Kingston upon Hull War Memorial 1914 - 1918

The story of Hull in World War One

Hull Casualties

Image may contain: textThe 'Kingston Upon Hull Memorial', is a digital data base, which allows the City's Great War casualties to be analysed, in many ways. We know that Hull lost over 7,500 men in the First World War. Another 14,000 were wounded, of which 7,000 were maimed. The number of wounded increased over time, as war wounds deteriorated. The Ministry of Pensions records 20,000 war wounded in Hull in 1924. 

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This casualty rate is approximately 30% of those who enlisted. The war lasted 1,500 days, and on average killed 15 Hull men, every day of the war. Some days were worse than others. For example, 247 Hull men died on the 13th November 1916, when the East Yorkshire's attacked the Somme village of Serre: 123 Hull men died on the 3rd May 1917, when the East Yorkshire Battalions attacked Oppy Wood, near Arras: 91 Hull men, died on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme; and 127 Hull men, died between the 21st and 23rd March 1918, during the first Great German Offensive. These casualties accelerated as the war progressed. The 228 Hull men killed in the last few months of 1914, increased to 936 lost in 1915, 1,999 in 1916, 2,076 in 1917 and 2,158 deaths in 1918. In fact, Britain lost more men in 1918, the year of victory, than in any other year of the war, and more British soldiers were killed in 1918, than in the entire Second World War. 

Even after the war, men continued to die from war wounds and disease. For example, 207 Hull servicemen died in 1919, and Hull cemeteries are littered with CWGC graves that show that these deaths continued into the early 1920's.  

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Another ongoing peril was unexploded sea mines which continued to take the lives of Hull fisherman, long after the war had ended. For example, the Hull trawler ‘Gitano’, struck a mine on the 23rd December 1918, and was sunk with all hands . The Hull trawler ’Scotland’, struck a mine on the 13th March 1919, killing seven Hull men. Two days later the steam ship ‘Durban’ exploded‘, killing another eight Hull sailors. The ‘Isle of Man’ (Hull) exploded on the 14th December 1919, killing a further seven Hull fishermen. The steam ship ‘Barbados’ exploded on the 5th November 1920, taking ten Hull men. These included the two Weaver brothers killed on the same day. Many of these seaman had survived the war, only to be its victims after. 

Hull men from East Yorkshire, served across all armed forces, and are buried throughout the world. Many have no known grave. 

Hull men fought from the very start of the war, until its end. They served in the all major battles - the Marne, Gallipoli, Jutland, the Somme, Arras and Image result for hull ww1 deaths imagesPaschendale. They fought in the Middle East and East Africa, on land, sea and air. The war at sea was the longest war and probably the most harshest. Hull sailors fought countless battles, daily, minewsweeping, fishing and delivering vital war materials. The Hull Memorial shows at least 1,175 Hull sailors, died at sea. Hundreds of Hull men were decorated for bravery and at least 2 Victoria Crosses were won in the Great War.Memorials to the missing at Thiepval, on the Somme, lists at least 612 Hull men, the Menin Gate at Ypres records another 385, and the Tyne Cot memorial, records 223 Hull men. The casualties were mainly Privates, Non Commissioned Officers or from other lower ranks. There are less than 250 Officers listed on the 'Hull Memorial', which records 8,869 names of 'local' men killed in the First World War.The majority of deaths in the First World War were young men. Nearly 70% of Hull casualties, were aged 30 years old and under.

Extended families suffered immense loss. There were over a hundred families in Hull that lost two or more from the same family and at least ten families that lost three sons. Two families are known to have lost four sons. When other relatives are added, such as fathers, husbands, unlces, brothers in laws, cousins and fiancees, the losses in some Hull families were immense and truely tragic. They include nearly 1,500 Teenagers, 77 'boys' aged 17 years old, 11 'lads' aged 15, and at least three, 14 year olds, who died on active service.

Communities were also devastated. Ten Streets in Hull, lost more than 50 men or more, during the War. Some of these, were Bean Street (85); Sculcoates Lane (59); Waterloo Street (75); St. Paul's Street (50); Barnsley Street (59); Walker Street (52), Spyvee Street (51); and hundreds of men died from Hessle Road, Holderness Road, Beverley Road and Wincolmlee areas.

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It is difficult to quantify the social and demographic impact of this great loss of men on the city. Newspapers at the time hint of the suffering, with stories of suicides  and families left heirless, penniless, orphaned, and homeless. In order to maintain spirits and social order, newspapers released casualty figures sparingly and usually many months after they happened. Patterns of behaviour also changed, with people marrying across classes, taking on different types of employmemt and becoming more militant and questioning of authority. Crime increased after the war and became more brutal and organised during the tough economic times ahead. Large numbers of wounded and disabled people adapted to a society, where there was only a limited welfare state to support them. The scale of casualties and sense of loss, were strongly felt by all those who survived the Great War. 

Every man recorded on the 'Kingston Upon Hull Memorial', has their own unique story. Many of these stories are intertwined with the history of Hull. Naming those that died emphasizes their existence as individuals and the enormity of Hull’s loss. The potential of all these men was lost to the world, but they are now remembered together, here on this website.It was reflected in people's need to errect hundreds of war memorials, particularly as many of those killed, had no known grave. The social trauma of bereavement, would haunt generations for decades, resulting in a large peace movement and reluctance to fight further wars. The numbers of casualties are still difficult to understand. Can you imagine in our modern world of social media today, tuning into the evening news, to learn that nearly 60,000 British soldiers had been killed and wounded in a single day? This was the reality on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, a battle which continued for another four months!