In March 2013, I wrote a blog focusing on the case of my maternal great-grandfather, Ernest Butterworth, who voluntarily enlisted in the Army Reserve in December 1915 at the age of 38.
This time, Iâm shifting attention to my paternal side, specifically my grandmotherâs first cousin, James Stanley Crossley. On 20 June 1911, heÂ enlisted as a boy soldier in the Territorial Force (TF), a volunteer reserve component of the British Army.
The TF was established under the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, and was essentially a home defence force for service during wartime. James Stanley was with the West Riding Military band and played the clarinet. He was attached to the 1/4 West Riding Regiment (Duke of Wellingtonâs Regiment) on 20 June 1911. His age is listed as 14 years 0 months; in fact he had just turned 12, and measured 4ft 9 Âœ in height with a 30Â inÂ girth. His father was witness to the information supplied; he was also in the TF, aged 36.
The number of boy soldiers recruited would substantially fall after the Battle of the Somme when conscription was brought in and recruits had to provide proof of age. Continue reading »