Firstly, we are presented with physical evidence of those lost and broken bodies so frequently described in the first-hand accounts of combatants.
These discoveries can range from scattered fragments of skull found on the surface of a trench, or occasionally gathered together in a grave, to the full ‘remains and effects’ of a missing soldier, found along with his equipment in a shell crater or at the foot of a trench.
In such cases no funeral rite has been performed, the body was simply buried unintentionally by the tumult of the battlefield.
This allows us to arrive at an estimate of the number of fallen soldiers whose remains have never been found.
All nationalities combined, 640,000 Commonwealth soldiers met their demise on the Western Front.
For example, a number of tombs have been discovered along the front line dating from a period of particularly heavy fighting, and yet the burials reveal a great attention to detail, an astonishing example of the profound sense of camaraderie which bound together soldiers from the same combat unit.
Ron Moore, script writer and showrunner, then joined BAFTA Scotland to talk about his fascinating repertoire of work, ranging from Star Trek to Outlander.The Great War is the first conflict where a real importance was attached to identifying fallen soldiers, with efforts made, wherever possible, to bury each body in an individual grave.
around 20% of all those killed or missing in action.The way they deal with these remains, initially motivated primarily by respect for the dead, has gradually evolved into a more scientific approach which aims to better understand and document the final moments in the lives of these missing soldiers.It goes without saying that in spite of the great number of these digs, each case is unique: the result of multiple, complex factors clashing and combining at random in a time of extreme violence and confusion.Painstaking excavation of the burial sites identified by archaeologists, and particularly of mass graves, allows us to better appreciate the difficulties encountered by troops of all nationalities, and to observe the solutions they found.Firstly, the bodies of enemy combatants were not buried with the same care afforded to the bodies of fellow soldiers.But it is nonetheless possible to identify certain recurring themes from amidst this tangle of interweaving personal tragedies.