How many British WW2 Veterans are still around ?

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by 51highland, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Sapper, I think I've been forgotten as a vet, nevertheless, I'd like to celibrate with you with the compo bacon and soya links. Come to think of it it the steak and kidney wasn't bad either and what about the fruit pudding for afters? I'm getting really nostalgic - oh happy days. Btw, I'm 87 now, what were you doing being so young on D-Day?
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    BTW, Membership of the 'Veteran' usergroup now stands at 42.

    Now 45.
  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Jim. Driver op.
    It was the tinned bacon that got my vote. Though opening the can was an adventure in itself, the scalding jet of fat, and steam, at high pressure afetr boiling in the cauldron.

    My age Jim? I was 19 end of April 1944 and that brought me in the allowed battle class. Shortly I shall be 86... handsome, Virile, and attractive to women... I wish!

    Well that's my story, believe it or not. Big Grin
  4. Enigma1003

    Enigma1003 Member

    (Ooops, sorry first post, looks like I should have reduced photo size, will know for the future, sorry)

    This fine band of men, are not only WW11 veterans, but were all interned in the same POW camp in Taiwan.
    Taken prisoner on Singapore, and then endured the horrendous journey on the Hell Ship "England Maru".

    Taken to Kinkaseki POW Camp where they were made to labour down the copper mine from dawn to dusk.
    I imagine that a meeting of so many from the same camp is fairly unique today, and considering most of them weighed around 5 stone upon release, due to the starvation and malnutrition, its a near miracle they are with us.

    This photo was taken in Kinkaseki when they made a return journey, and were treated rather differently on this occasion. This was followed by a trip back into the mine they were all made to labour 1942 - 1945.
    Kinkaseki: . Never Forgotten - The Story of the Taiwan POW's
    and this time they were given safety helmets to wear down the mine, rather than the cardboard ones they were used to:
    Slipdigit and dbf like this.
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    That is a brilliant picture and thank you for sharing

    Welcome to the forum
  6. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    In 2009 the Office for National Statistics estimated that there were 1.4 million people in the UK aged 85 or over. Approximately 43.7% or 612,000 of these senior citizens were male. During WWII it's estimated that 22.3% of the workforce were in the armed forces. If we take these figures at face value we should expect to find about 136,000 surviving WWII vets (male) in the population at large. Even allowing for lives shortened by the war there must still be over 100,000 surviving vets plus of course a significant number of lady vets.

    So to all the veteran members of the forum, you are far from alone, there are still enough of you to raise say 7 or 8 divisions! long may it remain so:ukflag[1]:
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Apparently there are about 3000 wartime Bomber Command veterans surviving.
  8. PA. Dutchman

    PA. Dutchman Senior Member

    May God bless them and keep them always for their service to their country and to the freedom of all our Allied Nations.

    Such men are the heroes of all the Allied Nations of World War II.

    We salute them and thank them for their sacrifices for us.
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Thought I'd have another bash and see if more had emerged on the web since Ron first asked.

    Veterans Policy Unit - Strategy for Veterans
    Led to this from 2005/6:
    RBL - Profile and Needs Comparisons between the Ex-Service Community and the UK population
    Which amongst much comparison with the general population & surveying on a variety of factors, contains this:
    vet comparison.JPG
    Which I'd hoped was a start in working out theoretical possible numbers still with us.
    Sadly though, it's confused by that 75-84 age group, and the fact it's 5/6 years old.

    Surely someone's crunched the numbers of WW2 chaps properly somewhere.
    The info feels tantalisingly close, maybe even in here somewhere:
    Legion Research - The Royal British Legion
    But I still haven't seen it, yet.

    I'd hoped these would have more:
    RBL - Profile and Needs of the Ex-Service Community 2005-2020
    RBL - Profile of the Ex-Service Community in the UK
    But they possibly add to my uncertainty by explaining that the higher age brackets are expanded by postwar national service chaps. Those groups also include dependants, though the second report does have separate figures on that.

    Ron's original question still remains without a decent answer really...
  10. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    Thought I'd have another bash and see if more had emerged on the web since Ron first asked..............

    Ron's original question still remains without a decent answer really...

    On re-reading this thread I don’t think this is a question to which we shall ever get a totally satisfactory answer. At first I thought it was a simple matter of on line research and a bit of simple number crunching; until I thought about how you define a WWII veteran? If it’s anyone who served in the armed forces this excludes the thousands upon thousands of civilians who were brutalized by the Japanese in the far east, lost homes and family in London, Plymouth, Glasgow and other cities or served in other capacities. Also many thousands served in uniform without ever seeing a shot fired in anger but made a huge contribution.
    I don’t think the vast majority had much choice about where and how they served but most rose to whatever challenge they were given. For my part I’m happy to salute the entire war time generation and if that happens to include one or two ‘shirkers’ so be it, better that than forgetting one of the ‘unsung’ heroes. I’d be interested to hear what the Vet members on here think.
  11. Ednamay

    Ednamay wanderer

    I am tempted to say, anyone born before (say) 1935 and still alive, must be a survivor. In this total war, everyone was involved in one way or another, civilian or service personnel, city folk and rural, in whatever different ways.

    Some people's wars were more dangerous and stressful than others, but everyone experienced the loss of friends and relatives, the waiting to hear news, the destruction, the rationing.

    We survivors are a different generation, we are what our experience has made us.

  12. Linkage1992

    Linkage1992 Junior Member

    I'm turning 19 this year, and am probably the same age many of you were when you signed up. I can't imagine having to go through what you did at this age. Thank you, and here's to the millions of vets still alive around the world. They'll be with us for a long time to come.
  13. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Back in March 2008 I asked this question and I now see that Adam, on a completely different thread, has kindly provided the following info:

    Quick survey of registered users of this site by age.
    As Robin Day would have said; 'entirely unscientific', and birthdates weren't needed for registration in an earlier incarnation of the site so many chaps don't count in these stats.

    1918-1930 - - 344 *
    1930-1940 - - 731
    1940-1950 - - 2741
    1950-1960 - - 3925
    1960-1970 - - 4200
    1970-1980 - - 2670
    1980-1990 - - 2278
    1990-2000 - - 597

    Thanks for that !


    * I spread this one out a little to accommodate the earliest birthday of a known WW2 veteran on here.
  14. MrEd

    MrEd Observer

    In the course of my job I have had the honour to meer various older men and women who served in the war.

    I am a nurse and so far have looked after
    a merchant seaman, a WAAF from Dover, a lancaster bomber pilot, a lancaster bomb aimer, a 3rd infantry soldier who landed on Sword beach (his wife brought in 2 photos he took as he disembarked) and a gentleman who has had the most incredible stories of all of them - a chap who was in 4 Commando serving under Lovat.

    incredible stories, I have encouraged him to write or record his memoirs and he has told me he is already doing this with his granddaughter.

    I feel honoured to have met these brave men and women.
  15. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    Great lads every one! Surely there are other Vets besides Ron and myself?

    My great friend Tom Canning is more than active ...
  16. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Susan - thanks for reminding all in the Forum of my participation which appears to be mostly everyday - and total astonishment that Sapper queries my existence as - I think I am right in saying - that in the many years of the Forum only Owen and myself have actually expended the time - trouble - and costs to visit himself and the Saintly Sheila to enjoy their company for a few hours the only reason can be that the bold Brian is losing it
    - and Ron wouldn't dream of mentioning me ....
    big grin Brian ....
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I see around 3 to 5 WW2 vets every week.

    This weeks highlight was a Dutch lady who was in the Dutch resistance in Holland, captured by the Gestapo for be found with a radio she was imprisoned on Arnhem and later liberated near the end of the war. She ended up marrying a British Officer who was part of the War Crimes Investigation Unit in Europe.

    My two big highs to date were meeting a Sgt from 4 Camerons captured in 1940 at St. Valery and the best was meeting a Pte from 4 Ox Bucks who told me how he escaped from Cassel and made it back to Dunkirk and then England-I could hardly contain myself.
  18. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Nothing better than approaching an 80+ something and asking the question "Sir, are you a veteran ?". The answer usually comes back in the affirmative. From there the stories flow> The ending is from me to them saying " Thank you for your service ". And without fail, the reply comes back " Thank you for remembering ".

    Lest we forget
  19. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Trouble is that although old. It does seem as though we expect a young man you knew 67 years ago would still look the same as he was then./

    Sadly brought back to reality while watching the Cenotaph service and march past. How few France and Germany campaign Stars were on parade. Hardly any. Then we should not be surprised, I am the youngest legally allowed to see action....19...and am fast approaching 87...

    Now I wanted to buy a new car. But on reflection I don't know how long I would have it.. I think that my lot are leaving at the rate of knots..But not me...Bugger that for a game of soldiers! I do not intend to fall off my twig...Don't like the prospect:)
  20. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    I am just wondering if the total figures quoted earlier from around the commonwealth include those not on active service?

    I make that statement not to denigrate the service of those that stayed "At home", but to mind it is a significant factor.

    From experience here in Australia on ANZAC Day, I note that of the entire 8th Division - 2nd AIF (having surrendered at the fall of singapore) there are no more than 20 veterans of the entire division who participate (& half of those are in wheel chairs now).

    From our division that served in north Africa, the infantry Bn's like the 2/4th have on average numbered 30-40 per Bn.

    I have been mashalling on the day for about 25 years & the decline in the numbers has been very noticable over the last 4 years. The least affectice arm seem to be the RAAF with on average 30 - 40 members of operational squadrons participating.

    Obviously there are veterans that for medical reasons cannot participate but I would only put that at no more than thabn 30 % of those that participate.

    I will try to obtain some current figures frfom the RSL in the next day or 2 & post that give a true indication of the current levels in Australia.



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