After D-Day, 6 June 1944, the British began an immense operation in Western Europe – on behalf of all the many nationalities serving with the British forces – to find out what had happened to the missing, and to honorably bury or commemorate the dead. This care also extended to enemy soldiers, who as far as possible were treated as equals.
The Americans were running a similar programme over much the same territory, and there was a degree of overlap. At the same time, the liberated countries provided an immense amount of help. However, the beginning of the Cold War made work very difficult in the eastern parts of Europe.
For anyone who is interested in the care of the military dead, this website will provide some of the answers to what was done for the many thousands of servicemen and servicewomen who were listed as dead or missing in Europe by the end of the Second World War.
This work was carried out before the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the CWGC) became involved, at a time when it was the British Army and the RAF who were in primary charge of the care of the military dead.
The website also touches upon war crimes and the evidence which was discovered during the course of the Army and RAF’s normal exhumation and identification work.
By late 1945, the various war crimes units which had operated with 21 Army Group, by then known as the BAOR, the British Army of the Rhine, had been merged to form the War Crimes Group (NWE), which was located at Bad Oeynhausen in Germany, the headquarters of the BAOR. All evidence of war crimes discovered by the RAF’s Missing Research and Enquiry Service (the MRES) or the Army Graves Service was reported to these authorities.