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Forces War Records Blog

AWE-INSPIRING STORY ABOUT WWI SOLDIER WHO DEFIED DEATH — SON TO SELL MEDALS

Blogger: GemSen Every now and then you hear a truly awe-inspiring war story. The latest one involves Scotsman Robert Collie, a soldier who survived the First World War, a shot in the stomach, and being left for dead… He had survived the furious battle of the Somme and fought at Ypres but was shot in the stomach, at Passchendale — Mr Collie was suspected dead and was thrown into a heap of corpses, reported the Daily Mail. Rather incredibly, he was actually still alive and was only saved after a passing India medic noticed him moving. Mr Collie not only amazingly recovered from the wounds but he also returned to fight, serving in India after WWI, and like a Phoenix from the flames he excelled, rising through the ranks from Private to Major.

“My father was a tough Scotsman and not a lot fazed him,” his son, also called Robert, 75, told the Daily Mail. “He hardly ever spoke about the war when he was alive. I managed to get a few things out of him but the rest I have found out on the internet.” “He fought at the Somme where the Allies lost 57,000 men on the first day. He fought at Ypres and was badly wounded at Passchendale. “His colleagues thought he was dead and he was thrown on a load of dead bodies. “An Indian doctor then saw him twitch and pulled him off and treated him and saved his life. Within a year and was back fighting again.”

The soldier carried on suffering even after the war Even once the war was over the heartbreak did not end for Mr Collie as his wife, Ida, became ill with tuberculosis in 1933 and also died. “My father met and married my mother, Kathleen, while she worked as a children's nurse in Calcutta in 1937 and I was born a year later,” Robert said. As you can imagine, Mr Collie earned a remarkable medal collection which includes the MBE, 1914 Star, 1914-18 War medal, Victory medal, 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, World War II War medal, 1939-45 India medal, 1935 and 1937 Commemorative medals, George IV and Queen Elizabeth Coronation medal, George V Long Service medal, and the George V Meritorious Service medal. The war hero was also a talented boxer and the collection includes white metal box with the inscription 'Presented to Lt. R. Collie M.B.E., I.C.C. for Services Rendered to Army Boxing 1936-38 by The Military Boxing Committee, Calcutta'.

Reading this story, one thing that surprised me more than Mr Collie defying death was sadly learning that his son, Robert, 75, is to sell the medals because apparently his children don’t want them. “I inherited the medals from him. My two children don't really want them and I thought I would look to give them a good home now,” he told the newspaper. Apparently, the medals are being sold by Eastbourne Auctions and are expected to sell for around £1,200. I found it sad to hear that the medals would be sold. This is a part of the family’s history highlighting their ancestor’s achievements gained while fighting for their future and freedom. What do you think? Could you have sold your ancestor’s medals?

 

Source: Daily Mail

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