The final burial and rededication services of the year have taken place, but the work doesn’t stop there for the commemorations team within the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), part of Defence Business Services…

In fact, the team are equally active between November and March before they travel across the globe ensuring the services currently planned for those who lost their lives during the 2 World Wars are held with the dignity and honour that they rightly deserve, there are approximately 500,000 fallen servicemen still undiscovered.

Despite up to a century passing since they fell the remains of British servicemen are still found today, often in farmers’ fields or following civil engineering works. When discoveries are made, the team start the journey of attempting to identify the individual, trace their living relatives before organising a full military funeral service in commemoration.

Due to accessibility to research material and the popularity of family genealogy, the team has witnessed a rise in the number of rededication cases submitted identifying previously unknown graves.

These last 12 months will live long in the memories of those dedicated few who make up the small team of Gloucester-based ‘war detectives’ a term now regularly used to describe the work of the commemorations team. It was anticipated that this year was going to be demanding with the centenary of the end of WW1, however the scale of public interest surpassed all expectation.

Tracey Bowers, JCCC’s Commemorations Team Lead said: “This has been an extremely busy, successful and enjoyable year for the commemorations team. More cases than ever have been concluded and we have had some tremendous feedback both from stakeholders and families.

“This year, to cope with the increase in cases and the significance of the World War 1 Centenary, we took the decision to extend our ceremony window and conduct services well into November. Luckily the weather was glorious, and the moving services we delivered justified this decision.”

This year had an equal split of 17 burials and 17 rededications spanning 6 European countries. These include a service with Defence Minister, Tobias Ellwood in attendance, who praised the work of the JCCC on Good Morning Britain.