Britain’s 250,000 boy soldiers in World War I


A quarter of a million boy soldiers, some as young as 14, enlisted in World War One by lying about their age. Around 120,000 of them were killed or injured. One 17-year-old was shot for desertion. The government and military — desperate to boost recruitment — turned a blind eye to the thousands of child soldiers sent to the trenches.


46 Responses

  1. VC YT says:

    41:00 – I love that accent.

  2. Jose Castro says:

    god what happened. we have weebos, SJW'S, and triggered feminist while these boy charged straight at a machine gun. where did it all go wrong

  3. Noisy Empire says:

    32:20 Why execute him? Why kill your own men and waist 10 rounds on 1 underage kid when you can easily send him home or leave him to die on the battlefield, save those bullets for the germans, save that kid to fight, killing him yourself is actually counter productive..

  4. WTF DICK TRAFFIC……? Oh Dick Trafford XD

  5. Logan Ratley says:

    The British Army and government have a lot to answer for ALL over the world!!!

  6. so heartbreaking to know how life was over 90 yrs ago

  7. but now we have people bitching about soldiers in the middle east, but you will never see them lining up registering for the military
    patriotism is not like before

  8. Bunnyblood#1 says:

    What is the song called in the background?

  9. David Ryan says:

    I will never forget and I will teach others of this bravery

  10. David Boson says:

    tradition – pre WW1 many units had compulsory facial hair, to ensure you were old enough, to ensure no young boys were in the fighting.

    WW1 – so desperate for bodies to fill the quota for dying – change the rules (tradition).

    tradition now – must be clean shaven = to ensure the young boys can join.

    tradition can be anything you want, or need, and can be changed anytime those in charge want something done or something not done, with reverence beyond necessity.

    pass the port to the right, except when you must pass it to the right. Hat must be flat, hat must be folded up, badge must be on the right, white gloves must be worn, brown gloves must be worn, gay bad, gay good, gay not matter, must be tall, height not matter, must be of good family, don't care where you from, must be over 21, don't care what age.

    tradition is just a myth to make it sound necessary, to give a sense of special, we in the regiment have always had the proud tradition of "insert what ever, the more bizarre the better as it makes us appear special because no one else does it exactly like this"!

    We know people are more willing to go and get killed if they feel they must live up to the proud tradition of dying young – an honorable tradition.

    Now we know that adolescents are not the best fighters, but we know they are easily deceived into making poor long term decisions. Hence why those in-charge are much older and go no where near the fighting – the young are the stupid ones.

  11. Cristian G says:

    My grandfather lied about his age when he joined the Vietnam war. He was 16.

  12. Mike Walrus says:

    And they didn't stop recruiting 15 year olds until the mid to late 60's long after the ending of WW! or WWII

  13. The finest says:

    The most fucked up thing is Germany did the same thing except the Germans knew their age and still allowed them to join those hitler youth were indoctrinated just as these British boys were except in Germany you didn't have to lie.

  14. Jack Hebdon says:

    my granddad lied to gt into that war i was surprised he survived he has past away it was sad

  15. bigrider2806 says:

    Not just the Army , the Navy actively recruited boys in exactly the same fashion as the Army . I joined as a junior rating at 16 in 1975 .Still goes on today . Both my sons joined up at 16 as well .

  16. bigrider2806 says:

    My grandfather was 16 , he even got the tram across the river to join up with a different regiment cause his older brother had joined up at the same time in the local regiment and he knew he stood no chance joining the same regiment as his brother . Its not just about the ones that died , its all the ones that came home broken and ignored . God bless every single one of them , heroes all .

  17. cervezadog says:

    My dad joined the USMC in 1952 when he was 13. Governments just wanted more boots on the ground. If you can pull the trigger and stop a bullet, you were in.

  18. jj gamer says:

    hard to believe this happend

  19. jj gamer says:

    hard to believe how this happens

  20. Sir Nuts says:

    they fight for their country I fight for my donuts

  21. Toxic Gaming says:

    my mistake Austria Hungary declares war on Serbia, Russia mobilizes troops and Germany warns them to stop. So Germany declares war on Russia. Germany also declares war on France and invades Belgium which was neutral and Great Britan delcares war on Germany

  22. Toxic Gaming says:

    Oh and for the record over 9 Million casualties were suffered during the great war and how it started was yes Franz Ferdinand being shot but it was only an excuse because Germany declared war on Serbia, Russia declared war on German to support Serbia, Austria Hungary declared war on Russia, Germany also declared war on France and then Great Britain declared war on Germany to support France. If i'm not correct on this please let me know

  23. Toxic Gaming says:

    In reality, if you were to survive this war, coming home from it was just as bad if not worse then dying. Imagine seeing images of people brutally murdering each other everywhere in no mans land? You'll never be normal again.

  24. Kaden Johns says:

    hold up the yougest soldier in ww1 was about 8 or 9

  25. Lol People were fine with 15 year olds being coal miners but not a soldier!? Like being a miner was better for their health!?

  26. I know just imagine it was ww2 and they were Jews Oh god..

  27. Jairo Gomez says:

    i feel bad for all the parents that lost family members

  28. A Shame These Heroic Boy Soldiers Are Not Remembered By Their Government MissCSA

  29. What show or documentary is this?

  30. Kawaii_Bagel says:

    I'm currently writing a WW1 novel about the trenches and this video is so informative and helpful, particularly towards the fact that one of my soldiers is only a child around fourteen or fifteen (he dies though : ( ) . Also although I've done quite a bit of research already if anyone has any information to offer about the war and the trenches in simple terms I would more than appreciate it!

  31. James says:

    All for nothing

  32. TahrahStar says:

    John Samuel Monksfield, my first cousin 3x removed,  KIA 23rd October, Gallipoli, 1915, he was 17 years old. 1/10th (County of London) Battalion.

  33. because of one bullet changed the course of these young men's lives

  34. super76 says:

    thanks for sharing this interesting story!

  35. Concorde says:

    nowadays we lie our age to get into the nightclub

  36. think how many men have been killed in war and to think feminists think women are poor victims who did the east job of staying home all day not having a real job lol

  37. Why they dont pick up older guys instead of very young?

  38. The sad and shocking horror of war will never cease to beguile humanity; weep for the fallen and the living alike.

  39. Putincommie says:

    if i was the guy in charge of the people goibg to enlist i would be like "no seriously where is your birth certificate"

  40. Back when the Brits were the toughest race in the World.

  41. I wonder how many people actually Older, than the Enlistment age, would present themselves declaring younger ages to Join the Front. Hm.

  42. Mitchell foy says:

    was anyone else crying when edward died

  43. darkball31 says:

    4 weeks in the hospital for serious back Injury?

  44. Something amiss here. I!

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