London 1918, the Armistice and Gallantry research

London County Council in the Great War 1914 - 1918

LCC index

CHAPTER XVII

Summary,
The numbers of the Council's staff who served in the Great War were as follows :  See the War Service listing for 1000s
of individuals

Department Enlisted Lost their lives.
Clerk of the Council 101 12
Comptroller of the Council  A-G H-P ; Q & Temporary 290 36
Chief Engineer : Central ; Bridges etc ; Pumping etc 284 25
Architect A-C; D-J ; K-R; S-W 437 40
Solicitor 70 10
London Fire Brigade 345 27
Public Health 136 12
Estates and Valuation 87 9
Public Control 94 7
Parks 424 61
Tramways 3507 334
Housing 100 9
Education Officer: Central Administrative Staff 377 39
Education Officer: Industrial and Special Schools 40 6
Education Officer: Secondary Schools and Training Colleges 28 7
Education Officer: Technical Institutes and Schools of Art 37 4
Education Officer: School Attendance Officers 117 6
Education Officer: Botany Scheme 5 3
Education Officer: Stocktakers, etc 8 0
Education Officer: Schoolkeepers 235 23
Education Officer: Teachers 2353 273
Stores 138 24
Parliamentary 4 2
Asylums and Mental Deficiency 943 97
Asylums Engineer 4 0
TOTAL 10,164 1065

The decorations won were: C.B.E. 5, D.S.O. 5, O.B.E. 14, D.S.C. I, M.C. and two bars 1, M.C. and bar 7, M.C. 68, M.B.E. 7, Royal Red Cross 10. D.C.M. and bar 2, D.C.M. 39, D.S.M. 5, M.M. and bar 10, M.M. 125, M.S.M. 100, Medal of Military Merit 2, mentioned in despatches 313, mentioned for valuable services, etc., 11, R. Humane Society. Cert, i. Certificate of Merit 1, French decorations 21, Croix de Guerre (Belgian) 9, other foreign decorations 16.

In the preceding chapters it has rarely been possible to state the numbers engaged, or the losses sustained, in the different battles and campaigns. The following figures, too vast for the mind to realise in any detail, may help the reader to form some vague impression of the immensity of the conflict. The numbers of those who served from the British Empire alone were as follows:

Strength of Regular Army, Reserve and Territorials on 4th August, 1914 733,514
England recruited during the war 4,006,158
Scotland 557,618
Wales 272,924
Ireland 134,202
Dominions: Canada 628,964
Dominions: Australia 416,809
Dominions: New Zealand 220,099
Dominions: Africa 136,070
Dominions: Newfoundland, etc 23,922
Coloured troops: India (i.e. pre- war 239,561 and during war 1,161,789) 1,401,350
Coloured troops: S. Africa 92,837
Coloured troops: West Indies 10,000
Coloured troops: Other Colonies 20,000
TOTAL 8,654,467

There were also Chinese and other labour units which served in France, Egypt, Mesopotamia and elsewhere.

The casualties amongst all the belligerents were as follows:
Country Killed, including missing unless separately stated Missing, presumed dead Wounded TOTAL
Allies        
Russia 1,700,000 ? 3,500,000 5,200,000
France 1.358,872 361,654 2,750,000 4,470,526
British Empire 765,483 108,346 2,090,989 2,964,818
Italy 507,169 ? 1,000,000 1,507,169
Roumania 300,000 ? 300,000 600,000
Serbia 300,000 ? 300,000 600,000
Belguim 102,382 ? 200,000 302,382
United States 53,160 1,160 179,625 233,945
Portugal 8,367 ? 16,000 24,367
TOTAL 5,095,433 471,160 10,336,614 15,903,207
         
Central Powers        
Germany 1,600,000 103,000 4,064,000 5,767,000
Austria 800,000 ? 3,200,000 4,000,000
Turkey 250,000 ? 500,000 750,000
Bulgaria 100,000 ? 200,000 300,000
TOTAL 2,750,000 103,000 7,964,000 10,817,000
GRAND TOTAL 7,845,433 574,160 18,300,614 26,720,207

The combined death-roll was therefore over 8,000,000, or several hundred thousand beyond the present entire population of Greater London. 2 The
total casualties approached 27,000,000, and quite probably may have been nearly 30,000,000, or about two-thirds of the population of the United Kingdom.

Only those campaigns in which the British were concerned and those incidents in which they shared have been described. Most of the main features have thus been dealt with, for, except on the eastern front in Europe, they had a part, and often an important part, in all the fighting. It is natural and right that our interest should centre in them, but the events of the war and the final victory must be regarded as a whole, not singly, nor even in relation to one country.
The British Empire did not win the war, nor did France, nor Italy, nor the United States, although, if any of these had been absent, the result might have been far different; nor was any country alone in her endurance and in her sacrifices. So, when the final reckoning comes to be made, let it be remembered that Russia's losses were the heaviest, and that, but for her efforts, prolonged over two years in the face of every difficulty, the position of the Allies on the other fronts would have been most dangerous, if not impossible. For more than four years Belgium, a narrow strip excepted, was under the sway of a foreign despotism, her people were liable at any moment to heavy fines, to imprisonment and to deportation, and her industries were being impaired or even ruined. The like misfortunes befell Roumania but for a shorter time. The fate of Serbia was more terrible. After her army had been crushed by overwhelming numbers, disease and starvation swept through the country carrying off one-third of the population. The sufferings of France are known, by sight Or by hearsay, to all. It was on the western front that men and guns were accumulated in the greatest profusion, and it was there that the struggle was fiercest and most obstinate. For a year or more she bore the brunt of the attack along a front of several hundred miles; throughout the war the fighting on the greater part fell to her lot. Her casualties, most of them incurred in this noble task, amounted to 4,470,526. In the early days the enemy approached to within twenty miles of the capital, and, when driven back, lay encamped during nearly four years little more than twice that distance away. In the spring of 1918 he again closed in upon the city, which for some months was under artillery fire at long range. A belt of country, 250 miles long and twenty or thirty wide, was reduced to a desert, 1,659 communes or townships were blotted out, 2,363 others were wrecked, and 630,000 houses were destroyed or seriously damaged.
So many mines were ruined that the output of coal was reduced by a half, 21,000 factories were gutted, and great manufacturing centres like Lille and the Longwy district were systematically despoiled of the machinery vital to their prosperity. Deaths among civilians, by artillery in the battle zone or by aeroplanes in the back areas, were frequent.


This sketch has been written so that the memory of the part taken by the Council's staff in events which called for much bravery, much endurance, much self-sacrifice, might not pass away without record, however slight. The task is now completed. On so many memorials, up and down the country, of those who fell in the Great War, it is truly written : " They died that we might live." For that example and that sacrifice no return can be adequate, but it is for each of us who survive to determine that the example and the sacrifice shall not have been wholly in vain.