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Memorials to the Missing Vs Unknown Soldiers Grave

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hello all

Is there any way to find out roughly how many soldiers are listed with the CWGC as missing as opposed to how many men are buried in "Unknown Graves"?

How many men are there without a recgonised burial?

i.e. what is the total number of unknown soldiers buried with regards to the total number of names on Memorials to the Missing?

Sorry if this doesn't make sense? But it's late at night! :wacko:

Thanks

Mark

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I know exactly what you mean, the net difference between the number of unknown burials and those commemorated on memorials to missing, yes? I would also be really interested to know.

Andy

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Someone, somewhere did some rough calculations about the Somme once, and concluded that just under half of the missing must be buried in "unknown" graves.

It couldn't have been a totally accurate calculation of course, and the guesstimates only apply to the Somme.

Tom

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I spoke to Aurel Sercu about this, for just the Ypres area and not including those in the Menin Gate it runs into 10s of thousands, and he has come across over 180 of them himself! :)

As we see here regularly many come in from the cold to be buried even after such a long time.

We may never know

John

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Martin Middlebrook in "The Somme Battlefields" gives the figures of 53,409 in Unknown graves and 53,564 totally 'missing' (Commonwealth only) for the department of the Somme.

The current figure for names on CWGC memorials to the missing worldwide (WW1 only) is 566,962. Remember that this also includes those lost at sea.

I don't have the figure for Unknown graves to hand at the moment but I'll post it as soon as I can get it.

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Found my numbers!

The current CWGC figures are (WW1 only - Worldwide)

- 566,962 names on memorials to the missing.

- 187,479 burials in Unknown graves.

This means that 379,483 are still really 'missing'.

This figure includes -

- Those never found

- Those lost at sea

- Those buried at sea

- Those whose graves have been deemed unmaintainable in large numbers (mainly in India/Pakistan).

It does NOT include

- Those whose graves were lost by subsequent shelling etc and now have Special Memorial headstones in other cemeteries.

- Those whose graves have individualy been deemed unmaintainable but who now have Alternative Commemorations in other cemeteries (mainly in UK).

- Those whose grave is lost but known to be in a current cemetery and have a Special Memorial headstone marked 'Known/believed to be buried in this cemetery'.

- Cremated casualties on Cremation Memorials (these are deemed to be burials).

This group are all deemed to be buried at the site of their Special Memorials etc.

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Thats great Terry, thanks alot.

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Fascinating and saddening. Of course, it means that anyone with a Great Uncle Fred on a Memorial to the Missing, even if he visited every "Unknown" would only have a one in three chance of saying his thanks and goodbyes at the right graveside.

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Just to add lb's very true comment.Many of the "Unknown" are denied even an individual grave.Certainly following major Battles such as the March 1918 retirement when multiple burials were made.

George

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Out of the 379,483 missing, approximately 42,000 were lost at sea. It is difficult to be precise as some memorials include both land and at sea deaths (eg Helles and Hollybrook Memorials).

So that leaves roughly 337,400 missing on land.

There are also five CWGC memorials which bear no names (African followers and labourers whose names and graves were never recorded) and these are deemed to have a notional total of something over 50,000 men commemorated - pushing the actual total of missing on land up to about 387,000.

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.

- Cremated casualties on Cremation Memorials (these are deemed to be burials).

.

Terry,

I appreciate that you have almost certainly answered this before, but where are there such "cremated casualty" memorials?

Presumably these are Commonwealth troops from Asia whose religion requires this type of commemoration?

Barrie Dobson

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Barrie

They are memorials to those cremated for both religious reasons and out of preference - although those in this latter category are all in the home Dominion countries.

The list goes as follows (both wars) - number of memorials in brackets....

Australia (6), Canada (1), China (2), Cyprus (1), Egypt (1), Eritrea (1), France (1), Germany (1), Greece (1), India (2), Iraq (1), Italy (3), Japan (1), Lebanon (1), Malaysia (1), Myanmar (1), Singapore (1), South Africa (4), Sri Lanka (1), Tanzania (1), Turkey (1) and Zimbabwe (1).

In addition, there are memorial walls at a number of crematoria as follows...

Australia (11), Canada (1), New Zealand (6) and United Kingdom (57).

Some of the UK crematoria did deal with WW1 casualties but the practice became far more popular as a disposal method of choice by WW2.

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Many thanks for that Terry.

I had actually thought that it would have been slightly biased the other way, more buried than actually missing. The figures are astonishing.

I will certainly remember that next time I am on the battlefields.

Mark

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I think we need to cross-link this discussion with the one about the"Unknown Warrior" in Westminster Abbey.

One of my Father's Brothers is one of the missing.

Although my Father was extremely wordly wise he always derived great comfort from the thought that it was his Brother, George, who is lying in The Abbey.

Statistics are probably irrelevant to relatives when they know where their missing loved one could be.

George

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New Zealand (6)

Could you tell me where these are, Terry?

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Christine

All the NZ Crematoria have WW2 memorials.

Auckland (Waikumete) Crematorium, Waitakere City

Christchurch (Bromley) Crematorium, Christchurch City

Dunedin (Anderson's Bay) Crematorium, Dunedin City

Hastings Crematorium, Hastings District

Wanganui (Aramoho) Crematorium, Wanganui District

Wellington (Karori) Crematorium, Wellington City

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Only for the Ypres area :

The 3 main Memorials to the Missing (Menin Gate, Tyne Cot Cem. and Ploegsteert Memorial) total approx. 100,000 names (55,000 + 35,000 + 10,000)

In the approx. 170 CWGC cemeteries there are approx. 50,000 graves "A Soldier of the Great War". (Can't remember whether it is a few thousand above or below.)

So .... approx. 50,000 have no grave in a cemetery.

And this of course does not include the French and German missing...

Aurel

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Thanks Aurel,

the Ypres sector is the one I am most interested in, again even the rough figures make you wonder where you are stepping!

Mark

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