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Thread: RAF losses ww11

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    Default RAF losses ww11

    Hello All,
    I think that this question has been asked before, but can't find it. Is there anywhere that the total losses by RAF Commands can be established for ww11.
    There are many sources for Bomber Command but all give different numbers. Coastal Command Memorial gives a total of 10875 yet the Wikipedia (I know) give a figure over 5000 lower. I have sent an email to Air Historical branch but am not holding my breath. Anyone help please?
    regards Mike

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    Hi Mike,

    One useful source :-

    Plymouth Hoe Memorial

    ROYAL AIR FORCE COMMAND LOSSES 1939-1945

    FERRY 209
    WEST AFRICA 461
    WAAF 464
    BALLOON 499
    ARMY COOP 634
    MAINTENANCE 662
    TRANSPORT 1147
    2 ND TACTICAL 2828
    FLYING TRAINING 3863
    SEAC 6182
    TECH TRAINING 345
    FIGHTER 7436
    COASTAL 9145
    MIDDLE EAST 13225
    BOMBER 58378

    Mark

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    It's an interesting question Mike. I have a snapshot for Bomber Command dated 30 June 1945 that gives an idea as to why numbers are sometimes different. The document is an Air Ministry minute in response to press enquiries following publication of the US Strategic Bombing survey. The survey gave a figure for RAF Bomber Command casualties of 79,281. The Air Ministry doesn't recognise the figure, but notes that it is close to their own estimation of total casualties (all causes) of 79,147. They give a breakdown as follows:

    Battle casualties:

    Air:

    Killed 39,291
    Missing 10,961
    POW 9,843
    Wounded 4,167


    Ground:

    Killed and Missing 318
    Wounded 200


    Non-battle casualties (on active service):

    Air:

    Killed 8,068
    Missing 267
    POW 77
    Wounded 4,095


    Ground:

    Killed 696
    Wounded or injured 619


    Died of natural causes - 525

    TOTAL: 79,147

    The minute then outlines some significant caveats:

    - Figures for the missing continued to be revised as individual cases were resolved and re-categorised as dead or POW.
    - Wounded figures are a gross number - ie a man wounded three times over the course of his service would be counted as 3 casualties.
    - By the same token, individuals could appear as both wounded and killed.

    Hence, there would have been differing figures issued after the war for BC casualties, any of which might appear in later historical publications.

    HTH,

    Richard

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    Hello Mark and Richard,
    Thanks for the replies. Why do you think that the powers that be are so reticent in relrasing figures?
    I am still waiting for a response from RAF Air Historical Branch,one never knows!
    thanks again.Mike

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    Probably because it's not clear what you mean as a loss and probably because accounting systems do not easily allow statistical information to be generated in a variety of different meanings for loss.

    eg Aircraft was defined as Cat and changed over time and was collated on category which overlapped for "lost to service use"

    similar manner for men - only two main collations Effective and Non Effective.

    You do not say what of the subsets of Non-Effective you refer - eg dead. missing, PoW, sick etc

    Ross
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    Hello Ross,
    My meaning of Loss is Killed in service ,active or otherwise and missing presumed killed.
    Mike

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    Ok, that was missing off your first post.

    Now for your requirement for break down into Command how did you expect AHB to record PoW deaths for you as they were no longer on the effective strength of a Command.

    In a similar way deaths in trooping may or may not be as recorded as unit, draft or OADU depending on length of transit and SOC/TOC of accounting units.

    Coastal OTUs were administered by Coastal Command but had crews killed flying Bomber Command missions, in a similar manner Training Command losses could be on Bomber Command missions etc

    The Battle Squadrons in 1940 were first Bomber Command then AASF then back to Bomber Command and some Coastal Command then Iceland.

    PRU type losses depended on who controlled them at the time of fatality eg Tac Recce was BEF/AASF/Fighter Command/Army co-op/2TAF etc

    Training Command OTU had crews attached to Coastal and were lost on operational flights. Bomber Command also had detached Squadrons lost on Coastal Operations (omitted from Chorley for this very reason)

    Stepping back from actual posting on death clarification is also needed on RAF did you mean only Royal Air Force or include RAFVR, AAF, RAFO, commonweath countries, dominion countries, occupied countries, volunteers from neutral countries etc all serving under Air Ministry control.

    Bare in mind some were not RAF but serving under local forces eg Levies

    The confusion over country of origin also leads to some being included/omitted in contemporary figures created by Top Trump style lists

    eg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George..._(RAF_officer)

    What is your count of what the figures should be for your definition of Loss.

    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 31st March 2017 at 13:50.
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    [QUOTE=Ross_McNeill;125029]


    Well that makes you realise the complexity of answering this 'simple' question!

    Ian

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    Hello Ross,
    In answer to your last question,I don't have a count for my definition of Loss,which is why I asked the question in the first place.If the split is that difficult to make, where have the numbers on Plymouth Hoe Memorial (thanks Mark) come from? It may seem to you that I'm having a go at AHB that could not be further from the truth; it just seems to me, a layman, that the powers that be don't wish us to know.I will however thank you for your time and effort in bothering to reply to me.
    Mike

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    Hello Ian,
    Your telling me. I feel like a naughty schoolboy who has not been listening in class.
    regards Mike

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