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The Missing of the First World War


‘Known only unto God’ - about a third of the men who died while serving in the British, Australian and Canadian armies during the First World War have no known grave. Hundreds of thousands of American, French and Germans soldiers also disappeared during the Great War. If they were killed on the Western Front, their bodies still lie in the mud of France and Belgium.

Their sacrifice is recorded on memorials, such as the Menin Gate and Thiepval. Surprisingly, even now the remains of soldiers are discovered in fields in Europe and buried with military honours in one of the war cemeteries.

Using their stories and those of their relations, Simon Fowler explores why they met this fate, how their relations tried to find about their deaths, and what happened to their families after the War. Simon also looks at the resources available, if you want to search for anyone on your family tree that was posted missing in action.


About the speaker: Simon Fowler is an experienced family history teacher, writer and researcher. He worked for The National Archives on and off for over thirty years. Today he is a professional researcher mainly on family history and military topics.

He has written regularly for genealogy magazines and has authored over two dozen books.   Simon teaches at Dundee University, Pharos Tutors and regularly lectures for the Society of Genealogists.

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