First published in 1922 in a very limited edition, this mammoth work is the most comprehensive, single-volume record of the nation’s commitment in the first total war in British history. Until August 1914, wars, as far as Great Britain was concerned, had been the business of the regular armed forces, supplemented by eager volunteers, motivated by patriotism and a sense of adventure. They had marched away behind the bands, with the Colours flying and the enthusiastic cheers of onlookers ringing in their ears. Apart from the families of the men doing the fighting, however, war had little effect on the wider population. In August 1914 most people expected the war to follow this previous pattern: the surge of patriotism, the Mafeking-style jingoism, the rush of volunteers eager to get to the fighting before it was all over. But within a couple of months, when the casualty lists of then First Battle of Ypres began to appear, the mood began to change, as people perceived the true nature of modern war. The record of this response is made clear in the monthly and annual statistical returns displayed in this volume. The scope of ‘Statistics’ is hugely impressive. It is divided into thirty-two parts, each dealing with a different aspect of the war effort – personnel, animals and materiel – under separate section headings, with the detail presented in clear, tabular form, frequently accompanied by a narrative of events or commentary. The wealth of detail displayed is formidable. For example, the 200-page part dealing with Strength of the Forces has tables showing monthly recruiting figures, strength returns by theatres, returns of Labour and Native personnel serving abroad, growth of individual Arms of the Service (infantry, artillery, cavalry etc.) and tables of consolidated figures. Casualty lists include those incurred in hospital ships, with individual ship details, and there are also figures for major offensives, such as the Somme, Arras, Passchendaele, Cambrai etc. Other parts deal with discipline – courts martial, crime and punishment statistics; consolidated list of honours and awards; texts of armistices; munitions production and expenditure, including the cost of certain bombardments during major battles. There is a fifty-page outline diary of the main events in the various Theatres of War and, under a separate heading, a diary of the air raids over the UK and coastal bombardments with resulting casualties.
STATISTICS OF THE MILITARY EFFORT OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE DURING THE GREAT WAR 1914-1920
Massive official compilation of Britain’s war effort in the Great War. Includes complete casualty figures, munitions production, recruiting figures, courts martial, awards, air raids etc. An invaluable factual record of commitment and sacrifice.