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 age of ordinary soldier

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PostSubject: age of ordinary soldier   Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:01 pm

what would the age range (youngest / oldest) be for the ordinary soldier on active service in the Zulu war - particularly those carrying arms?
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:09 pm

I would have thought around 22 years of age. But there were those who did not give their correct age when enlisting. A good example is young Jack who was just 15 years of age when he took up the rifle and joined the ranks of the Natal Carbineers. and died a man at the Battle of Isandlwana. I'm fairly sure the army would have just about taken anyone that was fit and look the correct age.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:40 pm

Was it not considered that men under 20 years of age were unfit to stand the rigours of active service in the 1800s
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PostSubject: age of soldiers   Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:34 am

hi okko.
I am fairly certain this same point was raised a few months ago , and there wasnt a definitive answer. The 1/24 which
were massacred at Isandlwana were all well experienced troops who had been in Africa for several years , so you would
think they at the youngest may be 25 or thereabouts. Many would be above that age . hope this helps.
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:30 am

Cheers - I guess my main motivation for finding this out is being 50 and doing some Victorian living history - I am sure age is going to come up as a question - although I am aware that generals could lead until a ripe old age - not sure if ordinary soldiers would still be on active service (if fit). It would be nice to be able to give stories of my "youth" at the Indian Mutiny if it was conceivably possible to have fought at both Indian Mutiny and in the Zulu war.
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:49 am

Okko that is correct.Some did fight in the Indian Mutiny and in the Zulu war.
I have read that some troops sent out to the Indian Mutiny were dirverted to the Zulu War instead, because the Indian Mutiny had been put down no sooner had it started.
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:27 pm

The Indian mutiny was 20 years earlier so if troops were diverted they would not have been on route to the mutiny - unless they were travelling by Euro star of course in which case the journey could well have taken 20 years :lol:
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:36 pm

Indeed if that would have been the case - my life story would be rather boring 20 years on a very slow boat to Africa . No was trying to tie in the start of a army career and the end some twenty + years later but never risen in the ranks. If it is accurate that 50 year old men were still in the ranks great - if not- I will have to go with the story that I look older than my years because I had a very hard life!!
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:55 pm

Hi All
Just a few ages in 1879
Jackson NMPolice 16
william Smith F L H enlisted 1848 survivour of the Birkenhead must have been 45+
William Griffiths VC KiA Isandlwana was 38
Thomas Lane VC China was 43
Scheiss VC was 23
Peter Brown VC was 17
Scott VC was 22
Farmer VC was 24
Hook VC was 29
Berryman VC rose from the ranks Crimea was 54
Flawn VC was 22
Hitch VC was 23
John Williams VC was 22
Murray VC was 20
William Jones VC was 40
Fowler VC was 18
Robert Jones VC was 22
Doogan VC was 26
William Allan VC was 36
Booth VC was 33
As for officers you could say higher the rank higher the age
Evelyn Wood was 41
Melvill was 37
Dalton was 47
Lysons was 21
Gifford was 30
Hugh Rowlands was 51
Hans G Moore was 45
Fighting Bill Beresford was 32
Henry H Clifford was 53
Knox-Leet was 46
This list is only representative
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:52 pm

Gary. You spotted my deliberate mistake. Of cause it was the Cape Frontier Wars in South Africa. Not the Indian mutiny. Or it could have been the 2nd Afghan War 1878-80
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:24 pm

In 1802 regulations referred to ?Lads & Boys? being enlisted as Privates at age 17 ? 19 years , minimum height 5? 4 ?.
It was specified that they were to be enlisted as soldiers & not be ?encouraged? to enlist with the expectation that they would be made Drummers or part of the Band., so it appears that there was recruiting of the under age & those ?still growing? as Drummers & Band Boys.prior to this instruction.
At the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 approximately 4000 boys served in the British army, another 2 battalions being held in reserve.
Often Boys were ?Sons of the Regiment?, following their fathers in service, sometimes orphans of soldiers.

Boys served in the British army during the Crimean War, they served during the Zulu Wars, a well known instance being at Isandwahla, where the Drummer Boys were allegedly hung up & disembowelled by the Zulus as means of preventing the souls of the dead from haunting their killers.

Well into the last century a battalion of infantry included two boys per company, ?Man Service? commencing at 18.
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:18 pm

"The recruiting age in this country was 18; but it was well known that a number of men under that age enlisted in the Army. Lord Strathnairn Wanted to know why the Government had not adopted the means at their disposal for punishing fraudulent enlistment? The 24th Regiment was composed of young men; but he believed that if its non-commissioned officers had been taken from tried and seasoned soldiers, instead of mere striplings, they would have steadied the men at Isandula, and have ordered the rear ranks to face round. If that had been done, and if a sustained and well-directed fire had been poured into the Zulu advance, the result would have been different."
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PostSubject: age of soldiers   Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:35 pm

hi Dave.
Think that comment was typical of the Victorian public trying to find a reason for the defeat at Isandlwana ,
I am sure the 24th Regt were older and well experienced in the ways of native warfare , they had been in
S.A for several years , so I cant imagine to many N.C.O"S being mere striplings !!. Idea .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:50 pm

Yes agree , the 24th were very experienced having been out and fighting in South Africa for some time.
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:14 pm

hi everyone
the average age of a soldier at rorkes drift was 23 (private williama and jones were 21, pvt hitch and corpral scheiss were 22)
the average height was 5'3"
average weight 10 stone (63kg)

hitch enlisted 1877 so was only on the army 2 years

judging by this the defenders were fairly raw recruits who hadnt seen any service before that

thanks joe
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:07 pm

hi
I was just thinking that Colour Sergant F Bourne was considered quite a small man and his nickname was 'the kid', wouldnt he have been quite a tall man as the average height was 5'3" . or was his nickname refering to his age?

thanks joe
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:53 pm

Just one of the many answers in the LEGACY: Heroes of Rorke's Drift' by Kris Wheatley.


He was the youngest NCO of his rank in the entire British Army. This earned him the nickname 'The Kid'.
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90th

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PostSubject: age of soldiers   Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:25 pm

hi joe / littlehand.
Thought I would drop you a line to let you know number 7 in the LEGACY SERIES should be available very
soon at the Royal Regt Wales on - line shop . I have heard a whisper there may be others to follow :) .
Joe , if you dont have any of the series , do yourself a favour and make it so !!. Idea . As others have
already stated , you wont be disappointed . Idea . Let us know how you get on . Idea
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:29 pm

90th you mean number 8 in the LEGACY SERIES.
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PostSubject: Legacy series   Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:53 am

hi ctsg.
Yes , you are correct I was indeed referring to number 8 . As far as I am aware it is in the pipeline and
very nearly finished. Idea .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:09 pm

Dave wrote:
"The recruiting age in this country was 18; but it was well known that a number of men under that age enlisted in the Army. Lord Strathnairn Wanted to know why the Government had not adopted the means at their disposal for punishing fraudulent enlistment? The 24th Regiment was composed of young men; but he believed that if its non-commissioned officers had been taken from tried and seasoned soldiers, instead of mere striplings, they would have steadied the men at Isandula, and have ordered the rear ranks to face round. If that had been done, and if a sustained and well-directed fire had been poured into the Zulu advance, the result would have been different."

what's your source for this dave?
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: age of ordinary soldier   Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:20 pm

I think you will find the source is from: hansard.millbanksystems.com
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