The numbers are:
Killed: 14 officers, 94 Other Ranks
Wounded: 6 officers, 261 Other Ranks
Missing: 24 officers, 1,749 Other Ranks
Total 44 officers, 2,104 Other Ranks.
In my initial review of RIR 109 I was able to track down the fate of many of the missing officers and men and obtain a more accurate portrayal of the actual losses suffered by the regiment. I found that the number of men killed, 108 in all was actually far higher when the first list and subsequent loss lists were reviewed.
17 officers and acting officers were killed plus at least 533 Other Ranks that were killed or died from wounds; including 23 men who died of wounds while a prisoner of war. This means at least 550 officers and men died on 1 July or from wounds received on that date and not the 108 from the original report. Most of the other MIA were prisoners of war as can be seen in the Malins film as they are marched to the rear.
This is truly sensational. For one thing, two thirds of a regiment was wiped out in a single day. Am I right, Ralph, in assuming that the strength of the regiment was - supposedly - three thousand or thereabouts ? Perhaps it was somewhat less in this case, with wastage taken into account.
More astonishing still is the number of fatalities : the actual number being killed or mortally wounded exceeding the initial reported number of killed by a factor of more than five to one. Significantly, the increase in the number of officers is just over 20%, whereas the other ranks' increase is a staggering 467% ! Even in the most extreme ordeals, it would appear, the fate of the officer was far more meticulously recorded than was the case for those under his command.
There is an impication here about the intensity and ferocity of the fighting. Unless many of the prisoners of war were wounded - and the fact that only 23 died of wounds while prisoner suggests that no more than two or three hundred wounded were taken prisoner - then the number of deaths equals and perhaps even exceeds the total of wounded: an unusual and shocking episode. Buried alive under bombardment ? The French heavies made havoc with German dugouts in Montabaun, and Jack's history regales us with endless harrowing acounts of soldiers trying to rescue their comrades who were buried...but, as you remind us, relatively few Germans were victims of the preparatory bombardment, and these regimetal losses are July 1st victims, anyway. Killed during or immediately after surrender ? Or just a highly motivated and disciplined unit determined to fight to the death ? On both counts, a signifcant haul of prisoners has to be addressed before assumptions are made.
Whatever transpires, it's a sobering thought that perhaps one fifth of an entire regiment, approaching three thpusand in its strength, were killed or died from wounds received that day. In proportionate terms, this surely rivals the experience of British brigades that were slaughtered.
I fully appreciate your reminder that, in compiling these statistics, you always remember that these were individual people and their stories are unbearably poignant. I know that you gave terrific support to that TV series "Finding the Fallen". All honour to you, Ralph.