The soldier saved from a German bullet by love letters

The Cairns Post printed a stirring story on 2 June 1915, about a young British Private named Fred Cook. Private Cook fought in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, France in March 1915. The young Private was in the trenches, facing off with German troops in brutal conditions. He made it past the first German trench despite being greeted by a hail of bullets. He remained unscathed and was running toward the second line of trenches when a bullet sailed its way to his chest, near his heart.

View from the trenches of Neuve Chappelle. Photo 146-2008-0075

View from the trenches of Neuve Chappelle. Photo 146-2008-0075

Fortunately, the 18 year old soldier had a sweetheart back home whose letters he carried on his person acted as a shield in his front pocket. The bullet did lodge in his chest, protruding by an eighth of an inch or so, but without his love letters he would have certainly joined the roll of honour that day. He struggled over a mile before he was picked up and given medical attention and taken to a hospital. He then boarded a train to Boulogne, then a yacht back to Chatham, England.

Not only was Private Cook lucky enough to escape death that day, he and his letters were returned to England within 48 hours of being wounded.

The article as it appeared in the Cairns Post on 2 June 1915. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42924832

The article as it appeared in the Cairns Post on 2 June 1915. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article42924832

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