A Boy Para – Private Robert Johns

We’ve all heard the stories of boys, under the age of 18, lying about their age to join the Army. Mostly during the First World War. Although it certainly did happen, I cannot help but feel that there were not as many underage soldiers as popular wisdom might lead us to believe. It was definitely much rarer in the Second World War than it was in the first.

I have found, however, one case in the Second World War. Not only did Private Robert Johns, from Stamshaw, die at the age of 16, he had also joined the Parachute Regiment. He was killed on 23 July 1944 serving with the 13th Battalion in Normandy, and is buried in Ranville Cemetery in France. The 6th Airborne Division landed in Normandy just after midnight on D-Day and fought long and tough battles to secure the eastern flank of the Normandy bridgehead, only coming out of the line in August 1944.

How easy was it to join up underage? A lot depended on the recruiting personnel in question. If they suspected that someone was underage but were sympathetic, they could almost certainly turn a blind eye. Otherwise, in an age when everybody had to have a national registration card, it would have been almost impossible to pretend to be older than you were. John’s would have gone through numerous checks, as he would have joined a line infantry regiment before transferring to the Paras. He may even have joined the Army when he was younger than 16. Much like trying to get served in a pub, it probably helped if you looked 18 too. But to volunteer to fight, when you didn’t have to, shows both courage and selflessness.

Although you had to be 18 to join the British Army, Boys under 18 could in fact join the Royal Navy as Boy sailors, or the Royal Marines as Boy Buglers. Many did, and sadly died, particularly on the Battleships HMS Royal Oak and HMS Hood.

About these ads

12 Comments

Filed under Army, portsmouth heroes, World War Two

12 responses to “A Boy Para – Private Robert Johns

  1. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep
    it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later.

    Cheers

  2. This website truly has all the information I wanted concerning this subject and
    didn’t know who to ask.

  3. Simply want to say your article is as astounding.
    The clearness in your post is just excellent and i could
    assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.

  4. Apple is recognized for its premium cost technique.
    Their interesting function makes it a choicest accent among users.
    This is an Iphone alarm clock dock with amazing features
    and stylish appears.

  5. Ned

    This design is spectacular! You certainly know how to keep
    a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was
    almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  6. This saves time and effort than buying a brand new car.
    Many people simply buy such cars and claim that they’ve bought it from
    the dealer car window tinting which must include
    registration and title to you. If you use an auto auction, one where
    car window tinting only used cars were down as 2. Bring along a car-savvy friend with you who can accurately study the car’s condition.

    I have been on the rise as dealerships attempt to capitalise on the Cash For
    Clunkers program expires.

  7. In my research, I will now also obtain an Apple iphone for my personal individual use.

    Apple iphone Verizon provides superb uploading and downloading speed, much better than Iphone
    AT&T. Get a protecting screen guard for your phone.

  8. There is even a Katniss Barbie doll you can preorder to be delivered the following month.

    Ready to get a whole heap of fun this holidays then? Some toys are
    made of fabric including stuffed toys.

  9. It’s possible to choose any depending on his/her option.

    Two others would have been a area of the present, nevertheless they really are a bit newer.
    It’ll have a hardcore act to follow.

  10. The child who jumps the most variety of balloons gets a reward.
    Make sure they are bigger than shoes and the youngsters’s feet.

    This sailing party game may have everyone laughing.
    That Is ideal for players of all levels.

  11. After you set up your feeds, Pulse Reader will show them in
    a unique ‘colorful mosaic’. You can’t install whatsapp and chat to someone
    on Nimbuzz. By tapping the button, your digital keyboard will be displayed.

  12. If you are a gamer, you will certainly love
    this new Apple iphone. It assist you change your
    favorite movies to place movies on ipad. After all, what much more could you probably
    want? And whatever smartphone you use, have fun with it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s