Wed, 24 May|
Great War Huts
Hutted Histories: Identifying the War Dead 1914-1918 with Dr Sarah Ashbridge
How successful were identity discs and what was the impact for the CWGC during and after the war? This presentation by Dr Sarah Ashbridge will explore the history and archaeology of identity discs to answer that question.
Time & Location
24 May, 19:30
Great War Huts, Brook Farm Camp, Bell's Ln, Bury St Edmunds, Bury Saint Edmunds IP29 5NW, UK
About the event
The British Armed Forces first introduced an identity disc (also known as a dog tag) in 1907 as a means to identify those who died on the battlefield. However, the system was not well tested until the First World War, when mass casualties quickly overrode traditional operational plans to clear, identify and bury the dead. In September 1914, a new fibre identity disc was introduced, not long before Fabian Ware arrived in France to take control of a mobile unit of the British Red Cross. Their legacies would become entwined forever more.
Fabian’s life became dedicated to the recovery, identification, and commemoration of those who fell in war, driving the creation of an organisation that we know today as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). But how successful were identity discs and what was the impact for the CWGC during and after the war? This presentation will explore the history and archaeology of identity discs to answer that question.
Sarah Ashbridge is a Research Fellow in Military Sciences at RUSI. Sarah’s AHRC funded PhD explored the history of identity discs and military identification practice, and the presence of identity discs in the archaeological record. Today, her research focuses on mortuary affairs, human security, and climate change. She is a volunteer with Operation Nightingale and Breaking Ground Heritage.