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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Minimum age for active service


Suehat

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Hello, apologies if this is a bit of a Newbie question (it's my first post), but a quick search hasn't thrown up an answer.

I know that at the beginning of the war the age for frontline service in the Army was, technically at least, 19. Was that still the case in 1918, or had it been reduced?

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Hi Suehat,

Welcome to the forum. If you read the Long, Long, Trail, top left, You will find the answer. Military Service Act 1916 (27.1.1916.) Conscription bet 18 and 41 yrs.

Regards Barry

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Thanks for the reply.

I had looked at the Long, Long Trail page, I know that conscription was from 18, what I was unclear about was whether 18 year olds could be sent to the front, or was it as earlier, where you could enlist at 18, but weren't supposed to be sent into action until reaching the age of 19?

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I cannot remember were I have seen it mentioned, but I think for the last few months of the war, the revised age for active service was eighteen years and six months.

Tony.

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I know that at the beginning of the war the age for frontline service in the Army was, technically at least, 19. Was that still the case in 1918, or had it been reduced?

Everyone forgets the substantial number of drummers, trumpeters, buglers and pipers who were well under 19 but who were expressly and legally allowed on active service right from the outset ....... Mobilisation Regs 1914 are very specific.

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We should also remember that even if a young man was conscripted on his 18th birthday he would spend several months, exact time seems unclear, in training. Assuming proper age and normal training, about 18 and a half seems about as young as a man would be. This did not change significantly in WW2 or later in Korea etc. Called up at 18, square bashing done, embarkation leave and away you go to join your battalion.

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