Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, February 13, 2017

About Those Passchendaele Casualty Figures

In preparing for my spring battlefield tour to Flanders, I'm starting to review some of my notes on the 1917 Third Battle of Ypres, aka Passchendaele. I'll occasionally share some of my re-discoveries with our readers here.

The number of casualties (that is, those killed, wounded, missing, and taken prisoner) incurred by the British Expeditionary Force in the Third Battle of Ypres is popularly supposed to have been the most grievous of the whole war, either by total number or per-day losses. This belief is mistaken as this table demonstrates:


  1. Thank you for this, as I'm just writing up a review of another book on Passchendale.

  2. It is the number of casualties that drowned in the Mud that I think makes Passchendale seem more horrendous than the other battles.

  3. Fascinating -- I wouldn't have guessed the British offensive of fall 1918 to have taken such a toll.