On Armistice Day

On Armistice Day we remember all those who fell in the two World Wars and other conflicts.

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was more than 38 million: there were over 17 million deaths and 20 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history. The total number of deaths includes about 11 million military personnel and about 7 million civilians.

World War II was much, much worse with civilian deaths twice that of military personnel. Fatality statistics vary from 50 million to more than 80 million. The higher figure includes deaths from war related disease and famine. Civilian deaths totalled 50 to 55 million with military dead from 21 to 25 million, including deaths in captivity of about 5 million. In all about 3% of the entire world population died as a consequence.

Since 1945, 7,145 UK Armed Forces personnel have died on operations, 453 of them in Afghanistan. The numbers are small by comparison, but even they are hard to comprehend beyond statistics on an MoD spreadsheet. Yet every single one is still someone’s son or daughter, father or mother, husband or wife. Loved by a special few, cherished by many and, on Armistice Day, remembered by all.

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