90% accounted for – Cause of RAF Deaths in WW2

Back in October 2019, we reached a milestone of 100,000 airmen accounted for in terms of cause of death. It has been six months since then, and we now have hit the major milestone of 90% accounted for.  Thats 90% of all 122357 RAF and Commonwealth Air Forces airmen who died in the Second World war have a cause of death identified.

110,130 records (90.01%) are “Accounted for”.
  98,554 are related to aircraft incidents and
    11,578 are non-aviation deaths..

Year wise metrics are as below


Year 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947
Total Records 689 6887 13016 21390 29783 33061 13727 2385 1419
Accounted 675 (97.97%) 6460 (93.80%) 12228 (93.95%) 19803 (92.58%) 27805 (93.36%) 30074 (90.97%) 10923 (79.57%) 1374 (57.61%) 790 (55.67%)
Unaccounted 14 (2.03%) 427 (6.20%) 788 (6.05%) 1587 (7.42%) 1978 (6.64%) 2987 (9.03%) 2804 (20.43%) 1011 (42.39%) 629 (44.33%)

No photo description available.

Where do we go from here?

The next milestone for us is to get the number of unaccounted for airmen to dip into 4 digits – thats 9,999 or below.  We are less than 2200 odd records away.

At some point we will hit a wall, where the number of updates that can be done will come to a stop – unless a new trove of archives is dug up.  I estimate that point to be about 4000-5000 records away. Ultimately 5000-7000 airmen may never fully be “Accounted For”.  Time will tell.


One thought on “90% accounted for – Cause of RAF Deaths in WW2

  1. This data base is a fantastic resource.

    I have been using it in the writing of the Mediterranean Air War series, the current Volume at least as its exceptionally useful not to have to stop, refer to Chris Dobsons books or the CWGC etc. I always try to use a ORB and or casualty reports as a basis, and then check names etc from your exceptional site. I can add some updates and corrections to the matching of a/c serial numbers to fatal casualties, and in some cases to what happened where all you have is missing. The other info we have for the Med is those who were POW and those who survived being shot down. A lot of these matches are tentative pending the release of the rest of Air 81, and it is so far surprising just what differences there are between ORBs and Air 81.

    Whats the best way to assist?

    Time pressure to finish MAW Vol 5 is off as its nearly finished and as it won’t be published to next year, so I have some spare capacity.

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