Comparisons and comments, please

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by blitz_researcher, Feb 5, 2024.

  1. blitz_researcher

    blitz_researcher Junior Member

    I am looking at the 148 names on the War Memorial in Bearsden. I've just come up with some basic analysis but have no way to compare these to any other source to see if my local area was typical. Please can you help?

    WW1 75 names, WW2 73 names - like most places, Bearsden grew between the wars so the death rate per head is probably higher in WW1 (maybe by as much as two-fold?)

    Four pairs of siblings (8 of 148, just over 5%)

    Average age 28. 26 for WW1, 30 for WW2. All figures higher than I expected.

    Just over 20% married (10% WW1, 31% WW2)

    WW1 88% of those killed in the army, 9% RFC/RAF, 3% navy. My impression is this over-represents the RFC/RAF and under-represents the navy.

    WW2 36% in the army, 36% in the RAF (mainly bomber crew). Of the remainder around two-thirds were Merchant Navy, one-third RN. My impression is this over-represents the RAF compared to UK figures and under-represents the navy.

    WW1 88% buried/commemorated in France/Belgium.

    WW2 13% France (mainly 1944), 12% Germany (mainly bomber crew), 9% Italy/Sicily, 7% Netherlands, 7% Egypt/Libya. 37% are buried/commemorated in the UK but of these just over half have no known grave. The obvious gap is the far east, only three names commemorated there.

    Proportions with no known grave are 41% in WW1, 31% in WW2 (36% overall)

    Worst months: July 1916 (10 deaths), April 1917 (7), March 1918 (7). The highest numbers in a calendar month in WW2 was 4 in May 1940.

    Simple searches of CWGC records and local church memorial suggest the War Memorial has about two-thirds of the names of local men killed (the list seems to have been compiled by public nomination, presumably checked against a list of criteria).
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  2. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    For RAF names on a local war memorial

    Typical values.

    Split between aircrew and ground crew is 80% and 20% (ground crew is skewed by far east fatalities)

    Of total aircrew fatalities - this splits to 50% on training flights and 50% on operational flights.

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  3. CL1

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

    Many hundreds to look at here.
    Can you photograph your local war memorial? (UK)

    Also when you go through a number of UK war memorials there will be a percentage of names that either have no relation to that area (and difficult to prove)or the name does not relate on CWGC either through incorrect spelling or the person named was important to the local town to include (for whatever reason) but did not meet the criteria as a casualty on CWGC.
  4. blitz_researcher

    blitz_researcher Junior Member

    Thank you, I will look out for ground versus flight crew split as I get on. What sorts of things caused the death of ground crew?
    But very striking how many died in training accidents - that surprised me.
  5. blitz_researcher

    blitz_researcher Junior Member

    Ah, I had not thought some “war memorial” deaths might not be on CWGC, thank you, will keep that in mind. Have you any experience of that, what sorts of circumstances might this happen?
  6. CL1

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

    Re not being on CWGC
    A person from the local village/town died during the war and did not meet the CWGC criteria however the locals in charge place their name on the memorial as an act of remembrance.
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  7. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member


    Have not yet seen the Bearsden memorial included at:
    Can you photograph your local war memorial? (UK)
    which would be welcomed.

    ...... but you identify no MN statistics for WW1, when losses were substantial .......?

    I recall from Op SLANT (1975 Dustman Strike*) that Bearsden was appreciably a more affluent part of the City than others. Has it been thus since Edwardian times? May this have had a bearing on some statistics? RAF friends have always presented the Light Blue as having a more meritocratic tradition than others. This is open to debate, but aircrew selection does tend to look out for healthy, technically educated candidates - as well as a tested aptitude - perhaps before other recommended internal transferees get a chance. Your RFC/RAF skews? Ranks of those commemorated?

    Is there a Pals dimension for WW1?

    * Afternote. Glasgow's 1975 dustbin strikes that kicked up a stink for 13 weeks straight
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2024
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  8. blitz_researcher

    blitz_researcher Junior Member

    I promise a photo when it stops raining!
    Thank you for your comments and yes, you have remembered correctly, Bearsden was (is) a leafy suburb with generally well-educated children from affluent families (obviously not all, I am just working on the son of a coal miner). But it certainly helps explain the RAF/RFC skews, I agree.
    And the lack of mention of MN in WW1 was because there were none - Bearsden men might have owned the ships or designed them but at that time they didn't send their sons to sail in them ... The twenty years to 1939 saw the building of a lot of detached bungalows in the area and the masters and senior officers of MN vessels started to move in, hence (in part) the older age in WW2, I suspect.
    No pals dimension in WW1, the most common regiment is Highland Light Infantry (based at Maryhill Barracks, about a mile back into Glasgow from Bearsden) with 13 men but in 9 different battalions.
    I'm intrigued by Op SLANT, can you tell me more?
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  9. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Indeed and for the Merchant Navy in particular the criteria for CWGC inclusion was sadly not the same as that of the military despite the fact that there were more MN deaths per capita than those of the A.F.
    If I can help with the names and what happened to them just let me know.

  10. blitz_researcher

    blitz_researcher Junior Member

    Much appreciated, thank you - at the moment my problem is that the ones I cannot match are just very common Scottish names where there are tens or hundreds of possible matches, but I will come back when I get into people who seem to have died in one of the wars but not be on the memorial.
    Hugh MacLean likes this.
  11. Belville

    Belville Senior Member

    This is very surprising. There were over 57,000 deaths in Bomber Command alone. Were there really well over that number of deaths in training?
  12. Little Friend

    Little Friend Senior Member

    IMG_20230409_0001 (3).jpg IMG_20230409_0001 (2).jpg IMG_20230409_0001.jpg

    By complete contrast you have places like this, close to Milton Keynes where no-one was lost !
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  13. blitz_researcher

    blitz_researcher Junior Member

    Photo now posted on the thread. The sculptor said it represents the Nation's Conscience gazing at The Stricken Youth - the right sentiment but the style feels a bit dated.
  14. blitz_researcher

    blitz_researcher Junior Member

    I am not sure this proves anything, one way or the other but of my 148 names, 32 were RFC or RAF and of those 10 died either in training accidents (8 cases) or of disease (perforated ulcer in 1 case, double pneumonia in 1 case), so 22 died during operational flying. For my sample that makes it roughly one-third of deaths were non-operational and two-thirds operational.
    Caveat: I have at least 13 more RFC/RAF names from CWGC that are not on the memorial, and an excellent man called Chris Mckay has just sent me data from his catalogue of the graves in local cemeteries that seems to identify more men who died but not in my sample. Nobody's certain how the names on the memorial were selected but the belief is that people wrote in with nominations so it's possible non-operational deaths are under-represented. I will update when I can.
  15. blitz_researcher

    blitz_researcher Junior Member

    But the village's karma balanced out when MK was built next door! Only joking, I am from not far away originally. It would be interesting to know how many men served in WW1, a clever statistician could calculate the odds on this happening.
  16. Little Friend

    Little Friend Senior Member

    There are a few other places that I visited to photograph their ''No-one lost in WW1 or WW2'' plaque. Can't remember if any one of them applied to both wars ?
  17. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Thankful villages and those doubly thankful

    Thankful Villages - Wikipedia

    I remember a talk on the subject where the orator suggested that some villages with a high loss in WW1 due to mainly Pals Battalions had a low WW2 fatality count because of the loss of a generation - few surviving men returned to families and this accounted for a reduction in births 1919 to 1922 and subsequent fewer men for service in 1939-45.

    Little Friend likes this.
  18. Little Friend

    Little Friend Senior Member

    I have often thought, said that with all those young men going over the top (Pointlessly) there would be a vast reduction in babies !

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