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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Oldest Serving Soldier?


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Whilst searching through service papers in WO 364 at the PRO today I came across details of a man who attested on 07/01/15 giving his age as 57 joining the 2/5 Norfolk Regiment, No 3 Supernumary Company. He was subsequently discharged on 24/09/15 due to "senile degeneration" with his correct age of 72 years and 9 months quoted!

I know many young lads joined up saying they were older than they actually were, but does anyone know of instances like this and were there any who were older than 72?

You've got to admire this man for trying! :D

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  • 4 months later...

Hi Mark

I could not match finding someone older than 72, but I have come accross a guy not far off.

The Birmingham Weekly Post published on Saturday 11 December, 1915 has a snippet on Sapper Elijah Vaughan of Leamore, Bloxwich.

Sapper Vaughan had been invalided home after serving four months at the front with the Royal Engineers. To quote the rest of the paper:-

"Vaughan, who is a miner, is sixty-eight years of age, but in July last enlisted as forty-five, and was passed by the doctor as physically fit.

Vaughan had completed thirteen years service with the army, and had been through the Egyptian and Burmah campaigns, for which he received medals.

Men with practical mining experience were urgently wanted for tunneling work at the front, and Vaughan remarked to his employer "if the young men were afraid the old men must shame them." He was known by his comrades as "Daddy," and bore his full share of the work until the strain told on his health and unfitted him for duty."



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