Pictures Keep a WWI Soldier Safe

A WWI soldier was rescued from a fate of death by deadly shrapnel when the metal struck his chest and did not lacerate him due to the collection of pictures he kept on him at all times. In a way, it was as if he was saved by the love of his family, as the shrapnel managed to get through all but one of the pictures that the WWI soldier was carrying at the time.

His name was Private William Taylor, and he was one of only one fourth of his regiment to survive the battle which nearly claimed his own life as well. He was not even badly injured, suffering nothing more than a fracture in one of his ribs. The lucky WWI soldier had been in numerous scrapes and survived them all. Perhaps the luckiest part of all was that he did not start carrying the photographs around with him wherever he went until he had survived the Battle of the Somme, fighting at the front of the fray.

A noble and courageous man, Private Taylor had once before saved another man from death in the middle of No Man’s Land. He was also compassionate, and developed a friendship with the man he saved, a WWI soldier by the name of Private Charles Winch. He was not arrogant as the result of his exploits, and his family recalls that he did not often speak of what happened during the war.

Private Taylor’s near-death experience was known to his children, but was recently brought to mind when his grandson Dave Taylor was searching for relics from the war to display in celebration of the centenary. A WWI soldier such as his grandfather often kept photographs in remembrance of what was left behind upon enlistment, and Private William Taylor looked at his photographs often whenever there was downtime to escape from battle, the Mail Online reports.

Private William Taylor is not by far the only WWI soldier whose story will be honored over the course of the centenary. There were numerous men who, through a mix of bravery and luck, managed to survive the entirety of the First World War. There are also many equally brave men who never lived past the first year. What makes Taylor’s story so unique is the fact that such a close shave would never have been survived if the WWI soldier had not had enough love for his family to bring their memories with him wherever he went, and that sort of devotion is what will be honored when the photographs go on display.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE