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The Boy Colonel

The Boy Colonel

By Will Davies.

The remarkable and tragic story of the youngest battalion commander in the AIF.

It was a blustery day on the 25th January 1920 at Palm Beach, to the north of Sydney, and the surf was wild. Two attempts had already been made to save a young woman caught in an undertow and dragged out when a young man – skinny, gangly and frail, and known to be a poor swimmer – threw off his coat and shoes and raced into the surf. As his fiancée and young nephew watched, the sea closed over him and he disappeared. His body was never recovered. This was the tragic fate of a gallant, highly decorated and promising young man named Douglas Gray Marks.

The Boy Colonel tells the story of Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Marks. Marks became a Colonel at just 22 and the youngest battalion commander in the AIF in WWI and highly regarded as a future leader. Marks served in some of the war’s bloodiest battles: Gallipoli, Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, Flers, Gueudecourt, Stormy Trench and Bullecourt on the Somme. He returned to Australia after the war, aged 24 years, anticipating a bright future.

Will Davies is the author of Beneath Hill 60, a great Australian war story that was made into an award-winning film starring Brendan Cowell. Will’s talent is sharing the often unknown stories of the frontline, using personal letters and firsthand accounts to reveal the human faces of Australian soldiers. Will Davies is a historian, writer and filmmaker. Somme Mud: The war experiences of an Australian infantryman in France 1916-1919, which

he edited, has become a bestseller in Australia the UK and The Netherlands. In The Footsteps of Private Lynch has also been published to acclaim in Australia and the UK. Beneath Hill 60 tells the true-story of the Australian miners and soldiers who tunneled under Hill 60, near Ypres, and shattered the German frontline ready for the attack on Passchendaele. Will is touring during August.

The Boy Colonel is available now.

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