I have several reasons for presenting this page, one being the recent vote in the House of Parliament on Syria; one on the imminent withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, and in the same year, the start of four years celebrating WW1 and those who served their nations at that time.

My theme will be

STATISTICS IN WAR

and what they tell us about the killing game, and are they all gathered on a level playing field?

Before I begin, I offer my hearty congratulations to all MP's who voted against the UK effectively entering Syria's civil war, borne out so we are told by over 70% of the Nation agreeing with them - I am one of them!  Excellent decision, and it is about time common sense was the lead-card played in the House despite the fact that the vote created precedents in the House, one of which being the first PM ever to lose a war-vote. I am a Tory, but I say BZ to the Opposition Front Bench for their guts in parrying the war-monger vote.   I also note that name HAIG/HAUGE [however spelt] and note three in particular: our Foreign Secretary William HAUGE; the British Commander of the BEF [British Expeditionary Force] 1915-1918 Douglas HAIG, and U.S. General and Secretary of State to President Ronald Reagan, Alexander HAIG who did not impress Mrs Thatcher one iota during his UK Visit at the time of the Falklands Conflict.  All three were/are war mongers and in my book at least, all three have failed in that role! To me, that fellow Yorkshireman William Hauge is a huge international embarrassment to our Nation.

If the USA goes ahead with their threat to punish Syria and take the French with them instead of the UK, then so be it, for it is far better a Frenchman dies and far better a Euro is wasted on ammunition and war preparedness than a Briton dying and our precious Sterling being squandered again and for what, when it is sorely needed here back home for peaceful means?

I am going to start by asking you whether you have noticed our soldiers coming back from Afghanistan still wearing their working rig on our streets and whist off duty shopping in our stores? I ask, because in my time, to be seen wearing our working rig [No8's] outside our dockyards and fleet establishments was not only a punishable offence, but a fool hardy thing to do because it marked us out as potential targets to our enemies, as did the wearing of our blue uniforms of course! That statement might bemuse you and lead you to ridicule the observation,  but were I to remind you that in a period lasting 38 years [1969-2007] wherein many of the years saw a ban of uniform in civilian environments, 1441 British Service Personnel lost their lives, compared with a period of  12 years where the desert uniform became the uniform of UK's streets, 444 have lost their lives. Averaging out, the former case saw on average 38 fatalities a year and so too does the latter case. The former case was the long campaign in Northern Ireland against various factions of the IRA and the latter case against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Why therefore, do present day soldiers strut around as though they are something very special, iconic heroes, when in reality, our example, and many more examples yet to come, show them statistically to be no more than ordinary soliders? Moreover, I'll wager that the worst type of IRA man is equal in every way to a zealot Islamic murderer, although I am not aware of an al Qaeda fighter entering the streets of a town like Guildford to murder civilians and particularly women and children as did the Irish and on more than one occasion. Like for like, act for act, death for death, it could be argued that the IRA were a much more feared enemy than any Arab as ever been, and yet this goes unnoticed, unsung and unrecorded. At the end of the day and despite all the tears, hand-wringing, and dashed aspirations, the crushing of the IRA [or was it a voluntary capitulation?] was not only a worthwhile case and attainable [as it proved to be] whereas Afghanistan is a lost cause and always was. It's livelihood [if that is apt in their case] is the dreaded poppy and the ruination that it manifests in the West. The growers of the poppy are subjugated dirt farmers and the sellers are the omnipotent Taliban/al Qaeda who rule with instruments of threat and death.  When we leave, no matter what is said, the parts of the country which have responded to NATO/ISAF 'pressure' will be immediately returned to the Afghan of old [pre NATO/ISAF, pre USSR and maybe a few more pre's], and the war-lords domiciled in their cosy surroundings in pro-terrorist Pakistan will once again frequent the plains and fields on which the hand-to-mouth poppy farmers exist, or die!

Dealing with fatalities in the Armed Forces has to have a datum point on which to measure the numbers, the circumstances and the weeks/months/years in the campaign.  We are about to use that standard from hereonin.

Those criteria are set inside a "medal earning theatre" and the information following. Deaths not subjected to a theatre of war for which a Queens Medal has been awarded, are not included [if any] in my statistics which are the result of a FOI Request made by me in late summer 2013 to the MOD. If the FOI Request is granted [cost factor exceeding £600 GBP may rule it out as being too expensive and over budget set by the Government for the Act] then as well as answering to the request directly to the person involved, the answer is also promulgated in the  'FOI Disclosure Log' on the website of the Department answering the question.

Deaths since World War II

 

1.      Defence Statistics compiles the Department’s authoritative deaths database for all UK Armed Forces personnel who died whilst in Service going back to 1984. Information is compiled from several internal and external sources from which we release a number of internal analyses and external National Statistics Notices.

 

2.    For data prior to 1984, Defence Statistics have access to the Armed Forces Memorial (AFM) database owned by the tri-Service Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre. The AFM database was created in order to identify Service personnel whose names were to be, and continue to be engraved on the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. The AFM database records the deaths of all personnel who have died in Service since 1st Jan 1948, and for those who were killed or who died in Palestine from 1st Aug 1945 to 31st Aug 1948. Please note, the AFM database is not regarded as a validated source of historical fatality information, therefore, it cannot be guaranteed to be 100% complete or accurate due to it being populated manually from Service files.

With those field defined for us, we can begin to look at all FATALITIES since the end of WW2.

The first table [1] shows UK Armed Forces Deaths by medal earning theatre for the period 1945 until the 1st September 2013.

In this period 7136 souls perished in all theatres, which I will show in death rate order.

Since World War II, 7,136 UK Armed Forces personnel have died as a result of or during conflict, where conflict has been defined as a medal earning theatre, see Table 1 below. These deaths include those who died as a result of natural causes and accidents as well those who died as a result of hostile action.

THESE ARE OFFICAL BRITISH MOD STATISTICAL DATA FIGURES AND AS SUCH, ARE THE NUMBERS RECORDED IN CENTRAL GOVERNMENT RECORDS. See also the asterisk at the foot of the page*

No Medal Theatre Medal Date Range Number of Fatalities
1 Malaya GSM 16 June 1948 - 31 July 1960 1443
2 Northern Ireland 3 GSM 14 August 1969 - 31 July 2007 1441
3 Korea 1 [UN] UN 27 June 1950 - 27 July 1954 1130
4 Palestine GSM 3 September 1945 - 30 June 1948    754
5 Afghanistan 4 OSM 11 September 2001 - to date    444
6 Canal Zone GSM 16 October 1951 - 19 October 1954    405
7 Cyprus NGSM 1 April  1955 - 18 April 1959     358
8 South Atlantic [Falklands]   2 April 1982 - 12 July 1982     237
9 Iraq 4   20 January 2003 - 22 May 2011     178
10 South Arabia GSM 1 August 1964 - 30 November 1967     160
11 Borneo GSM 24 December 1962 - 11 August 1966     140
12 Kenya AGSM 21 October 1952 - 17 November 1956       94
13 Balkans 4&5   1 July 1992 - to Present Day       72
14 Arabian Peninsular GSM 1 January 1957 - 30 June 1960       60
15 Yangtze NGSM 20 April 1949 - 31 July 1949       45
16 Gulf 1 GSM 2 August 1990 - 7 March 1991       45
17 Malaya Peninsular GSM 17 August 1964 - 11 August 1966       40
18 Dhofar GSM 1 October 1969 - 3 September 1976       25
19 Near East [Suez] NGSM 31 October 1956 - 22 December 1956       24
20 Radfan GSM 25 April 1964 - 31 July 1964       13
21 Brunei GSM 8 December 1962 - 23 December 1962        7
22 Rhodesia   1 December 1979 - 20 Mar 1980        5
23 Air Ops Iraq   16 July 1991 - 30 April 2003        5
24 Sierra Leone OSM 5 May 2000 - 31 July 2002        5
25 Congo ONUC 10 July 1960 - 30 June 64        2
26 Cyprus 2 UNIFCYP 27 Mar 1964 - to Present        2
27 Cambodia UNAMIC/UNTAC 1 October 1991 - 30 September 1993        1
28 Libya   9 March 2011 - 31 October 2011       1

Notes:

1.    Includes: Korea Medal 2 July 1950 - 27 July 1953 and Korea medal (UN) 27 June 1950 – 27 July 1954.

2.    As at 31 December 2012.

3.    Amended from previous publications due to Defence Statistics (Health) validation exercise on all Northern Ireland deaths.

4.    As at 1 September 2013.

5.    Includes: the Former Yugoslavia (NATO FRY) 1 July 1992-31 December 2002; Sarajevo Airlift (UN) 3 July 1992 – 12 January 1996; Georgia (UNOMIG) 23 August 1993 to present; Kosovo (NATO) 13 October 1998 – 31 December 2002; Kosovo (UNMIK) 10 June 1999 to present; Macedonia (NATO) 1 June 2001 – 31 December 2002 and Balkans (NATO) 1 January 2003 to present.  To identify which deaths occurred on specific operations relating to activities in the Balkans, individual Service records would need to be examined, as such MOD presents the information under the overarching category ‘Balkans’.

6.    The medals are awarded as:

GSM – General Service Medal

NGSM – Naval General Service Medal

AGSM – Army General Service Medal

OSM – Operational Service Medal

Medals beginning with the letters 'UN' are issued as United Nation Medals. This also applies to the ONCU Medal issued for service in the Congo.

The medals listed are not exhaustive and in some cases up to 1962 the NGSM was issued to naval and Marine personnel whilst the GSM/AGSM was issued to other combatants in the campaigns.  After 1962, the NGSM ceased to be issued and all received the GSM. This list shows examples. When no medal is shown, a special medal was struck for the campaign.

Next we look at severity in battle, and take a point from the first word war.

The loss of just one soldier, is lamented by all as the loss of a comrade, someone's son, husband, brother, grandson, father, and even if the loss had been just that, one person say in Libya [see table above last line] a memorial would be erected, the fallen honoured and a battle honour issued for the event. Grieving for one comrade is really the same as grieving for many comrades, indeed, for all fallen comrades and numbers [statistics] never play a part in the Remembrance Services.

The bloodiest battles ever, possibly, involved Britain and her many Allies [which included France] against the Germany Allied Forces alongside and on both banks of the French River, The Somme. In this short Battle, lasting from the 1st July to 18th November 1916, twenty weeks, over 1,000,000 men were either killed or badly wounded [and thus, out of the fray]. As everybody knows, on the first day of this battle the 1st July, Britain lost 60,000 dead and wounded and things augured badly for a total calamity. That did not come!  The British/French forces pushed the Germans back nearly seven miles but the battle was indecisive with the Germans holding onto their HQ base ten miles behind the front just three miles from where the Allied group called stumps.

Severity in battle really means how many men were lost [killed or out of action because of wounds] in a given time frame or a given campaign, and to be of any use, the losses on both sides should be known and should be exact! The German losses were well known, as were ours, but the magnitude of losses were much too great to use in the calculation, the outcome being only that "slaughter" could define the outcome. In a moment we shall be using similar calculations but because of our numbers [fatalities since 1945] as so small, gratefully, our calculation will be relatively easy to perform and to understand. In the case of the Somme, we could say that twenty weeks equals 140 days so the losses [or attrition rate of 1,000,000] would be expressed as average losses per day of combat which would equal 7143 per day, which if you consult Table 1 above, equates with the total losses of the UK Armed Forces from 1945 to September 2013 [68 years] which equaled 7136.  Counting from August 1945 [VJ Day] to the 3rd September 2013 gives approximately 68 years, giving an average loss of 105 men p.a., throughout the period. Historians are still battling over the the Battle of Jutland  trying to present a clear and outright winner, taking all kinds and types of losses into account, but they continue to fail to deliver a realistic verdict. WW1 land battles were equally notoriously difficult to referee!

So, returning to Table 1 above, and choosing say Afghanistan as an example calculation, 444 fatalities in 12 years = 144 months = just over 3 fatalities per month, even though that in itself is horrendous and as I said previously, lamentable. Many would say a waste of life, but that can only be stated to be such when the full outcome of the Afghanistan campaign is over and we see its fruits - or otherwise!

3 per month is the Afghanistan war British severity level. We don't of course know of the losses on the other side and  NATO losses, although known,  have not been factored in.

The table now begins to look like this and I will call it Table 2

No CAMPAIGN DURATION IN MONTHS FATALITIES SEVERITY SCORE - LOSSES PER MONTH OF CAMPAIGN
1 South Atlantic [Falklands] 3.75 237 63.20
2 Yangtze 1.25 45 36.00
3 Korea 49 1330 27.14
4 Palestine 36.5 754 20.65
5 Brunei 0.5 7 14.00
6 Near East [Suez] 2 24 12.00
7 Canal Zone 36 405 11.25
8 Malaya 157.5 1443    9.16
9 Cyprus 52.75 358  6.79
10 Gulf 1 7.75 45  5.81
11 South Arabia 43.25 160  3.70
12 Northern Ireland 456 1441    3.16
13 Afghanistan 144 444    3.08
14 Borneo 47.25 140  2.97
15 Kenya 49 94   1.92
16 Malaya Peninsular 24.0 40   1.67
17 Iraq 107.75 178  1.65
18 Arabian Peninsular 42 60  1.43
19 Rhodesia 4.0 5  1.25
20 Radfan 29.5 13  0.44
21 Balkans 252 72  0.29
22 Dhofar 90.25 25  0.28
23 Sierra Leone 29.25 5  0.17
24 Libya 7.0 1  0.14
25 Congo 51.5 2  0.04 
26 Cambodia 24 1   0.04
27 Air Operations Iraq 166.25 5  0.03
28 Cyprus 2 594.75 2  0.003

The longest campaign by far is Cyprus 2 at 594.75 months [ 49.5 years] and the shortest is Brunei at just two weeks duration.  The 1982 Falklands Campaign was the most vicious with the highest severity score whilst Cyprus 2 has the lowest at just 0.003 deaths per month. Despite all the hype, note how low the Iraq and Afghanistan severity scores are! My three campaigns score pretty well in the top half of the division!

Again, despite the chief killer in Afghanistan, viz, the IED [Improvised Explosive Device], the largest IED was detonated by the IRA at Warren Point Northern Ireland on the 28th August 1979 killing all eighteen soldiers in a reconnaissance patrol vehicle, and on the same day, the IRA also used a radio controlled IED to destroy the pleasure boat being used by Lord Mountbatten and his family plus friend, in a day of carnage with unparalleled infamy. It was known that the IRA were supported, sometimes trained and financed by terrorist organisations in third world countries, from places like Syria, Libya, Iraq and Iran. Their skill in making and deploying IED's came mainly from Islamic states, both Arab and Iranian, the same skills employed by al Qaeda and the Taliban in  Afghanistan today. America, during this same period, took sides with Saddam Hussein of Iraq in his fight against Iran's Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, supplying gas weapons [it was thought sarin, nerve and mustard]  and the technology to deliver them on the battlefield killing many hundreds of thousands of Iran's young men.  America certainly had blood on their hands and all in the name of securing oil rights, revenues and privileged dealing.   Now, today, September 2013, the USA wants to attack Syria for using these terrible weapons of war which the West had previously supplied to many unstable despotic rulers in the Middle East including to Syria, and the UK is believed to have brokered supply deals with President Assad, It is claimed that the weapons were not delivered, but that is academic for the intent was there in the first place, and supplier must in some way or other be implicit in their use.

Now whilst I have many statistics and data on injuries sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan both on Service Personnel and on Official Civilians in the War Zone for the last twelve years to date 1st August 2013, I have very few on the injuries sustained associated with other Campaign's in Table 1 above. The ones I do have, are almost totally devoid of civilian data, and yet I remember vividly wives of Service Personnel being shot dead in the streets of Nicosia Cyprus [by cowardly Greek EOKA gun men] whilst out shopping and also other atrocities against Westerners stationed in foreign parts, there to support our Armed Forces. I believe there is little point in publishing Iraq and Afghanistan injuries in isolation, save to mention the worst year in twelve in that theatre [Afghanistan] whose figures were:-

 Year 2010

All injuries and all illnesses

Total Numbers : 1711
Battle Injuries : 562
Non-Battle Injuries : 523
Natural Causes : 623
Disease or Non-Battle Injuries : 2
Unknown : 1

On that point of viewing extremely interesting national data, I bade you farewell and thanks for your visit.

              * Added to these numbers are the treatment of service personnel within that severity score. In many cases medical technology has bettered the lot of many of the survivors which with the newly legislated Armed Forces Covenant makes it a little easier for those who survive. Add to that the repatriation programme for those who died whilst abroad for whatever reason whilst on active service, a privilege not afforded to the loved ones in many of these campaigns listed in Table 1 above, and a home-coming home-burial much cherished by grieving loved ones. In my time in the Services [1953-1983 with the exception of the war dead of the Falklands War of 1982] I hold nothing but utter contempt for the Admiralty and subsequently the MOD [N[ {Ministry of Defence Navy} officials whose attitude towards the deaths which occurred on 'foreign fields' was nothing short of reprehensible: there are many words which would explain my feelings towards these people, many of whom are still alive, the decent amongst them lamenting their involvement, but I will keep my composure.  Suffice for me to tell you that there are scores of examples in official records in this regard of refusing to fund the repatriation costs. Each example is verbose and long winded, but juxtaposed with these records {now collecting dust} are the newspaper reports of the day. I have chosen just two such publications both coming from the Times Newspaper, not known to 'rake the dirt', but to report using responsible and accurate journalism which has long sold their papers to discerning readers of the press. I have chosen these two examples [from many as I have said], the first showing the irrational meanness of the Government and the second,  the vulgar and flippant use of tax payers money, designed  to ingratiate the admirals with the men of the Fleet. Read into them what you will: men of these times [prior to 1982]  stand accused of forsaking the fallen, a hideous and unforgiving crime, akin in many ways to facing the accusation of being anti-remembrance, rather like a person who defiles our national religion being accused of anti-Christ behaviour. Modern thinking, modern times, have set precedence's for the future treatment of our war dead [and severely injured] and never again will a corpse be left in alien territory, almost as an embarrassment to the British Government of the day.  Both these reports are from the 1960's editions.

In the following item £6 8s = £6 GBP and 40p. Today, in 2013, that equates to, by civil aircraft, to "Cheap lights" by Trip Advisor of £732 GBP return.

......and yet another form of cruelty [when compared with the repatriations of the 21st century was this type of report also from the 1960's.:

Way back in 1902, this was the thinking even on the welfare of men.  It is taken from an article concerning the Naval movements and Intelligence.

I could quite literally fill this page with like or similar stories, for there are so many cases of a time in our history where injustices abounded, a time which if brought back to today, would cause a rebellion amongst the present-day, well cared for [perhaps over much in some cases where the word 'molly-cuddled' might be appropriate] population. My best example follows!

Remember 1958 and the Munich air crash, or disaster as it is frequently called? In that crash, twenty three souls lost their lives which was exceedingly sad, the more so for the City of Manchester specifically the Manchester United team and supporters. However, because some of these dead were "stars", the UK went into mourning and the media was taken over for several weeks.  Even today, some fifty five years on, this event and these men are remembered, manifest in the yearly anniversary match at Old Trafford. Quite naturally, all the bodies were brought back home for burial, some feted as dead heroes'.

I won't ask you if you can remember an even  greater disaster body-count-wise, where fifty souls perished, which occurred in 1956. It wouldn't be fair, for how are you to know as an individual when the State can't even answer the question! It too was an air disaster involving a commercial airliner [as in the case of Munich]. The opening paragraph of the story below says it all {which I have paraphrased}  "will be buried in Malta UNLESS NOK CAN PAY FOR ALL THE EXPENSE INCURRED IN REPATRIATION BACK HOME FOR BURIAL". If anyone was a 'hero' it was the 45 service men returning home from ACTIVE DUTY in the Middle East, not some person adept at kicking a ball-of-air around a park, and relative to these lowly airmen, well paid for doing so. The saddest part of the whole thing is not that these men perished unknown to the nation, but that the nation long ago forgot their efforts in the Middle East campaign. That crash was in February 1956, and eight short months later, I was in the Suez Canal involved in yet another Middle East campaign.  That too is forgotten as are the men who fought and died there!

From Singapore records comes this file. Talk about the absurd to the ridiculous?

First, move your mouse pointer toward the text 'The Straits Times, 1 February 1966, Page 1'. 


The Straits Times, 1 February 1966, Page 1

8,000-MILE TRIP TO COMFORT WIFE

   NL12178  
 

See also this page which is highly relevant http://godfreydykes.info/WHY_DO_WE_BRING_BACK_OUR_DEAD_SERVICE_MEN_AND_WOMEN.htm

See also this file http://www.britains-smallwars.com/ and in particular see my postings under ADEN [The Aden Withdrawal] and under SUEZ [SUEZ, A Communications Overview and Do you Remember CTF 345 and with it CTF 311?]

PS. Maybe of some important note.

I live under a restricted air space in the East which bars all civilian flights [like a Purple Air Space for Royal Flights] which feeds the massive airfields of East Anglia notably RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath with large USAF assets - an exciting place to park-up and observe!  This afternoon [5th September 2013] there appears to be a build-up of heavy noisy big aero planes  transiting our skies!  I wonder whether it has anything to do with a preparation for Syria?