Memorials to the Missing

Many thousands of soldiers from the First World War have no known grave and are commemorated on memorials near to where they died. In many cases, it may not have been possible to identify them if they had been killed by shellfire. In others, the precise location of where a burial may have become lost during the War. For some, they went "over the top" and were never seen again.

This alphabetical list gives some information about some of the Memorials that commemorate our local men.

   
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Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France The Memorial commemorates 35000 "missing" servicement from the UK, South Africa and New Zealand who died around the town between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918. Many of these soldiers were killed in the offensives of April & May 1917 and the German advance in the spring of 1918. The Memorial is situated in the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery to the west of the town centre. The cemetery and the memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with scuplture by Sir William Dick Reid.

Basra Memorial, Iraq

40,500 members of the Commonwealth whose graves are not known and who died in the operations in Mesopotamia between 1914 and 1921 are commemorated on this Memorial. It was originally sited within the Basra War Cemetery, but was moved in 1997. The move, carried out by the Iraqi authorities and at considerable expense to them, was an engineering success. The Memorial is now located 32 kilometres outside of Basra in the middle of what was a major Gulf War battlefield.
Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France The memorial commemorates more than 7000 soldiers who died in the battles of Cambrai in November and December 1917 and who have no known grave. It stancs within Louverval Military cemetery and was designed by H Charlton Bradshaw with scuplture by C S Jagger.
HELLES MEMORIAL, Turkey The Memorial, which is a 30 metre high obelisk, stands at the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula, where it can be seen by ships passing through the Dardanelles. It commemorates 21000 “missing” soldiers from this campaign. The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25/26 April 1915 with the intent of forcing Turkey out of the war. Further landings were made at Suvla on 6 August. Shortly after, the allies launched major offensives but without success. The stalemate of trench warfare developed and there was no further significant action. The troops were evacuated  in December 1915 and January 1916
LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE MEMORIAL, Seine et Marne, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre is a small town some 66 kilometres east of Paris. The Memorial is in a small park on the banks of the river Marne. It commemorates nearly 4000 soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force who died in August, September and early October 1914 and who have no known grave. The monument is a rectangular block of stone, 62 feet by 24 feet high, with the names of the dead inscribed on it.
LOOS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France Loos-en-Gohelle is a village about 5 kilometres from Lens. The Memorial takes the form of a 15 feet high wall at the back and side of Dud Corner Cemetery about 1 kilometre west of Loos on the Lens to Bethune Road. It commemorates over 20,000 men who fell in this area from the first day of the Battle of Loos to the end of the war.
MENIN GATE MEMORIAL, Ieper, (Ypres), Belgium No-one who attends the nightly service at the Menin Gate can fail to be moved by the sacrifice of so many men in the service of their country. At 8pm, the traffic is stopped while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial’s arches. Only the German occupation of the Second World War has prevented this ceremony from taking place.  The Memorial commemorates more than 54,000 soldiers “missing” in this sector upto 16 August 1917. It was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick. It was unveiled by Lord Plumer in July 1927.
PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL, Comines-Warnton, Hainaut, Belgium The memorial commemorates more than 11,000 men from the UK and South Africa who died in this area and have no known grave. Most did not die in major battles but were killed in the course of day-to-day trench warfare, or small engagements, which characterized this part of the Allied front line. The Memorial stands in Berks Cemetery, some 12.5 kilometres to the south of Ieper (formerly Ypres). The cemetery and memorial were designed by H Charlton Bradshaw.  The Last Post is sounded here on the first Friday of every month at 7pm.
POZIERES MEMORIAL, Somme, France The memorial takes the form of the walls surrounding the Pozieres British Cemetery, which stands on the main Albert to Bapaume road. Stone tablets are fixed to the stone rubble walls bearing the names of the dead, grouped by Regiment. There are over 14000 names, of which over 500 come from the Manchester Regiment, of men who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918. Most come from March and April of that year when the Allies were driven back by an overwhelming German advance.
SOISSONS MEMORIAL, Aisne, France Soissons stands on the bank of the River Aisne, some 100 kilometres north east of Paris. The Memorial, which stands in the town square, commemorates 4000 members of the UK forces who died during the 1918 battles of the Aisne and the Marne and who have no known grave.
THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France The largest of the Memorials to the Missing, Thiepval commemorates more than 72,000 “missing” soldiers of the UK and South Africa who died on the Somme battlefield before 20 March 1918. Most were killed between July and November 1916. A small cemetery also occupies the site. This contains equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves, reflecting the joint nature of the 1916 offensive. The Memorial  was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and was built between 1928 and 1932. It was unveiled by the Prince of Wales on 31 July 1932. It stands off the main Albert to Bapaume Road. The Memorial is the central focus of the annual 1 July commemorative ceremonies on the Somme.

TYNE COT MEMORIAL, Zonnebeke, West_Vlaanderen, Belgium

The Memorial forms a boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery (the largest of all cemeteries maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission). It is located 9 kilometres to the north east of Ieper (formerly Ypres). The names of some 35000 “missing” men, who died after August 1917, are inscribed on panels arranged by regiment on the rear wall of the cemetery. The Memorial was designed by Sir Herbert baked with sculpture by Joseph Armitage and F V Blundstone and was unveiled by Sir Gilbert Dyett in 1927. The cemetery is on the site of captured German blockhouses and pill-boxes. The name Tyne Cot is thought to have been coined by Northumbrian troops attacking the area who thought the blockhouses looked like Tyneside workmen’s’ cottages.
 
   
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