George Coppard of Great Britain was sixteen when he joined the Royal West Surrey
Regiment on 27 August 1914.
Although I seldom saw a newspaper, I knew about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
at Sarajevo. News placards screamed out at every street corner, and military bands blared
out their martial music in the main streets of Croydon. This was too much for me to resist,
and as if drawn by a magnet, I knew I had to enlist straight away. I presented myself to the
recruiting sergeant at Mitcham Road Barracks, Croydon. There was a steady stream of
men, mostly working types, queuing to enlist. The sergeant asked me my age, and when
Clear off son. Come back tomorrow and see if you're nineteen, eh? So I turned
up again the next day and gave my age as nineteen. I attested in a batch of a dozen others
and, holding up my right hand, swore to fight for King and Country. The sergeant winked as
he gave me the
plus one shilling and ninepence ration money for that day.
What did the recruiting sergeant tell George Coppard when he gave his true age? Why?
What did George do the next day? Was it actually his birthday? Explain.
Should boys under the age of eighteen be allowed to serve in the military? Why or why not?