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Remembered Today:

Underage soldier at Kut


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I’m hoping someone can help me make sense of the following ICRC card. From what I can understand George Clapp was reported missing and presumed to have died on or after 31st August 1916. He was a POW of the Turks and his medal card has him arriving in the Asiatic theatre in late 1915.

Was Quetta in India, and does ‘pr Kut’ mean that he had proceeded to Kut? He was born in 1900 and so was underage. I’m thinking he joined up as a bugler and was then transferred to the 1/4 Hants at a later date. 

If anyone has any ideas I would be most grateful for anything that would add to his story. 


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I don't have my "big" computer with me so am not able to get a clear look at a number of documents.  He entered a theatre of war on 25 October 1915. 

I think that it must refer to when he landed in Mesopotamia.


However he was in India before then. 1/6 Battalion landed in India in November 1914 and stayed there as garrison battalion until September 1917. (No 1914-15 Star for landing in India.) On the ICRC card isn't it "quitte Quetta pour Kut" ("left Quetta for Kut") followed by "disparu" (disappeared). Battalion HQ and one company of 1/4 Hampshire Regiment were captured at Kut. Presumably he died (as did many others) as a POW following the surrender at Kut.


The LLT page on the Hampshire Regiment is interesting:



What isn't clear is when he went to India and with which battalion. 2/4 Hampshire Regiment went to India as garrison battalion in December 1914. 2/6 were also going to go but didn't.  He could have been attached to 2/4 then and then transferred to 1/4 or he could have gone to India with 1/6 and then sent to 1/4 as a reinforcement. The former might explain the 2/6 on his Medal Roll Index Card.


In addition his medal card, I have found two medal roll entries and a Registers' of Soldiers Effects entry and an entry in SDGW in ancestry.



An interesting but not entirely relevant thought. Pre-war at least boy soldiers were permitted to serve in India.

Edited by rolt968
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From another thread on the Forum


All boys who enlisted into the British Army were classed as volunteers, although I believe they could only enlist with the consent of a parent or guardian and I the minimum age was actually twelve years old. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of Recruitng Regulations which would confirm this, but I do have a copies of King Regulations for 1908 and 1914, which dedicate a section to Boys.

Many who enlisted had in fact been born into the regiment and were already on the family rolls. So for many it was a natural progression to follow their fathers.

Boys were enlisted as trumpeter, drummer, bugler, piper or bandsman but if they failed to make progress within six months of their service, then with their consent they could become tailors. Boys who enlisted as tailors, shoemakers or saddlers were to remain in that trade and could not be transferred without permission of the War Office.

On attaining the age of 18yrs, they were taken of the boys roll, but could not be sent overseas unitl the age of 19yrs.

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An example of Boy Bandsmen is that in 1921 the IRA exploded a mine under a Hampshire Reg band, killing a number of bandsmen who included


Boy F Heisterman who was 14


Details of the bombing at on this link - click



And also in Ireland in 1921 3 Bandboys from the Manchester Regt were murdered, the youngest was 16


Details of Manchester Bandboy Murders - click



And here is a Boy enlisting at 14 years and 20 days - click

Edited by corisande
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Thank you both, that is all very interesting. I had hoped otherwise but it looks increasingly likely that he was involved in the dreadful aftermath of Kut. His father was a blacksmith so no military background. Next stop, the newspaper microfilm at the library. 

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One could also ask "who was Arthur Skinner" and why was he asking about the POW in Aug 1917 (over a year after local press had reported the man a POW)


Arthur Skinner is on 1911 census at that address - click Ancestry census page


FWIW I cannot see a link to George  Clapp. . In 1911 census Arthur Skinner is 40 years old and married Alice Maud Blouet in 1906

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That is a very good question. I had assumed he was a solicitor or other professional that George’s parents had asked to help, but apparently not. The plot thickens. Tottenham is a long way from Petersfield. 

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Yes, call me curious, but I always think that this sort of research is more than just the facts of enlisted, served, killed.


The other question is why did he enlist at the age of 14. Similar cases usually show home circumstances - for example orphaned, or parents in workhouse.


Have you the Birth Cert for George Clapp, and who if anyone is named as father?

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I agree with you totally. There are real people behind all of the names and numbers and all their stories are worth telling if only we can find them.

I don’t have a birth certificate but the 1901 has him at 8 months old living in Petersfield with his father Joseph who was a blacksmith. They were all still there in 1911. Unfortunately our local museum is now closed for a rebuild but I have access to the archives and will go and see if I can find him in the school log book which should tell us when he left school.

If you go to the blogs section you can see the map I’m working on if you’re interested. 

Thanks for the help and encouragement. 




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Big task with the map :thumbsup:


George Edward Clapp is not "feeling" right to me.


1. Not a common name, but there is one born 1900 in Petersfield, and one in 1903 in Portsmouth. They could be the same child. If a Birth Cert is changed, and re-issued, then that is the date given, not the actual birth date.. In other words the 1903 child could have been born in 1900 and had a re-issued BC.


2. I had looked up the censuses for the Clapps in Petersfield, but could make no connection to Arthur Skinner or his wife


3. George Clapp joined at 14. One asks "why". As far as I can see Joseph Clapp and his wife were both alive many years lter


4. The fact that Arthur Skinner asked a year after George Clapp's capture, looks as if it took a year to get to him that George was missing


.5.  There are various soldiers diaries available on Kut that might give a clue.  As you have done a lot of work on Kut, you presumably have come across them (sorry I do have any access to them)



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I haven’t read any of the diaries as yet; I’m still trying to get my head round the timeline and basic facts which is a big ask for a complete novice. I started off researching someone completely different and ended up totally absorbed in Mesopotamia. There were also two local brothers, the Stubbingtons, who were captured at Kut and died within a few days of each other. 

George Clapp was certainly the youngest casualty among our local lads and I will have to see if I can find any family members still in the town. There must be some more information out there! 

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2 hours ago, corisande said:

, but there is one born 1900 in Petersfield,

Indeed the NoK of George Edward  Clapp per PoW Comforts fund has address Petersfield. His 'place of internment' was reported as 'unknown' I Don't have the other details in front of me but will dig them out.

By Aug 1916 the surviving Hants PoWs had already reached the Amanus mountains in Turkey ( Yarbaschi, Bagtché and Airan camps) and he may well have died in one of those under terrible conditions. He certainly was still with the group of Hants PoWs after they left Mosul I believe and was reported sick at Nisibin at some stage.


The RSM, William Leach, kept pretty good records under very difficult conditions but even so not all exact dates of death are known by any means.

Note that Clapp's date of death is actually recorded (soldiers effects) as between 1-31/8/16.



Edited by charlie962
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That one about Ireland and being killed at Rathmore was a really nasty ambush, even as ambushes go.


The IRA shot an old man of 75 on the basis that they believed he was a British spy. Then used his body as bait, to get the RIC to investigate. The RIC came and 8 RIC men were killed in the ensuing ambush, including Constable Clapp. One can get fuller details on him from the RIC Register on FmP

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3 hours ago, pudsey63 said:

I haven’t read any of the diaries as yet; I’m still trying to get my head round the timeline and basic facts which is a big ask for a complete novice. I started off researching someone completely different and ended up totally absorbed in Mesopotamia.

I know the feeling! 

I have a fair number of books on Kut so let me know if you want anything looked up.


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53 minutes ago, charlie962 said:

Full circle- I posted on this thread about another man killed in same Rathmore ambush who had been a prisoner at Kut!


Yes it often happens like that.


I am researching people killed as "spies and informers" during the War of Independence and had covered Old Tom whose body was used as bait in the Rathmore Ambush - click  earlier this week. I have not covered the ambush per se, as Tom was murdered before it.

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Charlie962, that is a shocking story, and amazing that we should have come full circle like that. Thank you for all the extra information on the family. I wonder what made two of the brothers go to Ireland? Limited opportunities I suppose. I hadn’t seen the 1915 roll before, only one from 1914. It’s great to have the extra names of men that served. 

SeaJane, thank you for the offer. I’m sure I’ll be taking you up on it. 😀

Corisande, that’s another fascinating snippet that I would never have known about otherwise.


This forum is such a mine of information and lovely how everyone shares their knowledge. 

Edited by pudsey63
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