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Britain's Army of Boys - Young lions led by old donkeys when they should have been in school.

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posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 12:35 PM
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With the 100th anniversary of Britains worst ever military defeat, the "battle" which should actually be called the "massacre" of the Somme, nearly upon us, I stumbled upon this heart rendering video which shows the extent of the British armies willingness to knowling recruit upto 250,000 underaged boys, some as young as 14, into Kitcheners volunteer army.

Nearly all went without their parents consent, or knowingly lied about their age, the war office being complicit in this act and not even bothering to ask for a birth certificate, and many would never live to see their families again.

All went to answer their nations call, to fight the "hun" in a war they'd been told would be over before christmas, a mere 6 months.



I take this personally as this is very close to home for me.

Meet Edward Hudson, a family member.



Edward thought it would be noble thing to heed Kitcheners call, and went willingly to join the colours on the 16th of November 1914.



The problem is, Edward was born in January 1898. He wasn't even 17.

Two years later, Nov, 1916 he's still in the army and he's charged with being absent from parade and given 21 days detention.



The same month, his sister goes to the commanding officer of the East Yorks with Edwards's birth certificate, finally giving word that the young man is actually, MUCH younger then he says he is and requesting his discharge.

However if you look in the last coloumn, he wasn't sent home, they simply moved him to ANOTHER battalion, until he was "upto standards of 18 3/4 years of age"



I'm not really sure hat happend, but it appears they let him go and he went on to live until 1959.

I have 9 family members that died in either France o Gallipoli during the war.

In this link we have the story of Sydney Lewis , who is officialy the armies youngest WW1 sign up atthe age of 12.

The list is endless.

A Mrs Evans, found out her son had joined up and was in France. She later informed the war department that he was underage, she later recieved a letter from the regiments CO -

"‘Mrs Evans,
In reply to your letter of 11 July I know your son quite well as he often does work as a messenger and is quite an exceptionally intelligent man: I am astonished to hear that he is so young. He looks up to the standard of a 19 or 20 year old. I can hardly think that he ought to be discharged as under age being so physically big and strong.
The rule is that if the man or boy is up to the work he stays whether he is under age or not.’

So, he stayed up..we don't know his fate.

Its absolutely disgusting that the war department was complicant in the recruitment of a quarter of a million boys to fill the trenches.

Even worse some fathers SENT their own blood to be spilt on the fields of France.

Rudyard Kipling sent his only son John to join up at 16, but as his eyesight was bad, he was rejected, however, Kipling having friends, pulled one or two and got him a commision in the 2nd Btn Irish Guards, where later he was reported as being "missing in action".

Kipling searched for him but he was never found. He then wrote the deeply self scathing -

"If any ask us why we died, tell them because our fathers lied".

Numerous boys of 16 years old were also executed by firing squad for desertion after breakdowns and leaving the trenches.

Until the present day the British War Office, and today's Ministry of Defence, maintain that soldiers who enlisted underage during the First World War, had only themselves to blame if their conduct caused them to be court martialled and sentenced to death.
Furthermore the MOD states that the contemporary age of criminal responsibility was 14 and that in civilian courts these young men could also have been sentenced to death for a capital offence.

Does anyone else here on ATS have similar stories of familiy who served underage?

I cannot believe that the MOD still takes the stance it does and is unwilling to accept responsibility for what it did.
edit on PM5Fri20151972 by andy1972 because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 12:59 PM
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a reply to: andy1972

If this world doesn't give them life they deserved, I hope the afterlife does. Too many people have died for a war that was clearly for fun and profit to the bankers.



posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 01:04 PM
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Quite the sad affair for all countries involved. WW1 was the "War to end all Wars" as they said and in one way it was - it showed how war could not possibly become any worse. There's been a rash of movies lately romanticizing the war but then again no film could ever capture the sheer terror, misery, filth and boredom that trench warfare was. It's incredible to think that there were battles where tens of thousands of men and boys would be killed or wounded in a single day. The Somme lasted for several months and in total over a million casualties were incurred on both sides. The Somme was not the only battle in WW1 to reach such incredible casualty figures either.

100 years ago child labor was still common in the West and sending them off to war wasn't much of dilemma to society at the time. Winning the Great War was first in the minds of all but the parents who lived in fear every day of their sons not coming home.

This is a most appropriate time to discuss war as not is it not only the 100th anniversary of WW1 but the 150th of the end of the American Civil War, which in many ways foreshadowed WW1 with the invention of the centerfire cartridge, trench warfare, rapid fire weapons, aerial observation (balloons), steel-plated ships, submarines and more. The tragedy of both wars was the failure to adapt infantry tactics to the changes in firepower. For over 2,000 years battles were won by massing men on the field and overwhelming your enemy. Lining men in rows did nothing but make convenient targets for machine guns and artillery and was the demise of millions of young men. If anything "good" can be said about WW2 it is that trench warfare was abandoned.
edit on 3-4-2015 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 01:16 PM
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a reply to: Asktheanimals

What I find the saddest part of all this is, is that they went willingly to answer their countries call thinking they would change the world.

Young boys full of the bright eyed enthusiasm that only inexperience of life can give.

Bearing all that in mind, the fact that the MOD, 100 years later can still face the world and say "Well, it was their own bloody fault for signing up, wasn't it." is absolutely abhorent and a clear show of the lack of humanity which pervades the military.



posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 01:25 PM
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The sad part of war is it uses up young men. My platoon in Viet Nam was manned by 18-19 year old kids. The platoon sergeant and I were the old men of the group. The sergeant was 27 and I was 21. The surprising part was they all did a very good job in all situations. Sadly, I lost three soldier during that year including my platoon sergeant.



posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 01:45 PM
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a reply to: andy1972

Another travesty is the number of soldiers who where executed for " Desertion"

In fact most where suffering from " Shell Shock " or psychological conditions caused by the trauma of battle.



posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 02:15 PM
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originally posted by: alldaylong
a reply to: andy1972

Another travesty is the number of soldiers who where executed for " Desertion"

In fact most where suffering from " Shell Shock " or psychological conditions caused by the trauma of battle.






As I have just found out..in 2006 the MOD pardoned all 306 soldiers executed for the offences of desertion and disobedience.
edit on PM5Fri20151972 by andy1972 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 02:35 PM
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Unbelievable what national pride meant to those young boys back then, To even give their lives. Not today, the pride has dwindled and been split between two political sides, who actually are all in it together. We've been duked, and we'd better wake up to it quickly.



posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 03:30 PM
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Back then even the sons of nobility and the wealthy joined the fight. Somehow that single fact helped to bridge the gap between the classes. Today? How many Congressmen sent their sons off to fight? You could probably count them on one hand. Vietnam was a sham to me in that college students were ineligible for the draft. Did that somehow make their lives more valuable? Oh right, back then it was mostly the wealthy who sent their sons to college.



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 09:18 AM
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originally posted by: Asktheanimals
Back then even the sons of nobility and the wealthy joined the fight. Somehow that single fact helped to bridge the gap between the classes. Today? How many Congressmen sent their sons off to fight? You could probably count them on one hand. Vietnam was a sham to me in that college students were ineligible for the draft. Did that somehow make their lives more valuable? Oh right, back then it was mostly the wealthy who sent their sons to college.


And sings - "It aint me, it aint me, I aint no senators son no no, it aint me, it aint me, I aint no fortunate one..etc etc".

A bullet doesn't distinguish between age or social rank.
But the fact Britain willing and knowingly sent so many boys of 14 to 17 to be butchered wholesale still sickens.

Makes one Wonder how long that actually went on for, the lost generation maybe wasn't just one generation.. But two.
edit on AM6Sat20151972 by andy1972 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 10:38 AM
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originally posted by: Asktheanimals
Back then even the sons of nobility and the wealthy joined the fight. Somehow that single fact helped to bridge the gap between the classes. Today? How many Congressmen sent their sons off to fight? You could probably count them on one hand. Vietnam was a sham to me in that college students were ineligible for the draft. Did that somehow make their lives more valuable? Oh right, back then it was mostly the wealthy who sent their sons to college.


Yes, it made them think that which is prevalent today! Some of my coworkers/supervisors during my working career demonstrated the entitled mentality from being exempted from military service. The one thing that I found funny is they were always intimidated by my skills picked up while in the military but never would say it.

After my reserve unit was called up for the first gulf war and when I returned to my civilian job I was asked some very ugly questions about my service. They wanted to hear all the gore. Then they treating me differently and making comments about being a murderer though I flew an unarmed observation plane. Not all were so inclined to react this way only the more affluent and educationally indoctrinated.



posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 09:31 AM
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a reply to: andy1972

Although you're right in how tragic this situation is, the fact is is that it was a different time. Morals were not the same as they are today. As someone else mentioned, children were not viewed as they are today. Because of this divide, you can't really judge the morals of that time according to the morals of our time. If that makes sense


Yeah, back then shell shock wasn't understood. They believed it was due to weakness or spinelessness. Only the most-severe cases were allowed to go home. Mainly they were sent to hospitals to get better before being returned to the front line. And that's probably where the desertions came in. What's also a travesty is how mental illnesses were viewed back then too in general. Officials were trying to do the best that they could with what little information and knowledge they had to go by at that time. They weren't trying to do wrong by anyone--quite the opposite, in fact. Hindsight is a powerful thing.

But they couldn't have possibly known how their actions would lead to so many needless deaths. They heavily underestimated the Axis powers.
edit on 5-4-2015 by rukia because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 09:35 AM
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I would not call the somme a defeat, at least not our worse one,

We achieved one of our man objectives which was to help take the pressure from verdun.


Our worse deafet was likely in singapore against the japanese
edit on 5-4-2015 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)

edit on 5-4-2015 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 09:42 AM
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originally posted by: andy1972
a reply to: Asktheanimals

What I find the saddest part of all this is, is that they went willingly to answer their countries call thinking they would change the world.

Young boys full of the bright eyed enthusiasm that only inexperience of life can give.

Bearing all that in mind, the fact that the MOD, 100 years later can still face the world and say "Well, it was their own bloody fault for signing up, wasn't it." is absolutely abhorent and a clear show of the lack of humanity which pervades the military.



Well they was no internet and no ATS to show them tne whole war was bollocks.


They only had heavly censored goverment propaganda.



I had a great grandfather on the otherside in the german army.
They got fed the same BS the brits did.



posted on Apr, 5 2015 @ 09:45 AM
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originally posted by: Asktheanimals
Back then even the sons of nobility and the wealthy joined the fight. Somehow that single fact helped to bridge the gap between the classes. Today? How many Congressmen sent their sons off to fight? You could probably count them on one hand. Vietnam was a sham to me in that college students were ineligible for the draft. Did that somehow make their lives more valuable? Oh right, back then it was mostly the wealthy who sent their sons to college.



Worse were the champaign units people like bush served in.






For all its faults at least in medievil europe the nobles and kings were not only expected to fight but fight in armor at the very front.



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