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Did these two men lie about their age, and, if so, why?


A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

I have posted about the Moffatt brothers before, Cecil Henry, who died on 1 August 1916, and Stanley Leslie, who died 12 days later on 13 August 1916.

in each case my research is suggesting two competing dates for their births, a year apart.

Cecil, first, as there is more material about him.

The two possible birth dates for Cecil are 1 August 1895 and 1 August 1896.

According to a friend who researched Ancestry for me Cecil's birth was registered in Ireland in the 3rd quarter of 1896,and his age was stated as 14 in the April 1911 census (by which time the family were living in Eccles, Manchester), which would be consistent with his having been born in 1896. I have not seen the original documents on which she based this information, but this website:

http://www.leicestershirewarmemorials.co.uk/war/casualty/view/13739

also states that he died on his 20th birthday, and the CWGC website states that he was aged 20 when he died.

However, my grandfather, who was in the same Company as Cecil, and clearly regarded him as one of his closest friends, says in his diary that he died on his 21st birthday. Moreover, a visit to Kew last week to look at his service record shows that when he enlisted with the 13th (1st City) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on 31 August 1914 he stated that his age was 19 years 1 month, and that is confirmed in the description of him on enlistment. Wnen he applied for a commission in the Lancashire Fusiliers in January 1915 (in a form which was also signed by his father and former headmaster), he gave his date of birth as 1 August 1895. I am uploading the relevant documents from the National Archives

There is less information regarding his brother Leslie, as his service record has not survived, and the information about him on the CWGC website is very sparse indeed, but, curiously, a form relating to his medical history survives in his brother's file at Kew, in which his age is given as 20 years 2 months on enlistment on 31 August 1914. However, the information from Ancestry provided by my friend is that his age was stated as 15 in the April 1911 census, which would make him 19 years 2 months on enlistment, assuming a July birthday.

I am seriously puzzled by this, as surely both men would have been old enough to have enlisted on 31 August 1914, even if they were a year younger, and, even if they had aspirations of applying for commissions as soon as possible, it does not seem (from other threads on this forum) that they would have been disqualified from being officers on grounds of age even when they first enlisted in August 1914.

 

520418653_MoffattCecil-NAAttestationonenlistmentreduced.jpeg.9755612549dcd1a62e9839d8485b7d9e.jpeg1181071992_MoffattCecil-NAdescriptiononenlistmentreduced.jpeg.3a1307036b08737a7ae41f52fc9943b2.jpeg1626904491_MoffattCecil-NAapplicationforcommission.jpeg.53c33690261c4174d6cfab04ccd61055.jpeg838807965_MoffatLeslie-NAMedicalHistoryreduced.jpeg.fef44b17a6fe8f40d57045bbb1f1b64e.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

Thank you Wexflyer. The birth registration is fairly decisive, and, if the official age for being an officer was 19 that would explain their claiming to be a year older. I have been misled by the thread about the youngest officers to serve, but I suppose those men may also have lied about their age.

 https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/284618-the-known-youngest-junior-officer-to-have-served-in-ww1/?tab=comments#comment-2929381

I suppose the older brother also had to lie unless they were claiming to be twins.

 

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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

I've just been looking to see whether I can find any information on the youngest legitimate age for applying for a commission, looking for confirmation that it was 19, but have so far drawn a blank. However, on the Long, Long Trail, I see that 19 was the youngest age for serving overseas, so maybe that was the reason for falsifying the ages? What does anybody think?

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It could be that they did not know their year of birth!

I mean in those days why would they need to know?

 

I think that the only country who asked for a DoB at attestation was Canada and in my own researches somewhere around 20% are inaccurate.

Usually the day and month agree but the years can vary + or - from the recorded date.

Today we are very used to being asked for our DoB and some stuff like NHS numbers and driving licences inlude DoBs in one form or other - not needed in 14/18!

 

Ken

 

 

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2 hours ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

I've just been looking to see whether I can find any information on the youngest legitimate age for applying for a commission, looking for confirmation that it was 19, but have so far drawn a blank. However, on the Long, Long Trail, I see that 19 was the youngest age for serving overseas, so maybe that was the reason for falsifying the ages? What does anybody think?

 

The process of gaining a Commission changed throughout the war, but  age was not a major factor until later.  A young man, educated at public school had, with the right connections little difficulty in obtaining the approval of a commanding officer.  Initially the Army raised the age for admission to Sandhurst from nineteen to twenty five.  It was soon apparent this would not provide sufficient officers  On the 10 August 1914 (Daily Mirror) the Army advertised for 2,000 junior officers (unmarried) 'to serve with the Regular Army until the war is concluded.  Ages 17 to 30.'  They were keen to recruit cadets from the OTC, other young men of 'good general education' were advised to report to the C.O. of the locl depot.  The advertisement was included in many newspapers in subsequent days.

 

Once trained there was no bar to them going on active service overseas, it has been suggested these candidates were considered of stronger character and more robust health than ordinary recruits.

 

The two men in your original post were able to apply for a temporary commission in August 1915 and were not excluded due to age. (Later in 1915 for commissions from the ranks, apart from other conditions being satisfied the age limits were no younger than 19 and no older than 25).

 

However the stated age limits for enlistment for the first 100,000 men for Kitchener's New Army were 19 years to 30 years (because these men were expected to be posted on active service).  It was still possible to enlist in the Regular Army aged 18 years.  Once a man declared his age, which is all he was required to do, no documentation was required or provided, then that became his 'Army age'.  Parents attempting to get youngsters back who had enlisted under age encountered this obstacle frequently, though not applicable here, presumably their parents approved of the brothers enlistment.  George Coppard, for example, was just sixteen and when he sought to enlist was told by the recruiting sergeant to 'come back tomorrow when you are nineteen.'  He did, and went on to serve with some distinction.

 

I would suggest Cecil simply added a year to his age to ensure he was eligible under the advertised age limits for recruitment to the Manchester Battalions being formed  under the auspices of 'Kitchener's New Army".  If born on 1st August 1896 he would not have been eligible in August 1914.  As you have observed this meant his older brother had to add a year to his age, particularly if they wanted to serve together in the same battalion.

 

 

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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
19 hours ago, kenf48 said:

George Coppard, for example, was just sixteen and when he sought to enlist was told by the recruiting sergeant to 'come back tomorrow when you are nineteen.' 

 

Thank you, kenf48, for your very informative post. I am reading George Coppard's book at the moment, and was aware that he had joined up at a younger age than he should, but had quite forgotten the conversation in which 19 was specifically mentioned as the age he had to be. Your explanation about Cecil realising that he had to be 19 because that it what it said in the advertising campaign is very plausible. Also, interestingly, I have just read a transcript from the Imperial War Museum's Voices of the First World War:

   https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/voices-of-the-first-world-war-joining-up 

where Bill Haine went up to the desk of the recruiting officer of the Honourable Artillery Company:

... and the sergeant said 'Are you willing to join?' I said 'Yes, sir'. He said 'Well, how old are you?' I said ' I'm 18 and one month'. He said 'Do you mean 19 and one month?' So I thought a moment and I said 'Yes, sir'. He said 'Right-O. well, sign here, please'.

This is particularly striking, being exactly the same discrepancy between the true age and the stated age as in Cecil's case.

Unfortunately, half an hour before your informative post I had pressed the button on approving the proof to the printed version of my grandfather's book. I had managed to make an alteration to include the recently gleaned information that Cecil and Leslie had falsified their ages (causing my publisher much anxst!) but had had to settle for it being "possibly in order to qualify for being sent overseas sooner", so only partially correct, as I have made no reference to the fact that that is what was specifically required by the new Kitchener units, as all men in those units were expected to serve overseas.

But it is inevitable that I will continue to learn things on this site that I could have included in a footnote, and I have to draw the line somewhere, if I am ever to get it published; in fact I am sure that I recollect someone on this very site saying wryly that he is still working on producing a book, but continually finds himself adding that one last footnote ...

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1 hour ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

 

 

But it is inevitable that I will continue to learn things on this site that I could have included in a footnote, and I have to draw the line somewhere, if I am ever to get it published; in fact I am sure that I recollect someone on this very site saying wryly that he is still working on producing a book, but continually finds himself adding that one last footnote ...

 

For what it is worth, I am an author on several hundred published papers. I doubt there is one of them where I did not subsequently notice an error or omission of some sort. Inevitable.

Edited by Wexflyer
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  I suspect part of the dilemma must  revolve around  how long  one spent training in England.  I have a local casualty, 2Lt A.C.Frost, 11th Argylls,  who was just too young for a Regular commission but was snapped up immediately on a Territorial commission-  he was killed at Loos aged still only 18.

     In addition, I have several casualties who all enlisted 6 months to a year underage in the London Rifle Brigade in February-March 1915, when it completely filled up its second battalion and recruited for a third. Again, the expectation seems to have been that they would only go overseas after they were trained up at home-  best of both worlds-get the training out of the way and then be eligible for active service.  Fibbing about age might increase one's chances of seeing active service in France and Flanders, if one was "19" rather than 18-  No point just kicking around an army camp for month after month, the more so for a war supposed to be over by Christmas

 

      When war came, Arthur Frost was on holiday at Combe Martin in North Devon but on 22nd August 1914 he applied for a commission in any of the infantry battalions of the Essex Regiment, although he was still underage. He had obvious military potential and was encouraged to apply for a commission in the Territorial Army, after which he could volunteer for foreign service (and after being trained up, he would also be over 18). He  applied  on 9th September 1914 and impressed the army interviewer: One of questions asked of the interviewer in his report was  “Whether he is in all respects suitable to hold His Majesty’s  Commission in the Territorial Force.”. The interviewer reported “Yes, Very”-and doubly underlined the word  “Very” to emphasise what a good candidate he was. He was quickly snapped up  by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

 

     The  Frost family had no known  connections with Scotland but an immediate problem at the  beginning of the war  was that  many of the established county regiments would obviously not be able to recruit sufficiently from their home areas to bring their regular and reserve battalions up to  strength, let alone replenish losses. These regiments included all 5 of the Highland regiments. Paradoxically, the large cities  had an almost endless supply of men and, London particularly, a good supply of officer material from the educated sons of the middle classes. Thus, it was that Arthur Frost applied for a commission in the 11th (Service)  Battalion of the Argylls on 25th September 1914, being interviewed at Aldershot, where it was being formed up, by its commander, Lt.Col.Malcolm McNeil DSO, a distinguished old soldier of Indian frontier warfare, who had returned to England immediately war began to raise the 11th Battalion. Arthur Frost was accepted by Lt Col McNeil the same day.          

Edited by voltaire60
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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
43 minutes ago, Wexflyer said:

For what it is worth, I am an author on several hundred published papers. I doubt there is one of them where I did not subsequently notice an error or omission of some sort. Inevitable.

 

Thank you Wexflyer, that is comforting, I think - or maybe not, as, if it happens to someone with as much knowledge as you, I dread to think how much more it will happen in my case. It helps to remind myself that the main content of the book that I am publishing is my grandfather's, not mine, and my annotations will not, I hope, detract from that, even if they are in many ways inadequate.

 

Voltaire, the story of great potential being snuffed out in young 2nd Lieutenant Frost's case is so sad, but so typical. You don't say how long he spent training in Britain - I suppose it could have been approximately a year if he had only recently arrived at the Western Front when he was killed. In the Moffatts' case, they did not go to France until 23 August 1915, so the younger boy had in any event attained the age of 19 by then

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5 minutes ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

Voltaire, the story of great potential being snuffed out in young 2nd Lieutenant Frost's case is so sad, but so typical. You don't say how long he spent training in Britain - I suppose it could have been approximately a year if he had only recently arrived at the Western Front when he was killed. In the Moffatts' case, they did not go to France until 23 August 1915, so the younger boy had in any event attained the age of 19 by then

 

     Yes, this all fits with your chaps-    Frost arrived in France with 11th Argylls on 9th July 1915.  It seems fairly common to see new battalions being shipped over across the early summer of 1915-all in anticipation of Loos.   I believe the acceptance of underage lads, who would be "of age" come the late summer of 1915, when these battalions were progressed to readiness, is by no means an accident.

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Neil Mackenzie

Wasn't 19 the minimum age for serving overseas? You could enlist at 18 but, in theory, shouldn't have been sent overseas until you were a year older. So for lads who wanted to 'get stuck in' adding to your age made sense. Obviously lots of lads did go to France before they were 19.

 

Neil

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1 hour ago, voltaire60 said:

   When war came, Arthur Frost was on holiday at Combe Martin in North Devon but on 22nd August 1914 he applied for a commission in any of the infantry battalions of the Essex Regiment, although he was still underage.

 

He was not underage for a commission in August 1914, aged 14 in the 1911 Census (April 1911) he was seventeen in August and therefore eligible to apply for a commission as a junior officer in the New Army as mentioned in my previous post.  The fact he was turned down by the Essex Regiment may have any number of reasons but he was not disbarred due to age, more than likely because his father was 'in trade'. 

 

He did not accept a commission in the TF, in 1914 officers who held a commission in the TF were specifically excluded from transferring that commission to the New Army Battalions.  It was not until October 1915 an Army Order  allowed men to apply for commissions in the regular Army from the TF

 

He would have been interviewed by the CO of the 11th (Service) Battalion of the Argylls and accepted under those terms. Most training for a junior subaltern (or the first 2,000) in 1914 was within the Battalion.  Once again it was only later more formal training was introduced.

 

There are many examples in the literature of young men applying for commissions in many regiments until they were accepted, often through family connections or influence (most famously perhaps John Kipling who was accepted for a commission in the Irish Guards two days before his seventeenth birthday).

 

1 hour ago, Neil Mackenzie said:

Wasn't 19 the minimum age for serving overseas? You could enlist at 18 but, in theory, shouldn't have been sent overseas until you were a year older.

 

Yes, nineteen was the minimum age for active service overseas that is why a man could not enlist in a New Army Battalion until aged nineteen.  Below are two advertisements that appeared in the Times on consecutive days in August 1914, the 7th and 8th.  The first is for the Regular Army (aged 18) the second for 'Kitchener's Army' (aged nineteen). There are significant differences in the advertised terms of service, for example regular recruits were required to be unmarried.

 

A8A44592-D4E8-4225-883F-2DA8D03D8910.jpegE8FFA633-BA5E-40ED-BD47-61BFF6E78473.jpeg

  The next 100,000 recruits were called for a week later under the same terms. A further advertisement for 'another 100,000' on the 1st September 1914 extended the upper age limit to 35, but the minimum age for enlistment in the 'New Army' remained at nineteen.

 

In 1916 the MSA allowed for men to join at eighteen, but the age nineteen year rule  for active service overseas was adhered to (with the notable exception of the TF until a War Office memorandum demanded they comply with the regular and service battalions - the fact many within the latter had given false information on enlistment is well documented) until April 1918 when for a short period men aged eighteen and a half who had at least six months training were sent to France to reinforce the much depleted BEF.

 

It was different for officers, and although age limits were introduced later, in 1914 young men aged seventeen accepted for a commission in a battalion of the New Army went overseas with their Battalion irrespective of their age.

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49 minutes ago, kenf48 said:

He was not underage for a commission in August 1914, aged 14 in the 1911 Census (April 1911) he was seventeen in August and therefore eligible to apply for a commission as a junior officer in the New Army as mentioned in my previous post.  The fact he was turned down by the Essex Regiment may have any number of reasons but he was not disbarred due to age, more than likely because his father was 'in trade'. 

 

     Arthur Frost was born 12th October 1896.  When he was killed at Loos, he had served for exactly one year with 11th Argylls.  No evidence that he was turned down by The Essex Regiment.  Unlikely, if it happened, to be because his father was "in trade". I have also as casualties Robert Harold Jervis Johnson, 2nd Essex, (Brighton College,Winchester College,St.Johns Oxford) BUT the son of lead merchant in Stepney when he applied for commission,5th August 1914- or Harold Percy Tavener, 6th Essex- Eastbourne College and Barings Bank, son of a builder- accepted for commission 2nd Londion Yeomanry in the first week of September 1914 (as was his brother the same day)- transferred to 6th Essex when it formed. . On the other hand,Thomas Norman Ide, St.Pauls School,enlisted Public Schools Bn , Gentleman Cadet at RMC Sandhurst and commissioned July 1915- BUT the son of a glass merchant in Stepney Frost was a public schoolboy-Sherborne- and OTC, while his older brother, James John Frost was commissioned 11th Northumberland Fusiliers and killed in action on the Somme in 1916. As Frost was London local, he could have walked into the Public Schools Battalion  No indications that he ever applied/wished to apply for a regular commission. As with The Buffs, East Surreys and Middlesex, plenty of manpower to support a "county" regiment from the metropolitan end but insufficient aristos. and landed gentry in the "metropolitan" bits.

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7 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

No evidence that he was turned down by The Essex Regiment. 

 

I obviously misread your post, making the assumption he was rejected because of the statement

 

11 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

on 22nd August 1914 he applied for a commission in any of the infantry battalions of the Essex Regiment,

 and ended up in a Service Battalion of the Argylls. 

He appears to have been granted a 'Temporary Commission' to serve with the Regular Army which he could not have done had he been granted a commission in the TF.

 

The point I was making was that at seventeen he was not 'under age' for a temporary commission in August 1914 as evidenced by the attached advertisement.  Frost joined the 11th Argylls and landed in France with the main body on the 9th July 1915.

 

The demand for officers for Kitchener's Armies initially overwhelmed the pool available. It was estimated 30,000 additional would be required just to staff the battalions of the New Army and TF raised for the war, that number did not include casualty replacements. These first 2,000 temporary commissions were the initial numbers and  a drop in the ocean. compared to those required as the war progressed, hence the changes in recruitment and terms of service.

 

In August 1914 the terms of service for officers were quite different to that of other ranks.  The main qualification requirement was 'a good general education' gained at a public school, as evidenced by the other men mentioned.  Simkins (Kitchener's Army) cites research which shows that far more boys from the 'established' public schoolsew applied for, and were granted a commission than those from the same school who joined the ranks, at Wellington and Rugby none enlisted in the ranks to March 1915.

 

To paraphrase the original question, 'did these men make a false declaration as to age in order to secure a commission?'  The answer is no, they had no need to lie in order to apply for a commission.  We can only speculate as to why the brothers chose the route they did in joining the ranks first.

 

 

 

Screenshot 2020-09-22 at 08.08.02.png

 

Image courtesy BNA Daily Mirror 10 August 1914

 

 

 

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Good Morning KF-   Thanks for the elucidation, which  helps with the TF commission for Frost-I wrote this up a while back but there are always, always details that pop up.  I think it unlikely that,as a generality, officer candidates would tell porkies-given the checks made for good character and education, as well as being vouched for after interview before the application went "up the line".

    As for ORs-in the original post-it does seem that there was some sort of nudge and wink policy towards underage recruits in 1914 and early 1915. That is, to recruit in the knowledge that the lad would be of age when it came to overseas service- no point the lad sitting on his thumbs, then training, then France. Why not train them during the underage shortfall??  As for Arthur Frost, what I was trying to suggest (I'll get my teeth in the right way next time) is that the "normal" peacetime age limit could be sidestepped for the right sort of candidates by going in through a TF commission.

    I think one of the enduring myths of  1914 or so is that underage enlistment was one of willing lads and recruiting sergeants turning a blind eye- at a local level.  But it seems a little more systematic than that.  I quoted LRB in the Spring of 1915- filling its 2nd and 3rd battalions, the latter being the training feeder-though my local cases all went to the 2nd.  I would also put up London Irish,where problems of recruiting from the Irish community-in the manner of the London Scottish-were obvious at the start. My youngest local casualty (17 when killed on Christmas Eve 1915) was killed alongside another underage lad-and a run through  of the dates of enlistment (by service number) suggests a number of London Irish casualties later in the war must have been underage  when they enlisted in 1914 or so.

    I think the lads in the original post may have done a "big it up" in the expectation of getting some active service in a short war. A parallel, not much explored, is that of the similar underage enlistment in the Boer War- my grandfather being one of them-off to South Africa at 17 via being in the militia in Tower Hamlets.

    I would disagree (at a pint and curry level,of course) that 1914 was the easiest year to get a commission.  I think 1918 was ahead by a short nose.  In 1914 the new battalions filled up in a somewhat haphazard way.  But they did get the "right sort of chap".  The folly of some of the recruiting shows up very strongly in London-  where there were officer candidates a-plenty in the best Territorial units -LRB, London Scottish and HAC.  Many of their casualties up to mid-1915 were Terriers of August-September 1914 enlistments who would have been picked up for a commission either at the start or very shortly after later on in the war-  with tragic consequences. Goold Walker, the historian of HAC, for instance, was bitter about the loss of some 200 ORs at Hooge in May 1915-as they were pretty much all officer material. Of course, there was a chagrin that 28th Londons (Artists) and not HAC were chosen as the as original "officer factory" (Apologies to H.H.Kirst on that one).   I would go for 1918 as I have found several officer candidates who would be lucky to be allowed to enlist at all in peacetime-including one who had deserted as an OR and this was clearly on his record.

     To me, one of the great unknowns of the enthusiasms of 1914 is HOW the enthusiasms melded when the war dragged on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, kenf48 said:

Below are two advertisements that appeared in the Times on consecutive days in August 1914, the 7th and 8th.  The first is for the Regular Army (aged 18) the second for 'Kitchener's Army' (aged nineteen). There are significant differences in the advertised terms of service, for example regular recruits were required to be unmarried.

Thank you Kenf48, it's interesting to see the different advertisements side by side, and also the other one for officers.

 

17 minutes ago, voltaire60 said:

I think the lads in the original post may have done a "big it up" in the expectation of getting some active service in a short war.

 

Voltaire, you may well be right about this, but I do think that the advertisements would have played apart if they were set on getting into their local new Kitchener unit (13th (Service) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment), not only with each other, but very possibly with many of their friends.

These two men both became officers in the Lancashire Fusiliers within the first year of joining up, and, as mentioned in the first post, they continued the deception on the form applying for a commission, though it didn't seem to hold them back. They even continued the deception to their friends in their new unit (my grandfather). The headstone of Cecil is the only place connected with the army where the truth is told, i.e. that he died aged 20. It seems unlikely that the IWGC would have checked the birth certificate, so, unless someone simply didn't realise that he had on the very day of his death become a year older  (it was his birthday) it seems likely that the correct age came from his parents when requesting the inscription on his headstone.

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Yes, you are right.  But 2 factors may apply:

 

1) Bigging up age-  The Army routinely took a man at his word on enlistment- if he gave an alias, which was later discovered, then he would continue to be known by that name- as it was his "official" name- to do otherwise would be a tacit admission that the Attestation had been untruthful and, in wartime conditions, it would serve no useful purpose to pursue a man for that. OK, there will be cases where a man was pursued but-as an educated guess-if the man had shown himself to be competent and capable, then that would weigh heavily in the balance.

 

2) Lancashire Fusiliers-Date of commission-  After the very heavy losses at Gallipoli, this regiment was short of officers- There is some evidence that the powers=that-be went on a manhunt to find those with Lancastrian connections  to replace the losses-I have a local casualty who was commissioned up from Herts Yeomanry in Egypt into 8th LF to fill a gap-OK,Egypt meant that it easier to get to Gallipoli but I suspect the effort to find Lancashire men to commission went on at home as well.

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2 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

Yes, you are right.  But 2 factors may apply:

 

1) Bigging up age-  The Army routinely took a man at his word on enlistment- if he gave an alias, which was later discovered, then he would continue to be known by that name- as it was his "official" name- to do otherwise would be a tacit admission that the Attestation had been untruthful and, in wartime conditions, it would serve no useful purpose to pursue a man for that. OK, there will be cases where a man was pursued but-as an educated guess-if the man had shown himself to be competent and capable, then that would weigh heavily in the balance.

 

2) Lancashire Fusiliers-Date of commission-  After the very heavy losses at Gallipoli, this regiment was short of officers- There is some evidence that the powers=that-be went on a manhunt to find those with Lancastrian connections  to replace the losses-I have a local casualty who was commissioned up from Herts Yeomanry in Egypt into 8th LF to fill a gap-OK,Egypt meant that it easier to get to Gallipoli but I suspect the effort to find Lancashire men to commission went on at home as well.


Although there were subsequent revisions to the Army Act the provisions for the false statements on attestation did not change much at all.  Although a soldier in the midst of a war for national survival might expect a minimal chastisement the process of summary dealing nevertheless went ahead.

 

Army Act 1881

33. False answers or declarations on enlistment.

Every person having become subject to military law who is discovered to have committed thefollowing offence; that is to say, To have made a wilfully false answer to any question set forth inthe attestation paper which has been put to him by or by direction of the justice before whom heappears for the purpose of being attested,shall on conviction by court-martial be liable to suffer imprisonment or such less punishment as isin this Act mentioned



99. Recruits punishable for false answers.

(1.) If a person knowingly makes a false answer to any question contained in the attestation paper,which has been put to him by or by direction of the justice before whom he appears for the purposeof being attested, he shall be liable on summary conviction to be imprisoned with or without hardlabour for any period not exceeding three months.(2.) If a person guilty of an offence under this section has been attested as a soldier of the regularforces, he shall be liable, at the discretion of the competent military authority, to be proceededagainst before a court of summary jurisdiction, or to be tried by court-martial for the offence.

 

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1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:


Although there were subsequent revisions to the Army Act the provisions for the false statements on attestation did not change much at all.  Although a soldier in the midst of a war for national survival might expect a minimal chastisement the process of summary dealing nevertheless went ahead.

 

Army Act 1881

33. False answers or declarations on enlistment.

Every person having become subject to military law who is discovered to have committed thefollowing offence; that is to say, To have made a wilfully false answer to any question set forth inthe attestation paper which has been put to him by or by direction of the justice before whom heappears for the purpose of being attested,shall on conviction by court-martial be liable to suffer imprisonment or such less punishment as isin this Act mentioned



99. Recruits punishable for false answers.

(1.) If a person knowingly makes a false answer to any question contained in the attestation paper,which has been put to him by or by direction of the justice before whom he appears for the purposeof being attested, he shall be liable on summary conviction to be imprisoned with or without hardlabour for any period not exceeding three months.(2.) If a person guilty of an offence under this section has been attested as a soldier of the regularforces, he shall be liable, at the discretion of the competent military authority, to be proceededagainst before a court of summary jurisdiction, or to be tried by court-martial for the offence.

 

 

   Very much so-I fully agree.  But the emphasis is also quite correct that you make- only notionally enforced in wartime. With false declarations about age, then the passage of time would correct that-and enforcement when a fit and able man was subsequently "of age" would seem even more farcical.

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6 minutes ago, voltaire60 said:

 

   Very much so-I fully agree.  But the emphasis is also quite correct that you make- only notionally enforced in wartime. With false declarations about age, then the passage of time would correct that-and enforcement when a fit and able man was subsequently "of age" would seem even more farcical.


Yes, I think that the chastisement would have been swiftly delivered, as it always used to be under summary dealing proceedings and, as you mentioned, in the midst of war it could not be otherwise.  The point I wished to make is that due process would have occurred, even if cursorily so.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
On 21/09/2020 at 18:39, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

Unfortunately, half an hour before your informative post I had pressed the button on approving the proof to the printed version of my grandfather's book. I had managed to make an alteration to include the recently gleaned information that Cecil and Leslie had falsified their ages (causing my publisher much anxst!) but had had to settle for it being "possibly in order to qualify for being sent overseas sooner", so only partially correct, as I have made no reference to the fact that that is what was specifically required by the new Kitchener units, as all men in those units were expected to serve overseas.

 

Just as an update, as one or two other things needed changing in the final proof of my granddad's diary which were nothing to do with me, I was able to change my footnote to something that I am completely happy with, without my publisher having apoplexy. But I am sure that I will discover other imperfections or omissions as I learn more and more from the good people on this site - which I hope I will continue to do.

 

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14 hours ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

 

Just as an update, as one or two other things needed changing in the final proof of my granddad's diary which were nothing to do with me, I was able to change my footnote to something that I am completely happy with, without my publisher having apoplexy. But I am sure that I will discover other imperfections or omissions as I learn more and more from the good people on this site - which I hope I will continue to do.

 

Good luck with the book ALFbP. Beat me to it!! Just like my school reports "must try harder"

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