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LUCKY SURVIVOR: Private saved by razor

WAR HEROES: Warren and Judy Martin will honour their family's war efforts, including those of Warren's grandfather Henry Martin, when they travel to France today.
WAR HEROES: Warren and Judy Martin will honour their family's war efforts, including those of Warren's grandfather Henry Martin, when they travel to France today.

A RAZOR, pay book and wallet are the reason Private Henry Martin survived a bullet the size of a $2 coin piercing his left-side breast pocket, just missing his heart.

It was in the middle of World War I on June 7 at Messines Ridge and Private Martin was a solider in the 52nd battalion.

The injured Private walked to a medical aid post and waited his turn, only to be turned away for not being a citizen of New Zealand.

He was offered transport to an Australian medical aid post but "stubbornly" refused their lift and walked the distance with kit and rifle in hand to get "patched up".

The bullet was removed a decade later in Maryborough Hospital.

It's this tale, and others like it, that Judy and Warren Martin want to honour when they travel to France today.

 

Warren and Judy Martin will travel to Vignacourt.
Warren and Judy Martin will travel to Vignacourt. CONTRIBUTED

The Childers couple wish to commemorate their family's war history by visiting Vignacourt for Anzac Day.

 

The couple said they were looking forward to laying wreaths in honour of family members and hoped to discover more about their past.

Mrs Martin's grandfather, Captain Charles Linklater, is remembered at Menin Gate after he passed into German hands and was declared missing on June 11, 1917.

But before the worst happened to the Captain, he sent a postcard to his wife back in Australia which read, "When this war is over, I'll take you to Paris and we'll go to the ballet".

Mrs Martin said he never had the chance to make good on his promise, so with a photograph of her relatives, she will do her part to fulfil his promise and take them to Paris.

 

ANZAC: Judy's  grandfather Captain Charles Linklater is remembered at Menin Gate after he was declared missing on June 11, 1917.
ANZAC: Judy's grandfather Captain Charles Linklater is remembered at Menin Gate after he was declared missing on June 11, 1917.

 

Another three of her relatives also fought in World War I.

Her maternal grandfather, Sdlr George Smith 1st Light Horse No 432, enlisted in August 1914 and served at Gallipoli and then in Signals, France.

He was heavily gassed and eventually repatriated home on October 8, 1918, but not before he met the woman who would become Judy's grandmother while on leave in London.

George's younger brother, Private Albert Smith 2nd Bn A.I.F. 6082, fought on the Western front from 1916 until he was killed in action on February 2, 1917.

Mrs Martin has recently discovered another link from the Isle of Wight, Lance Corporal George White 27756, who served at both Gallipoli and on the Western Front, and was killed at Passchendaele in September 1917.

Heading over for the centenary of the war's end, the couple will travel to Vignacourt - home to the Lost Diggers Collection.

Australians Michael and Donna Fiechtner lead the tour each year and have been instrumental in promoting and developing the ongoing relationship and the village's rich history.

"It has been an incredible opportunity to commemorate the centenary years of the Great War with Vignacourt," Mr Fiechtner said.

Topics:  anzac-day-2018


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