CASUALTY REPORTS IN 1914

Tuesday, December 1, 1914

In Camp, West Down South, Salisbury Plains

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Training, a.m. skirmishing; p.m. Battn. in attack. Outpost work at night.”  [1]

01 Dec 14THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: During the earliest months of the war, Canadian newspapers carried almost daily reports of British war casualties.  These usually reported the deaths of British officers, although these reports also included deaths of Canadians who had managed to enlist as officers in British regiments which were now at the battle front.  As the lists of British Casualties became longer and more frequent, Canadian newspapers made these lists available for viewing in their offices as well as in the published papers.

Once the first Canadian units entered the battle, in particular the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the Canadian casualty reports increased in frequency until they were issued by the Department of Militia, Ottawa, as often as four times per day.   These casualty lists included the name, rank, and service number of the soldier, and usually included the name and address of his next-of-kin.   Such lists were usually sorted by regiment or service branch, and then listed those who were hospitalized, sick, wounded, killed, and missing, or prisoner of war.  The lists would be updated to reflect the status of a soldier, eg. a wounded soldier later reported as died of wounds, or a missing soldier later reported as either confirmed killed, or confirmed as a prisoner of war.

 

[1]  War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Dec 1, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089681.jpg
[2]  “War Casualties,” The Montreal Daily Mail, Montreal, Quebec, Tuesday, December 1, 1914, pg. 2, col. 4

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