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DateOriginal Topic
13th August 2005Boys to Privates
By Dawn
Because of the book I'm writing, I am aware of the boys in the 24th and like most people have been under the impression that there were only 2 in 2/24th, Boy Gordon and Boy McEwan. However, I appear to have found a third. In the times of 17th March 1879, amongst the list of dead drawn up by Chelsmford, he lists one Boy Gurney. i eagerly consulted 'The Noble 24th' to see where he was listed and he is there but listed as a private. He enlisted in 20 Dec 1877 (just before xmas - did he have a fight with his parents?) and his age given as 15 which meant he would have been 16 at the time of the battle. Its strange to me that he would have been a private at 16 before Daniel Gordon who had enlisted at 13 in 1875 and who was also 16. Also he would have had little training if he left in February 1878 with the rest of the regiment. And they couldn't become privates before the age of 18, I thought. Comments anyone?
13th August 2005Paul Cubbin
My wife's Great Grandfather fought at Ypres after signing up aged 14! Of course, this wasn't his official age, maybe the limits were different 40 years before.
13th August 2005Martin Everett
You cannot take rhe information given on the Medal Roll as gospel. The battalion and company clerks did make many mistakes. Research to produce a degree of accuracy particularly for the boys/men that were killed is very time comsuming as their service papers have not survived. It means trawling through the pay and muster rolls. Norman Holme took 35 years to achieve the Noble 24th - yet others glibling quote it without consider the hard work it took to compile the information. It is still correct that boys became privates at age 18 years. And that boys pay was half adult pay.
13th August 2005Mike McCabe
Yet from, imperfect, memory did not the historical records of the 24th/SWB by Paton, Glennie, PS and Others record boys killed at Isandlwana from both Bns of 24th?
13th August 2005Dawn
Don't get me wrong, The Noble 24th is outstanding book with incredible detail which must have taken time to cross reference. I was intrigued with the thought that there could be further 'boys' in the battle. And whether they could become privates before the age of 18 but you've clarified that for me. Perhaps the enlistment date is incorrect as I'm sure he would not have been sent to a foreign country with less than two months training.
14th August 2005Mike McCabe
Norris Newman transcribes a casualty list from Isandlwana that includes a 'Boy' thought to be a soldier servant or orderly to Surgeon Shepherd.
14th August 2005Dawn
Yes, he's listed as Green, servant to surgeon Shepherd.
15th August 2005Julian whybra
Green was the son of Shepherd's waiter at his club and Shepherd promised to make a man of him for the father. I've tried all manner of means without success to trace this man's (boy's) identity.