John Condon (British Army soldier)
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Gravestone of John Condon at the Poelcapelle British Cemetery
5 October 1896|
Waterford City, Ireland
|Died||24 May 1915
|Years of service||1913-1915|
|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 was 18 years old at the recorded date of his death and that the wrong individual is named on the grave. The headstone in Poelkapelle Cemetery and the CWGC record continue to assert the challenged data.
It is asserted 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.
- Valentine Strudwick (1900–1916), who died at the age of 15 and is buried at Essex Farm Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery
- Campaign for War Grave Commemorations Analysis of Commonwealth War Graves Commission error
- Waterford News (2007) Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Waterford News (2003) Archived August 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Reading Room Manchester (1915-05-24). "Commonwealth War Graves Commission database record for John Condon". Cwgc.org. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- Reading Room Manchester (1915-06-16). "Commonwealth War Graves Commission database record for Patrick Fitzsimmons". Cwgc.org. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- Rifleman Valentine Joe Strudwick at Find a Grave
- Condon evidence
- Spillebeen, Geert (2010). Age 14 - An Irish Boy Soldier. The Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848890565.
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