Boy in a war zone

Sunday Tasmanian - - News -

OWEN Domeney, who grew up at Flow­er­pot, never got to out­grow his nick­name “Boy”.

He en­listed in World War I on his 17th birth­day, in Septem­ber 1916.

“Boy” lied about his age so he could join his two older broth­ers, Wil­liam and Edward, who were al­ready fight­ing in Europe.

He joined the 40th Bat­tal­ion and was soon sent to Europe, first to the UK and then to France and Bel­gium.

He sent a let­ter home to his fa­ther on June 4, 1917: “Just a line or two to let you know I’m still go­ing all right …”

Af­ter a page of writ­ing about home­town friends at war, Boy signs off with: “Hop­ing you’re keeping as well and fit as I am.”

Three days later, Boy was killed in bat­tle at the Ger­man front­line near Messines, Bel­gium. He was 17 and nine months. Too young to fight, let alone die.

His name is en­graved on a me­mo­rial at Ypres, and his mother wrote this epi­taph:

“Not life but boyhood dreams lose I, to keep Aus­tralia free.”

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