Warrnambool teenager Kalan Wellens will have the chance to live out his passion for military history when he steps into the role of one of Australia's youngest boy soldiers.
Kalan is close to the same age that Harry Bell was when he enlisted with the AIF to fight in the Great War.
Eight months later, at just 16, Mallee-born Harry was killed in battle. He is thought to be the youngest of Australia's Light Horsemen to lose his life at the 1917 Charge of Beersheba and lies at rest in the Beersheba War Cemetery.
His name, however, will live on in the Harry Bell three-year-old maiden plate at Sunday's Jericho Cup meeting in Warrnambool held to honour the Australian Light Horse.
In a fitting tribute to the young trooper, Kalan will present the winner's trophy, wearing the same distinctive 4th Light Horse Regiment uniform that Harry Bell wore to his death; a sobering reminder of the young lives lost in war.
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The year nine Emmanuel College student said he was excited to be chosen for the role.
"I feel a sense of pride, but also recognition that they were just boys who went to war," Kalan said. "It will be a very special moment."
A newly-promoted corporal in Warrnambool's 413 Squadron Air Force Cadets, Kalan has a keen interest in Australian military history and has career aspirations of joining the army.
Kalan's mother Suzie Wellens said it was "a real honour" for her son to be given the role.
Kalan had plenty in common with Harry Bell.
As well as their interest in the military, both counted fishing, shooting and hunting among their pastimes, both hailed from country Victoria and were close in age. Kalan will be 16 next March, just like Harry was.
Had they been born at the same time and place in history, they could well have been mates.
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