Child soldier of the First World War

Lord Kitchener and the Lord Mayor of London
Lord Kitchener and the Lord Mayor of London
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Pte Harry Jones, was not the only 16-year-old boy soldier from Burnley to die in the First World War, as reported in the Burnley Express of May 20th.

Recorded on the memorial in St John’s RC Church, Ivy Street, is the name of Drummer Fletcher Clough. He celebrated his 16th birthday in the trenches in the Dardenelles while serving with the 1/5 Battalion East Lancashire Regiment.

His obituary in the Burnley Express of June 30th, 1915, says he was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Clough, 158 Cleaver Street, Burnley. He joined up initially as a bugler with the Territorials and was so keen to enlist he told his mother “not to claim him out”. He even wrote from Egypt urging his parents to let his 12 year-old brother Albert go as a bugler. Albert tried to join up but was told he was far too young.

The obituary says Fletcher: “Was a nice lad and greatly liked by those who knew him.”

Sadly, child soldiers are not uncommon is some parts of the world today.

Fr Michael Waters

St John’s Presbytery

Bracewell Street, Burnley