Known Unto God

Searching for the Missing

Publication Date15th October 2025

Book FormatHardback





To commemorate the centenary of the Cenotaph, this is the story of the exhaustive hunt for missing servicemen from the Great War and other twentieth century conflicts and how bodies continue to be recovered to this day.
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Why were there so many missing in the First World War? What do we know about the battlefield casualties, the dead and the wounded, the prisoners of war, the deserters?

The Great War produced casualties on an unprecedented scale. Published to commemorate the centenary of the Cenotaph, English historian Simon Fowler describes the exhaustive hunt for servicemen, many who remain missing to this day. He describes how Britain reacted to the shocking news from the front and how grieving could be worse for relatives of the missing.

This book examines how vital information gathered from the POW information bureaux, the International Red Cross, embassies and other sources in Germany were carefully pieced together in the search for bodies. It also documents the power of rumour and the shadowy world of spiritualists and conmen who exploited a nation’s grief.

The poignant story of those missing in action includes conflicts that followed the Great War, including the Second World War and the Vietnam. This book reveals how bodies have been recovered and how we memorialise the missing through the Cenotaph, the Tomb of Unknown Warrior and many other monuments.

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