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Teenage Tommies

Fergal Keane discovers what life was like for five of the 250,000 soldiers who went to the trenches of the First World War when they were under eighteen.

Fergal Keane discovers what life was like for five of the 250,000 soldiers who went to the trenches of the First World War when they were under eighteen.

The boys ranged from fourteen to seventeen and all from different backgrounds. One was the son of a Cornish tin miner, one the son of a Lancashire vicar, one a London Jew, a blacksmith’s apprentice and the son of a factory owner. Each of their fates were surprising especially those who survived the war, despite their inexperience. Keane is a fluent and intelligent presenter who talks to the boys’ relatives and reads their letters to discover more of their individual experiences. The 16 year-old great nephew of one, is a moving link to the past as he emotionally discovers his family’s history and the tragedy of war.   

By Frances Roe

Frances Roe is a 4th year English Literature student and Editor of the TV & Radio section.

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