How many blokes have died for the Union Jack?

#1
Reading Sharpe... someone has to. And on the cover there's a pile of dead frenchmen (hurrah!) and a smaller pile of dead redcoats (not hurrah)(no greenjackets - they appear to be bulletproof).

So it got me thinking... the Brits ++ love a scrap, which has a downside. I couldn't even begin to think how many soldiers have been lost in the last 2 centuries. Anyone care to guess... or does anyone actually know?
 
#3
BaldricksBullet said:
Reading Sharpe... someone has to. And on the cover there's a pile of dead frenchmen (hurrah!) and a smaller pile of dead redcoats (not hurrah)(no greenjackets - they appear to be bulletproof).

So it got me thinking... the Brits ++ love a scrap, which has a downside. I couldn't even begin to think how many soldiers have been lost in the last 2 centuries. Anyone care to guess... or does anyone actually know?
Why 'last 2 centuries'? The British Armed Forces were as busy before Ireland joined the Union in 1801, you know. If your thesis is about the Union Flag; the original, in recognition of the joining of England and Scotland, dates back to 1606. However, the unification of the English and Scottish armies, and thereby the birth of 'the British Army', did not occur until alignment of government in 1707.

There are several articles on Wikipedia that are worth a look (however, beware of quoting anything you read there (which, incidentally, is exactly what I have done)).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Army

Anyway, my point is: Decide on your target dates and then research the casualty figures for each campaign during the period identified. Any good encyclopaedia will likely have gross figures.
 
#5
SparkySteve said:
Not sure about the Union Jack, but im sure plenty have died for the Union Flag!
Actually, and at the risk of sounding like a complete bore, even if the term "Union Jack" does derive from its use as a naval jack flag, after three centuries of use, it is now sanctioned by that use, has appeared in official documentation numorous times as such, and, most importantly, is the popular term for our state flag. So, whilst you may well be technically correct it terms of its historical origins, the original poster is also right; the state flag of Great Britain is known as the Union Jack and it is IMO entirely appropriate to refer to it as such.
 
#8
SparkySteve said:
Remaining off-topic but, I refer you to the following article, which supports my assertion (indeed, I paraphrased directly from it in my post above):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_jack

'Even if the term "Union Jack" does derive from the jack flag (as perhaps seems most likely), after three centuries, it is now sanctioned by use, has appeared in official use, and remains the popular term.'
 
#9
Dragstrip said:
SparkySteve said:
Remaining off-topic but, I refer you to the following article, which supports my assertion (indeed, I paraphrased directly from it in my post above):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_jack

'Even if the term "Union Jack" does derive from the jack flag (as perhaps seems most likely), after three centuries, it is now sanctioned by use, has appeared in official use, and remains the popular term.'
And quoting from wikipedia makes it accurate you think??? :roll:

The Union Flag is only referred to as the Union Jack when it is flying from the Jackstaff of HM Ships. At no other time is it referred to as the Union Jack.

Plain ignorance has meant that over the years it is called the Union Jack ashore.
 
#10
the_matelot said:
And quoting from wikipedia makes it accurate you think??? :roll:

The Union Flag is only referred to as the Union Jack when it is flying from the Jackstaff of HM Ships. At no other time is it referred to as the Union Jack.

Plain ignorance has meant that over the years it is called the Union Jack ashore.
back in the day when everyone brother and uncle was in the royal navy, when they where so used to calling it a 'Union Jack' on their big boats, when they came ashore they kept calling it Union Jack, so the mass population started to copy, mainly because half of them was in the navy...
 
#11
We are way down the list of war dead in each of the last three centuries. We barely make the top twenty let alone the top ten. This is in part due to the fact that Britain never had a policy of conscription whereas other world powers had substantial standing armies.

During the period 1815 to 1914 the British Army had the lowest number of military deaths of any of the major powers of the time. France, the US, Austria, Germany, Russia, China, Japan, Russia, Turkey, Spain and even Mexico lost more men in war than the British.
 
#12
predatorplus said:
the_matelot said:
And quoting from wikipedia makes it accurate you think??? :roll:

The Union Flag is only referred to as the Union Jack when it is flying from the Jackstaff of HM Ships. At no other time is it referred to as the Union Jack.

Plain ignorance has meant that over the years it is called the Union Jack ashore.
back in the day when everyone brother and uncle was in the royal navy, when they where so used to calling it a 'Union Jack' on their big boats, when they came ashore they kept calling it Union Jack, so the mass population started to copy, mainly because half of them was in the navy...
Thanks, P+. That illustrates my point nicely. That is to say, if enough people use a term in a particular way for a prolonged period of time, it becomes common useage and is therefore, by definition, correct. How else do we think languages are formed? One of the things that make language great (and arguably English in particular) is that it is constantly evolving. IMO, it is only 'ignorance' that prevents it from doing so.
 
#13
the_matelot said:
The Union Flag is only referred to as the Union Jack when it is flying from the Jackstaff of HM Ships. At no other time is it referred to as the Union Jack.

Still off topic, this is my understanding of the naming of the flag.
 
#15
the_matelot said:
And quoting from wikipedia makes it accurate you think??? :roll:

The Union Flag is only referred to as the Union Jack when it is flying from the Jackstaff of HM Ships. At no other time is it referred to as the Union Jack.

Plain ignorance has meant that over the years it is called the Union Jack ashore.
It is often stated that the Union Flag should only be described as the Union Jack when flown in the bows of a warship, but this is a relatively recent idea. From early in its life the Admiralty itself frequently referred to the flag as the Union Jack, whatever its use, and in 1902 an Admiralty Circular announced that Their Lordships had decided that either name could be used officially. Such use was given parliamentary approval in 1908 when it was stated that "the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag".

Graham Bartram, 29 May 1999

from Source
 
#16
sandy_boots said:
This is in part due to the fact that Britain never had a policy of conscription whereas other world powers had substantial standing armies.

quote]
Got to pick you up on that one. What do we think National Service was if it wasnt conscription?

One interesting (but not unique) thing that Britain did however, was to get others to fight our wars by proxy (clever that).
 
#17
the_matelot said:
And quoting from wikipedia makes it accurate you think??? :roll:
Quite right. Quoting from open source is not as secure as quoting from the reference works of a known authorative. It does not, however, necessarily make it inaccurate or even less accurate; it simply attracts a different kind of risk. This is why most universities advice the avoidance of using Wikipedia or similar in reference.

It is worth noting of course that ARRSE is also open source and anonymous, and as such, we should take everything written here with a pinch of salt in any case. Ironic, is it not?
 
#18
Dragstrip,

Britain introduced conscription for the first time in 1916. Conscription was required again in 1939 for the duration of the war. Attlee's Labour government introduced National Service, our only period of "peacetime" conscription in 1947. National Service ended in 1960.

Britain's military experiences prior to WW1 were fought with a small, professional, volunteer army. Not true of other powers (except the US).
 
#19
The other point I was trying to elude to was that a lack of substantial armed forces does limits a nation's options when it comes to waging aggressive warfare unless (like to US prior to WW1) you only have a pop at very small nations.

Having substantial armies on hand can allow things to "kick off" rather easily. Good examples being the German-Austrian war of 1866, the Franco-Prussian war 1870 and the Russo-Japanese war 1904-05. In these examples each of the protagonists was able to field forces in excess of half a million men in a matter of weeks. Britain at the time had an army of a little over 300,000 men, some sixty percent of them serving in the far corners of the Empire.

More men took part in the Battle of Sedan on Sept 1 1870 than the entire strength of the British Army of the day.
 

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