bob lembke, on 04 May 2012 - 10:38 PM, said:
WW I was probably the first major war where more soldiers died from war wounds than disease.
Eighty eight per cent of all British army fatalites ( on all fronts) were killed in action or died from wounds. The figure for the French was about the same.
But in France and Flanders, more than ninety five per cent of British deaths were from enemy action, and of the remainder ( about 32,000), a significant proportion died from accidental injury.
Surely, then, a large part of the British disease mortality occurred on home soil. I have read that the presence of large numbers of seriously ill men in hospitals was more damaging to morale than that of the wounded : maybe evacuation of very ill men to the UK helped diminish the number of disease deaths on the Western Front.
This needs to be borne in mind. Perhaps we're being very unfair if we assume that French disease mortality necessarily implied that French people were plain "dirty".
The large death rate from gangrene in the French armies might be attributed in large part to certain battles which made recovery and evacuation difficult and increased mortality....the Battles of the Frontiers, especially, and Verdun. There was an inexcusable break down of the medical services in the Nivelle Offensive, which cost several thousand lives.
I wonder if the impact of Methodism had much impact on the hygiene standards of labouring people in Britain : you know, "Cleaniness is next to Godliness" and that kind of thing....