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Memorials to the missing

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Memorials to the Missing of the First and Second World Wars

Such was the nature of the world wars that vast numbers of casualties were never found or never positively identified; Over 35,000 Australians from these wars have no known grave. However, as every Australian who dies during war is officially commemorated, those with no known grave are commemorated on a Memorial to the Missing, in Australia and across the world1.

Many Memorials to the Missing are within war cemeteries, and the unidentified graves at those cemeteries would doubtless include some of those who are listed on the memorials. Yet, even today, our war dead are occasionally found or identified2, and the numbers on Memorials to the Missing and of identified graves change to reflect this.

As with all official commemorations, Memorials to the Missing are maintained in perpetuity and with all possible care and respect3

The name of a single Australian is inscribed beside his Commonwealth allies on a memorial in the UK; Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli bears the names of over 4,000 ANZACs and the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux commemorates over 10,000 missing Australians. Sadly, there are still more on memorials across the world where Australians have fought and died.

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In all too many cases, alas, those who fall upon the field of battle, fall in some part of the field where no friend can reach them alive. The burial parties, which work wherever it is possible, often in danger, cannot reach them under the machine guns of the enemy. Months afterwards, sometimes years, the battle rolls beyond that place, and these poor forms are dealt with as tenderly as the time and place allow ... too often there is left no trace or clue as to the soldier's name. Private or officer, he lies there, 'An Unknown Soldier'.
Where the Australians Rest, Department of Defence, Melbourne, 1920

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Footnotes

  1. Memorials to the Missing may include those whose remains were cremated but who were unidentified. Cremation memorials, such as those at Australian capital city war cemeteries, commemorate those known dead who were cremated rather than buried. The principle remains that a person will be commemorated on either a Memorial to the Missing or, if identified, a cremation memorial or a war grave.  
  2. Mainly airmen whose wrecked aircraft are subsequently found; also those whose graves are able to be identified through careful private research.
  3. The responsibility of maintaining Memorials to the Missing is divided between Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG), as its agent, according to location. Australia, as a member government, contributes to CWGC in proportion to the number of its war dead, 6.05%.  

Cemetery / Memorials to the Missing

Commemorating Australian war dead

Australia

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Adelaide River War Cemetery WW2 292
Sydney War Cemetery WW2 741

Belgium

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial WW1 6,195

Canada

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Ottowa Memorial,
Ottowa
WW2 32

China

(including Hong Kong)

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Hong Kong
Hong Kong (PDF 3.63 MB)
WW2 23

Egypt

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
El Alamein War Cemetery
El Alamein War Cemetery (PDF 104 KB)
El Alamein War Cemetery (DOC 2.42 MB)
WW2 658
Chatby War Memorial Cemetery WW1 134

France

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
VC Corner Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles WW1 1 294
The Arras Flying Services Memorial, Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery WW1 17
Villers-Bretonneux Memorial WW1 10,772

Gibraltar

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Gibraltar (North Front) Cemetery WW2 7

Greece

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Athens Memorial, Phaleron War Cemetery WW2 328

India

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
The Delhi Memorial, India Gate WW1 1
Kirkee 1914-1918 Memorial WW1 4

Indonesia

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Ambon War Cemetery, Ambon Island WW2 444

Iraq

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Basra Memorial WW1 11

Israel

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
The Jerusalem Memorial,
Jerusalem War Cemetery
WW1 239

Jamaica

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Kingston (Up Park Camp) Memorial No 1
Kingston (Up Park Camp) Military Cemetery
WW1 2

 

Malaysia

 

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Labuan Memorial,
Labuan War Cemetery
WW2 2,225

Malta

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Malta Memorial WW2 206

Myanmar

(formerly Burma)

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Rangoon Memorial,
Taukyan War Cemetery, Rangoon
WW2 2

Papua New Guinea

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Lae Memorial,
Lae War Cemetery
WW2 328
Port Moresby Memorial,
Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery
WW2 740
Rabaul Memorial,
Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery
WW2 1 216

Sierra Leone

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Freetown (King Tom) Cemetery Memorial WW2 10

Singapore

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Singapore Civil Hospital Grave Memorial WW2 2
Kranji War Cemetery and the Singapore Memorials
Kranji War Cemetery and the Singapore Memorials (PDF 447 KB)
Kranji War Cemetery and the Singapore Memorials (DOC 25 MB)
WW2 1 638

Turkey (Gallipoli)

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Helles Memorial WW1 250
Lone Pine Memorial WW1 4,222

United Kingdom

Cemetery / Memorial War Involvement Number of Australians commemorated4
Brookwood Memorial,
Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey
WW2 1
Hollybrook Memorial,
Southampton (Hollybrook) Cemetery, Hampshire
WW1 162
Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon
Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon (PDF 102 KB)
Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon (DOC 2.23 MB)
WW1
WW2
73
1 783
Runnymede Memorial, Surrey
Runnymede Memorial, Surrey (PDF 1.13 MB)
Runnymede Memorial, Surrey (DOC 194 MB)
WW2 1 391
Tower Hill Memorial, London
Tower Hill Memorial, London (PDF 152 KB)
Tower Hill Memorial, London (DOC 8.67 KB)
WW1
WW2
3
47

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Footnotes

  1. As at September 2003. This number excludes those whose remains have been identified since their name was inscribed, though for practical reasons, the inscription may remain on the memorial until the panel is refurbished.
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