Mom?ilo Gavri? (1 May 1906 – 28 April 1993) was the youngest known soldier in the First World War who was accepted into his unit at the age of seven, and promoted to the rank of corporal at the age of eight.
He was born in Trbušnica, near Loznica, on the slopes of the mountain Gu?evo, as the eighth child of eleven, in the family of Alimpije and Jelena Gavri?.
World War I
In the beginning of August 1914, Austro-Hungarian soldiers of 42nd Croatian Home Guard Infantry Division maimed and hanged his father, mother, grandmother, his three sisters, and four of his brothers. His house was also set on fire. Mom?ilo survived because he was not at home when it happened—his father had sent him to his uncle earlier.
Left without family and without a home, Mom?ilo went to find the 6th Artillery Division of the Serbian army, which was near Gu?evo at the time. Major Stevan Tucovi?, brother of Dimitrije Tucovi?, accepted Gavri? into his unit after hearing about what had happened, and assigned Miloš Mišovi?, a soldier in the unit, to be Gavri?'s caretaker. The same evening, he took revenge by showing his unit the location of the Austro-Hungarian soldiers, and participated in the bombardment, as told by his son Branislav Gavri? in an interview.
At the age of 8, after the Battle of Cer, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal by the commander of his unit, and given a military uniform.
When his unit was sent to Thessaloniki, Major Tucovi? sent him to Sorovits where he hastily went through the equivalent of four grades of elementary education.
In Kajmak?alan, Field Marshal Miši? was stunned when he saw a uniformed ten-year-old boy in the trenches. Major Tucovi? explained the situation to him; that Gavri? had been with them since the Battle of Cer, and that he had both been taught discipline and been wounded during his time in the unit. Miši? promoted Gavri? to Lance Sergeant, and the order was read out to the whole division.