21st September 2017

The youngest Briton to receive the King’s shilling was Stanley George Lawrence, the son of Stanley and Amy Lawrence of 32 Cromwell Road, Peterborough.

Sadly, Stanley’s uncle was killed on the Western Front on September 1915. Stanley was filled with revenge and believed that his place should also be at the front fighting the Germans.

His mother had the greatest difficulty keeping him away from the Recruiting Office in Market Place (now renamed

Young Stanley Lawrence

Cathedral Square).  Desperately wanting to enlist, Stanley presented himself at the Recruiting Office on Friday 9th June 1916 after morning school.  He was given the usual army form only this time the Recruiting Officer had written on the back:

“This is to certify that Stanley George Lawrence, aged 5, offered himself for enlistment at the Recruiting Office, Peterborough, because the Germans had killed his uncle, but he was unable to fulfil the necessary physical conditions. He was also given the usual King’s shilling.”

The story appeared in other newspapers across the country from Cornwall to Scotland.  A delightful photograph of Stanley was printed in the Peterborough Advertiser the week following the original article.

Original article: Peterborough Advertiser, 10 June 1916.

Photograph: Peterborough Advertiser, 17 June 1916.

Article by Gail Richardson.

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