The cigarette case that saved a soldiers life goes on display in Dublin

One hundred years since the Allied attack at Gallipoli two new Dublin exhibitions in Ireland are showcasing a range of items as well as photographs from the troops during World War One.

One of the items on display is a cigarette case belonging to an Irish soldier which stopped a bullet killing him. The case is now dented and stained, but was placed in Jim Dempsey Burrowes’ top shirt pocket and saved his life.

Jim had originally been a carpenter in Dublin, but when the call for soldiers to enlist came in 1914, he travelled to England to join the army and train for the frontline. During his training in England, Jim met and fell in love with an English girl, who gave him the silver cigarette case. Following that he also visited a convent where the nuns gave him a picture of St Teresa to protect him. Jim placed the picture into his little cigarette case and went off with the Royal Engineers to Gallipoli.

Fighting on the frontline, Jim was hit by a bullet but it hit his cigarette case which saved his life.  From that day on Jim felt it was St Teresa who saved him. During his time in Gallipoli, Jim fell ill with malaria.

But he still survived and returned home to Ireland. Jim eventually married and had two children. Marie Dunne, one of Jim’s daughters, attended the exhibition opening and lives to tell his tale.

‘Fragments; Stories from Gallipoli 1915’ Exhibition at The Pearse St Library in Dublin opened this week.

The second exhibition that has opened in Dublin is of the Battle of Canakkale – a display of photographs backed by the Turkish embassy in Ireland. The Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association says that the Irish people have come a long way to recognising and commemorating their past.

The Association says that World War One and particularly the Gallipoli campaign was a tragic time with a whole generation of young people lost, not only from Ireland, but also from Turkey, Australia and New Zealand, the reports.

At the time, there was no mandatory conscription into the army, all of those soldiers who took part in Gallipoli were volunteers.

Image source: Facebook

Ian Harvey

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