Appendix 7: Some Statistics
Embarkation for Service Outside Australia
It is impossible to give an accurate answer to the question: How many Australian service men and women served outside Australia in the war? Many thousands embarked for oversea service more than once. Many departures by air were not recorded. Some men enlisted more than once. However, Central Army Records Office arrived at an approximate figure by adding to the numbers of “Returned from Active Service” badges issued the numbers of those who died overseas, and making other adjustments.
In this way the following totals were arrived at:–
|Served outside Australia|
In the army total allowance has been made for the estimated numbers of those who died in Australia after service overseas and for those discharged for reasons that involved forfeiture of the badge. No such adjustment has been made to the navy and air force totals. On the other hand a number of persons who qualified for the badge by service at Darwin have been included. It is impossible to make any useful estimate of the number of Australians who were serving in British forces when war broke out – there were some 450 aircrew in the RAF alone – or who were in Britain when war began and enlisted there, or who later proceeded to Britain and enlisted. Random perusal of school honour rolls and the like suggests that, in this war as in 1914-18, there may have been several thousands of these, including students, nurses, men gaining oversea experience in professions and trades, tourists, employees of oversea branches of Australian firms and so on.
In 1914-18 the number who embarked for army service overseas, including service in the Australian Flying Corps, was 331,781, among whom were some individuals who embarked more than once. In 1918 the number of Australians in the RAN was 4,225, and some 600 other RAN or RAN Brigade men served at sea.
Battle Casualties: Australian Services, War of 1939-45.
|Particulars||Royal Australian Navy||Australian Army||Royal Australian Air Force||All Services|
|War Against Germany|
|– Killed in action and missing, presumed dead||900||2,610||5,036||8,546|
|– Died of wounds||3||700||58||761|
|– Died of wounds while prisoner of war||56||9||65|
|– Died of sickness, disease and injury while prisoner of war||95|
|– Presumed died while prisoner of war||91||14||200|
|Prisoners of war escaped, recovered or repatriated||25||6,874||1,020||7,919|
|Wounded and injured in action (cases)||26||8,925||529||9,480|
|War Against Japan|
|– Killed in action and missing, presumed dead||840||6,294||1,140||8,274|
|– Died of wounds||41||1,090||65||1,196|
|– Died of wounds while prisoner of war||50|
|– Died of sickness, disease and injury while prisoner of war||116||5,336||138||8,031|
|– Presumed died while prisoner of war||2,391|
|Prisoners of war escaped, recovered or repatriated||238||13,872||235||14,345|
|Wounded and injured in action (cases)||553||13,191||253||13,997|
|All Theatres of War|
|– Killed in action and missing, presumed dead||1,740||8,904||6,176||16,820|
|– Died of wounds||44||1,790||123||1,957|
|– Died of wounds while prisoner of war||106|
|– Died of sickness, disease and injury while prisoner of war||116||5,431||161||8,296|
|– Presumed died while prisoner of war||2,482|
|Prisoners of war escaped, recovered or repatriated||263||20,746||1,255||22,264|
|Wounded and injured in action (cases)||579||22,116||782||23,477|
These tables do not include deaths and illnesses from natural causes. The army casualties do not include 85 Papuan and New Guinea soldiers or members of the Royal Papuan Constabulary killed in action and 201 wounded.
Casualties other than in battle suffered by the army in operational areas were
|Killed, died of injuries etc.||1,165|
|Wounded, injured etc. (cases)||33,396|
Table merged onto previous page
Similar casualties suffered in non-operational areas were:
|Killed, died of injuries etc.||2,051|
|Wounded, injured etc. (cases)||121,800|
These figures exclude deaths and illnesses from natural causes.
Non-battle casualties suffered by the navy totalled 177 and by the air force 6,271.
The above figures are derived from tables published in the Commonwealth Year Book. The reader interested in the RAAF figures is referred to the differently organised and dissected tables of casualties published in Appendix 3 of the final volume of the Air Force series of this history.
Australian Army Casualties in the South-West Pacific from 1st July 1944 to the End of the War
|Killed in action and died of wounds||Wounded||Died of Illness||Accidentally Killed|
|Elsewhere in SWPA||69||1||–||1|
Gross Army Enlistments by States
|Gross enlistments to 29/9/45||Population in 1940 000’s||Percentage of enlistments to population|
|New South Wales||276,741||2,801||9.87|
Physique of Recruits
Second Echelon, AHQ, examined the records of more than 25,000 men of the army with the object of discovering their average height, weight and chest measurement on enlistment. It found that the averages for men who were 21, for example, on enlistment were: height, 5 feet 7.6 inches; weight, 147 pounds; chest, 36.8 inches. The average height for various age-groups ranged from 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 8.4 inches (the latter for a relatively small sampling of men aged 44).
Some Comparative Figures of Army Strengths and Casualties
1914-1918 war with 1939-1945 war
|Casualty||1914–1918 War||1939–1945 War|
|Gross strength of force on continuous full time war service||416,809||727,703|
|Total number of personnel who served beyond the mainland of Australia||331,781||396,661|
|Killed in action and missing presumed dead||39,880||8,904|
|Died of wounds||13,393||1,790|
|Died of wounds while prisoner of war||288||106|
|Died of sickness, disease, and injuries while prisoner of war||109||7,913|
|Died of gas poisoning||323||–|
|Total battle casualty deaths||53,993||18,713|
|Wounded in action||137,013||22,116|
|Prisoners of war (escaped, recovered or repatriated)||3,647||20,746|
|Total battle casualties||212,773||61,575|
|Non-battle casualty deaths from illness and other causes (a)||6,291||6,038|
|Sick beyond the mainland of Australia||393,155||433,587|
|Accidental injuries, etc. beyond the mainland of Australia||4,387||33,396|
|Over-all total of casualties (b)||616,606||534,596|
|Mortality all causes||60,284||24,751|
(a) Includes deaths in Australia: 1914-18-1,431; 1939-45-2,658.
(b) 1914-18 War figures taken from the Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services 1914-1918, Vol III, Table Nos. 26 and 27.
Compiled at Central Army Records Office, MELBOURNE.