Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. The time we as a country honour our veterans and in that spirit I am highlighting my mother’s father’s attestation papers.
It clearly shows his date of birth as 1896 and his ‘apparent’ age as 19. He stood 5’5” tall with a waist size of 31” so he was remarkably small and slight for a 19 year old.
He was scout and messenger and in the course of his war, he was injured three times – twice at Vimy Ridge. He survived his war and spent the last six month at a rehabilitation hospital in the UK before being shipped home. He came back and became a fur trapper and woods guide. But what I want to point out is the lie in his papers. He was not born in 1896 but 1899, and I want you to remember is the fact he was not the only ‘recruit’ who lied about his age.
The ranks of our armies were filled with such teenage boys. So the next time someone tells you the child soldier Khadr is not capable of fully understanding his actions think of Private McNamara of the Fighting 26th Battalion.