An Irish boy soldier, who went down in history as the youngest casualty of World War I, was honoured in a special ceremony in his native Waterford.

John Condon was just 14 years old when he was killed on the bloody battlefields of Flanders in Belgium in May 1915.

The young private, from Waterford city, had lied about his age in 1913 - a year before the outbreak of the war - to enable him to join the Royal Irish Regiment as a reservist.

The teenager first took part in active duty in December 1914 after arriving in France, but less than six months later he was killed - becoming the youngest recorded casualty on the Allied side of the Great War.

In a moving ceremony in Waterford, the boy soldier and nearly 5,000 other men from Waterford who fought in World War 1 were honoured.

The Irish Times reports that hundreds of people, including members of the Naval Service Reserve, the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and the British Legion, looked on as a specially commissioned memorial of Condon was unveiled by Mayor of Waterford, Cllr. John Cummins, in the city centre.

Others in attendance included members of Condon's family, including his nephew, also called John Condon, his cousin Willie 'Sonny' Condon and relatives of many others from Waterford city and county who lost family members in the war.

Speaking at the event in Cathedral Square, The John Condon Memorial Committee chariman, Cllr. Tom Cunningham, said the $140,000 bronze cylindrical sculpture - which stands 4.3 metres high and was made by artist Paul Cunningham - was dedicated to all the men from Co. Waterford who lost their lives on the battlefields of Europe from 1914-1918, as well as locals who perished in the War of Independence.

He said: "Some 4,800 people from Waterford city and county fought fought in World War 1 and over 1,100 of them perished and a number of people felt they had been airbrushed from history and should be remembered here in the city, so that's where the idea for the memorial came from.

"And although it's named after the iconic figure of John Condon - the Boy Soldier - the youngest recorded casualty on the Allied side in World War 1, it is dedicated to all men and women from Waterford who died in armed conflict, including in our own War of Independence."

Condon was attached to the Second Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment and was involved in the second battle of Ypres in April and May 1915 when the Germans used poison gas to attack the Allied forces' position. He died in the gas assault on May 24, the second-to-last day of the battle.

Donnachadh O Ceallachain, the curator of Waterford Museum of Treasures, said: "He [John Condon] is bured at Poelkapelle, near Ypres, and his headstone records that he was just 14 years old and, according to Commonwealth War Graves Commission records, he was the 'Youngest Known Battle Casualty of the War', which has resulted in his grave being one of the most visited of the war graves."

More than 200,000 Irish men fought in the First World War, with over 49,000 of those losing their lives in the conflict.

Records of nearly 50,000 Irish soldiers who died in the war have now been published online for the first time in a new digital directory.

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