Accidental death rates.

Discussion in 'General' started by von Poop, Feb 11, 2019 at 1:54 PM.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    WW2F recently re-raised the topic of the two US chaps killed in a 2015 M18 explosion.
    It's got me wondering about WW2 accident rates.
    We have a fair few threads on specific accidents (eg.: Accidental Deaths WW2 ), but I don't recall ever reading much on just how many in total were lost to accidents, or just how common they were.

    Air losses are perhaps the most commonly mentioned, and there's things like the Conger mine explosion, Fauld etc., & I've certainly seen a bit on people lost to blackout accidents, but it mostly pops up in passing, 'there was an incident involving' stuff.
    The day to day attrition of millions working in rough conditions among heavy machinery & weapons has to have been substantial.
    Anyone seen any figures?

  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    The wartime blackout, when regulations required streetlights to be turned off and traffic signals and headlights to be dimmed, led to a dramatic increase in road casualties. The King’s surgeon, writing in the British Medical Journal in 1939, complained that by “frightening the nation into blackout regulations, the Luftwaffe was able to kill 600 British citizens a month without ever taking to the air”. The number of deaths peaked in 1940 at 9,169. One person died that year for every 200 vehicles on the road; today the figure is one for every 20,000.

    Look out in the blackout

    A few military I have researched so far in the UK have been illness via the DC.

    A few here re Met police accidents

    PC William George Morgan
    Died 29 February 1940, aged 47
    Killed when hit by a bus in the blackout cycling to report for duty.

    WRC Ernest Christopher George Valentine Taylor
    Died 20 September 1940, aged 34
    Killed in a fall from a wall trying to extinguish a light during an air raid.

    SC Arthur Cecil Guest
    Died 16 October 1941, aged 39
    Fatally wounded when accidentally shot during firearms instruction

    Sgt Edwin Charles Towers
    Died 24 September 1942, aged 49
    Fatally injured in an accident whilst travelling on the prison van.

    Police Roll of Honour - Metropolitan Police 1940-1945
    Tricky Dicky, Slipdigit and smdarby like this.
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    I am glad to say that the number of accidents reported in March in which Army vehicles were involved was 19 per cent. less than those reported in February, and the figures for April show a further reduction of 12 per cent. on those for March. In this connection the House may like to know the results of a recent census and analysis of the fatal accidents in which War Department vehicles have been concerned in the first three months of 1941. During this period a total of 2,264 persons were killed in traffic accidents throughout Great Britain, and of these 2,137 were civilians. The number of civilians killed as a result of an accident in which a War Department vehicle was in any way concerned was less than 6 per cent. of this total and the number of cases in which an Army driver was to blame was just under 2 per cent. That is to say about 40 civilians were killed as a result of negligence by soldiers. The number of soldiers who were killed on the roads during the same period was 129, and, of these, 52 were killed as a result of the negligence of another soldier. I hope that these figures will help to remove certain misconceptions which have arisen with regard to the extent to which Army vehicles are responsible for casualties on the roads. But I would not like the House to think that the position is regarded with complacency by my Department, and I1056can assure them that the problem of securing a further reduction in the accident figures will continue to be pursued with the utmost vigour.

    ROAD ACCIDENTS. (Hansard, 13 May 1941)
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Shows accidents continued even in war time on the railways

    Report on the Accident at Wembley on 18th October 1940


    Train Operator
    London, Midland & Scottish Railway

    Primary Causes
    Station staff error, obstruction by plant

    Secondary Cause

    Collision with plant, derailment

    11 fatalities, 4 injured

    Accident at Watford Tunnel on 4th February 1940

    Accident Summary

    Watford Tunnel

    Train Operator
    London, Midland & Scottish Railway

    Collision with debris, derailment, collision with structure

    1 fatality, 4 injured

    Accident Investigation Status

    Accident Archive :: The Railways Archive
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 4:10 PM
    Tricky Dicky and Roy Martin like this.
  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Five BEF motorcyclists died due to head injuries prior to mid-October 1939 and they had only been in France a little over a month.

    Helmets (2).jpg
  6. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    18th September 1939
    Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 18.42.41.png
  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Looks like this chap has crunched some US numbers:
    (The site flags as having a security issue, but as it's an expired certificate I pressed on.)

    One in five WW2 death notifications 'non-battle trauma'...
    Along with the persistent thought of all the armies essentially living rough for weeks on end, which quite possibly feeds the disease & infection side, maybe another slightly Cinderella subject.

    Pre-war for the US , but still quite the list of accidental death, even in a peacetime army: Not read the whole thing yet, but that can only increase exponentially in the massive force to come.
    Slipdigit and CL1 like this.
  8. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    This accident involving 5 RHA happened at Little Waltham Essex in 1940

    On 10th July there was an accident at one of the gun pits.

    Mr Fewell who was at School at the time heard the Detonation

    and gives this report.
    the Gun was sited covering a road block and bridge on the main road through the village.

    Whilst carrying out Gun drills the firing mechanism was engaged before the breech was properly closed.

    The charge came back out of the breech striking Gunner Williams in the stomach killing him, and burning and blinding two others; two more suffered minor cuts and burns and suffered from shock.

    The shell on low trajectory passed through the village, amazingly striking the house that Gunner Williams was billet in.

    I would think using live ammo for gun drills in that situation was questionable,

    Might be Drill rounds not available and with invasion thought imminent and 6 pounders only just taken on strength it was essential to carry out drills.
  9. papiermache

    papiermache WO 356 Mechanic

    No statistics, but many file series at Kew, e.g. BT ( Board of Trade), ADM, AIR, WO etc. respond to search for "Inquiry" or "Enquiry", as in "Court of Inquiry", taken as a phrase from King's Regulations where accidents happen and investigations held, for example:

    SUPP 5/1217
    Ordnance Establishments: Headquarters and Factory Records. ROYAL ORDNANCE FACTORY REPORTS. ROF Laboratory Waltham Abbey. | Explosion at Royal Gunpowder Factory, on 20 Apr 1940: court of inquiry | Explosion at Royal Gunpowder Factory, on 20 Apr 1940: court of inquiry. | with photographs Held by: The National Archives

    Also this tragedy for those involved, file only released in August 2017 ( not seen it ), proceedings in English, German and Russian:

    WO 32/22184
    Special Investigation Branch investigation: fatal boating accident involving Mussolini, Gina, Poole JS, Major, Royal Army Ordnance Corps and Coffin GAV, Captain, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Lake Como, Italy, 3 May 1946. With map
    1946 May 1 - 1946 May 31
    Held by:
    The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department:
    Legal status:
    Public Record(s)
    English, German and Russian
    Closure status:
    Open Document, Open Description
    Access conditions:
    Open on Transfer
    Record opening date:
    25 August 2017
    Tricky Dicky and von Poop like this.
  10. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Name: DAWN, J H
    Rank: Corporal
    Service No: 4800977
    Date of Death: 16/03/1947
    Regiment/Service: Royal Lincolnshire Regiment
    Unit: 1st Bn.
    Country: MALAYSIA

    Cause of death: Killed rock climbing.

    Source - Lincolnshire Regiment Nominal

    DAWN, John Herbert - 4800977 - REGI 3-1, PAGE 1 (Large).JPG
    Tricky Dicky, CL1, dbf and 1 other person like this.
  11. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Tricky Dicky, Tolbooth and von Poop like this.
  12. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Yorkshire Post 16th Janaury 1940
    Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 15.04.54.png
    Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 15.05.17.png
    Tricky Dicky, canuck and CL1 like this.
  13. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    From my research of the local Newark area many RTC fatalities not surprising due to the Great North Road and Fosseway passing through town. Early on it was person v vehicles during the new blackout conditions. Many service casualties in cars or on motorcycles at night usually after an evening in the pub. RAF and Army dispatch riders , young lads as delivery boys being knocked off push bikes by army vehicles. Falls from buildings , lorries , fire tender and RAF bowsers. Falling or swimming in the Trent river or canal. Accidental shootings at least 3 , 1 at changing guard and 2 in training. Accidental gassing from heating systems in billets. More unusual ones being a child being killed by a training mortar his dad bought from a mate , RAF man having a hangar door fall on him and a soldier killed after slipping at the swimming baths. Add to this numerous suicides and deaths from the normal pre antibiotic days of Meningitis and TB.
  14. papiermache

    papiermache WO 356 Mechanic

    For " casualty wastage" statistics file series WO 162 seems to be a place to look, starting with WO162/182. Not seen it, but you never know ( and Kew does have a bookshop which offers discounts and if a Friend of Kew further discount may be claimed...
    CL1 likes this.

Share This Page