The First World War affected the youngest of civilians. Children across Britain rallied to do their bit by working in war factories, turning their schools fields into allotments to help provide food or as boy scouts and girl guides taking up extra responsibilites working as coast guards or helping the MI5. 

The secret messengers of WW1

Girls are often labelled gossips, but during WW1 they were entrusted to carry confidential messages for MI5, after the boy scouts were considered too talkative and excitable. Today, at over 100 years old, Girl Guiding is still standing strong, existing to inspire community spirit among young women and girls.

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The underage soldier of WW1

Have you ever done anything that you know you’re not really allowed to do, because you’re not of legal age? During the First World War, the legal age limit to sign up for military service was 18, and for armed service overseas it was 19. However, over 250,000 young men under 19 ended up volunteering to fight in the war.

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The unsung heroes of WW1

These days Scouts are likely to be found; kayaking, zorbing, learning how to computer programme, or even how to fly a plane, but go back 100 years and they were more likely to be seen assisting in hospitals, guarding phone lines and railway bridges and even covering for the coastguards who’d gone to fight on the front line.

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The School Children of WW1

Today school children are more likely to be found playing in the playground and studying for their next round of exams. But during the First World War children had to grow up quickly to help aid the war effort and many school leavers went straight into war work.

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Working in a cotton mill aged 11

Reginald Cooper was 11 when he went to work at the Shepley cotton mills in Glossop, Derbyshire.

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Contact us

If you would like to write to us, our postal address is:
Thank You Team, Remembrance Department
199 Borough High Street
London SE1 1AA

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