It’s August 23, 1918, and World War I rumbles on, still months from its conclusion. Lieutenant Dominic McCarthy and his men of the First Australian Imperial Force are pinned down by deadly German machine gun fire. Unless somebody comes up with an extraordinary feat of arms, the situation looks exceptionally dire.
Born to Irish parents in York, Western Australia, on January 21, 1892, Lawrence Dominic McCarthy didn’t have the best of starts in life. Sadly, McCarthy’s mother, Anne, died when he was just three, and his father, Florence, deserted him. This meant that McCarthy spent the rest of his childhood at Catholic orphanages and schools in Subiaco and Perth, both in Western Australia.
When he turned 13, McCarthy went to work on a farm at Jennacubbine, a village near the town of Northam, Western Australia. The orphaned teenager also spent two and a half years with an Australian Army Reserve unit called the 18th Light Horse. And subsequently, McCarthy moved to Lion Mill near Perth, where he worked at a timber mill.