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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.”

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=491331

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".

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWboy.htm

If you want more information on Flossie Malavialle see:

http://www.flossie-malavialle.co.uk/

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