Canada's Boy Soldiers in the First World War
BETWEEN 15,000 AND 20,000 UNDERAGE YOUTHS, some as young as ten, signed up to fight in Canada's armed forces in the First World War. They served in the trenches alongside their elders, and fought in all the major battles: Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, and Passchendaele. Many suffered physical and/or psychological wounds. Many died. Old Enough To Fight uses meticulously researched text along with photographs, paintings, and a collection of specially commissioned maps to tell their story.
Moments before zero hour, Archie Brown, who was a section commander, slithered out of his shallow trench to await the signal. It was just daylight when he looked back and noticed a familiar face among the smudge of men ready to attack. There, big as can be, was an underage soldier he had met while with the Young Soldiers Battalion in England. "He was fat, round-faced, chubby and very serious. I looked back and we both grinned at each other...." Just as he got above the lip of the trench, a shell--fired from an Allied gun further back--caught Brown's young friend in the back.
"He just more or less disintegrated."
Halifax Chronicle-Herald wrote:
"Perhaps the greatest strength of Old Enough To Fight is that these stories may resonate deeply with today's youth and help them to connect with the war of one hundred years ago." Tim Cook, Canada's History Magazine
Atlantic Books Today wrote:
"Old Enough To Fight grips the imagination by its vivid portrayal of the youngsters through whose eyes one sees unimaginable conditions on the Western Front."--Halifax Chronicle-Herald
"The boys' backgrounds are fully developed, and their testimony is skillfully woven into the bloody battles and routine horrors of trench warfare. The human element extends the book's appeal to readers beyond those whose interest is primarily military...destined to be an immediate success."--Atlantic Books Today.