John Condon (British Army soldier)

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John Condon
Poelcapelle British Cem.07.JPG
Gravestone of John Condon at the Poelcapelle British Cemetery (nl)
Born (1896-10-05)5 October 1896
Waterford City, Ireland
Died 24 May 1915(1915-05-24) (aged 18)
Ypres, Belgium
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1913-1915
Rank Private
Unit Second Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment (1684)
Battles/wars World War I, Second Ypres

John Condon (5 October 1896 - 24 May 1915) was an Irish soldier long believed to have been the youngest Allied soldier killed during the First World War, at the age of 14 years, as shown on his gravestone.

It is now believed from a birth certificate, census, war diaries and other records that John Condon would have been 18 years old at the recorded date of his death and that the wrong individual is named on the grave. At the present time, the headstone in Poelkapelle Cemetery (nl) and the CWGC record continue to assert the challenged data.[1][2][3][4]

It is asserted[1] and documented that

  • The body in the unmarked grave was misidentified as Condon based on an ambiguous boot stamping 6322 4/R.I.R. found at exhumation.
  • The stamp was interpreted by the Imperial War Graves Commission as being Regimental Number 6322 of the 4th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment.
  • Condon was not in the 4th but the 3rd battalion
  • The same stamping could denote 6322 Rifleman Patrick Fitzsimmons, 2nd Bn. Royal Irish Rifles, KIA 16 June 1915, who previously was in the 4th battalion Royal Irish Rifles.
  • While the 2nd R. I. Rifles fought at the location of the exhumation, the 3rd R. I. Regiment did not.
  • No body was ever identified as 6322 Rifleman Patrick Fitzsimmons. He is listed on the Menin Gate memorial.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Campaign for War Grave Commemorations Analysis of Commonwealth War Graves Commission error
  2. ^ Waterford News (2007)[dead link]
  3. ^ Waterford News (2003)[dead link]
  4. ^ Reading Room Manchester (1915-05-24). "Commonwealth War Graves Commission database record for John Condon". Cwgc.org. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  5. ^ Reading Room Manchester (1915-06-16). "Commonwealth War Graves Commission database record for Patrick Fitzsimmons". Cwgc.org. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Spillebeen, Geert (2010). Age 14 - An Irish Boy Soldier. The Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848890565.