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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Official ages for soldiers


PeteS
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Can anybody tell me how old a man (or boy) would have to be officially in order for him to join up in 1914-15 ?

And at what age did they have to be to serve in France ? (or maybe there wasnt an official age for foreign service ?)

I know that younger lads lied about their age to join up but I am interested to know the "official" age

THANK YOU

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Hi Pete

You had to be 18 to enlist and 19 to serve overseas.

If you are interested in boy soldiers, I would recommend the book Boy Soldiers of the Great War by Richard van Emden - one of my favourite WW1 books.

Cheers,

Carole.

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Hi Pete

You had to be 18 to enlist and 19 to serve overseas.

If you are interested in boy soldiers, I would recommend the book Boy Soldiers of the Great War by Richard van Emden - one of my favourite WW1 books.

Cheers,

Carole.

Carole

Following your Boy Soldiers theme I thought that this letter from the War Office to my grandmother might interest or even amuse you. As you can see my uncle Walter (who I knew very well) who was born in 1900 enlisted at age 15. I find the letter amazing as it talks about returning the birth certificate and relying on his attestation. Wally was actually given a small pension as he had trench foot but was discharged on 25th July 1916 at the completion of 14 days Field Punishment No 2 (whatever that is). The reason for discharge was that he "made a misstatement as to age on enlistment". I wonder if they did this following the fuss made in Parliment. He got the full entitlement of three medals.

David

Walter Rowen Age 15 post-25312-1210444478.jpg

post-25312-1210444161.jpg

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