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Synopsis

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

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