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The Dunkirk Memorial

With thousands of men separated from their units in the confusion of the fighting and the retreat, it later proved impossible to establish exactly where, or when, many had died.

Some were hastily buried where they fell by their comrades, at roadsides or in fields, where their graves lay undiscovered. Others did not find their final resting place until long after the fighting was over, buried by Belgian and French civilians under German occupation.

Thousands of burials were made in communal cemeteries and churchyards across northern France and Belgium and, as the front swept over the old First World War battlefields, many graves were added to the existing war cemeteries of that conflict.

Throughout the summer the bodies of those lost in the waters of the English Channel continued to be washed ashore, and many were never identified.

The Dunkirk Memorial commemorates more than 4,500 members of the BEF who died between September 1939 and June 1940, or later while in captivity, and who have no known grave.

Those sailors lost at sea during the evacuation are commemorated on naval memorials in the United Kingdom, and the airmen on the Runnymede Memorial.