How many aircraft did the RAF lose in SEAC Theatre?

A few years ago, (actually couple of decades ago) I asked myself – I wonder how many aircraft were lost by the RAF and Commonwealth Air Forces in the SEAC Theatre (- The Indian Subcontinent – covering present day India, Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ceylon).  There were no published figures, nor reference material available. The data exists, but is scattered among countless books and sources – not consolidated in one single location. The result was that no one could safely guess as to what the losses mounted to. Even today – no one can give an exact figure that is within a reasonable margin of error to the actual total. Is it 10,000 aircraft? or is it a 1000 aircraft. For a war that lasted five years in this sector and cost the RAF and Commonwealth air forces 6,897 lives, how many aircraft were lost?

For the first time we are close getting near to that final figure. The SEAC Aircraft Losses Database currently has 2,636 aircraft accidents listed that cover many of the major types – Hurricanes, Spitfires, Thunderbolts, Vengeance, Harvards etc. In due course other types will be added. This gives us an opportunity to ‘guess’ what the final number is going to be.

What will be added in the future? – The following types – Which at this point are reasonable guesstimates.

DH Mosquito 130-180
Bristol Beaufighter 130-200
Bristol Blenheim/Bisley 50-100 224
Lockheed Hudson 50-100
Dakotas and Misc  Transports 100-200
Lysanders ~80
Pre War Biplanes (Audax, Harts) ~150
Tigermoths , Cornells, Trainers ~150
Austers, Sentinels ~200
Tempest II ~30
Estimated Total 1250-1525

It appears that we will end up with somewhere in the low 4000s due to all causes – These are quite low numbers compared to other theatres and directly correlates with the strength of the RAF in this theater which peaked to about 4000 odd aircraft at the end of 1944

Perhaps the National Archives holds some specific statistical reports related to this sector – We are looking them up. But for now, the number ~4200 seems like a reasonable guess!

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