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Case Study: Long Lost Family Special – The Unknown Soldiers

A special episode of Long Lost Family was aired on 21st October on ITV, dedicated to the extraordinary work of the Ministry of Defence’s ‘War Detectives’ in identifying the bodies of unknown British and Commonwealth soldiers lost in battle during the First World War.

This programme highlighted the diligent work being carried out by the team at the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC).  Discoveries of the remains of fallen soldiers are reported to JCCC from across Europe, often by farmers or land owners.  With great care, the JCCC undertakes to identify them and to contact and inform the families.  At the end of the process the fallen soldiers receive a burial with full military honours.

Long lost family special

Cellmark works with the JCCC to support the recovery of remains and to provide identification through DNA analysis and comparison with samples provided by living relatives.  Cellmark’s scientists and laboratories appeared in the Long Lost Family Special because of assistance provided to the JCCC with the DNA identification of soldiers featured in the programme.

David Hartshorne, Managing Director, commented “It is always an enormous privilege to provide scientific and anthropological assistance for these JCCC First World War investigations and we were very pleased to take part in the Long Lost Family Special documentary that highlights the fascinating genealogy and repatriation efforts undertaken by JCCC”.

Long lost family special

The documentary was introduced / narrated by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell (pictured, credit Wall to Wall Media) and is available on ITV Hub for catch up.


Published on 04/11/2019