Too Young to Die
Canada's Boy Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen in the Second World War
by John Boileau and Dan Black
foreword by John de Chastelain
The never-before-told story of underage youth in uniform
John Boileau and Dan Black tell the stories of some of the 30,000 underage youths -- some as young as fourteen -- who joined the Canadian Armed Forces in the Second World War. This is the companion volume to the authors' popular 2013 book Old Enough to Fight about boy soldiers in the First World War. Like their predecessors a generation before, these boys managed to enlist despite their youth. Most went on to face action overseas in what would become the deadliest military conflict in human history.
They enlisted for a myriad of personal reasons -- ranging from the appeal of earning regular pay after the unemployment and poverty of the Depression to the desire to avenge the death of a brother or father killed overseas. Canada's boy soldiers, sailors and airmen saw themselves contributing to the war effort in a visible, meaningful way, even when that meant taking on very adult risks and dangers of combat.
Meticulously researched and extensively illustrated with photographs, personal documents and specially commissioned maps, Too Young to Die provides a touching and fascinating perspective on the Canadian experience in the Second World War.
Among the individuals whose stories are told:
- Ken Ewing, at age sixteen taken prisoner at Hong Kong and then a teenager in a Japanese prisoner of war camp
- Ralph Frayne, so determined to fight that he enlisted in the army, navy and Merchant Navy all before the age of seventeen
- Robert Boulanger, at age eighteen the youngest Canadian to die on the Dieppe beaches
About the Authors
The work provides in-depth accounts of how underage Canadians made their way to war, fought and, in many cases, died for their country, despite not being old enough to vote."
Through Too Young to Die remains a fact-based, non-fiction work, both Boileau and Black are able to keep the attention of the reader due to the accessibility of the tales being told."
To track down underage soldiers, Black and Boileau delved into the personnel files of soldiers, sailors and airmen; more specifically, the estate branch form... Too Young to Die tells the chronology of the Second World War."