Boy Soldiers

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by AutumnDawnHutton
Last updated 8 years ago

Social Studies
World War I

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Boy Soldiers

Boy Soldiers in WW1

How Parents Felt


Sidney Lewis

On the left of this photo is a small clipping of Sidney Lewis in the mirror News. On the right is a letter to Lewis' mom after she informed the war office of Sidneys Real age

Many wondered how so many underaged soldiers managed to make it across. The answer is simple, The need for money. Recruitment officers were paid per recruit, so this made it easy for them to turn a blind eye to these underaged boys. "If they were fit and wanted to fight why stop them?" The minimum size for a man to be fit was about the same size as an average 16 year old boy. The minimum was 5 ft 3" and they had to have a 34 inch chest size. One in five underaged boys were sent home, yet it was confirmed that 250,000 boys fought in the war.

How Boy Soldiers Felt

I havent found any solid evidence stating how these soldiers felt in the war. Most of these boys died but some made it through. I believe that before the war they felt strong and had a lot of pride. Once they got to the war a realized how dangerous it was they became scared and worried for their lives. Being a teenager myself i've felt those kind of feelings, of coarse it wasnt because i tried to get into the war, but its still the same sort of thing. Feeling confident and a little cocky about something, then once it comes along you feel scared and volnerable. For the ones who survived the war, I believe they probably felt relieved and a little happy, they felt that same pride they had before the war. Some of these boys even went back to fight in WW2

Some Parents were very Worried when they realized that their sons were either trying to or were fighting in the war. But for some parents, such as Sidneys, it took them a while to contact the war office in order to get their sons back. These parents then created a plea for peace so that their boys would stop trying to fight in the war.On the other hand, Some parents helped their children get into the war. Because of poverty parents helped get their sons into war so that it would be one less mouth to feed. Pride also clouded their judgement. Parents were proud to know that their sons would be fighting in the war and helping to serve their country.


Some Boys Who Fought

Several Boy soldiers claimed that posters were part of their motivation to join the war. Posters that emphasize the word YOU caught everybodies attention, but caught the eye of most boy soldiers who joined. They believed that the poster was talking to them in a way. They fit the role so why couldnt they join?Some say that the desire for adventure encouraged these boys. Young fit men wanted the adventure, they wanted to be part of something bigger, something meaningful. And to add on to this adventure was the thought of being a rebel, breaking the law and lieing to be part of this adventure. Reading the information about boy soldiers I believe that pride played a major role as a motivater. Teenage boys felt victorious and strong fighting in the war. They fought for something they loved, and for their country. Knowing this, and having this feeling of being strong and victorious builds on their pride, making it easier for them to join and fight.

-Winnie McClaire,17, was from Mount Uniacke NS. He fought in the 24th battalion and survived Vimey Ridge but died 5 weeks later. -Willie Dailey,14, was from Gananoque ON. He fought in the 4th Battalion but was killed on the Somme.-Eric Parlee,15, was from Saint Johns NB. He died in December of 1915.-Bill Barrett,15, was from Fort Langly BC. He fought in the 7th Battalion and survived, but there is no information on what happened to him after the war.-David Waldron,16, was from Toronto ON. He fought in the 58th Battalion and survived. I could not find information about him after war either.-Sidney Lewis,12, uncertain of where he is from. He fought frontline in the battle of the Somme. He survived and made it to the second world war where he was a bomb disposer. He then became a police man and later ran a pub in Frant, Sussex

This song was written in 1915 as part of the plea for peace.


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