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Missing Believed Killed: Casualty Policy and the Missing Research and Enquiry Service Hardcover – 19 Jun 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation (19 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844157342
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844157341
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 240,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

A rare work, ploughing new ground... this is full of 'detective stories', some of which bear joyous fruit. -- Flypast magazine, November 2008 issue

"Absorbing... how the people involved needed not only detective skills... but also diplomatic abilities to deal with post-war sensitivities" -- Ancestors Magazine, February 2009

Review

"Absorbing... how the people involved needed not only detective skills... but also diplomatic abilities to deal with post-war sensitivities"

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This skilfully written book weaves together the story of one of the most daunting tasks undertaken by the RAF during and after the last world war. Set against the background of incredible heroism in action and the extraordinary losses suffered by the service this is a story of detective work on a massive scale, undertaken by men and women who had very little qualification beyond their own experiences of the dangers, horror and lost friends; and their sense of duty in seeking answers to the fate of the tens of thousands of airmen missing during the Second World War.

The author highlights the lengths taken by MRES to identify the remains of their comrades, driven often by a generation of senior officers and politicians who understood loss only too well from the previous world war (the ubiquitous A Soldier of the Great War, Known Unto God, inscriptions so sadly common in cemeteries from Flanders to the Dardanelles). In an era before the modern terminology of closure, this was exactly what the MRES attempted to bring to the families of those lost.

This book mixes the technical details of the unit's work with the human stories and tragic loss, the often mixed responses and actions of the civilian populations of Europe in their treatment of the remains of lost aircrew provide an additional very human twist to the story.

A highly recommended book for those with a technical interest in a little documented part of the work of the RAF during and after World War Two, or for those who want a better understanding of the human cost and scale of the bombing campaign by the RAF in Europe (something which has, arguably, been weighted almost exclusively in favour of the casualties on the ground)and a book which still resonates today with the continuing excavation of casualties from both world wars both at home and abroad.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very little has been written on the important work of the MRES during and after WWII so this study can justly be called ground breaking. Hadaway goes into great detail providing reams of technical information on his subject and this volume is clearly the result of careful research and hard work.

He manages to balance the technical aspects of seeking out the wreck sites and recovering the bodies with the commemorative nature of the work skilfully. The scale of the losses for the RAF is staggering and the work carried out by this little known unit is well worth reading about. Though I suspect that British readers will be primarily interested in the MRES activities in Great Britain, France and Germany, the contribution of the Commonwealth nations is referred to and there are chapters covering the Far East and the Mediterranean/Middle East etc.

A good deal of extra infomation is provided in the appendices and the book benefits from far more photographic illustration than I would expect from a volume of this kind (over 90 photographs). Overall this is a well written book on a very intriguing and thought provoking subject. I strongly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This deals with a difficult subject in an even-handed manner. It tells the story of the Missing Research Units that tried to collect and identify the remains of British and Commonwealth aircrew lost in Europe during WWII. Of course the job of locating most of the missing had to wait until the battlefields had rolled on. The sheer amount of work involved involved in putting names on tombstones is well conveyed. Some of the most senior people in the RAF and the Air Ministry lost sons on operations, so there was a lot of sympathy for the grieving families. Money and personnel were found somehow. The RAF "missing" records were to be a tremendous resource, so their story is told, and told well. The difficulties of cooperating with the governments and armed forces of past and current allies are touched on. The story of the Missing Research Enquiry Units is told, though the records at the National Archives are occasionally patchy. The stories of members of the MREUs are added and shows the frantic pace of their work. The most difficulty area of operations was the Ruhr, Stuart Hadaway deserves our thanks for showing the job of the MREUs with restraint in choosing his illustrations. The MREUs have not been given much publicity - unsurprisingly with the Cold War in mind the RAF felt the story of unidentified bodies would discourage recruitment. But their work shows just how much good could be done, and was done. In Memoriam.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book which begged to be written. Fortunately this very competent author was able to interview several of the now elderly gentlemen and give them the recognition that they deserve. It also emphasises the terrible losses suffered by the often (and,in my opinion, unfairly)demonised Bomber Command. A very well written and researched book and a must for all aviation historians.
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