Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The missing shrapnel

Last week we were burgled. We had been enjoying a lovely family holiday in Norfolk when I took the phone call from one of our neighbours. The house had been well and truly 'visited' with not a cupboard or draw left un-emptied.

 In my study was a box that my mum had put together after my father's death containing various memorabilia from his days in the army during World War 2. In that box was another box, very small and containing some tissue paper within which was a very small piece of irregular material. It was shrapnel and had previously been lodged in one of my dad's legs. It was now missing.-the shrapnel that is.

Dad had gone over with the invasion force as part of Operation Overlord. I believe he entered northern France on D-day plus 2 or 3 and was soon wounded whilst fighting near Falaise. I never got the detail from dad, but I know he was wounded (I believe as a result of friendly fire) and was shipped back to the UK for surgery and convalescence and he subsequently guarded POWs.

I've no idea why our burglars should have taken dad's shrapnel. I guess they must have thought it valuable, wrapped up as it was. They will have a nasty surprise when they take it to a jewellers. I'm sure it's just a fragment of concrete from a building.

Without that shrapnel I might not have existed-for who knows, perhaps my dad, had he survived to take part in the recapture of France, might have been fatally wounded. But being wounded in the non fatal way that he was, saved him.

Burglaries bring home to you the relative importance of possessions. It's certainly not a pleasant thing to have your home invaded, nor possessions stolen, nor a level of untidiness created that even two teenage daughters had never managed. But I thank God that there are some things that can never be taken away.
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