscopic gun-sight, published in February 1946. Similar work was carried out on the RAF's rocket projectiles and the ORS officers were able to advise on the tactics for their effective use. Plymen retired from the ORS at the end of 1945 and resumed his actuarial work for the Atlas Assurance Company Ltd., London, in January 1946. He retained his links with OR and was an active member of the Society until as recently as 1996.

Reference:Accessions file for MSS.335/PLY.


This collection forms part of the Operational Research and Operational Research Society Archive (MSS.335), which was deposited with the Centre by operational research practitioners.

The archive has been catalogued to file level. A copy of the finding aid is available both online and in paper format in the Centre's searchroom, at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's National Inventory of Documentary Sources.

Conditions Governing Access

The archive is open for research. Some items are restricted however. Please contact the Centre for further details.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited with the Modern Records Centre as part of the Operational Research and Operational Research Society Archive by Professor N. L. Lawrie in January 1998.

Other Finding Aids

An authority file exists for Jack Plymen (GB 152 AAR1457).

Archivist's Note

MSS.335/PLY catalogued by Charles Fonge to file level in January 2000.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Personal Names