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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

ASC casualties-accidents!?


Bow123

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Hello again,

Does anyone know whether the majority of casualties in the Army Service Corps were due to accidents involving vehicles rather than enemy gunfire?Given the relatively new status of vehicles as a mode of transport I should have imagined that accidents would have been quite common?

Regards

Roger

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Given the relatively new status of vehicles as a mode of transport I should have imagined that accidents would have been quite common?

Hello Roger

You are, I assume, referring to motor vehicles! Horse-drawn vehicles have been around for millennia.

A division in 1914 had about 900 vehicles of which only 34 were motors. The ASC provided drivers for both HT and MT, as well as supplies and remounts (animal replacements). The men of a divisional train (all HT bar a couple of cars) wre exposed to shell and rifle/mg fire in the course of their duties. Such road traffic accidents as occurred were most likely to be due to driving into a shell-hole in the dark, or a heap of rubble. Bar the occasional shunt in a motor convoy, actual fatal collisions would have been fairly rare, as vehicles did not usually travel at high speeds.

If you get a copy of the section of "Soldiers Died in the Great War" covering the ASC at your local library, or if they have a copy of the CD-ROM of this work, have a look at the causes of death. Battle casualties will be shown as killed in action or died of wounds: deaths from accidental causes are shown simply as killed; deaths from natural causes are shown as died.

Ron

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On the Western Front 280 Officers and 8,817 Other Ranks of the Corps were killed with around 7,000 wounded.

400 were lost in Mesopotamia, 270 in East Africa and just under 700 in Salonica

In relation to numbers deployed it was most dangerous to be in the corps in East Africa where most casualties were down to disease or simply being worn out by the atrocious climate.

Obviously some smashes took place with the motors and some falls and kicks with the horses, not to mention the usual warehouse and catering type falls, burns, cuts etc on the supply side - but I should imagine these were fairly neglible, probably comparable with the equivalent civil industries

It is worth remembering 2 VC's were awarded to members of this Corps

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Hello,

Thanks alot for the replies.Do you mind me asking where the figures for ASC casualties came from for the Western Front.I didn't realise they were so high.

Regards

Roger

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They are from a book "The Royal Army Service Corps" by G Crew, brought out in 1970 to mark the demise of the RASC

It covers the Corps, and its predecessors, from its beginnings to its demise. It is a book I think you would enjoy, but unfortunately I think all the copies available are in the US.

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just under 700 in Salonica

Roads had to be built before war could be waged in earnest in Salonika, and even then the mountainous terrian and harsh weather conditions (especially in winter) meant that vehicles often fell off the road and overturned.

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