Henry Gray and John Fraser: Scottish surgeons of the Great War
Between 1914 and 1918, the British Expeditionary Force fighting in France and Flanders sustained 2.7 million battle casualties. Just over one quarter (26.1%) were never seen by the medical services. These were men who had been killed (14.2%), were missing (5.4%), or were prisoners of war (6.5%). Most of those who were missing had been killed and their bodies never recovered. Just under three-quarters of the wounded (73.9% or 1 988 969) were seen and treated by the medical services and 151 356 died.[i] The worst single day in British military history was Saturday 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, when there were 57 470 casualties, of whom 20 000 were killed or died from their wounds. In nearly a quarter of a million admissions dealt with by the medical services, 58.5% of wounds were caused by high-explosive shellfire, 39% by bullets (mostly from machine guns), 2% were caused by grenades, and 0.5% from bayonets.
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