Military Histories

The Burnt Records

The soldier was tragically killed during the German final advance in 1918. He was reported missing on March 23rd and as he had not written home to his mother in over six weeks she took it upon herself to write to his Commanding Officer seeking assurance everything was alright. She had last seen her son in February when he had returned home for the funeral of his younger brother, also a casualty of the war. She was naturally worried. 

I used the 'burnt' records in War Office (WO) 363 to locate the soldier’s personal records; unfortunately his younger brother’s records were not found. From the records I was able to note his period of leave when he spent time back in England and also an entry recording three days' stoppage of leave for galloping his horse! I also discovered the letter from his concerned mother, written almost a fortnight after his death. Due to the confused state of events on the ground it took until August 1918 before the soldier was pronounced ‘missing in action, presumed dead’.

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