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South London's ‘Age-Fudgers’: Kitchener's Under-Age volunteers

Durey, M. (2015) South London's ‘Age-Fudgers’: Kitchener's Under-Age volunteers. The London Journal, 40 (2). pp. 147-170.

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This article examines the numerous adolescents, many from the South London boroughs of Lewisham and Deptford, who lied about their age when joining the 11th (Lewisham) Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment in 1915. It focuses on their motivations for enlisting underage, highlighting the ‘push’ effects of particular features of working-class family life and the local labour market and the ‘pull’ effects of army recruitment policies and the increasing militarization of society as the war proceeded. Despite a minority causing the army major problems during the period of training, most of them conformed to military discipline and became useful recruits. Parents’ objections to the enlistment of their sons were muted, at least until the battalion was sent overseas in May 1916, after which the army authorities tried, not always successfully, to keep the under-aged out of the firing line.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Copyright: © 2015 W. S. Maney & Son Ltd
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