The Great War soldiers saved by a pocket Bible, a whistle and a camera: Incredible stories of how three heroes cheated death revealed
Of all the stories of luck and survival to emerge from the Great War, they are among the most remarkable. These three British soldiers all cheated death when items in their pockets took bullets that should have killed them.
The incredible escapes of Wilfrid Bush, Ralfe Whistler and Joseph Clucas have now emerged 100 years after the outbreak of fighting.
Private Bush was saved by his Bible, a bullet destined for Lieutenant Whistler hit his pocket camera while Corporal Clucas’s whistle deflected a shot that would have killed him.
|Private Wilfrid Bush, wife & daughter|
Their tales have been told for the first time by Paul Atterbury, an expert on the Antiques Roadshow. His book, called Antiques Roadshow: World War One in 100 Family Treasures, highlights stories that came to light in the making of the programme’s First World War centenary episodes but never made it to air. They include:
SAVED BY HIS BIBLE
Private Bush had his devout Christianity to thank for saving his life when, in 1917, two bullets destined for his chest were stopped by a Bible he kept in his breast pocket.
Pte Bush was knocked off his feet and into a shell hole on the ravaged battlefield in Ypres, Belgium, and nearly drowned before being dragged to safety by his comrades. They feared Pte Bush had been mortally wounded but instead found a bullet lodged in the brown Bible. Another had ricocheted off the Bible and passed through his collarbone. Following the war Pte Bush worked in a paper mill in Bristol. He died in 1960 aged 76.
BULLET BOUNCED OFF HIS WHISTLE
Corporal Clucas, a veteran of the 1914 Battle of Mons, was fighting in France with the Royal Field Artillery the following year when he was hit by enemy fire. But his luck was with him that day as the bullet bounced off a whistle he was carrying.
The Liverpudlian soldier’s luck ran out later in the war when he was wounded fighting in the Battle of Passchendaele at Ypres in 1917. While being taken by stretcher to a dressing station a shell exploded, killing the 22 year old.
CAMERA TO THE RESCUE
Ralfe Whistler, a lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry, saw action on the Western Front, the Dardanelles, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Russia.
|Lieutenant Ralfe Whistler|
He had already been wounded twice – and made a full recovery – when he was drafted to Mesopotamia in April 1916 during the unsuccessful relief of Kut, Iraq. The Glaswegian officer was hit several times by gunfire but the bullet aimed at his heart was stopped by his pocket camera. After a spell in hospital in Basra Lt Whistler returned to fighting but was sent home after contracting typhoid fever. He later returned to the army but was killed in April 1917 at Arras in France.
Mr Atterbury, who lives in Lyme Regis, Dorset, said: ‘What it highlights is the sheer chance of the war. So much came down to being in the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the wrong time.
‘Had these soldiers made even the most minuscule of movements they would have been killed but as fate would have it the bullets intended for them hit objects kept in their uniforms.’
Source - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2739338/The-Great-War-Soldiers-saved-pocket-Bible-whistle-camera-Incredible-stories-three-heroes-cheated-death-revealed-time.html
Two top photos of Mr Bush and Mr Clucas - BNPS - Daily Mail
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