The Twelfth Man
by Raymond Boyd Dunn
Copyright 2011 Raymond Dunn
“Are you going to eat your butter?”
The question came from the boy sitting next to young Roy Duncan at the long table in the Boarding School dining room.
Roy had no appetite. His throat was all choked up. He had turned thirteen a couple of weeks before, and had never been away from home at that stage of his life. It had been only a short time since his parents said goodbye to him outside the Headmaster’s office.
“No,” he managed to say.
As if by magic, the tiny square of butter disappeared from his plate. It was the last time young Roy ever gave his butter away.
It was late January in the year 1943. Australia was at war, and food was rationed. The first Term was about to begin at the Rockhampton Boys’ Grammar School on top of the Range in that city, and his Ration Book had been handed in at the Headmaster’s Office as he was being admitted. The Headmaster’s name was Frederick Jennings, nicknamed ‘Buck’ by the students, and it was commonly known he was a pilot in the First World War, and suffered the experience of being shot down and wounded. He had a robust physique, and he was known to be a stern disciplinarian, which trait was tempered by an understanding, sympathetic nature.