Some British Army statistics of the Great War

The British Army of 1914 was very small in comparison with the mighty armies of continental neighbours France and Germany. It was considered as 'contemptibly small' by Kaiser Wilhelm II. But rapid expansion ensured that from mid-1916, it faced the main body of the main enemy on equal or better terms, in addition to providing winning forces in many other theatres. By 1918, the scale, firepower and tactical sophistication were all very much greater than in the early days. The statistics of it all would fill a very large book: here are a few key facts.

How big was the British Army of 1914-1918? 8.7 million men served at some time

Men from United Kingdom in army in August 1914:
733,514
 
plus recruited from England :
4,006,158
 
plus recruited from Scotland:
557,618
 
plus recruited from Wales and Monmouth:
272,924
 
plus recruited from Ireland:
134,202
 
plus Empire contingents sent to serve overseas:
From Canada:
418,035
of total 628,964 in arms
From Australian and Tasmania:
330,000
of total 416,809 in arms
From New Zealand:
100,471
of total 220,099 in arms
From South Africa:
74,196
of total 136,070 in arms
From Newfoundland:
10,610
of total 11,922 in arms
From West Indies:
16,000
This total to end of 1917
From other Dominions:
31,000
 
Total British Army servicemen available for deployment:
7,165,280
 
From the Indian Army and other 'coloured troops':
1,524,187
 
Total force available for deployment:
8,689,467
 

Where did these men serve? 5.4 million men served in France and Flanders (the Western Front)

Theatre of war:
Peak strength (i.e. maximum at any one time)
Total employed (i.e. saw service
in this theatre at some point)
France and Flanders:
2,046,901
5,399,563
Mesopotamia:
447,531
889,702
Egypt and Palestine:
432,857
1,192,511
Salonika:
285,021
404,207
Italy:
132,667
145,764
Gallipoli:
127,737
468,987
Other theatres:
293,095
475,210

How many soldiers of the British Army died in the Great War?

According to figures produced in the 1920's by the Central Statistical Office, total British Army casualties were as follows:

Total killed in action, plus died of wounds, disease or injury, plus missing presumed dead:
956,703
of which Royal Navy and RFC/RAF casualties were 39,527
of which, from the British Isles were:
704,803
and from Canada, Australia, India and other places:
251,900
Total British Army deaths in France and Flanders:
564,715
of which 32,098 died of disease or injury
Total British Army deaths on the Gallipoli front:
26,213
Total British Army deaths on all other fronts:
365,375

How many soldiers of the British Army do not have a known grave?

In March 2009, the totals from the Commonwelath War Graves Commission for the First World War are a s follows. These figures include all three services:

Buried in named graves : 587989
No known graves, but listed on a memorial to the missing : 526816, of which
- buried but not identifiable by name : 187861
- therefore not buried at all : 338955

The last figure includes those lost at sea.

So it is fair to say that about half are buried as known soldiers, with the rest either buried but unidentifiable or lost.

How many soldiers of the British Army were wounded in the Great War?

The enormous firepower of the armies of 1914-1918 guaranteed a high proportion of wounded to men in action. According to figures produced in the 1920's in the Official History of the Medical Services, total British Army wounded were as follows:

Total British Army wounded in action, plus other casualties (e.g. accidental): if a man was wounded twice he appears here twice:
2,272,998
Royal Navy and RFC/RAF casualties were 16,862
Proportion returned to duty:
64%
Proportion returned to duty but only for lines of communication, garrison or sedentery work:
18%
Proportion discharged as invalids:
8%
i.e. approximately 182,000
Proportion died of wounds received:
7%

How many soldiers of the British Army were sick in the Great War?

In every previous war, deaths and casualties to sickness far outstripped those from military action. By 1914 and beyond, medical advances and an increasingly well-organised medical chain of evacuation made sure this was not the case. The number of men evacuated to England from France and Flanders, who were suffering from an illness:

Year
Officers
Other ranks
1914
892
25,013
1915
5,558
121,006
1916
12,818
219,539
1917
15,311
321,628
1918
15,311
265,735
The proportion of men suffering from illnesses was very much higher in Palestine, Mesopotamia, Gallipoli and East Africa.