To help the public cope with grief on the scale of World War One, volunteers took it upon themselves to trace those with no known grave; the beginnings of a centur y of painstaking work that is continuing today
It was the torrent of ceramic poppies cascading down the Tower of L ondon in 2014 that compelled one man to question how people coped with death on such a massive scale as that during World War One. Sons, brothers, uncles, cousins and grandsons were among the much-loved kin of all classes who disappeared on the French and Belgian battlefields.
And so, historian and author Robert Sackville-West, 7th Baron Sackville, began his hunt for answers. In it, he chanced upon the rare tale of the volunteers – writers, scientists and politicians – who first took steps to help ever-hopeful families of the missing.