The Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service 1944 – 1952

The Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service (MRES) was set up in 1944 to trace the 42,000 personnel who were listed as ‘missing, believed killed’. The demand was so great that the department was expanded in 1945. Flight Lieutenant Noel Archer of the MRES noting details of aircrew graves at a civilian burial ground in France.

These men had no special training, and did not have the benefits that modern technology offers; only a strong desire to bring home those who had not returned. Despite the obstacles caused by the lack of tools, the MRES was able to account for over two thirds of the missing personnel by a thorough combing Flt Lt Ralph Laronde and Flt Lt Noel Archer and colleagues from the MRES bearing an exhumed coffin to a reburial ceremony at an official war grave somewhere in France. of the globe. Those found were identified and reinterred in Commonwealth War Graves Commission plots.

Without the commitment shown by the dedicated teams of the MRES, many families would go on not knowing what had happened to their loved one or of the location of their Final resting place. The MRES allowed families the dignity to finally grieve. The unit was disbanded in 1952.