The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing is one of the most well known sites of remembrance of the Somme. It is both a memorial commemorating Franco-British cooperation during the war and a memorial to the 72,000 British and South African men who were killed in the Somme from July 1915 to 20 March 1918 and who have no known grave.
Thiepval Project (a UK charity) and European funding.
One of the main focal points of this visitor centre is the Missing of the Somme Database, where information and photographs of almost 12,000 of the men commemorated on the memorial can be found. The database was specially created for the Visitor Centre by Pam and Ken Linge, who began researching the men of Thiepval in 2003. It enables visitors to the battlefields to access information collected through individual donations and various public sources such as Rolls of Honour produced after the Great War. It also enables the stories of some of these men to be revealed and remembered, and reminds us that the names carved on the memorial belong to real men, with real lives and families.
The “Missing” Exhibition at the Historial
Pam and Ken then suggested an exhibition relating to their work with the database to the Historial, Museum of the Great War, which led to the Missing Exhibition, themed on remembrance and the Missing of the Somme commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, being held at the museum in Péronne, in 2012. The stories of 182 Missing men were chosen to feature in the 2012 exhibition; one man for each day of the Battle of the Somme, and to illustrate the losses that were incurred on the first day of the battle - 12,000 missing men out of the 60,000 casualties - one man was chosen from each division that fought on the 1st July 1916.
Missing But Not Forgotten
This year, Pam and Ken have taken their remembrance project even further by publishing a new book: Missing But Not Forgotten – Men of the Thiepval Memorial, Somme. The book is not a military history of the Battle of the Somme, it is about personal remembrance, and features over 200 fascinating stories of the men who fought and died and whose resting places have not been identified. The stories that lie behind each of the names carved into the memorial’s panels illustrate the various backgrounds and differing lives of these men.
These captivating stories stand as remembrance for each man and to all the others on the memorial. They are meticulously organised so the book can be of use to visitors as they walk around the memorial; as a name is viewed, the story behind that name can be read.
The authors' royalties from the sale of this book, which can be found in the Somme at the Thiepval Visitor Centre and the bookshop at the Historial, Museum of the Great War in Péronne, have been donated to The Royal British Legion and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.