A miracle bible marked with bullet holes from a German machine gun helped save the life of a British World War I soldier, his daughter claimed.
The bible was said to have stopped two bullets from hitting Private Leslie Friston as he lay in a hospital bed recovering from a gas attack.
Pte Friston, who served with the Royal Army Medical Corps, was blinded and left with respiratory problems following a gas attack in France in 1917.
As he lay recovering in hospital, a German aircraft passed overhead and machine-gunned the makeshift building’s tin roof.
Two of the bullets struck the then 23-year-old soldier’s holy book, which was next to him on a bedside table and stopped the bullets hitting him.
The soldier’s bible still bears the scars of war more than 100 years later with two bullet holes from where it ‘took the brunt’ of the German machine-gun attack.
Pte Friston, who served as a nurse and was from Surbiton, Surrey, survived the war thanks to the book and brought the bible home to his family.
He kept it close to him until his death in 1958 aged 64, when his possessions were passed to his daughter Ena Thompson, now 87.
‘He said the bible saved his life as it took the brunt of the attack,’ Mrs Thompson, from Bournemouth, Dorset, said.
‘If the bullets had landed just a few inches further towards him, he would not have survived – and I wouldn’t be here today.
‘He was incredibly lucky and I think he knew this as he kept the bible with him for the rest of his life.
‘I used to ask him “would you tell me about the war…?” and he would say “no, I don’t want to talk about it”.’
Pte Friston signed up to fight in the First World War at the age of 21 and served with the 3/3rd Home Counties Field Ambulance unit in France and Belgium during the war years. His service number was 3621, later changing to 88882.
Records show he was injured by the gas shell in 1917 when he was aged 23, making him eligible to be awarded a wound stripe.
‘He was a nurse, so it must have been awful and frustrating for him to be lying in a hospital bed himself’, Mrs Thompson said.
‘He just would have wanted to help other people.
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Source: Daily Mail