The Ypres Salient - CWGC

Before and since the publication of the relevant volume of the British Official History in 1948 the final casualties (British and German) have been the subject of heated debate. It is perhaps easier to summarise the proffered figures than attempt a revision of the arguments.

Figures quoted by the British Official Historian for British and Dominion casualties: 244,897 (killed, wounded and missing). Surgeons tending wounded at a dressing station near Hill 60 on the Ypres Salient, August 1917This total was notably lower than the figures offered by Lloyd George (‘Memoirs’) and Winston Churchill (‘The World Crisis’).The historian C R M F Cruttwell offered an estimate for British casualties as 'about 300,000' (and this same figure is quoted in the public galleries of the Imperial War Museum).

German official casualties (for the period up to 31 December 1917) were given as 217,000. The British Official Historian (Sir James Edmonds) argued that it was 'probable' that the Germans lost around 400,000 killed, wounded and missing.

In more recent studies of the campaign compromise figures have been offered: Richard Holmes estimated that British and German losses (killed, wounded and missing) were roughly equal at around 260,000; Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson stated that 'Third Ypres' (including 'Messines Ridge') cost approximately 275,000 casualties, of which '70,000 were killed and an unknown number wounded.' (‘Army Battlefield Guide: Belgium and Northern France', Richard Holmes, London, HMSO, 1995, p.151; ‘Passchendaele: the untold story’, Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson, London, Yale University Press, 1996 (2nd edition 2002), p.195)

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