British historian Peter Barton, commissioned by the Australian government to conduct research into the mass grave at Fromelles in France, has discovered a treasure trove of material in a Red Cross archive in Geneva. The records, carefully entered on card indexers, provide the details for millions of soldiers caught up in the war on the Western Front. The information was all gathered from combatants by the Red Cross and include details of the capture, death or burial of servicemen including their home addresses and grave sites whenever possible.

This material was painstakingly compiled by Red Cross volunteers before it was sent on to the soldiers\' home countries. Now these dusty card indexers, forgotten about for 90 years, are the only records of this nature that still remain. In the words of Peter Barton: “To a military historian, this was like finding Tutankhamen\'s tomb and the terracotta warriors on the same day.”

The Red Cross hope to have digital copies of all the records online by 2014. For the full story here is the original BBC link.