Nearly half a million soldiers of the British Empire who died during the First World War had no known grave. The difficult task of commemorating these missing, with the same respect and honour as those with a headstone including their name, also fell to the Imperial War Graves Commission. Their stunning memorials to the missing, often vast in scale, stretch across Belgium and France.

The design and iconography of these memorials is rich and complex. On a guided tour looking at this aspect of the battlefields I will show you how to read the meanings contained in these memorials and interpret the intentions of the architects, as well as understand the reactions of the original visitors.

Beyond the work of the IWGC are the memorials put up by individuals to lost loved ones and the various units of the British and imperial armies. Designing, siting and erecting these memorials often involved much discussion as different authorities and voices entered the scene. Unpicking these fascinating stories reveals much about the pride and passion that permeated the whole issue of war memorials, as well as the realities of trying to erecting them in a devastated region.