Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Britains Boy Soldiers

I intend to write a little more on this later, but I just watched a documentary on the history channel about underage boys who signed up and served in the British army in World War 1. I highly recommend seeing it as it's an amazing documentary and the subject matter (I found) is really moving.

It's hard to imagine that so many of these underage boys, some as young as a mere 14 years old, would want to sign up and join a brutal pointless war of attrition where nobody really actually won. Out of what, you would have to imagine, would possess someone of that age to want to join into the military? Some sense of patriotism that they would serve their country in a glorious war (that turned into nothing more than a meat grinder)? Worst of all, was that with the high attrition rate on British forces in France, many of them were simply 'coerced' into joining the army and often without their parents knowledge. Possibly the most inhuman aspect of it (to me) was that the British army knew that many of their supposed 'soldiers' were underage and just pretended to ignore the problem.

I knew before that in both World Wars underage boys had served in the military by lying about their age, but I had no idea that so many underage boys served in World War 1 and just how young some of them could get. Well worth viewing this documentary if you can catch it on the history channel or similar in future.