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Remembered Today:

The War Dead of the Black Watch


Derek Black

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During the war the Black Watch had 12 infantry battalions deployed in theatres of war.

These comprised of 2 regular battalions, 4 territorial first line battalions and 3 Service battalions.
Added to these was a Labour battalion, operating in France between June, 1916 and April, 1917, when it was then absorbed into the Labour Corps.
Two battalions were made up from adopting yeomanry regiments. The Fife & Forfar Yeomanry in October, 1916, then the Scottish Horse in January, 1917.



The C.W.G.C. record the total war dead of the Black Watch, between the qualifying dates of 04/08/1914 - 31/08/1921, as:
8,681 (470 of these are commemorated in the UK)
 

13 Aug. 1914 (date of first Bn to arrive in theatre) - 31 Aug. 1921 (cut off date for CWGC commemoration)
This is a span of 2,576 days = 3.7 fatalities per day.
 

8,463 (341 in UK) were within the dates of warfare. 13 Aug. 1914 - 11 Nov. 1918.
This war specific date range is 1,552 days = 5.45 fatalities per day.
 

Post war deaths.
 

218 (129 in UK) in the 12 Nov – 06 Aug 1921 qualifying period.
1.024 days = 0.21 fatalities per day.

The last death being on the 06/08/1921, so using this as the latter date.
999 days = 0.22 fatalities per day

 

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Black Watch deaths by year / (percentage of the total) / period in days / average fatality rate per day:
 

1914 – 440 (5%) (23 in UK) 13 Aug til 31 Dec = 141 days. 3.11 fatalities per day

1915 – 1,976 (22.8%) (78 in UK) 365 days. 5.41 fatalities per day

1916 – 2,066 (23.8%) (85 in UK) 366 days (leap year). 5.64 fatalities per day

1917 – 1,913 (22%) (71 in UK) 365 days. 5.24 fatalities per day

1918 – 2,134 (24.6%) (104 in UK) 365 days. 5.85 fatalities per day
 

1918 can be taken as a whole or using the pre and post armistice dates.

1918 – 2,068 (23.8%) (84 in UK) 1 Jan til 11 Nov = 315 days. 6.57 fatalities per day

1918 – 66 (0.8%) (20 in UK) 12 Nov til 31 Dec = 50 days. 1.32 fatalities per day
 

Post war years.
 

1919 – 90 (1.4%) (66 in UK) 365 days. 0.25 per day

1920 – 39 (0.4%) (26 in UK) 366 days. 0.1 per day

1921 – 23 (0.2%) (17 in UK) 1 Jan til 6 Aug = 218 days. 0.1 per day

 

Interestingly the 1918 deaths for the period up til the armistice, 2,068, is almost identical to that of 1916, 2,066.
However with 51 days less of fighting in 1918, this make it the costliest year of the war for the regiment, in both overall numbers and average rate of fatalities per day.

 

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The 8,681 Black Watch Deaths by Battalion

 

1st Bn.
In theatre 13/08/1914 - End of war

1,657

 

2nd Bn.
In theatre 12/10/1914 - End of war

1,137

 

Reserve Bns in UK

3rd Bn = 63
4th Res Bn = 2

7th Res Bn = 1

 

4th (City of Dundee) Bn.
In theatre 25/02/1915 - 13/03/1916 when made into a composite Bn with the 5th.

395


4ths Reserve Bns in UK
2nd/4th = 7
3rd/4th = 1

 

5th (Angus & Dundee) Bn.
In theatre 02/11/1914 - 13/03/1916 when made into a composite Bn with the 4th.
274

 

5ths Reserve Bns in UK
2nd/5th = 1
3rd/5th = 1
 

4th/5th Bn.
In theatre 13/03/1916 - End of war

531


6th (Perthshire) Bn.
In theatre 02/05/1915 - End of War

1,019

 

6ths Reserve Bns in UK
2nd/6th = 3
3rd/6th = 1

7th (Fife) Bn.
In theatre 02/05/1915 - End of War

802

7ths Reserve Bns in UK
2nd/7th = 6
3rd/7th = 1

 

8th (Service) Bn.
In theatre 10/03/1915 - End of War

1,163

9th (Service) Bn.
In theatre 08/07/1915 - End of war (5 weeks in UK mid 1918)

901

10th (Service) Bn.
In theatre 20/09/1915 - 15/10/1918 when disbanded.
131


11th (Reserve) Bn.
In UK

14

 

12th (Labour) Bn.
In theatre 28/06/1916 -  25/04/1917 (when moved to Labour Corps)

26


13th (Scottish Horse Yeomanry) Bn.
In theatre 21/10/1916 - End of war

161

 

14th (Fife & Forfar Yeomanry) Bn.
In theatre Jan 1917 - End of war

239


Depot, discharged, attached to other Regiment (mostly discharged soldiers and officers on attachment)
144

 

The higher number of deaths in the 8th Service battalion, 1,163, compared with that of the 2nd, 1,137, was unexpected.
As the 2nd, being a regular battalion, was in theatre almost 5 months before the arrival of the 8th onto the continent. The transfer of the 2nd battalion to Mesopotamia in December, 1915, seems to be the difference. Although having casualties from the harsh conditions and fighting in Iraq, there was not the attrition of trench warfare as experienced on the western front.

Country of commemoration by country:
 

France - 5,922
Belgium - 1,240

 

France & Belgium account for 7,162 = 82.5% of all wartime places of death.


Iraq - 569
UK (inc Ire) - 477
Palestine - 143
Greece - 140
Egypt - 57
Germany - 55
Lebanon - 13
Italy - 11
Others <10 - 54

Edited by Derek Black

2 Comments


Recommended Comments

ianjonesncl

Posted

A well researched and interesting overview.

 

Another statistic I looked at was the type of unit, mainly Regular, Territorial and Service Battalions. 

 

Black Watch Casulaties WW1        
        Units Per Unit
Regular 2,794   32.2% 2 1,397
           
Territorial 3,021   34.8% 4 755
Yeomanry 400   4.6% 2 200
Territorial 3,421   39.4% 6 955
           
Service 2,195   25.3% 3 732
Labour 26   0.3%    
           
Reserve in UK 101   1.2%    
Depots etc 144   1.7%    
           
  8,681   100.0%    
           
Regular          
1st 1,657        
2nd 1,137        
Regular 2,794        
           
Territorial          
4th 395        
5th 274        
4th / 5th 531        
6th 1,019        
7th 802        
Territorial 3,021        
           
Yeomanry          
Scottish Horse 161        
Fife & Forfar 239        
Yeomanry 400        
           
Service          
8th 1,163        
9th 901        
10th 131        
Service 2,195        
           
Labour          
Labour 26        
           
Reserve in UK          
3rd Bn 63        
4th Res Bn 2        
7th Res Bn 1        
2nd/4th 7        
3rd/4th 1        
2nd/5th 1        
3rd/5th 1        
2nd/6th 3        
3rd/6th 1        
2nd/7th 6        
3rd/7th 1        
11th Reserve Bn 14        
Reserve 101        
           
Depot etc 144        
           
TOTAL CASUALTIES 8,681        
  8,681        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Derek Black

Posted

Thanks for that Ian,

 

A tidy way of presenting the data.

I was going to also add yearly breakdowns for each battalion, but never got around to it. One for the future.

 

Cheers,

Derek.

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