The 1918/19 Spanish Flu - pt 5 of 7

Rochford 4th Quarter Death Numbers - The 2nd and major peak

This shows the total number of deaths for the 4th quarter from 1916 to 1920 split by the age bands. The 4th Quarter contained the 2nd and major peak of the Spanish Flu deaths. Noticeable is the high death rate for people under the age of 60.

The 4th quarter graph shows the 2nd and deadliest peak in the Spanish Flu pandemic. A casual glance at the graph shows the very high level of deaths in 1918 of all younger people from age 0 to age 59. This compares very unfavourably with the other four years. Not only are the deaths nearly double but they exclusively affect younger people.

The overall records show that most of these were concentrated around late October and early November. This helps explain the various stories about bodies being unburied. Rochford undertakers normally expected 270 to 330 deaths evenly spread in this quarter. Having 548 would have stretched them but having that appear over four weeks would result in them having to deal with 350 burials rather than their normal 100. Some of those who died in the Rochford area are shown in part 7 of this article.

The Chelmsford Chronicle for Friday 8th November 1918 reported that the Essex Appeal Tribunal which dealt with exemptions from military service has several appeals from Undertaker’s assistants. It was reported that some bodies in East Ham had been lying there for 8 to 10 days as undertakers could not get coffins. The Chairman of the appeal stated that he knew one undertaker had over 100 funerals the previous week. The case for the undertaker assistants were as result adjourned for a month.

Overall the chart for the 4th quarter shows that what was most scary about the flu epidemic was the deaths of younger people all concentrated in the first two weeks of November. This concentration of deaths and the age of the people who died is what made the Spanish Flu so memorable.

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