Posted 14 May 2006 - 03:40 pm
I have been puzzling over this question for some time now, my interest having been aroused by a number of things, such as an interview with a (now sadly deceased) WW1 veteran who claimed to have been turned down for service in WW2 on age grounds (he would have been about 41 in 1939) & also the ages of reservists, both ex-regular & voluntary who have been mobilised in recent years.
Basically, what percentage of those men who had served in WW1 during their teens & early 20s went on to serve in WW2, whether as regulars, recalled reservists, TA or even as volunteers for Hostilities Only engagements? I know that today it is possible to serve as a reguar until age 55 (in the RAF) & many FTRS personnel serve until 60 & the TAVR, RNR & RauxAF take men well into their 40's on enlistment.
I am intrigued as it seems only 2 of the known surviving WW1 British veterans served in WW2, namely Bill Stone (regular RN) & Kenneth Cummins (WW1 RN Midshipman, WW2 MN officer). I am aware that Philip Mayne & Henry Allingham were in Reserved occupations (Mr Allingham was involved in mine countermeasure work, I understand) & that Albert "Smiler" Marshall (sadly no longer with us) lost an eye in early 1939, rendering him unfit on medical grounds.
Also, would it be prudent to say that the number of those WW1 veterans who survived into old age was artifically low due to some being killed in WW2?
As an aside, I know that the CO of a TA RA unit was sent home from North Africa in WW2 as he was deemed too old for active service, allegedly after an inspecting officer had recognised his Boer War campaign medals!!! I also seem to remember reading that there was a 60+ RSM serving in North Africa, but not sure if he was a regular or reservist.
Look forward to your replies Pals.