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Paul Reed

Pte Reginald Giles, 1st Glos

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Paul Reed

During the weekly discussion on the 14-18 Chat Room last night – given the recent research on John Condon by Aurel Sercu – we got on to the subject of young soldiers. Were there any other 14 year olds? Jacky Plateeuw noted that several register entries on the Menin Gate had been proved wrong, or were just simple mis-prints in the new editions. I mentioned a young soldier whom I had come across in the research for my book ‘Walking The Somme’.

This was Private Reginald Giles, 1st Bn Gloucestershire Regiment, who was killed near High Wood on 20th August 1916. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. The memorial register (the original edition) records that he was the “…Son of Stephen and Fanny Giles, of 30, Lewis Lane, Cirencester, Glos” and was age 14.

Not realising that so many errors of age had occurred, I recorded in the book that this was probably the youngest soldier who had fallen on the Somme.

Following the discussion, yesterday I checked him out on the 1901 census (http://www.pro.gov.uk) . If he was really 14, then he wouldn’t appear there.

However, I found that at the same address, 30 Lewis Lane, Cirencester in 1901 were:

Stephen Giles (father)

- Domestic Coachman, age 49, born Cricklade, Wilts.

Fanny Giles (mother)

- Wife, age 49, born Chedworth, Glos.

Children:

George

- Errand Boy, age 14, born Cirencester

Wilfred

- Son, Age 12, born Cirencester

Florence

- Daughter, Age 10, born Cirencester

Reginald

- Son, Age 5, born Cirencester

Unless this Reginald died, and another son with the same name was born soon afterwards, this information would mean that Reginald Giles was in fact 19 (possibly nearly 20) when he died on the Somme in 1916.

One can only wonder how many other such errors there are; not surprising when you consider the number of fallen commemorated, and no-ones fault except human error, which we are all prone to at times!

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Andrew P

Don't know if this was mentioned in your chat room discussion but there was a 14 yr old who died at Gallipoli.

Jim Martin served in the 21st Battalion AIF and saw service at Gallipoli. He had previously suurvived the sinking of the transport ship Southland but he died in October 1915 of sickness. At the time of his death he was 14 yrs & 9 months old.

A book has recently been published about him

'Soldier Boy' by Anthony Hill

Penguin Books bublished 2001

ISBN 0-14-100330-8

Cheers

Andrew

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Terry Denham

Paul

CWGC have recently undertaken an exercise to 'clear out' all the apparently very young soldier errors in their database - the majority of which were due to scanning errors. This operation was started following exchanges between Jacky and myself when a number were identified.

They have all now been corrected and will appear in the Internet database when it is next updated.

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Simon_Fielding

I live in Cirencester and will try to chase this up in the local paper...

Simon

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Terry Denham

Was the above soldier Pte James Martin No.1553 21Bn, AIF

Died 25.10.15 & commemorated on Lone Pine Memorial?

CWGC record no age for him. If the book is correct, he could well be a candidate.

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Paul Reed
Paul

CWGC have recently undertaken an exercise to 'clear out' all the apparently very young soldier errors in their database - the majority of which were due to scanning errors. This operation was started following exchanges between Jacky and myself when a number were identified.

They have all now been corrected and will appear in the Internet database when it is next updated.

Interesting to hear that Terry.

When I did this research it was from an original set of Thiepval registers, not reprints or later scans; so this is the information as put in by the family at the time and/or mis-transcribed by then IWGC - or just a mistake by the family.

Would be interesting see the original documents in the CWGC archives!

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Terry Denham

Paul

The recent 'clean up' affected only those records which showed ages of 13 and below.

The casualty you refer to probably suffered from a typesetting error back in the 20s/30s when the first registers were produced. However, it is possible that the age was given incorrectly by the n-o-k (or badly handwritten) on his Final Verification Form. Unfortunately, these forms were burnt in the early 1970s when CWGC moved offices to Maidenhead! Those for WW2 were retained though.

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Andrew P
Was the above soldier Pte James Martin No.1553 21Bn, AIF

Died 25.10.15 & commemorated on Lone Pine Memorial?

CWGC record no age for him. If the book is correct, he could well be a candidate.

Hi Terry

I'm pretty sure that's his number but will look up when I get home. He did die on a hospital ship at sea, which is why he's remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial.

Cheers

Andrew

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