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Remembered Today:

60,000 dead on 1 July 1916


Perth Digger
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It is often written that it is popularly believed that 60,000 British troops were killed on 1 July 1916. The explanation is that the popular mind muddles up casualties with deaths. Are there any examples of this fallacy being recorded in print? I presume that the centenary commemorations have put this particular myth to rest!

 

Thanks

 

Mike

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Mike

 

I doubt this particular canard will ever be put to rest! But I think the only instances of it in print are probably in shoddily-researched newspaper articles. I think it was once mentioned on "Richard and Judy" and not corrected, and also in an episode of "Midsomer Murders" concerning the dedication of a war memorial.

 

Ron

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48 minutes ago, M.Durey said:

It is often written that it is popularly believed that 60,000 British troops were killed on 1 July 1916. The explanation is that the popular mind muddles up casualties with deaths. Are there any examples of this fallacy being recorded in print? I presume that the centenary commemorations have put this particular myth to rest!

 

Thanks

 

Mike

Hi

An example of this fallacy in print is on page 91 of 'The First Air Campaign - August 1914 - November 1918' by Eric and Jane Lawson, Combined Books, Pennsylvania, 1996.  This states:

 

"The great Battle of the Somme commenced on July 1, 1916, the bloodiest day in history with 60,000 British deaths and 100,000 British casualties on the ground."

 

How's that for an example?

 

Mike

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Happens all the time, not just in regard to the first day of the Somme, but with the entire battle, and with other battles, too.

 

How many times do we see it written that a million men were " killed" in the Battle of Verdun ?

 

I tried out a test, once, with a noted author who prides himself on his expertise on the Waterloo campaign.

 

I asked him what the casualties were in the battle itself.

 

Forty seven thousand killed he answered immediately.

 

Blimey ! I replied... that means that, if you allow for three or four men wounded for every one killed, there couldn't have been a man left staying at the end of the day ! .

 

He didn't appreciate the comment.

 

Phil

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12 hours ago, phil andrade said:

Happens all the time, not just in regard to the first day of the Somme, but with the entire battle, and with other battles, too.

 

How many times do we see it written that a million men were " killed" in the Battle of Verdun ?

 

I tried out a test, once, with a noted author who prides himself on his expertise on the Waterloo campaign.

 

I asked him what the casualties were in the battle itself.

 

Forty seven thousand killed he answered immediately.

 

Blimey ! I replied... that means that, if you allow for three or four men wounded for every one killed, there couldn't have been a man left staying at the end of the day ! .

 

He didn't appreciate the comment.

 

Phil

 

Well, there would, but they would all have been Prussians. They would have been Prussians of course because, as we all know, they arrived far too late to make any difference to the outcome...............

 

Just give me a sec to find my tin helmet.

 

Mike

 

 

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It's a fact of life that the media always mangles figures. When we took part in the Somme Commemoration in July I provided the information that the school lost 20 old boys in the battle, 4 on the first day. When it was reported, it came out as 'lost 20 old boys on the first day alone'. Probably I was the only one who noticed.

Edited by Mark Hone
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17 hours ago, Sly said:

 

Only here of course we all led to think that all our generals were stupid and incompetent, and that winning the war must have been some either some kind of lucky accident or down to the USA.

Edited by Medaler
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There is a corollary to this.

 

The official returns often posted a small percentage of casualties as killed. For example, only about fifteen per cent of the 240,000 casualties suffered by the British at Passchendaele were categorised as killed.... the missing and died of wounds not being accounted for.

The real figure of deaths was double that total.

 

Phil

 

 

  

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