Tens of thousands of our war dead have no known grave.
Some have graves but the identity of the occupant is described as "Known unto God".
People lost at sea, in flying and land operations were often lost without trace.
In the first World War in Gallipoli, many improvised graves were subsequently lost, while men who were wounded would be evacuated by ship, often to die of their wounds and be buried at sea. On the Western Front, France, the graves of many who received a field burial were disturbed by subsequent shellfire or the markers were lost and the graves obliterated. Some 18,000 Australians were listed as "Missing" in WW1 alone.
A desire to bring closure to the fate of these men lead to the creation of a Red Cross Bureau to investigate the circmstances of the loss of these men. Inspired and led by the daughter of a former Prime Minister, named Vera Deakin, the AWM is the repository of copies of these files.
In South Australia, the State Library holds original copies of all correspondence to and from the relatives of the Missing of WW1. They have been integrated with this site.
Periodically, the list is reduced. Human remains disintered in France and Belgium are now routinely identified. Aircraft lost in Europe are also periodically discovered and less frequently human remains are recovered and identified, largely thanks to DNA technology.
People with "No Known Grave" are commemorated on a number of Memorials created specifically for this purpose. Examples include: