Number of personnel in the armed forces of the United Kingdom (UK) from 1900 to 2019
(in 1,000s)
Number of personnel in UK armed forces 1900-2019
In 2019 there were over 144 thousand personnel serving in the British Armed Forces, the fewest of any year since 1900. In the first half of the twentieth century, there are two huge spikes in the number of personnel which represent the final years of World War One and World War Two, with the British Armed Forces numbering 4.58 million and 4.69 million in 1918 and 1945 respectively. Ever since 1945 the size of the UK Armed Forces has been in almost constant decline, with the noticeable exception of the early 1950s, where Britain's armed forces increased by almost 200 thousand due to the Korean War.
Number of personnel in the armed forces of the United Kingdom (UK) from 1900 to 2019
(in 1,000s)
Number of personnel
2019144.43
2018146.56
2017149.37
2016151
2015153.72
2014159.63
2013170.71
2012179.8
2011 186.4
2010 191.7
2009 188.4
2008 187.1
2007 190.4
2006 195.9
2005 201.1
2004 207
2003 206.9
2002 204.7
2001 205.6
2000 207.6
1999 208.6
1998 210.1
1997 210.8
1996 221.9
1995 233.3
1994 254.5
1993 274.8
1992 293.4
1991 298.1
1990 305.8
1989 311.6
1988 316.9
1987 319.8
1986 322.5
1985 326.2
1984 325.9
1983 320.6
1982 327.6
1981 333.8
1980 320.6
1979 315
1978 320.7
1977 330.5
1976 336.6
1975 338.4
1974 349.3
1973 367
1972 371.4
1971 368
1970 373
1969 383
1968 395.8
1967 406.6
1966 409.5
1965 414.6
1964 416.7
1963 417.5
1962 434
1961 457.5
1960 521.1
1959 566.5
1958 615.5
1957 703.9
1956 762.3
1955 804.7
1954 840.1
1953 868
1952 871.7
1951 823.8
1950 696.4
1949 759.5
1948 830
1947 1,255
1946 1,937.8
1945 4,906.4
1944 4,691.1
1943 4,452.8
1942 3,880.8
1941 3,285.4
1940 1,812.6
1939 1,068.85
1938 384.8
1937 352.4
1936 339.3
1935 320.8
1934 317.4
1933 316.4
1932 316.8
1931 319.1
1930 317.3
1929 325.6
1928 330.7
1927 339.3
1926 341
1925 342.3
1924 339.3
1923 334.7
1922 368
1921 438.5
1920 597.7
1919 1,604.7
1918 4,583.3
1917 4,333
1916 3,834.8
1915 2,825.8
1914 1,478.4
1913 393.3
1912 389.8
1911 388.3
1910 383.7
1909 381.4
1908 379.3
1907 376.5
1906 392.1
1905 401.1
1904 418.3
1903 451.8
1902 520.2
1901 539.8
1900 416.4
Zoomable Statistic: Select the range in the chart you want to zoom in on.
Loading statistic...
You need to log in to download this statistic
Register for free
Already a member?
Log in
Show detailed source information?
Register for free
Already a member?
Log in
Sources

Release date

June 2019

Region

United Kingdom

Survey time period

1900 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Data prior to 2012 taken from The Guardian via the now defunct governmental service DASA (Defence Analytical Services and Advice)

Number of personnel in UK armed forces 1900-2019
In 2019 there were over 144 thousand personnel serving in the British Armed Forces, the fewest of any year since 1900. In the first half of the twentieth century, there are two huge spikes in the number of personnel which represent the final years of World War One and World War Two, with the British Armed Forces numbering 4.58 million and 4.69 million in 1918 and 1945 respectively. Ever since 1945 the size of the UK Armed Forces has been in almost constant decline, with the noticeable exception of the early 1950s, where Britain's armed forces increased by almost 200 thousand due to the Korean War.
Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $708 / Year
Basic Account
Get to know the platform

You only have access to basic statistics.

Premium Account
Your perfect start with Statista
  • Instant access to 1m statistics
  • Download in XLS, PDF & PNG format
  • Detailed references

$59 / Month *

Corporate Account
Full access

Corporate solution including all features.

* All products require an annual contract.
   Prices do not include sales tax.
Statistics on "Armed Forces of the United Kingdom"
  • Overview
  • Personnel
  • Combat and Equipment
  • Expenditure
  • Public Opinion
Further Content: You might find this interesting as well
Statistics
Statista Accounts: Access All Statistics. Starting from $708 / Year
Learn more about how Statista can support your business.