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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Australians on the Western Front

2nd Australian Division "Digger" Monument, Mont St. Quentin

Historian Trevor Wilson has pointed this out, but some statistics back up his case. The Australian contribution on the Western Front was significantly greater in size and importance than it was in the Gallipoli Campaign. Here is a document I found in my old files. Compare the Western Front numbers vs. Gallipoli —


  1. I believe that among UK forces the death rate was about 1 in 9, but it seems from these figures that the death rate among Australians who went abroad was about 1 in 5.5.
    Any idea why the difference?

  2. I understand that the fatality rate among UK serviceman was about 1 in 9. However these figures suggest that the Australians had a much higher fatality rate, 1 in 5 to 1 in 6. Does anyone know why this was?

  3. The Australian Gov't figures cited suggest:
    365,000 served in the theaters cited
    56,395 cited theater deaths (including POWs) => 15.45% (1 in 6.47); the
    61,000 total figure given => other theaters?

    Aussie KIA % Gallipoli: 17.4% (1 in 5.7); Western Front: 15.6% (1 in 6.4)

    Aussies under their own command in these theaters I think may be a question whose inferences should be examined. Those Allies under their own command casualty rates?