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Remembered Today:

Infantry Rank of "Boy"


Derek Black
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While looking up an infantry casualty on CWGC i was surprised to see his Rank as "Boy".

I'm familiar with the Naval rank but had never come across it in the Army, except when Bugler, drummer or bandsman comes after it.

A CWGC search shows there are 93 recorded as Boy in rank, exceptionally few in the scheme of things then.

So is "Boy" a correct rank in the infantry or is it just missing a word after it?

Derek.

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Boy is a rank, it is held by boys who enlist and are training for the trades, they are not classified bandsman,trumpeter, drummer etc until the have completed training and are in possession of a second class certificate of education, or attain the age of 18 years and are then classed as Private.

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'Underager' needs to be interpreted with care. At the time of the Great War, the age of majority (adulthood) was 21. Age 18 fitted in with the provision that boys enlisting on one of the standard terms of engagement, say twelve years, committed themselves to that term, to commence on the 18th birthday, plus the time up to the 18th birthday, when an attested and sworn boy was a soldier under military law.

This anomaly of an under-18 being required to commit to a longer minimum term than someone aged 18 or over still obtains today in the army (though no longer in the navy and air force), despite criticism by a House of Commons Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill as long ago as 1991, and on several occasions by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

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Strictly speaking, "Boy" was an APPOINTMENT for a "Private" according to King's Regs, but its usage was more loosely interpreted.

"Boy Drummers/Bandsmen etc" as such did not exist. On passing their trade tests [for want of a better word] they were taken on to the established strength of the Drums or Band regardless of age and referred to as "Drummer" etc,, rank Private.

The Pay Warrant says of Boy [infantry] ....8d per day until he attains the age of 18, or is placed on the recocgnised establishment of the band/drums, then 1/1-

Incentive indeed..

Pay a 1d a day more than a rifle and bayonet private too.

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So when he enlisted was he a boy or a private? albeit he was on the establishment of privates, a quote from the Recruiting Regulations may be required.

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KR1914 - list of ranks and appointments (Ranks to the left, possible appointments at that rank to the right).

post-51028-0-45664200-1420917913_thumb.j

Craig

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Boy is simply an appointment to signify as a specific set of circumstances for the individual - it doesn't alter his rank from that of Private.

Craig

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But he cannot be a Private until he fulfills the conditions of the KR's

It's the Kings Regs though which list the appointment of 'Boy' as an appointment given to Privates. The KR's don't list 'Boy' as a rank. He's a private when he enlists with the appointment of 'Boy' as he's under 18.

Craig

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I'm not sure recruiting regs would add to the matter other than the particulars regarding actual recruitment processes and the number of 'Boys' who could be on the battalions strength. The KR's were the ultimate authority governing appointment, rank and service and list these details.

Although the appointment of a 'Boy' had specific rules covering him until age 18 I still don't see anything in the KR's that lists 'Boy' as a rank, only as an appointment for a solder of the rank 'Private'.

Craig

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last

Thanks Grumpy.

I can't make the text out clearly but dos it make any reference to anything other than than the actual terms of enlistment (e.g. mention of rank ) ?

Craig

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I use the "magnifier" facility in my Windows 7 software ....... works a treat.


I use the "magnifier" facility in my Windows 7 software ....... works a treat.

alternatively PM me with email address and I will send the lot to you.

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Sorry this is aside to the boy question.

An above post gives all appointments a private rank would hold. What is the story behind the Lithography appointment and why RMC mentioned? Never seen that before!

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Good question ....... I imagine his/their job was to produce maps as required, but it really is an oddity. Somewhere in the small print of the Pay Warrant I would expect such an appointment to attract more than the bog-standard 1/- per day.

Next time I open the PW I will have a look.

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It appears that the "Boys enlisted as Boys" not Privates, which would cause an anomaly as they need to be in the rank structure. The attestations I have seen enlist them as boys.

So if they are appointed Boys who creates the appointment.

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