A Long Poem With Numbers

Facts and Figures

 

As much as guns and planes and tanks, the tons of sandbags, wire and planks

That built the Western Front surpassed all normal means of calculation.

So when the War was over, and all the trenches ploughed-in and harrowed flat

And sown again with clover, a new approach was tried to fix the measure

Of the treasure they’d expended fitting out the men who’d died.

And when they’d filled that ledger, and all the facts that fit

Were squeezed in tight and totalled up and classified,

What they ended up with, when the magnitude was listed,

Was damned lies untwisted, in other words statistics.

 

It was found that God, indeed, had been with us.

The number of Church of England chaplains serving on the Western Front at the time of the Armistice, November 11th,, 1918 was: 878.

The number of rabbis serving with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders at the time of the Armistice was: 8.

We trusted in the Lord. We also kept our powder dry.

The number of artillery shells held ready for use on the Western Front on February 9th, 1918, was: 16, 47I, 165.

The total number of bullets produced in British and American factories during the course of the war was: 8,637,123, 000.

The number of rifles manufactured was: 5,090,442.

War was the mother of necessity; necessity of invention.

The number of Stokes mortars produced in 1914 was: 0.

The number of Stokes mortars produced in 1918 was: 4, 985.

The number of British tanks produced in 1914 was: 0.

The number of British tanks of produced by 1918 was: 2, 818.

The bomb killed more than the bayonet.

The number of hand grenades produced in 1914 was: 2,152.

The number of hand grenades produced in 1916 was: 34, 867, 966.

An army marches on its stomach. It also needs traction.

The number of standard gauge steam locomotives supplied to the Army for use on French railways during the course of the war was: 1,268.

The number of motorcycles in service with the British Army in Italy, November 11th, 1918, was: 615 without side-cars; 150 with side-cars.

Brute force and muscle power carried the day.

The total number of camels treated by the Royal Army Veterinary Corps in camel hospitals in Egypt and Palestine was: 61, 232.

The number of officers’ dogs accommodated in the quarantine section of Hackbridge Dogs Home on November 11th, 1918, was: 500.

The number of animal carcasses disposed of for human consumption in France between the declaration of the Armistice and the end of the financial year, 1920, was: 49,751 at an average price of £20. 5s. 9d. per carcass.

The number of rabbit skins disposed of to approved buyers by the Army Rabbit Skin Committee was: 5,649, 797.

Discipline is the backbone of any Army.

The number of death sentences imposed by Courts Martial in the period between the declaration of war on Germany and the end of the financial year, 1920, was: 3,080.

The number of death sentences carried out in that period was: 346.

The number of officers executed was: 3

The number of soldiers executed for mutiny: 3

The number of soldiers executed for desertion: 266

The number of sentries executed for sleeping at their posts: 2

The percentage of Imperial troops executed after being sentenced to death by Courts Martial was: 10.8 per cent

The percentage of coloured labourers executed after being sentenced to death was: 100 per cent.

 

(To be continued …)

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