Fam­ily tell how mir­ror helped save sol­dier’s life from deadly bul­let

Yorkshire Post - - ARMISTICE 100 -

THE FAM­ILY of a sol­dier have re­vealed for the first time how he cheated death when a Ger­man bul­let was de­flected away from his heart – by a shav­ing mir­ror.

Thomas Marston was car­ry­ing the steel mir­ror in his shirt pocket when he suf­fered a di­rect hit in the chest dur­ing a fierce fire­fight in the sum­mer of 1918.

While the mir­ror did not stop the bul­let pass­ing through his body and out the other side, his fam­ily be­lieve the mir­ror, which was a gift, saved his life. The trea­sured item is en­graved with the mes­sage ‘best of luck for 1918 from the read­ers of the Sh­effield Tele­graph’ and still bears the bul­let hole.

For the Sh­effield sol­dier’s fam­ily, it is both a me­mento of his re­mark­ably close shave and a tan­gi­ble re­minder of the hor­rors en­dured by troops dur­ing the war. Thomas’ great-great-grand­daugh­ter Mica Joynes, a 27-yearold hair­dresser, said: “It’s an amaz­ing story and it’s nice to have this as a me­mento of what he did dur­ing the war.

“I think it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fices of those who served dur­ing the wars.

“If you go to other coun­tries, they make such a fuss of their armed forces, but we just don’t.”

Lee Betts, Thomas’ great­grand­son, said the mir­ror had fas­ci­nated him since he was a boy,

I re­mem­ber hear­ing the story as a boy and be­ing amazed. Roger Betts, grand­son of Thomas Marston.

adding: “We’re all very proud and thank­ful of my great-grand­fa­ther and his trusty old mir­ror.”

Thomas’ grand­son Roger Betts re­calls his sense of won­der­ment as a young boy upon hear­ing the tale from his grand­mother Florence af­ter ask­ing her about the dam­aged mir­ror he saw stashed in a cup­board.

Mr Marston had been one of thou­sands of men to re­ceive one of the pol­ished steel mir­rors from the Sh­effield Tele­graph , a gift he ‘prized’ and had car­ried with him since the day it was pre­sented.

The heir­loom and the story be­hind it have been shared with sub­se­quent gen­er­a­tions, but un­til now the de­tails had been hazy – not helped by Thomas’ re­luc­tance to talk about his wartime ex­ploits. Roger told how his grand­fa­ther, who worked for British Steel and had four chil­dren, made the most of his re­mark­able re­prieve – sur­viv­ing un­til his early 70s and lead­ing a ‘happy-go-lucky’ ex­is­tence.

Mr Betts added: “I re­mem­ber hear­ing the story as a boy and be­ing amazed by how this mir­ror, which he used when shav­ing in the trenches, had saved his life.”


CLOSE SHAVE: Mica Joynes and Lee Betts with the steel shav­ing mir­ror which they be­lieve saved Thomas Marston’s life.

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