08 July 2018

Your DNA could help Commemorate the Missing of the Great War

The Commemorating the Missing project was conceived as part of the general commemorative activities associated with the centenary of the Great War 1914-1918.  The focus is commemorating the 338,000 Allied Soldiers who are still missing from World War I and whose bodies have never been found.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada of the 66,000 members of Canadian Forces killed during the First World War 19,660 have no known grave. 1,285 are commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, 6,994 at the Menin Gate in Ypres and 814 on the Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont-Hamel.

It is not possible to distinguish between those unknown soldiers buried in unidentified graves and those who have not been buried, and therefore missing-in-action. Based on Commonwealth War Graves Commission statistics for an estimated two-thirds, perhaps 13,000 Canadians, their remains are where they fell.

Every year 30-60 of the missing are unearthed. Some are identified, either based on surviving artifacts, or through DNA tests which are becoming more frequently used. These missing soldiers are the targets in the Commemorating the Missing project. People are encouraged to “plant a tree” (i.e. the soldier’s family tree) on the EveryOneRemembered website, as well as details of any DNA tests done by his relatives.

Although the chances are "one in a million" that your DNA could help identify a missing soldier, you can still use it to create a genealogical and genetic memorial. So if you have a missing soldier relative and have taken a DNA test it will cost just a little of your time to prepare a memorial page with basic genealogical information for the soldier, a link to your DNA results and indication of the relationship. It could just be the information needed to give him a name and proper commemoration.

Start at https://commemoratingthemissing.blogspot.com/.

A tip of the hat to Maurice Gleeson for information.


Duncan Monkhouse said...

There are 11,157 Canadian soldiers and 85 Aliases listed on the Vimy Memorial according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site.

Duncan Monkhouse said...

There are 11,157 Canadian soldier's names and 85 aliases for a total of 11,242 listed on the Vimy Memorial, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site.

Nancy Trimble said...

John - Thanks for the heads up on this exciting new project. I have adopted my great-uncle (W.H. Russell Gould) who was a Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps and went missing on the Western Front in France 1917. The ability to add my DNA results in the "One in a Million" chance that his remains are ever found is a wonderful and meaningful opportunity .