Scattered Episode 17: Collaboration and Respecting the Dead – Interview with Andrew Bernie

Andrew Bernie is the Manager of Unrecovered War Casualties, Directorate of Sensitive and Strategic Issues Management – Army in Canberra, Australia. I talked to his Canadian colleague, Dr. Sarah Lockyer, in Episode 15. Over World Wars I and II, and the Korean Conflict, approximately 25, 000 Australian soldiers have no known grave.

In this episode we talk about:

  • how the recovery and identification of war casualties has no time limit. The families and relatives are still, after decades and a hundred years, deeply affected by connecting a missing and recovered war casualty
  • the numbers and locations of missing Australian soldiers from WWI (Europe and Turkey), WWII (Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Malaysia, North Africa, and Europe); and Korea (most are thought to be in the Demilitarized Zone). There are likely approximately 9000 Australian soldiers buried as “unidentified soldiers” around the world. In the past, Andrew’s team had also worked to identify Australian soldiers from the Vietnam War
  • how Australian casualty remains, or the location of possible remains, come to the attention of Andrew’s team
  • how the democratization and digitization of information allows the public to do their own research and help the search for Australian casualties, and how collaboration with community organizations and individuals helps gather information that makes the discovery and identification of Australian casualties possible
  • collaboration with bureaucrats, military personnel, scientists, and volunteers to help respectfully and efficiently use valuable resources
  • the formation of The Korean War Missing in Action Working Group — a collaborative group which includes families of the missing, veterans of the conflict, ex-services organizations, Andrew’s team, Australian Air Force, Navy, and other government organizations — and how it has helped locate and recover missing casualties
  • the use of oral stories of veterans and families in conjunction with documents to help locate and identify casualties
  • working with communities in foreign countries to learn their culture, their perspectives, and information regarding the dead
  • building cross-cultural trust and collaboration through respect for the dead

Andrew has provided the following links for more information:

Unrecovered War Casualties |

Home – Fallen Diggers

My quest to find the missing | Australian War Memorial (

Miscellaneous notes from the start of the episode:

  • Thank you for helping the Scattered podcast reach +60k downloads and counting! Tell me what you think of the podcast and provide your suggested topics at or through my website at
  • The Bone Search and Discovery Course has been re-launched. Find it here.
  • Many thanks to those who voted on the new cover of my first novel Memoirs of a Reluctant Archaeologist. Results are in! Check out the new cover and buy the book here. The Kobo Plus free (for a limited time) version is available here.
  • The videos for the Alberta portion of the 2021-2022 Scavenging Study are done. Find them here.
  • I was recently interviewed for the Women in Archaeology podcast. You can listen to it here.

Do you have a suggestion for a topic on the Scattered podcast?

Do you have a question about working with human remains?

Reach out and let me know!

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