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(1901-10-05)5 October 1901
Waterford City, Ireland
Died24 May 1915(1915-05-24) (aged 13)
Ypres, Belgium
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service1913-1915
RankPrivate
UnitSecond Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment (1684)
Battles/warsWorld War I, Second Ypres

John Condon (5 October 1900 - 24 May 1915) was an Irish soldier born in Waterford, 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 was 14 years old at the recorded date of his death. 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 had been 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]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Campaign for War Grave Commemorations Analysis of Commonwealth War Graves Commission error
  2. ^ Waterford News (2007) Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Waterford News (2003) Archived August 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  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.
  6. ^ Rifleman Valentine Joe Strudwick at Find a Grave

Further reading[edit]