What was my chance of Survival on the Somme?

How lucky am I that Grandad survived his service in WWI?   This is a fundamental question that remains in the background as I learn more and report hostilities.

Roll of Honour showing the names of the men in the photograph.

As a sample of Manchester Pals, I’ve used the III Platoon Roll as published in the Book of Honour.  We don’t know who’s who on the majority of the Platoon photo.  We do have some information on each of the individuals in the list.

Analysis of CWGC & SDGW records shows 19 of the 64 Men in III Platoon Roll died during hostilities.  A little under 30% of the sample were killed or died.

In view of my wider knowledge of The Cost the proportion of fatalities was surprisingly low.  Further analysis of the Roll shows a group of men that did not leave for France on 8th November 1915, who may be dismissed from a true sample of fifty five men who left England with the Pals.  Part of the excluded Group includes NCOs who’d been transferred to other Battalions or Corps and another man arrived in France during 1916.  However, the majority of the excluded group were not combatants.  These 6 men were either dismissed as unfit or unsuitable for service, or they served as Garrison troops away from Theaters of War.

Following the revised sample, it can be seen that 19 of 55 men died who arrived in France with the Pals.  The chance of survival was 65% – a little over 2/3rds survived.

III Platoon, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment.  March 1916, Heaton Park.

III Platoon, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment. March 1916, Heaton Park.

 

 

 

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