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  1. ITV Report

Campaign to honour 15-year-old WW1 casualty launched

A campaign is underway to honour one of the youngest boy soldiers killed in action during the First World War.

Joe Strudwick was 15-years-old when he was killed instantly by a German shell near Ypres in Belgium in 1916.

Joe Strudwick was 15-years-old when he was killed instantly by a German shell. Credit: ITV News/Simon Harris

Rifleman VJ Strudwick was born at Dorking in Surrey on February 14th 1900 and christened Valentine by his parents.

His name appears on Dorking’s war memorial and in St Paul’s Church close to his former primary school.

Joe Strudwick's name appears on on Dorking’s war memorial and in St Paul’s Church in Surrey. Credit: ITV News/Simon Harris

His grave is among more than a thousand at Essex Farm Cemetery on the outskirts of Ypres.

The approaching Centenary of the outbreak of war has focussed renewed attention on Joe Strudwick and other boy soldiers who lied about their age.

Schoolchildren are learning about the 15-year-old as the First World War centenary approaches. Credit: ITV News/Simon Harris

His story has become an important part of the curriculum at St Paul’s primary school where today’s pupils are taught in Joe’s old classroom.

Judi Currie, whose grandfather was Joe’s cousin, is trying to find out more about his background.

Judi Currie is attempting to find out more about her grandfather's cousin. Credit: ITV News/Simon Harris

She said her family was very proud of Joe but saddened by his sacrifice at such a young age.

Local historian and First World War battle field guide Andy Thompson has launched a campaign to persuade developers to name a new street after Joe Strudwick.