The risk to our brave boys

"With 80,000 British service personnel having served in Iraq over three years, the chance of a death in combat that gives a member of the forces a 1:1,039 chance of death in combat. Sounds pretty high, doesn't it? Actually, no.

With around eight million enlistments into the British armed forces during World War I and nearly a million casualties, the chances of death whilst wearing a uniform were 1:8. During the World War II casualties were much lower and the odds of a fatality fell to 1:17.

By the time of the Korean War (1950-3), with just more than 1,000 killed in three years, members of the UK armed forces suffered a 1:60 chance of death, while the three-month campaign in the Falklands (March-June 1982) took 255 lives of the 30,000 personnel engaged in the campaign; a fatality rate of 1:118.

Just over 1,000 members of the security forces were killed in Northern Ireland over 30 years (from 1969), out of well over half a million deployed there, resulting in a fatal casualty rate of 1:500."

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