During the Second World War over 30,000 RAF crewmen went missing in action around the world. This book looks at the RAF's efforts to find out what happened to those men, a massive investigation that lasted longer than the war itself!
We start by tracing the evolution of the units charged with this task, from the small scale and ineffective system of 1939, through the Missing Research Section of 1941 and on to the Missing Research and Enquiry Service, a much larger organisation that operated everywhere the RAF had fought.
In most chapters Hadaway mixes a history of the individual unit in question with some examples of the work they were doing. I find this an effective approach, which allows the author to include quite a bit of material on the development of the unit and its organisation without the text ever being too dry. Later chapters are also organised by geographical area, so we get an insight into the different conditions members of the MRES served under, from friendly areas of liberated Europe to rather more hostile parts of Germany and on the remote and wild expanses of the Pacific theatre. Threaded all the way through are case studies, where we follow our investigators as they carry out research into the loss of a particular aircraft or chase up possible burials.
This is a captivating story and tells the tale of a group of people who carried out an invaluable service, often in very telling conditions.
1 - A Corner of a Foreign Field
2 - The Missing Problem and Wreck Recovery
3 - The Air Ministry Regrets: Casualty Procedure 1939-45
4 - Missing Research Section, P.4 (Cas)
5 - Missing Research and Enquiry Service
6 - Around the World I Search For Thee
7 - France, Belgium, Holland, Norway and Luxembourg
8 - No.5 MREU Mediterranean and Middle East
9 - Germany and Poland
10 - The Far East
11 - Missing Research and Graves Registration Service
12 - Last Resting Place
A - Casualty Statistics
B - Chronology and Organisation of Units
C - History of P.4 (Cas)
D - Tracing Royal Air Force Airmen
E - War Crimes and the MRES
F - MRES Unit Badge
Author: Stuart Hadaway
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2012 edition of 2008 original