The Bullet and the Crucifix

A friend passed on this snippet to me the other day. The story concerns one James Burke (22) of the Royal Irish Fusiliers who was fighting in St Quentin, Northern France, during the last big enemy push on March 21, 1918, when he was shot in the chest by a German sniper. The bullet ricocheted off a metal crucifix he carried in his tunic and then penetrated above James’s heart. Undoubtedly, it saved him from becoming another wartime fatality that day….that and the help of an enemy soldier, of course.   As James lay injured in the middle of a war zone he risked being hit again but a German officer helped him up and carried him off to a field hospital for treatment. James survived and the crucifix has been kept in his family ever since. If you read a story like that in a novel you might say it was a hoary old cliché and a pretty poor one at that. Well here’s another hoary old cliché for you – truth sometimes is stranger than fiction.

About historywithatwist

I am a journalist, author and book editor. I have published five novels - four (Tan, The Golden Grave, A Time of Traitors and Patriots' Blood) set during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, and the fifth (High Crimes), a modern thriller. I'm a history enthusiast who loves a good yarn.
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