Is there a story like this in your First World War family history? For Mother’s Day we take a look at a popular story from 1915.
“His mother’s letters in his pocket saved his life”
On 18 September 1915, the Saturday edition of the Yorkshire Evening Post published the following:
The bullet, striking him on the breast, was diverted by the letters
“MOTHER’S LETTERS SAVE SOLDIER’S LIFE.
“A packet of his mother’s letters in his pocket saved the life of Private C. Murrel, who, fighting in the Gallipoli, was picked off by a sniper’s bullet, which striking him on the breast, was diverted by the letters, went down his ribs, and came out at his thigh.
“He is progessing well in hospital.”
Stories of bullets miraculously stopped by miniature Bibles, letters, and other personal items are very common, and were widely circulated during the First World War.
Looking for evidence
It is possible that the Nottingham Evening Post was exaggerating. This snippet of news doesn’t mention a first name or a regiment, so it is more difficult to track who “Private C Murrel” was.
The name could be spelled wrong, too. Possibly he was a Murrell or a Murell. (In Wales, the Abergavenny Chronicle also reported the story, and spelled his name “Murrell”, noting only that he was “of an English regiment”.)
On the other hand, perhaps Private Murrel (or Murell) was a relative of yours. Do you have any family stories you could share when Lives of the First World War launches?
Perhaps you even have the letters themselves, complete with bullet hole!
With your help, we hope to uncover as many stories as possible on Lives of the First World War.