With the 70th anniversaries of VE and VJ Days approaching I had a look at some casualty lists.
In researching my book Portsmouth – City of Gallant Hearts I found about 1,000 people in Portsmouth died during the Luftwaffe’s bombing campaign. This was awful, but then I looked at the death toll in other cities.
On March 9, 1945, in a raid on Tokyo, an estimated 120,000 civilians died and in February 1945, Dresden was hit and between 22,000 and 25,000 people were killed.
I know it is easy to say ‘they started it, so we’ll finish it’ but these figures are still shocking.
Before the war, would a Portsmouth butcher really have wanted to kill a butcher in Japan? Would a Gosport baker have wanted to take the life of his Berlin counterpart? I doubt it. They would probably have wanted to discuss different ways of slicing meat or baking bread.
War is war and everyone suffers.