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During the Great War, three men one British, one American and one German give their lives on the battlefields of Flanders. Neil Hanson traces each soldier from recruitment and naive optimism that the war would be over in a matter of weeks; to the appalling reality of trench warfare with the stench of death permeating from mass graves beneath the battlefields; finally to the waiting, worrying and grieving of their families when the dreaded telegram 'missing, believed dead' arrives. THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER examines what happened to the soldiers whose bodies were unrecoverable and the valiant efforts of Reverend David Railton, a priest serving at the frontline with the London Regiment. He convinced Prime Minister Lloyd George to create a symbolic burial of one unknown soldier so that all who had lost brothers, sons and fathers could grieve at the grave in the hope that the unknown soldier was their beloved. Hanson's book culminates in a modern Remembrance Day and the ritual of commemoration.


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