Kitchener's Lost Boys : From The Playing Fields to The Killing Fields, Hardback

Kitchener's Lost Boys : From The Playing Fields to The Killing Fields Hardback

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


In the early days of the First World War, Lord Kitchener made his famous appeal for volunteers to join the New Army.

Men flocked to recruiting offices to enlist, and on some days tens of thousands of potential soldiers responded to his call.

Men had to be at least eighteen years old to join up, and nineteen to serve overseas, but in the flurry of activity many younger boys came to enlist: some were only thirteen or fourteen.

Many were turned away, but a lot were illegally signed up, and at least 250,000 under-age boys found themselves fighting for King and Country in the First World War.

In this groundbreaking new book, John Oakes delves into the complex history of Britain's youngest Great War recruits.

Focusing on a school cricket team, all eleven of whom volunteered, he reveals why boys joined up, what their experiences were and how they survived to endure a lifetime of memories.

For those who didn't, an unknown grave awaited. In some cases, their mothers never knew what had become of their children.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 192 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: The History Press Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General & world history
  • ISBN: 9780752449302



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Interesting book covering how and why the British forces in WWI had so many 'boy soldiers'. These are defined to be soldiers, volunteers, who were underaged. Even though there was an official age limit on volunteering for the army, this regulation was blatantly overlooked. There were numerous reasons for this violation: manpower needs, economic reasons, social pressure,public school traditions, and general patriotism. Thils book delves into each of these and more. I found it a worthwhile read.The reason I gave it only 3 1/2 stars is that on occasion the author goes in tangents which are not really related to the topic. Also, I question some of the assertions he makes regarding the war in general. However, these do not seriously detract from the work. It remains in my opinoin a worthwhile study. Recommended for those with an interest in the Great War, particularly with a view to the British forces.One question came to mind......Germany also tended to conscript 'boy soldiers', particularly toward the end of the war. I would be interested in hearing about any books on that subject........

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