When war broke out in 1914, no one was more caught up in the popular tide of patriotism than the young boys who wanted to fight for King and country. This is their untold story - the heroics of boys aged as young as thirteen who enlisted for full combat training. Meet, for example, Dick Trafford who was gassed and wounded three times and went over the top with one ear drum burst by the noise of battle before he was just sixteen. At the time their stories were buried in censorship and government control. Now, the last survivors, all well over 100 years old, have their chance to hand down their stories of sacrifice and survival. Drawing on these unique testimonies, as well as diaries and letters, Richard van Emden makes this truly insightful investigation into the perennially affecting topic of children and war.
Richard van Emden has established himself as a leading oral historian, with an exclusive archive specialising in the First World War. He has been interviewing veterans for over20 years, and has met almost 300 on his tours to battlefields, developing close friendships with the last survivors.He has worked as a researcher and historical advisor on a number of television documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4, and is the author of six books.