From Classroom to Battlefield: Victoria High School and the First World War

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The locomotive nameplates read: 'Harry Patch The last survivor of the trenches' and included a coloured line of all eight ribbons from the medals awarded to Patch.

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Harry Patch's portrait, painted from life by the artist Bill Leyshon, was commissioned by the Western Daily Press in and is now in the collections of Somerset Museums Service, Taunton. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the composer, see Harry Partch. St Michael's Church, Monkton Combe.

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Lance corporal Private after demotion. First World War. Ada Billington m. BBC News. Retrieved 5 January First World War in the News. Retrieved 9 July Retrieved 14 March Images of census pages available by subscription on findmypast. University of Bristol. Retrieved 22 July The Last Fighting Tommy. At this point we weren't attached to any regiment, although before we joined the 33rd I wore several different regimental cap badges, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment being one, so I must have been shifted around.

The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 October Retrieved 24 July Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 July Retrieved 3 April The Daily Telegraph. The Western Front Association. Archived from the original on 22 February Retrieved 7 March Archived from the original on 8 March Retrieved 8 March Archived from the original on 7 August Retrieved 8 August Retrieved 29 October The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November New York Festivals.


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Retrieved 5 May The National Archives. Retrieved 9 March Retrieved 23 September Bath Chronicle. Retrieved 13 August Retrieved 29 December BBC Bristol. Retrieved 25 September Press release. Guinness World Records. Retrieved 26 February Retrieved 26 July BBC Somerset News. Retrieved 28 July To bring men forward safely for the assault, engineers dug deep tunnels from the rear to the front.

Despite this training and preparation, the key to victory would be a devastating artillery barrage that would not only isolate enemy trenches, but provide a moving wall of high explosives and shrapnel to force the Germans to stay in their deep dugouts and away from their machine-guns. In the week leading up to the battle, Canadian and British artillery pounded the enemy positions on the ridge, killing and tormenting defenders. New artillery tactics allowed the gunners to first target, then destroy enemy positions.

A nearly limitless supply of artillery shells and the new fuse, which allowed shells to explode on contact, as opposed to burying themselves in ground, facilitated the destruction of hardened defences and barbed wire. The Canadian infantry would be well supported when it went into battle with over 1, artillery pieces laying down withering, supportive fire. Attacking together for the first time, the four Canadian divisions stormed the ridge at am on 9 April More than 15, Canadian infantry overran the Germans all along the front. Incredible bravery and discipline allowed the infantry to continue moving forward under heavy fire, even when their officers were killed.

The youngest soldiers of France rushed the machine-guns, at no matter what loss, emptied their magazines into the crowded trenches, and then jumped in and fought with the bayonet. Eton boys ready for war. The story goes that under-age youths wishing to enlist during the war used to write the number eighteen on a piece of paper placed into the sole of their shoe.

This was done in order to deceive the enrollment officer when asked if they were over The British army resisted any suggestion that recruits prove their age by producing their birth certificates when enlisting. It was a scandal which provoked complaints in Parliament. The army eventually allowed underage soldiers to be reclaimed by their parents. According to populair belief the youngest boy to enlist in the allied armies was John Condon from Waterford, Ireland. He was supposedly 12 years old. He died on 24th May , during a German gas-attack near Ypres.

His gravestone picture on the right , nr. Investigations in by Aurel Sercu from Ypres, Flanders, revealed that someone else may be buried in John Condon's grave. Sercu also found indications that John Condon was in fact 18 years old. Nowadays we look different upon kid-soldiers than we did during that war. This picture shows a French corporal proudly posing for the camera.

French and allied newspapers brought the picture and without any reserve told the public that the boy had joined the army when he was 14 years old, that he was wounded and that he had won the French Cross of War. Another example of how newspapers and magazines presented young boys as fullgrown warriors. The boy in the middle is '15 years old hero' Edouard Mina from Lyon, France. Edouard is an orphan. His 'adoption-parents' next to him call him Petite Bleu , little blue, because of his blue pants that every French poilu common soldier wears.

England found a boy hero in Jack Cornwall, ship boy on board of the light cruiser HMS Chester, where he served as a sight-setter.

In the chaos one gun kept firing at the Germans. It was manned by Jack Cornwall, aged 16 years and 4 months. Jack was mortually wounded but kept on firing until he died. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Newspapers and magazines took possession of the boy. See the drawing on the right. Young American sailor. In the USA enlisting of underage boys was an old custom.

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It went on until the early fifties of the last century. The VUMS was formed in Frank Woodruff Buckles enlisted in the American army at age 16 in He is still alive and one of the oldest veterans in the world. During his summer vacation from school he went to the Marine Corps recruiting office to enlist, told them he was 21, but he was turned down: too small.

He tried the Navy: too flatfooted. He then went to the Army and they accepted him. In France he served at several locations. After Armistice Day he was assigned to a prisoner-of-war escort company to return prisoners back to Germany. In World War II, while working for a steamship company in the Philippine Islands, the Japanese army seized him and he stayed in a prisoner-of-war camp for more than three years. Mansfield was a son of Irish immigrants.

A history of Vic High — and the horrors of war

In , fourteen years old, he quit school and tried to enlist in the armed forces, but he was turned down. He then went to the Catholic church where he had been baptized, obtained a copy of his birth certificate, and forged it to show that he was born a few years earlier. With these papers he was accepted in the Navy and he crossed the Atlantic seven times before officers discovered he was underage and discharged him. After the war he worked in copper mines. Then, at the instigation of his wife who was a teacher , he took high school.

Then followed university. He became a professor in Far Eastern history and went into politics. He served 34 years in Congress, 24 of those in the Senate Democrats. Michael Joseph Mansfield died on 5 October He was 98 years old. He never told much about his time in the war. Crownprince Leopold of Belgium, 14 years old.

King Albert introduced the boy to his fellow-soldiers on the Northsea beach of De Panne. The king said he did not want any preferential treatment for his son. He has to know how it feels to have blisters on his hands. The largest part of Belgium was occupied by German forces and many Belgians collaborated. One month later, in May , the young soldier already served in the frontline. Shells exploded in his trench, but he was not harmed. Although every country had underage solders in their army, the propaganda often used enemy boy soldiers to prove how weak the foe was.

This picture of captured German soldiers was published in America in Leslie's Weekly with the following caption: Boy Prisoners Taken By The French - It has been said wars are fought by boys and military experts agree that the best soldiers are men in their early twenties, but a glance at these youthful prisoners convinces one that Germany is drawing soldiers from among the fifteen and sixteen year old boys of the empire to fill the places of the thousands of older men killed or captured.

Official picture of the French War Office. Famous picture of the surrender of a young German soldier. The boy climbs out of his shelter and gives himself up to a Scotch soldier. Young disabled soldiers at the Fourth London General Hospital. A child - so wasted and so white. The British nurse Eva Dobell wrote poems on some of her patients. One poem in particular - Pluck - is about a young soldier, crippled, 17 years old. Click the picture to read that poem.

Left: boy-soldier who met death in a flooded trench. Even today romantic stories go around about young soldiers in the Great War.


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  5. Subject of this book is the short life of private Jim Martin right , at 14 officially the youngest Australian serviceman to die at Gallipoli , Turkey. As so many others the boy fibbed about his age to join up. When Jim's father was rejected for military service, the 5'6" lad said: "Never mind dad, I'll go instead". He told the recruiting officers that he was Jim landed with his battalion on Gallipoli on 8 September.

    He wrote to his family that the Turks are "still about 70 yards away from us" and asked them not to worry about him, "as I am doing splendid over here". But on 25 October he was evacuated to an hospital ship suffering from typhoid fever caught in the trenches. He died of heart failure that evening. Alec Campbell right was another Australian boy who lied about his age. He enlisted as a year-old. He remembered an "incredible hail of bullets" on landing at Gallipoli, where he was set to work ferrying water in the trenches, sleeping in a "cold, damp hole in the ground".

    Six weeks later he was too sick with enteric fever to fight and he was invalided home.

    Alec Campbell died in Hobart, Australia, on 16 May He was years old. Left: Boy-soldier lying dead in a ditch. Siegfried Sassoon wrote: "As I stepped over one of the Germans an impulse made me lift him up from the miserable ditch.

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