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Boy Soldiers in the First World War

John Simkin

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I went to see the great Flossie Malavialle last night. This included a performance of the song John Condon, a soldier who was killed at the age of 14 during the First World War. When she introduced it she suggested that the composers might have made a mistake as Wikipedia is claiming he was really 18.

This morning I checked the details of his death on the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website. The CWGC confirmed he died at the age of 14. According to the Waterford News & Star (7th November, 2003) he was even younger as he “had not yet reached his 14th birthday when he was killed on the fields of Flanders in Southern Belgium.”


It seems there is a campaign on Wikipedia to undermine his claims to be the youngest soldier to die in the First World War. I suspect this is for political reasons. As the Waterford News & Star points out: “Even today, in Waterford City, John Condon's memory is largely forgotten and recent attempts to erect a monument to his memory were met with opposition from some who still cannot see fit to remember those Irishmen who died wearing a British uniform.”

For more information on this subject see "Boy Soldiers in the First World War".


If you want more information on Flossie Malavialle see:


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