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Counting the cost and the days: A data visualisation of The Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour

05 November, 2020

The Roll of Honour is a record of Australian servicemen and women who have died in or as a result of their service in both war and peacetime operations. Their names appear on bronze panels inside the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

This is a visualisation of all those 102,891 servicemen and women commemorated on the Roll of Honour. It spans the 49,493 days since the first recorded death on the Roll of Honour: Private Robert Weir who died in Sudan on the May 1, 1885.

Deaths from 1885 to 1903 belong to the Colonial Military Forces. From 1914 to 1938, the vast majority of deaths belong to the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) alongside smaller numbers for current Australian Defence Force services the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The Australian Army is first represented from 1939 and beyond. A further breakdown and analysis of deaths by service is available under the chronological visualisation of deaths by date over each day and year below.

XX Mmmmm YYYY

0 Australian Military Forces
0 Australian Imperial Force
0 Colonial Military Forces
0 Australian Army
0 Royal Australian Air Force
0 Royal Australian Navy
0 Total deaths

Roll of honour by date of recorded death


1
1,280 deaths
  1. 1885

    9 deaths

  2. 1886

  3. 1887

  4. 1888

  5. 1889

  6. 1890

  7. 1891

  8. 1892

  9. 1893

  10. 1894

  11. 1895

  12. 1896

  13. 1897

  14. 1898

  15. 1899

  16. 1900

    235
    deaths

  17. 1901

    240
    deaths

  18. 1902

    118
    deaths

  19. 1903

    1 death

  20. 1904

  21. 1905

  22. 1906

  23. 1907

  24. 1908

  25. 1909

  26. 1910

  27. 1911

  28. 1912

  29. 1913

  30. 1914

    74
    deaths

  31. 1915

    8,978
    deaths

  32. 1916

    14,173
    deaths

  33. 1917

    21,961
    deaths

  34. 1918

    14,673
    deaths

  35. 1919

    1,238
    deaths

  36. 1920

    400
    deaths

  37. 1921

    90
    deaths

  38. 1922

  39. 1923

  40. 1924

  41. 1925

  42. 1926

  43. 1927

  44. 1928

    1 death

  45. 1929

  46. 1930

    1 death

  47. 1931

  48. 1932

  49. 1933

  50. 1934

  51. 1935

  52. 1936

  53. 1937

  54. 1938

  55. 1939

    49
    deaths

  56. 1940

    466
    deaths

  57. 1941

    4,248
    deaths

  58. 1942

    11,322
    deaths

  59. 1943

    9,139
    deaths

  60. 1944

    6,298
    deaths

  61. 1945

    6,816
    deaths

  62. 1946

    937
    deaths

  63. 1947

    379
    deaths

  64. 1948

  65. 1949

    1 death

  66. 1950

    45
    deaths

  67. 1951

    111
    deaths

  68. 1952

    111
    deaths

  69. 1953

    79
    deaths

  70. 1954

    15
    deaths

  71. 1955

    2 deaths

  72. 1956

    14
    deaths

  73. 1957

    9 deaths

  74. 1958

    6 deaths

  75. 1959

    9 deaths

  76. 1960

    3 deaths

  77. 1961

    4 deaths

  78. 1962

    1 death

  79. 1963

    1 death

  80. 1964

    4 deaths

  81. 1965

    26
    deaths

  82. 1966

    77
    deaths

  83. 1967

    83
    deaths

  84. 1968

    118
    deaths

  85. 1969

    114
    deaths

  86. 1970

    75
    deaths

  87. 1971

    56
    deaths

  88. 1972

    8 deaths

  89. 1973

    2 deaths

  90. 1974

  91. 1975

  92. 1976

  93. 1977

    1 death

  94. 1978

  95. 1979

  96. 1980

  97. 1981

  98. 1982

  99. 1983

  100. 1984

  101. 1985

  102. 1986

  103. 1987

  104. 1988

    1 death

  105. 1989

  106. 1990

  107. 1991

  108. 1992

  109. 1993

    2 deaths

  110. 1994

  111. 1995

  112. 1996

  113. 1997

  114. 1998

  115. 1999

  116. 2000

    3 deaths

  117. 2001

  118. 2002

    2 deaths

  119. 2003

  120. 2004

  121. 2005

    11
    deaths

  122. 2006

    4 deaths

  123. 2007

    4 deaths

  124. 2008

    3 deaths

  125. 2009

    4 deaths

  126. 2010

    11
    deaths

  127. 2011

    12
    deaths

  128. 2012

    7 deaths

  129. 2013

    2 deaths

  130. 2014

    2 deaths

  131. 2015

    1 death

  132. 2016

  133. 2017

    1 death

  134. 2018

  135. 2019

  136. 2020


Roll of honour names by service


  1. Australian Imperial Force
    61,391 (60%)
  2. Royal Australian Air Force
    27,186 (26%)
  3. Australian Army
    11,193 (11%)
  4. Royal Australian Navy
    2,518 (2%)
  5. Colonial Military Forces
    603 (1%)

Members of the AIF comprise the majority of the Roll of Honour (60%). Most of the AIF lost their lives in France and Belgium during the First World War. The costliest day for the AIF was on the October 4, 1917 with 1,280 Australians losing their lives. This coincides with the Battle of Broodseinde (part of the Third Battle of Somme in Belgium).

Members of the RAAF comprise the largest proportion of the Roll of Honour (26%) for current Australian Defence Force services. The long bomber campaign against Germany and Italy during the Second World War accounts for most of these deaths. The deadliest day for the RAAF was on March 31, 1944 with 101 airmen and officers killed, mostly as part of a large nighttime raid on Nuremberg.

Australian Army members account for 11% of the Roll of Honour. The Army’s costliest day was on July 1, 1942 with 861 soldiers and officers killed. Most of these men died as prisoners of war after the USS Sturgeon torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary Montevideo Maru off the Philippines. The second costliest day for the Army was on September 12, 1944 in a similarly tragic incident when the USS Queenfish sank the Japanese Rakuyo Maru transport, also off the Philippines.

Sailors and officers of the RAN make up 2% of the Roll of Honour. November 20, 1941 was the deadliest day for the RAN with all 629 officers and sailors recorded dead after the sinking of the HMAS Sydney by the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran off the Western Australian coast.

The Colonial Military Forces represent the other 1% of the Roll of Honour with servicemen lost in Sudan, South Africa and China.

Lest we forget all of the 102,891 servicemen and woman commemorated on the Roll of Honour.

Credits and sources

Data from the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour as of July 7, 2020. Written, visualised and compiled by James Offer. Please send any comments or corrections to me at jamesoffer@gmail.com. All content available under the Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International licence.