‘Yet while the war dead of some countries were too numerous to count, we should be mindful that ‘Scotland is small enough to know all her sons by heart’
My headline comes from the conclusions to a thorough examination of the facts published in May 2019. I missed it at the time and, I suspect out media did too. Correct me if I’m wrong on that and anything else in this piece, of course.
With the UK media saturated with frankly disturbing jingoism based on myths about WWII, it seems like good moment to present this attempt to resolve the alleged myth that Scots had given more in blood on the WWI battlefields.
On 10th August 2014, with clear political intent, the Scotsman allowed Sir Hew Strachan to confirm it as a myth:
Great War worst for Scots troops ‘a myth’
In Patrick Watt’s Manpower, Myth and Memory: Analysing Scotland’s Military Contribution to the Great War in the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, on 24th May 2019 based on extensive research, a different fact emerges:
Overall, 91,800 out of the 702,410 fatalities sustained by the British Army were born in Scotland. This is a 13.07 per cent share of the British total, some 2.6 per cent higher than Scotland’s share of the British population. Even using the highest estimate of British army casualties supplied by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (759,062 soldiers) gives a 12.09
per cent share of the British total, compared to 10.47 per cent of the British
population. The combined total of war dead for all three services – 102,500
soldiers, sailors and airmen – means that 13.78 per cent of the ‘official’ British total from 1921, or 12.32 per cent of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission total were born in Scotland. Therefore, it can be said with certainty that men born in Scotland did suffer disproportionately more deaths during the war than the other nations of the United Kingdom.
It’s a long hard read at: