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Recruitment by County


Rob Powell
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I am new to this forum and lacking knowledge on some simple things relating WW1 so hope it is ok and please forgive me to post dumb and simple questions!

My first being was the process of recruitment the same in each county/town and how much diligence was applied? This question I raise as I understand many signed up who were under the age of 17 that was I believe the official minimum age.

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I am new to this forum and lacking knowledge on some simple things relating WW1 so hope it is ok and please forgive me to post dumb and simple questions!

My first being was the process of recruitment the same in each county/town and how much diligence was applied? This question I raise as I understand many signed up who were under the age of 17 that was I believe the official minimum age.

Boys could sign up in limited cases from 14.

Recruiting regulations were supposed to be national but different areas may well have been tighter or slacker on some points - the age problems were often down to lack requirement for proof of age, if they looked old enough to pass for the given age then it was generally accepted that they were as declared.

Craig

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Rob,

To date I have come across 251 that signed up underage, and discharged as such. This is in The Rifle Brigade who had no county boundaries and recruited nationwide, and still coming across more as I delve into their records. I am sure this would be the same case in most Regiments. There are also quite a few instances noted in war diaries of soldiers being sent home from the front when their age was discovered.

Andy

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Swift reply thanks.

14 years of age that is incredible. Am I right in saying the official age was 17 or was it lower? And from the point of signing up how long would it take for them to get there uniform and start training?

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Swift reply thanks.

14 years of age that is incredible. Am I right in saying the official age was 17 or was it lower? And from the point of signing up how long would it take for them to get there uniform and start training?

Off the top of my head as I haven't got my books handy the it was 17 1/2 for the territorial force and 18 for the regular army but dates were tweaked during the war.

How fast a man was in uniform depended on the date and what the army needed - men with a useful skill could be enlisted on a Monday and be in France by Friday (I'm sure some of the tunnellers recruited in 1915/16 were sent over in a couple of days as it was decided that they didn't need to soldier, just to dig - the rest could be learned on the job).

Craig

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There really is no simple answer, as noted above bandsmen, buglers etc could sign up at the COs discretion see this recent thread which sets out the relevant Army Orders (AO).

In particular it deals with active service overseas.

In addition in 1914 the age for enlistment in the TF was 17; for Kitchener's New Army 19 - 30 and for the regular army 18 -30

The age for active service remained at 19, subject to the conditions outlined in post 1 of the linked thread, until after the crisis of March 1918 when , for a short time men of 18 and a half were sent to France.

The Military Service Act from March 1916, which followed a national registration process the previous year initially set the age 18 - 41yrs.

The most accessible account of under age soldiers in the Great War is probably Richard van Emden's ' Boy Soldiers of the Great War'.

If you are new to this I suggest you look at the parent site the long long trail, link top left and search under enlistment.

The upper age limits and marital status changed from the outset. There were few, if any checks on the 'declared age'which then became the man or boy's official ' Army ' age as it was an offence to make a false declaration as to age and they wouldn't lie to a recruiter would they? As the war progressed it became a real issue and many were sent home, but many also died on the battlefield often showing great courage.

Ken

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25793 Private James Walters served on Gallipoli, 9th battalion Sherwood Foresters (attached South Staffs) killed in action Delville Wood, Somme aged 16 years (headstone has/had 17 years, although his birth cert shows his age as 16 years when killed) 9 August 1916.

Enlisted aged 15 and his Mum was in the process of getting him home.

:poppy:

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I always find it interesting that the issue of underage men in the army is so widely raised and quoted whilst the "Boys" of the Royal Navy are rarely mentioned. No fewer than 47 "Boys" were lost on HMS Queen Mary alone,a figure perhaps made even more surprising when viewed alongside her compliment of "Ordinary Seamen" which amounted to a mere 33.

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I always find it interesting that the issue of underage men in the army is so widely raised and quoted whilst the "Boys" of the Royal Navy are rarely mentioned. No fewer than 47 "Boys" were lost on HMS Queen Mary alone,a figure perhaps made even more surprising when viewed alongside her compliment of "Ordinary Seamen" which amounted to a mere 33.

And no doubt some of the 33 would have recently been "promoted" from Boy and be just 18

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