After the outbreak of the First World War, boys as young as twelve were caught up in a national wave of patriotism and, in huge numbers, volunteered to serve. The press, recruiting offices and the Government all contributed to the enlistment of hundreds of thousands of underage soldiers in both Britain and the Empire. Having falsified their ages upon joining up, many broke down under the strain and were returned home, while others fought on and were even awarded medals for gallantry.
Richard van Emden, who has interviewed over 270 veterans of the Great War and has written twelve books on the subject, joins Dan on the podcast. They discuss the unknown stories of boys who served in the bloodiest battles of the war, fighting at Ypres, the Somme and on Gallipoli.