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    Question re WWI missing in action

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    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    An example I have is taken from the army record of a 1st July 1916 casualty.

    Active service casualty form - reported missing 8th July 1916

    Effects form stating he is deceased - 13th November 1917

    Belongings form - 28th November 1917

    I don't know how long it takes for the paperwork to be completed after confirmation of death is given, but it could be just days or weeks in between. If we assume this record is the norm, we're talking about 16 months missing before confirmation of death.


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    Welcome. Perfectos.

    I've seen the details of an officer who was reported Missing and about three months later, his solicitor wrote to the War Office to ask if the officer was still consiered missing, or if he was now considered to have been killed. The reply said that the the officer could not be listed as "presumed killed" because six months had to elapse first. At the end of six months the officer's family received notification that he was presumed to have been killed.

    This would seem to suggest that the "waiting period" was six months, but in many other cases I have heard of, it was more like a year.

    Incidentally, British soldiers were never listed as "Missing in Action" - it was just "Missing".

    And I believe that missing soldiers were not re-classified as "Killed in Action" - it was "Missing, Presumed Killed". In other words, the principal part of the classification was still "missing" because no one actually knew what had happened to the man.


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    This is an extract from Army Council Instructions dated 20th November 1915 regarding the "missing", which may be of interest to you all. I have also seen a what I believe was a Red Cross document which does make mention of the six months period, but can't remember where.


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    I found this Instruction very interesting, Graham, and thanks to you for posting it.

    Army Form B104-82 (The form which the Instruction notes as the wrong one to use) is the form which notifies that a soldier has been killed. It has a space where the cause of death is to be written, and presumably they were writing "Missing, Believed Killed" there.

    The form the Instruction says should be used, Army Form B 104-83, informs the next-of-kin that a soldier is missing, with an explanation that this does not necessarily mean that he is dead.


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    • 4 weeks later...

    Though this relates to the Australians it is probably run along the similar lines to the British.

    On the 12 August 1917, 13 months after the battle of Fromelles (19/20 July 1916) those still missing of the 32nd Battalion were reclassed as KIA.

    Initially they were classed "Missing after Action, France, 20 July 1916" till changed to "Killed in Action"

    On the 20 October 1916 (3 months to the day) the missing were "Struck off Strength" from the battalion.


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    • 1 month later...

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