Spoon saved life of Great War sol­dier

Western Morning News - - News -

A Devon man has shown off the pre­cious heir­loom that saved his grand­fa­ther’s life in the First World War – a piece of cut­lery.

The sil­ver spoon was with a bi­ble in Henry Cooper’s top left jacket pocket when he was hit by a bul­let dur­ing the Bat­tle of the Somme in 1916.

The round went through the book but was de­flected and slowed down by the spoon.

Henry, 20, spent months in hospi­tal in Southamp­ton re­cov­er­ing from the gun shot wound, al­though his fam­ily be­lieve that but for the spoon he would not have sur­vived.

The item, given to Henry by his fa­ther be­fore he went to war, was kept in the fam­ily and decades later went to war again.

The spoon was given to Rod Cooper by his mother as a good luck charm when he de­ployed to Iraq with The Royal Lancers in the Gulf War of 1991.

“She gave it to me as a to­ken of good luck and asked me to keep it my pocket,” said Mr Cooper, 57, of Paign­ton.

“I’m not overly su­per­sti­tious but it seemed harm­less and like a good idea. I didn’t show it to many peo­ple re­ally while on de­ploy­ment.

“My troop and crew knew about it be­cause they knew I didn’t want to lose it,” said the for­mer War­rant Of­fi­cer 2. “I took it on fur­ther tours later.”

For­tu­nately he was never shot dur­ing his 32 years in the army but he made sure the spoon was also put to its in­tended use.

“It came in very use­ful as it’s big. I ended up us­ing it as a ‘rac­ing spoon’ be­cause I could fit so much in it.”

Rod Cooper with the spoon that saved the life of his grand­fa­ther in the First World War

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