UK post-WW2 combat fatalities and wounded figures.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Neuroleptic, Jun 18, 2008.

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  1. I'm doing an essay on British military ops since 1945 at the moment, and it would be very helpful to have a reliable reference for UK casualty figures during the period. Many sources describing various campaigns and conflicts seem to be contradictory and vague on this topic.

    Can anyone suggest a suitable book, publication, etc?

    (Not Wikipedia thanks!)
  2. Ahem.. Please see bold above. Wikipedia isn't acceptable in academic papers. Also, your link appears to be to WW2 rather than after it.
  3. ********. :roll:

    Moving on...

    We were discussing casualties in Northern Ireland and the University of Ulster has some detailed figures here:

    Hunt through it you will find detailed breakdowns that should be helpful.

    Imperial War museum might be a useful place to look too.
  4. Thanks for that. I'm coming round to the idea that a trip to the IWM may be my best bet. Still, it's an interesting day out.
  5. I remember seeing that approx 16,000 have died in service since 1945, with about 3,000 killed in hostile circumstances. The Imperial War Museum is probably your best bet. I daresay that non-fatal casualty figures will be a lot harder to come by, given that such stats are sketchy even for Iraq and Afghanistan pre-2006. Considering that some 684 members of the armed forces have been wounded in action since 1st January 2006, the total wounded in action figure must be around the 1,000 mark. If the MOD's figures for on-going campaigns are so incomplete, I dread to think what it'll be like trying to put a reliable figure on, say, Malaya. Good luck!
  6. Probably not going to meet the timescale for an essay, but a FOIA request to MOD should either produce the figures or a pointer to an authoratative source.

    That said, you have to define what you mean by 'casualty' - e.g. if I understand it properly, in WW1 the difference between Killed in Action and Died of Wounds was that a man had to enter the medical chain i.e. had to reach at least a Regimental Aid Post. Didn't matter if he died a minute later, if he was logged in the RAP then he was DOW not KIA. But men who died 6 months later could also be recorded as DOW. Men who died of organic disease, accidents, etc were classified as 'Died'.

    I've no idea how that applies to later conflicts (but suspect similar classifications persisted) but I sugget you frame questions appropriately.

  7. I suspect that you are right with regards to the wounded in action situation, as it looks like no distinction was made between injuries sustained in action and other circumstances until very recently.

    The differing fatality figures for the same campaign also probably have the same root. Some, namely the higher figures, include deaths due to other causes rather than just deaths related purely to enemy action.
  8. There was an outcry not so long ago when it was revealed that the MOD did not even know how many had died in NI or who they were.

    Try starting here, but you will find broken links
  9. I rather suspect that this is an essay topic in itself. The way in which any statistical data is collected over time will change, as well as the fact that what was once a fatal wound may no longer be so due to things like the MERT and generally improved surgical and medical techniques. The use of any such data is permissable in academic work as long as these caveats are made clear. Do you have a reference for the casualty classification system you mention above? It might be useful to quote.

    On the other hand, I'm beginning to suspect that this information (no matter how inexact) doesn't exist in one single handy reference guide.
  10. I would have thought that "Wounded in action" figures would be incredibly difficult to obtain for all but the most recent campaigns.

    Neuroleptic - did you try I know from experience when researching my late father's involvement in the Malayan Emergency that this particular website has some very useful information on post war activities of the forces.