Thursday, 24 February 2011

WW1 statistics

The First World War is associated with some pretty shocking statistics, in terms of lives lost. The overall loss of life for British Imperial Forces stands at just over 1.1 million, with 111,000 civilians lost. This equates to the following percentages of the total population:

Australia: 1.38%
Canada 0.93%
New Zealand 1.64%
United Kingdom 2.19%

The losses from the Isle of Lewis, just below 1,300, equate to about 4% of the total population of approximately 30,000 in 1911. I have often quoted these figures as follows: rougly every second man joined up (their number stands at around 6,200) and of those, every fifth man did not survive the war.

It has now become clear to me that more than half of those (about 600) do not have a known grave. Of those, half again (300) are Royal Navy or Royal Naval Reserve personnel. And of those, more than sixty were lost in the Iolaire Disaster, their bodies never to be recovered. 

There are 123 references to WW1 casualties in the graveyards of Lewis, which are actually not interred there. Half of those have no known grave.

Just because an archduke got shot in Sarajevo?

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