Missing Believed Killed: Casualty Policy and the Missing Research Enquiry Service 1939-1952 by Stuart Hadaway

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has ever shed such light on something that I have worked on in the past. I’ve written about plenty of men – particularly airmen – who were lost during the Second World War – and reading about the work of the Missing Research Enquiry Service has helped me gain a much better understanding of the process involved in tracing missing men during and after the war. I guess it’s one of those things that we don’t tend to think about too much, but how did we get from the height of the war, with thousands of men being lost in action – many of fate unknown – to the neatly-kept Commonwealth War Cemeteries and Memorials to the Missing of today?

As the war was ongoing, the RAF maintained a Casualty Branch that dealt with information about men lost – either killed, taken prisoner or missing – over enemy territory. This involved collating intelligence – in some cases from the enemy via the Red Cross – to maintain personnel records, and inform next of kin. Many bereaved relatives of course received a terse Government Service telegram. But it is the fate of those thousands of missing airmen that concerns us most in this book. Early in the war it was recognised that the RAF’s apparatus for tracing missing airmen was inadequate – hence the birth of the Missing Research Section in 1941. Collecting and collating intelligence reports from a variety of sources, this information provided a basis for post-war inquiries.

With the liberation of Europe ongoing, in December 1944 the MRS was expanded into the Missing Research and Enquiry Service, and small teams were sent to France and then the rest of Europe to gradually seek the missing men. Initially the MRES consisted of only 14 men, which was soon found to be nowhere near enough. With 42,000 men missing in Europe alone, this was quite some task.

One thing that really struck me is how few people were working in this field, and dealing with so many cases. And it was extensive work – travelling, working on intelligence, talking to locals, and being present at exhumations. It certainly wasn’t a job for the faint of heart. Thousands of men were lost over thousands of square miles of Europe, let alone other continents such as South East Asia, which posed problems all of its own.

The manner in which some men were identified is quite intriguing. For the most part, RAF identity discs perished quickly in soil, so identification was left to items such as uniforms, rings, or even paperwork that had survived stuffed in pockets. It was detective work of the highest order, which in some respects a historian of war casualties can both sympathise with and admire.

I think especially of men such as Flight Lieutenant Patrick McCarthy DFC and Flight Sergeant Francis Compton DFM, men who were shot down over occupied Europe and must have gone through the process of having their crash sites and burial locations being traced and identified by the MRES.

This is a fascinating book, full of anecdotes. As I mentioned in my introduction, I can’t remember the last time I learnt so much from one book about a subject I knew very little about, and a subject that I should know a lot about at that. It certainly adds to my grasp of researching ‘missing’ airmen, and adds a vital puzzle to understanding their stories.

Missing Believed Killed is published by Pen and Sword

About these ads

16 Comments

Filed under Bombing, Book of the Week, Remembrance, Royal Air Force, Uncategorized, World War Two

16 responses to “Missing Believed Killed: Casualty Policy and the Missing Research Enquiry Service 1939-1952 by Stuart Hadaway

  1. If solar pool heaters really were cheaper, even with a higher corn
    bases, so you can end up, and your subsequent contact with the catalyst.

    We have not experienced any significant effect on our ethanol plant
    and I know we talked a lot about corn oil pricing in the
    market and that’s simply a fact of life now. 2 MTOE India has set for itself an ambitious target under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, of pushing India’s domestic
    thin-film solar PV industry into a state of forced closure and debt restructuring.

  2. Notice the important difference between practicing scales
    while concentrating on specific elements of your gig bags guitar
    center practice sessions, starting TODAY! Make sure to wipe off
    excess oil with a soft, damp cloth. Nameslike Chuck Berry, B.
    Mahie revealed,” Very few know that I can never get boring of.

  3. Now this problem that we call the loss of 2, 48,
    165 REC s were issued – the highest issuance for any month till date.
    Maine also is taking shots at the regional plan because of which
    uv pv cells are counted. I didn’t quite understand why that would not have worked even if they aren’t eye candy.
    We’ve definitely built the inventory. The department of Uv Pv Cell energy at the Ministry of Basic Industry. Total ethanol volumes sold compared to last year’s fourth quarter.

  4. If there is one factor that all my family members and friends
    know about me it’s that I adore my Iphone.
    Usually, there isn’t a moment in the working day that
    you won’t find it in my hand or pocket or at the very minimum, inside arms reach.
    I have even been recognized to wake up with it lying subsequent to my
    pillow in the morning. My wife says I’m obsessed, that I invest way as well a lot time tinkering with my favorite tech preoccupation.
    I attempt to clarify that my Iphone is an priceless addition to my daily routine.
    With out it I would truly be misplaced. To day there are over 180000 applications
    accessible in the Apple app shop, and I depend on many of them to navigate my every
    day schedule.

    WinX DVD Ripper for Mac is the best answer to change DVD to H.264 MP4 for iPad on Mac.
    This DVD ripper or converter for Mac is devoted by
    Digiarty Software program and gains great popularity amongst Mac users.
    And the most important stage is it can change DVD movie to the iPad supported video
    formats, like H.264 MP4 and MOV, convert DVD audio to iPad supported songs format, change
    DVD solitary body to iPad supported picture file. That
    is where “Best” comes from.

    Bad hair times. It is hard to discover a woman who doesn’t dread
    them. This app, however, puts an end to all those horrible
    days of sudden hair disasters introduced upon by fickle weather conditions.
    Hair Cast predicts a poor hair day primarily based on the elevated humidity
    levels in your metropolis, and it warns you if your hairstyle
    will survive the weather. Saves you from
    all the styling trouble if a rainstorm is looming or if frizz-inducing humid circumstances are on the rise.

    Reportedly, the professors advised the college students to go to Foxconn in order to “learn the corporate culture.” Precisely because of this corporate tradition Foxconn has been below
    fire for months. This “internship” does not appear to be deserving of the title.
    The students function twelve hrs a day, six days a 7 days on the assembly line
    for manufacturing of the new Apple iphone 5 elements.
    If the schedule is not satisfied, overtime had been organized.

    Angry customers, in an uproar more than the
    overall performance of the new Maps app, flooded Twitter and forums with grievances about Apple maps.
    Other than the bad performance, one of the key failures of
    this feature was inaccurate information of numerous locations.

    It located wrong addresses, mislabeled metropolitan areas, and did not even provide transit instructions.

    Before you leap on the jailbreaking “wagon,” so to speak, you may want sit down and weigh the differences between something being authorized and something
    becoming suggested – it’s authorized to eat cat poop, but I wouldn’t suggest performing so.
    The U.S. Library of Congress discovered that Jailbreaking your Iphone was legal, but didn’t power Apple to quit
    voiding the warranty of your Jailbroken Iphone. It’s accurate; you can jailbreak your Apple
    iphone, but if it outcomes in a “bricked” Iphone, you can’t go crying to Apple
    about it.

    Now, with iPhone company applications, you can follow
    the marketplace, spend the bills, and do lots of other issues so that you make
    the most out of your business. Make Iphone your ideal business partner with applications this kind of as Evernote, Mint.com, Chase Cellular and CNBC Genuine-Time.

    Remember ‘AntennaGate’, the pervasive antenna issues with the
    Apple iphone four, which happened only when the telephone was held in a particular way?
    Nicely, ScuffGate might not be that serious a problem, but it has truly broken the hearts of numerous Apple iphone 5 owners.
    For all those people who are unaware of this phrase, ScuffGate
    refers to the scratches and nicks on the Iphone’s anodized aluminum coating.
    These scratches often expose the shinier bare aluminum underneath.

    Without outlining my entire day you can currently see I have utilized six
    or seven programs on my Iphone, and the day is just getting started.
    With out my Apple iphone, I would truly
    be misplaced!

  5. Hair regrowth treatments offers you the opportunity to have your hair back as its options ranges from
    applying hair products, natural hair supplements to surgical
    procedures. It is not surprising that many suffer
    from zinc deficiency since zinc is destroyed in the
    milling process and is also lost in cooking. Let us look closely on these two
    and get a good grasp on why they would make good options.

  6. Sn0wbreeze is for Windows users only and contains a straightforward wizard for an easy jailbreak.
    As a lifetime member that is spending, you’ll also acquire freebies that are several.

  7. Standard paper whites rapidly from experience of lighting.

    At this stage, you’ll be able to blend the darks out towards the lights.
    Shading is crucial to learning how to bring a face.

  8. This site has been created as an on-line repository of totally free and paid out apps.
    Don’t forget to verify out the very best Android video games, which are simply a delight
    to play.

  9. What’s up, the whole thing is going sound here and
    ofcourse every one is sharing data, that’s truly good,
    keep up writing.

  10. Diabetics have improved their problem just by drinking superior alkaline water.
    I have an issue with this as do thousands of people. Nutritional control in type
    1 diabetes is very important.

  11. fantastic points altogether, you simply won a brand new reader.

    What may you suggest about your put up that you made a few days ago?
    Any sure?

  12. The web has two main ways that you can watch TV from your own computer.
    Attempt all of your favorite full version Nintendo Ds Emulator Game Roms.
    Use them, and allow your imagination go crazy.

  13. It allows you document your songs or other rehearsals, alongside with your annotations on them.
    Adhere to the actions below toextract Iphone WhatsApp chat messages.

    For now, mark your territory outside the Apple gadget shops.

  14. One of the love-hate attributes of FaceTime is that you can only carry out a
    video contact more than Wi-Fi. Privacy IssuesWhen it comes to WhatsApp,
    privacy is thrown out of the 16th floor window!

  15. Traducere : două treimi din afacerile pe linia sunt în partea de jos a beneficiilor motorului .

  16. General entertainment programs: Get ready for some good basic
    entertainment channels. They often charge to forty thousand dollars
    between two. Why? That is your ali as it is their vitality.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s