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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Volunteering for service with incorrect age


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I have a copy of my Grandad's WW1 service record. On his Short Sevice Attestation form (Army Form B. 2505) from January 1915 he gives his age as 21 years, when in fact he was 19.


I believe at 19 he would have been old enough to join the army and be sent abroad. Does anyone have a view as to why he might have given an incorrect age?


When he volunteered for service, would he have needed his parent's consent as an under 21 year old?


Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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I think pre War the age for active service, i.e. going abroad to fight was 20 years old. Soon after the beginning of the war it was reduced to 19, then in March 1918 it was reduced to 18 years 7 months, then soon after that to 18 years 6 months. So this is why he probably lied about his age, however by Jan 1915, I think 19 year olds could go on active service abroad. But I suppose he may have been keen and if he said he was 21 he would have been able to see action and would have been of an age where he would not have been restricted by his CO for active service.

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I suspect the above as well - the age was probably given to try and avoid any issues with age and going on active service overseas. I can't see another obvious reason for the age bring given as 21, unless he was trying (poorly) to hide his identity in some way.


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IIRC 21 was the age at which a boy apprenticed to a trade on leaving school at 14 would have usually completed his then 7 year apprenticeship.


There were strict rules about enlistment into the peacetime army whilst still an apprentice.


Don't know if those restrictions carried on into 1915 but if so that might've given him a reason to inflate his age.


Steve Y 1,001 and counting...... 

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After reading the comments, I suspect he was trying to overcome any perceived issues with his age and overseas service. I don't think he was trying to hide his identity as he gave his father's name and home address.


Many thanks for your input.

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