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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Youngest and Oldest from Halifax


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Pals just came across this whilst searching.


SOWERBY Bridge claimed a record for the country - if not the empire - in having both the youngest and oldest soldiers to have served in the trenches.

Imbued with a sense of patriotic duty, 70-year-old Mr James White of Grange Place and 14-year-old George Smith of Belmont had lied about their ages to recruiting officers in order to get into the Army.

In the case of Mr White, who came under fire as a sapper with the Royal Engineers, his deception was discovered after four months when an Army doctor discovered he was an old man.

Although he pleaded with the authorities to remain, they reminded him of Army regulations and he was discharged with a clean sheet and good record.

George Smith, whose physical fitness and appearance belied his age, was anxious to join up immediately war broke out - even though he had just turned 14.

His parents were unable to dissuade him and in September 1914 the plucky lad joined the 2nd Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment, going to France the following March.

He took part in the ferocious Battle of Hill 60 in which the Dukes were badly hit and subsequently saw heavy fighting in other battles.

After 20 months service under fire, his mother finally claimed him back after convincing officers of her son’s subterfuge

Heres the link Halifax Courier.

Some other wonderful pages as well

Regards Kevin

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And both probably stating:

“I just want to do my bit”



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