World War I Casualties - Notes On Sources

Notes On Sources

The main sources used for military and civilian deaths (unless stated otherwise in the footnotes below) are as follows:

  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Annual Report 2009–2010 is the source of the military dead for the British Empire. The war dead totals listed in the report are based on the research by the CWGC to identify and commemorate Commonwealth war dead. The statistics tabulated by The Commonwealth War Graves Commission are representative of the number of names commemorated for all servicemen/women of the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth and former UK Dependencies, whose death was attributable to their war service. Some auxiliary and civilian organizations are also accorded war grave status if death occurred under certain specified conditions. For the purposes of CWGC the dates of inclusion for Commonwealth War Dead are 04/08/1914 to 31/08/1921. Total World War I dead were 1,115,597 (UK and former colonies 886,939; Undivided India 74,187; Canada 64,976; Australia 61,966; New Zealand 18,052; South Africa 9,477 These figures also include the Merchant Navy.
  • Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire During the Great War 1914–1920, The War Office March 1922. This official report lists 908,371 'soldiers' killed in action, died of wounds, died as prisoners of war and were missing in action from 4 August 1914 to 31 December 1920, (British Isles 702,410; India 64,449; Canada 56,639; Australia 59,330; New Zealand 16,711; South Africa 7,121 and Newfoundland 1,204,other colonies 507). Figures include the Royal Navy war dead and missing of 32,287. These figures do not include the Merchant Navy total dead of 14,661 which was listed separately. Figures for total Royal Flying Corps, Royal Air Force and Royal Naval Air Service war dead were included in the total dead and not listed separately in War Office report.
    The losses of Bulgaria and Portugal were also listed in the UK War Office report.
  • The official "final and corrected" casualty figures for British Army,including the Territorial Force (not including allied British Empire forces) were issued on 10 March 1921. The losses were for the period 4 August 1914 until 30 September 1919, included 573,507 "killed in action, died from wounds and died of other causes"; 254,176 missing less 154,308 released prisoners; for a net total of 673,375 dead and missing. There were 1,643,469 wounded also listed in the report
  • Casualties and Medical Statistics published in 1931. was the final volume of the Official Medical History of the War, gives British Empire Army losses by cause of death. Total losses in combat theaters from 1914–1918 were 876,084, which included 418,361 killed, 167,172 died of wounds, 113,173 died of disease or injury, 161,046 missing and presumed dead and 16,332 prisoner of war deaths. Total losses were not broken out for the UK and each Dominion. These figures do not include the losses of Dominion forces in the Gallipoli Campaign, since records were incomplete. Figures do not include the Royal Navy.
  • Huber, Michel La Population de la France pendant la guerre, Paris 1931. This study published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace lists official French government figures for war-related military deaths and missing of France and its colonies.
  • Mortara, Giorgo La Salute pubblica in Italia durante e dopo la Guerra, New Haven: Yale University Press 1925. The official government Italian statistics on war dead are listed here. A brief summary of data from this report can be found online.go to Vol 13, No. 15
  • Urlanis, Boris Wars and Population, Moscow, 1971. Lists the military dead of Russia, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro The footnotes give his estimates of combat-related casualties; killed and missing in action or died of wounds for each nation.
  • Heeres-Sanitätsinspektion im Reichskriegsministeriums, Sanitätsbericht über das deutsche Heer, (Deutsches Feld- und Besatzungsheer), im Weltkriege 1914-1918, Volume 3, Sec. 1, Berlin 1934. The official German Army medical war history listed German losses.
  • Grebler, Leo and Winkler, Wilhelm The Cost of the World War to Germany and Austria-Hungary This study published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace details the losses of Austria-Hungary and Germany in the war.
  • Erickson, Edward J. Ordered to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War The authors estimates were made based data from official Ottoman sources.
  • Hersch, Liebmann, La mortalité causée par la guerre mondiale, Metron- The International Review of Statistics, 1927, Vol 7. No 1. This study published in an academic journal detailed the demographic impact of the war on France, the UK, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Serbia, Romania and Greece. The total estimated increase in the number of civilian deaths due to the war was 2,171,000, not including an additional 984,000 Spanish Flu deaths. These indirect war losses were due primarily to food shortages caused by the disruption of trade. This was by no means the only cause, the mobilization for the war took away millions of men from the agricultural labor force.
  • Dumas, Samuel (1923). Losses of Life Caused by War. Oxford- This study published by an academic press detailed the impact of the war on the civilian population. The study estimated excess civilian deaths at: France(264,000 to 284,000), the UK (181,000), Italy(324,000), and Germany(692,000).
  • Tucker, Spencer C. ed. The European Powers in the First World War: An Encyclopedia This is the source for military wounded, unless stated otherwise. Civilian deaths in the Ottoman Empire are also listed in this source.

The source of population data is:

  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J., The World War One Source Book Arms and Armour, 1993, 412 pages, ISBN 978-1-85409-102-4.

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