How many British WW2 Veterans are still around ?

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

  1. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Having just managed to put a video on my website ( for someone with my limited knowledge, it was quite an accomplishment) of 51st HD Veterans in Vught for 60th anniversary of their Liberation, in 2004. It made me wonder how long it will be before we are unable to glean any of their knowledge, memories, and experiences.
    I remember chatting to Robert Burns in 2000 at the Camerons gathering, he was nearing his 105th birthday and was the last surviving 1st WW Highlander. He told me some wonderful stories.

    There were about 20 veterans in Holland in 2004. In 1994 there were about 260. A morbid thought, but makes you wish you had listened and spoken to them more. All that information and so little understanding by the younger generation of the older. Sad really.
  2. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    One wonders. Here in the States, 1,000 WWII veterans die every day.

  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    I started off by just wanting to know how many Veterans post on this site.

    With this in mind I started scanning the member's list, found just Brian & myself and finally gave up out of sheer boredom.

    I did notice however, that as of today, there were 6,410 members listed of whom only 522 were "active" and I again wondered what the criteria was for being defined as active.

    I then started thinking on a broader scale.

    How many British WW2 Veterans were still around ?....... perhaps someone will let me know ?

    You might very well wonder what these thoughts are leading up to.... I hasten to explain.

    Whenever discussion on this site turns to denigrating the reputation of former WW2 personalities the effect is usually the same as dropping a large package of active chemicals into a dormant volcano.

    Within minutes it is in full eruption and the molten lava flowing down the sides bears a remarkable resemblence to a well known and respected Veteran whos nom-de-plume descibes his wartime role.

    Down the other side an equally hot eruption issues from a similarly disgusted Veteran who, just like Sapper (sod it !....I've just blown our cover !) is loth to understand why the role models of his youth are now being hung out to dry in the interests of revisionalism and sensationalism.

    My long overdue point is this.

    Veterans on this site form a microscopic percentage of the total membership.

    As Brian has already intimated, we won't be here for long although in my case, if I can't take my computer I'm not going !

    We both respect everyone's right to have their own opinions as to the ultimate value of the Churchills and Montgomeries of this world, cede us in turn our own right to register our evaluations based on the WW2 period in which we spent our youth.

    Regards to all

    Lindele, vitellino and George103 like this.
  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I like it Ron....
    As to the question of how many Vets are still about, generally around here? They are departing at a huge rate. The very youngest of us is 83, as am I in April. All my dearest friends that I used to chat to on the phone have long departed. I am now completely on my own.

    My best mate Richard Harris "First Suffolks" died recently. We were great mates having served in the renowned Eighth Brigade together. Richard and myself contributed to some Authors books in the interest of factual writing!

    When I was younger, I was one of the founders of the Normandy Veterans Association in Poole and Bournemouth and of the Dorset Branch. I was also a founder of the Poole and Bournemouth Market Garden Association (Arnhem)

    Sadly, through frailty, and the loss of many members, all those Associations have now closed down.

    It seems to me that in this district, I am all that is left. That in itself is an oddity, for I am very severely war disabled. Yet I have survived. There must be a Guardian Angel up there somewhere looking after me.

    I don't know about you Ron? but I looked a this dieing bit. They dig a damned great big hole and shove you in. OR they stick you in a bloody hot oven till you are burnt to a crisp.... None of it appeals So I decided not to take part in any of it.
    Sandra Doran, Lindele and George103 like this.
  5. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    The old humour still burns brightly.!!!!! Best wishes to you good people.
    Lindele likes this.
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    One question I can answer after some digging in the rather long options list, is that 'Active Member' is currently defined as somebody who visited in the last 90 days.

    I found these statistics for the US on their solid looking VA data pages
    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
    Veterans Demographics

    Projected U.S. Veterans Population: 23,532,000 {Female 1,745,000 7%}
    Projected Number of Living WW II Veterans (as of 9/30/2007): 2,795,000
    Number of WW II Veterans Pass Away Per Day: 1,000
    Percentage of Veteran Population 65 or Older: 39%
    Veteran Population by Race:
    White 80.04%
    Black 10.90%
    Native American Indian 0.79%
    Hispanic 5.55%
    Asian/Pacific Islander 1.41%
    Other 1.30%
    In 2007, the median age of all living veterans was 60
    years old, 61 for men and 47 for women. Median ages
    by period of service: Gulf War, 37 years old; Vietnam
    War, 60; Korean War, 76; and WW II 84.

    A British/commonwealth figure is proving a little more elusive, I'm guessing the Legion would have some sort of idea but there doesn't seem to be clear data on their site. A direct question to them may be required.

    Lindele and Fred Wilson like this.
  7. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Thanks for that , didn't like the "WWII 84" quote simply because that's exactly where I'm at at this moment in time :)

    Like yourself I found the Americans a bit more forthcoming than the British so perhaps we'll leave the question open for the time being.


    Lindele likes this.
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Some demographic projections from Australia (Including other British & Commonwealth veterans who have settled there)
    From: Review of Veterans' Entitlements: Report. Chapter 8


    8.7: Of approximately 993,000 Australian armed services personnel who served in World War II, about 953,600 survived the war. Of those alive at the war’s end, about 203,700 were still alive at the end of June 2002. The corresponding approximate figures for Korea are 9900 still living out of 17,900 and for Vietnam 51,400 out of 58,400.

    The hunt for a British figure continues, as far as web-searching goes the pitch is somewhat queered by the understandable fascination with the handful of surviving WW1 vets and the sheer diversity of Veteran related charities and organisations.
    The significant Government department seems to currently be the 'Veterans Policy Unit' who have published much dense research into veteran demographics but none of it is anywhere near as clearly presented as the US/Australian stuff... so far.
    Lindele and Fred Wilson like this.
  9. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist

    Keep comin' here, Ron and Brian. The rest of us can learn a lot through your experiences. :)
    Ron, my old man was 78 Div. too- 34th Heavy Wireless Section, L of C Sigs, 36th Inf. Bde., and a fellow Ham was in the 8th Argylls.
    Lindele likes this.
  10. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Great lads every one! Surely there are other Vets besides Ron and myself?
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I do hope nobody's forgetting Gerry on purpose ;).

    There are 9 'declared' Veterans of the war registered with the site, and a few others (that I know of) who are not listed in that public group.

    Lindele likes this.
  12. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    I don't know what made me think that Gerry was only on the "sister" site, I've just been to check and now realise that he spreads his talents on both sites ............... my apologies for the oversight Gerry !.

    Lindele likes this.
  13. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I am trying to use the upload pictures bear with me!

    Attached Files:

    Lindele and Fred Wilson like this.
  14. stevew

    stevew Senior Member

    I like it Ron....
    When I was younger, I was one of the founders of the Normandy Veterans Association in Poole and Bournemouth and of the Dorset Branch. I was also a founder of the Poole and Bournemouth Market Garden Association (Arnhem)

    Sadly, through frailty, and the loss of many members, all those Associations have now closed down.


    My great uncle lives in Bournemouth, I'm not sure if he was in the Normandy vets. association. His name is George Elderfield, it's his birthday next Sunday, he'll be 91 - I will ask him. He served in Africa, sicily, Normandy and was wounded during Market Garden. George was with 'B' Coy. 200 Field Amb RAMC - I'm very proud of my great uncle.

    Lindele likes this.
  15. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Then please send him my very best regards. HE certainly got his knees brown long before I came upon the scene. As to names? Hopeless mate, I was one of those that brought a fellow down from Southampton to help us start off a local NVA in Poole.

    I started the first Vets monthly magazine. And was Vice chairman for a long time, not that |I wanted it, but because they thought I would be pleased because of the work I did in setting up the Association.
    Lindele likes this.
  16. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Gordon,

    Among my many projects is transcribing war records of units which the North Irish Horse either came under command of or supported in Tunisia and Italy. As we came under command
    the Battleaxe Division more than any other it is the first underway.

    Here's their report on the Battle for Longstop Hill.

    Cheers, Gerry
    Lindele likes this.
  17. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  18. Mathsmal

    Mathsmal Senior Member

    I tried to find out how many Second World War veterans are still alive in the UK a few months ago. I contacted the Veterans Agency - they told me to contact the Office of National Statistics - who said that they don't know!

    I am suprised that no one seems to be aware how many veterans are still around. Will they only start taking notice when numbers get down to double figures?
    Lindele likes this.
  19. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Mathsmal -
    I doubt they will bother at that level, along with Ron - Sapper - Gerry - Niccar and a few more.

    I intend to hang on to celebrate my 150th birthday - WHY bother you ask ?'s the only way you can get all of your money back from the government - providing they don't give it all away to the illegal immigrants !

    Lindele likes this.
  20. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Just counted 11 members with a Vets status:

    art bridge
    tom canning

    I know alot haven't been active for a while, but what about Jhor9 with his 99th bomb group accounts or Franek with his stories about being recruited.

    You guys are VIP's on here but I'm sure you're not alone. Keep posting those memories that discredit all that Hollywood rubbish. Much appreciated. ;)


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