Posted: 19th Oct 2018

Micheal Cohen (b. 1899)

Michael’s family were Russian Jews who emigrated to England. After the war he lived on Manchester Road in Burnley. He enlisted on the 10th August 1914 giving his age as 17 years and 2 months.  He was actually born sometime after the 20th May 1899.  He was sent to France on the 4th May 1915 but was sent home on the 30th June “on account of his youth,” being discharged on the 6th August 1915. A newspaper at the time ran the story under the headline “Only fourteen! Plucky Burnley boy at the front.”

They youngest known recruit was called Sidney Lewis (pictured), from London, who enlisted with the East Surrey Regiment in August 1915, five months after his 12th birthday, and was fighting on the Somme by the age of 13.