When the war ended, the RAF had 41,881 service people missing. The vast majority were from Bomber Command, lost on operations in Europe.
A large proportion of the missing were thought to have been lost at sea, but about 60 per cent of the losses were estimated to be traceable on land.
In order to find these missing men and uncover their fate, the RAF set up a dedicated service, the Missing Research and Enquiry Service. The Europe branch of the MRES searched the areas detailed on this map, which reflects the extremely wide reach of RAF operations.