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Sarahsmith

Photo approx 1930. 15 year old?

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This is a photo of my granddad that died before I was born. He grew up in an orphanage in London from approximately 1918-1933. I was told he went into the army at 15 when the army recruitment Sargent visited the orphanage and he was handed over. I have this photo where he does look very young. Would 15 year olds have been allowed in the army at this point?

image.jpg

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Sarah - welcome to GMIC.  Yes, he could have been recruited as a Boy Soldier..  Go back on this Forum and you will find Leigh Kitchen did an interesting post on the subject.  This was an honourable career for a young man  -  hopefully, one of our researchers will be able to help you with some details of his career.     Mervyn

 

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I recall talking to a forum member and he joined the British Army at the age of 16 and this was in the early 1970's.

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My late friend John Dibble who was commissionaire at Jack Barclays Rolls Royce joined as a boy soldier in 1938 at the age of 14, he later served at D.Day with the Guards Division. Boys could Join the Army as boy soldiers with parent's or Guardian's consent although they did not take part in active service until they were 18.

Paul

 

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I recently met a fellow here in Canada who was a boy soldier in the post WWII Canadian Army - 15 or 16 when he enlisted and trainjed as a signaller, then went into regular service at the age of 18.  I believe it was also done in the Royal Navy until fairly recently, which as an apprenciteship programme for technical branches makes a deal of sense.  Earlier, of course, it was a way of shifting the cost of maintaining orphans and other wards of the state from social services to the armed services, where presumably they were returning potential value for the money spent.

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