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Age at Death

 
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Kenneth Morrison



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
Posts: 5330
Location: Rockcliffe Dalbeattie

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 1:24 pm    Post subject: Age at Death Reply with quote

I was having a discussion with some friends over last weekend about the loss of "so many young men" in the First World War when someone ask "How young were they?" and I realised that I had no idea.
Co-incidentally Paul (spoons) asked me what percentage of those listed on WM's I thought would have been under 21. Again I had no idea but I thought "a lot".

So I had to do some quick calculations and based on about 920 names on the 25 memorials that I have researched the average age at death was 26.
About 17% were under the age of 21 and (to my surprise) just under 20% were older than 30.
So just over 60% of those who died were between 21 and 30.

In fact on my local Parish WM at Colvend almost half of those listed were over 30. Three of those were Merchant Navy Captains (average age 50) but 15 out of 33 is still a lot.

My youngest casualty was Midshipman Faed, aged 15, on Kells Parish WM.
My eldest, well I'm still researching this man but Private (13729) Charles Johnstone of the Royal Defence Corps was admitted to the 2nd Scottish General Hospital in Edinburgh on 20 February 1918 where he was found to be about 69 years old. Shocked
He had originally enlisted on 26 August 1870 Shocked as Pte. 1504 1st Suffolk Regiment and discharged on 6 December 1882 after 12 years and 96 days service. Between then and 1914 he lost an eye in a works accident.
He was discharged on 17 March 1918 as no longer fit for any further military service of any kind Confused and died 5 months later.
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DelBoy



Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4855
Location: The County of Angus

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting stuff.

I haven't worked out any averages for my towns casualties. But i may have to and compare it to yours numbers to see if they're similar?

I've found ages recorded by the military often don't correspond to those in the local press or against birth certs. Usually only a year or 3 out but in some cases 10 to 20 years!
I've had a few CWGC ages checked, most often they are correct as recorded by the military, not scanning errors. I suppose the soldiers just told fibs.

[EDIT]
After arrangement by age of the Arbroath & district WW1 casualties in the database I've collated, from the over 800 entries there are ages for 767 people. So having a look at the "middle" range (number 384) the ages are 25, those aged 26 start at entry 397.

As for those under 18, there are two aged 16 (one in the Mercantile marine) and six aged 17.

Derek.
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 7355
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DelBoy wrote:
After arrangement by age of the Arbroath & district WW1 casualties in the database I've collated, from the over 800 entries there are ages for 767 people.


Derek

If you do a custom filter on the age column you should be able to work out the number of under 21's and over 30s without having to count them.

If you think about the men who volunteered for the army in 1914 being officially 18 then they were reaching the front in 1915 onwards so are unlikely to be younger than 19.

In my home town 1918 was the worst year for fatalities so most men who died in that year would have been at least in their early 20s (unless they had been conscripted at 18 in 1917-18 ).

Adam
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kinnethmont



Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 1663
Location: Aberdeenshire

PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I've had a few CWGC ages checked, most often they are correct as recorded by the military, not scanning errors. I suppose the soldiers just told fibs.


Derek

Age was not provided by the military authority. Where this exists on the CWGC record it was provided by NOK. Example of basic details below.

SMITH, J

Rank: Private
Service No: S/21279
Date of Death: 24/07/1918
Regiment/Service: Gordon Highlanders
1st/6th Bn.

Grave Reference: VI. A. 8.
Cemetery MARFAUX BRITISH CEMETERY

Additional Information:
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Jim

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

www.kinnethmont.co.uk
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DelBoy



Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4855
Location: The County of Angus

PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thankfully I don't have to count them, I just look at their index number in the left hand column plus a wee bit of arithmetic.

I'm sure there were regular Army men and territorials who told fibs about their ages also. One of "my" Black Watch casualties died aged 17 in 1915, he was a volunteer.

It is my understanding that the highest number of British losses in the First World War occurred during 1918. So I imagine it is the same on most memorials up and down the country as it is for yours? It's certainly the same for Arbroath.
However the most costly day for the town was 9th May 1915 when 3 battalions of the Black Watch were involved in an attack. 20 men of the town died that day with more dying of their wounds in the following days.

Year & Casualties
1914 - 27
1915 - 128
1916 - 159
1917 - 225
1918 - 241
1919 - 12
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kinnethmont



Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 1663
Location: Aberdeenshire

PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slight difference in Aberdeenshire where 1917 seems to be worst in the parishes I have studied. I suspect this is due to Gordon Highlanders at Arras / Ypres Salient.

An example at Huntly

1914 - 5 casualties
1915 - 34 casualties
1916 - 29 casualties
1917 - 62 casualties
1918 - 49 casualties
1919 - 3 casualties
1920 - 2 casualty
1921 - 1 casualty

Total casualties = 185
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Jim

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

www.kinnethmont.co.uk
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Kenneth Morrison



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
Posts: 5330
Location: Rockcliffe Dalbeattie

PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A quick Tot up on the Maxwelltown Troqueer
1914 - 6
1915 - 45
1916 - 39
1917 - 69
1918 - 58
1919 - 2

Total 219

The 1915 figures are influenced by Loos and Gallipoli and 1917 by Palestine.
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 7355
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't have the stats to hand for Clyne but I did this a few years ago and 1918 was the most costly. That was down to most of those who died being in 51st Highland Division and taking a stand during the German Spring Offensive.

When I did my stats for an appendix for a booklet I was surprised to see how many of those commemorated were buried in the local cemetery. I will see if I can find it and post it here. It also showed how many were buried vs those commemorated and the location of their burial / commemoration.

All very time consuming ten years ago, could be done in minutes now.

Adam
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DelBoy



Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4855
Location: The County of Angus

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kilmacolm war memorial has each year of the war broken down as per casualties.

1914 - 3
1915 - 15
1916 - 13
1917 - 24
1918 - 22
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