I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier

From a WWI-era advertisement

A recent article in the News Guardian has stirred discussion again in the World War I online community about underage soldiers.  Tens of thousands of underage soldiers served in every army during the First World War.  It’s true that as the war ground on, all the belligerents grew desperate for fresh troops, and some of them were very fresh faces.

Here’s a young German:

Photo taken from drakegoodman on Flickr.com

And here’s a young Brit:

Somebody tell me these babies are not combat soldiers.

This is not really a poilu wearing a captured helmet, just a little French kid wearing someone else’s souvenir:

A French child wears a helmet taken from collection posted at Flickr.com by Peter Laurent

This young fellow enlisted at age 17 by persuading a recruiter that there was no such thing as a birth certificate where he came from.

He not only survived the war, he survived nearly everyone else:  The baby face belongs to Frank Buckles, America’s Last Doughboy, who died one year ago today, at the age of 110.

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