"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Thursday 5 September 2013

Following the glorious example

I stumbled across an article recently whilst looking up daily facts, it was a list of all the rugby internationals that died during The Great War™. I also stumbed across a rather interesting propaganda poster claiming that every England rugby international from 1913 had joined up. It then asks the question of other "British athletes". Will you follow this glorious example?
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Of the three nations that make up the island of Britain the number of rugby internationals that died as a result of World War I, Scotland had the highest number of deaths, then England and then Wales. You'd expect Wales to come last on that list as we had the lowest population. But you wouldn't expect wee Scotland to have more deaths than England. Unless of course you believe all the stories about England using Celtic cannon fodder to do its fighting for it.

The actual numbers of dead internationals are as follows. Link here.

Scotland - 31
England - 27

Wales - 13

The 1911 census states that the population for each of these countries is as follows. Link here and here.

England - 33.5 million
Scotland - 4.7 million
Wales - 2.4 million

The first thing that strikes me is just how little the population of Wales and Scotland has grown in the last 100 years. It's about 20-30% where as the population of England has grown by around 60%. But that's a side step for another day. It strikes me as odd that given the massive difference in populations between these three countries that the number of deaths is no where near as great.

England had nearly eight times the population of Scotland yet more Scottish players died. England had twice as many players die as Wales yet their population was nearly 14 times bigger. We can also use these figures to give us a figure of "rugby player deaths per million population"

Scotland - 6.6
Wales - 5.41
England - 0.8

The article also links to another dedicated page for each country which states the number killed in World War II. The number of dead is as follows

Scotland - 15
England - 14

Wales - 3

Once again Scotland had more dead rugby players as a result of World War II. Population links can be found here and here.

England - 37.3 million
Scotland - 4.8 million
Wales - 2.6 million
Here we have the same issue, despite Wales having a population 14 times smaller than England we only had just under five times as many deaths. Scotland on the other hand had roughly the same amount of deaths yet their population was over 7 times smaller.

Again we can work out the number of "rugby player deaths per million population".

Scotland - 3.12
Wales - 1.15

England - 0.37

I wonder how many would have followed the glorious example if they had known that they were statistically over 6 times more likely to die than their English counterparts?

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