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RECRUITMENT OF BOY SOLDIERS
The following information is quoted from Skelley (1977):*
"Boy enlistment was a traditional method of augmenting recruitment. Regiments consisting entirely of boys had been formed at an earlier date, but the last had disappeared in 1802. Between 1859 and 1899 regulations specified that the number was not to exceed 2 per cent of the establishment. Boys were taken on from the age of fifteen and served an apprenticeship until they reached the normal age of enlistment. During this time they were taught one of two or three trades. Nearly three-quarters of the boys recruited underwent training as musicians (i.e. drummers and buglers), the remainder as tailors and shoemakers. On reaching the minimum age for enlistment, boys formally joined the regiment to which they were attached. What was new was the suggestion inspired by the practices of the Royal Navy, of a comprehensive training scheme. Borrowing directly from the navys experience, many advocated that special training schools be set up, and that the establishment of boys at the Royal Military Asylum and the Royal Hibernian Military School be substantially increased."
SKELLEY, A.R. The Victorian Army At Home: The Recruitment and Terms and Conditions of the British Regular, 1859-1899. McGill-Queens University Press, Montreal, 1977, pp. 240 and 243.