HC Deb 22 June 1915 vol 72 cc1043-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that numbers of lads between the ages of fifteen and seventeen have for patriotic reasons enlisted in the New Armies, making a false declaration of their ages; whether, seeing this is well known to the responsible authorities, he will say why the War Office permits lads of these ages to be recruited; whether he will instruct the recruiting officers to call for birth certificates in the cases of all young lads who desire to enlist; and will he dismiss any recruiting officer who enlists lads under the age laid down by the Regulations?


The lowest age at which a man may be accepted for the Regular Army is nineteen. If any doubt exists as to the age of a recruit when he presents himself, the examining medical officer is referred to. If the medical officer is in doubt, the recruiting officer is required to make full inquiries before finally approving the recruit. I am afraid that the suggestion that every recruit-should produce his birth certificate is impracticable. The Regulations give the parents of any lad below seventeen who has enlisted a right to claim his discharge.