Part 12: Belgian Bunker Rush
Episode 12: Belgian Bunker Rush: Youtube, Polsy
About a week ago, I got a Youtube message from a really cool guy who was willing to share his grandfather's world war 2 story with me. This is some seriously awesome stuff, so my huge thanks go out to starwarsnerd94 for this awesome story and the associated images.
Before you ask, no, there is no good reason for a couple of keys and a coin to stop a bullet, particularly a big-ass rifle bullet like Harold Anderson was most likely shot with. The hit had to be either a ricochet or had to have been fired at such a weird angle that the keys and coin were on either side of it as it entered his clothing, killing its spin and momentum before it could slam into him. It is most likely the former. Whatever the case, this is really a one in a million story - by rights, he should have been shot through the lung and/or heart and been dead before a medic could reach him.
My grandfather (Harold Anderson) served with the 104th Infantry Division, the Timberwolves, during World War 2. He had originally wanted to join the air force, as he was an amateur pilot, but his eyesight was deemed to be too poor, so he joined the army.
He rarely talked about his experiences with me. He was a private man, and his mind and hearing deteriorated in his later years. However, there was one story that he did often talk about.
During the war, while serving in France sometime after D-Day, my Grandfather was tasked as working as a military mail carrier. I'm not sure if this was standard procedure, or if they were just using it in the area in my Grandfather served, but they were apparently keeping the mail under lock and key before sending it out or shipping it back to the United States. [ed note: It was. Attacking mail carriers was a common way of getting low-level intelligence. Locking it up was just supposed to make it a bit more of a pain in the ass.]
One day, while my Grandfather was traveling between two outposts, and he was running across a field near to where some fighting was going on. He was shot at by a German sniper. While he was running, he felt something slam into his chest, and because of that, he started running even faster to get out of the area. Once he was safe, and in cover, he checked himself. He has the beginning of a bruise on his chest, and in his pocket, he had two broken mail keys, a dented coin, and a crumpled bullet.
My Aunt sent pictures of the two keys, but my Grandfather lost the coin at some point in his life, after he had children.
The bottom half of the keys were eventually taken by the military so they could copy them, while my Grandfather was allowed to keep the top half of the keys. After he passed away a few years ago, my Aunt inherited the keys.