The then recently ordained Methodist minister who, like many soldiers during World War I, carried his Bible close to his heart, was hit that day by a lead shrapnel bullet, which embedded itself in the book, saving his life. Corporal Jenkins died a few months later in the Battle of the Somme, and the Bible, complete with bullet, was posted home to a loved one in Australia and treasured for the next nine decades, before finally making its way to a collection housed in Canberra.
Dr Harris set about researching the soldier whose life was saved by the tiny book, and found detailed personnel records showing that by the time he was shot, Jenkins had already seen his fair share of death and injury during the two weeks he had spent at Gallipoli. The shell, fired by the Turkish Army, landed and exploded close to where he and his men were working, striking him directly over his heart. The lead shrapnel bullet passed through the Psalms before stopping at the Gospel pages.
In the back of the book – a French New Testament that he probably bought as a souvenir while in Alexandria – Jenkins later wrote, ”Shrapnel bullet from shell of 75mm field gun. About May 6 or 7 – Gallipoli”.
Jenkins fought his way through the rest of the Gallipoli campaign, was promoted to…