06. Ages at time of Enlistment in Mortlake
The average age of soldiers when they enlisted, in Mortlake, was just over 24yrs, with little difference in the average age between those who died (23.61 yrs)and those who returned (24.86 yrs). This is in line with the National average of 24.5 yrs of age. The Enlistment age was 21 or 18 with parental/guardian permission, some gave false ages to be allowed to enlist, so the true average age can be difficult to define, with reports that as young as 12 enlisted
The percentage of enlistees under the age of 21 (approx 25%) indicates that the war was considered important enough for parents/guardians to willingly send their young men to fight. Many of these young men were listed as Labourers, but being from a rural area meant they were often the younger sons of farmers, who were unlikely to inherit the family farm., and could be spared for the war effort without unduly affecting primary production.
22yo Arthur Blain, died of wounds sustained at Lone Pine, Gallipoli
'For King & Country', Moyne Shire 2011