Skip to comments.Soldier aged 13 fought at Somme for six weeks before mother showed War Office his birth certificate
Posted on 11/11/2013 7:08:42 AM PST by the scotsman
'A 13-year-old boy who ran away to join up fought on the front line in the First World War until his mother sent his birth certificate to the War Office and pleaded that he should be sent home.
Sidney Lewis, who has been recognised as Britain's youngest soldier to serve in the Great War, enlisted with the East Surrey Regiment in August 1915, five months after his 12th birthday, and was fighting on the Somme by the age of 13.
But within weeks he was ordered home to his mother, Fanny Lewis, in Tooting, south London, after she told officials he was too young to fight and should be sent back.
Stories about the child fighting on the frontline were printed in papers at the time, but they were never corroborated until now.
This weekend the Imperial War Museum in London declared Private Lewis the youngest authenticated fighting soldier after examining papers provided by his only son, Colin.
The bundle included Sidney's birth certificate and letters from the War Office to his mother promising he would be sent home immediately.'
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Obama would still be there...
Only in England.
Here, a fanny is:
a—slang for a lady’s, erm, front bottom.
b—slang for a useless moron.
I knew that. I lived just outside London for awhile (Edgware, Essex). From an American perspective, it was ‘adolescently’ amusing. Not to diminish what this fellow did by any means.
A bump for King and Country to the brave young man from what little Brit is left in me after 10+ generations in the free colonies. Happy Armistice Day!
Somme, battle of the, 1916. When he became commander-in-chief, Haig wanted to advance from Ypres to liberate the Belgian coast. However, the allies had already concerted their operations for 1916, so he agreed to take part in an Anglo-French offensive further south, astride the river Somme, where the British and French armies met. This was part of a plan by which each of the allied armies would attack simultaneously and compel the Germans to sue for peace by Christmas 1916. Haig hoped that he would break through the German defences in a single day. But despite a lengthy bombardment, when his infantry advanced on 1 July, they suffered nearly 60,000 casualties and only dented the German line. The battle continued until mid-November, by which time the British had suffered approximately 400,000 casualties and advanced a maximum of only 8 miles.
On the first day of the battle, 20,000 British soldiers were killed, and around 40,000 were taken as prisoners of war or wounded quite badly.
Here is the youngest American male to serve in WWII: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvin_Graham
Don't expect to see many English names in England 50 years from now.
I have a WW1 era German “pickel” helmet that is so small it must certainly have been worn by a child. It has a big dent right in the front of it that looks like it came from a butt stroke.
There was a great article in the May VFW magazine this past year of all the boy soldiers who served in the Civil War. In the article it talked about one boy (I can’t remember his name) who was only around 14 or 15 and won the medal of honor. Pretty impressive....
They don’t call Germans “squareheads” for nothing. Most WWI or WWII German helmets I’ve seen seem quite small.
That dented pickelhaube was made of leather & the M1916 `stahlhelm’ partially solved the problem.
My father-in-law went into the Royal Merchant Marines at 14 in 1939.
It’s steel with leather straps inside and the metal spike on top. I used to wear it when I was a child 30 some years ago while playing in grandma and grandpa’s attic. It would fall off my head if I put it on today as it would just be sitting on top of my head and my head isn’t especially large. I can’t imagine that this helmet was worn by an adult man.
Four of my family, on both sides, were in that. Two to the Arctic, two to the Malta run. Horrendous.
When you check out the Daily Mail page on this kid, click on the hotlink to the story about the Belgian Army team that deals with WW1 shells being discovered almost daily.
Mustard, phosgene, HE and more. Plenty of good pics as well.
Grandpa was gassed at 2nd Ypers and my Great Uncle was wounded 2 hours before the armistice. They both said the war sucked but nothing sucked worse than the Battery Acid Limey tea.