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  1. ITV Report

Spoon saved soldier's life during Battle of the Somme

A soldier survived being shot in the chest during the Battle of the Somme after he was saved by a spoon in his pocket.

20-year-old Henry Cooper was shot in the chest on July 1 1916, but survived after the spoon "slowed down" the bullet.

It pierced his skin and he spent around eight months in hospital recovering from his wounds.

Incredibly you can see the hole in the spoon where the bullet pierced it. Credit: ITV West Country

Henry's family, from Ashburton, have now revealed his incredible tale of survival as part of the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the infamous battle.

They kept the spoon - which still has the dent in - after Henry's death in the 1970s.

You can see the hole in the spoon where the bullet was 'slowed down' Credit: ITV West Country

His grandson Rod even carried it in his own pocket as a good luck charm while service in Iraq in 1991.

He served in The Royal Lancers from 1982 to July 2014, and now works as a locksmith.

The spoon was given to my mother and she kept it, and then later on she joined the army, around 1982.

One of the first conflicts I went to, the Gulf, my mother gave me the spoon as a good luck charm.

It was lucky for him no doubt, you can see where the bullet pierced. It was a nice gesture and I've carried it on a few things I've been on and now it lives in a case in the house on the wall.

– Rod Cooper

Rod told us why his grandfather Henry would have carried a spoon in the first place:

The bullet punctured some of Henry's major organs, including his lung. It was lodged inside him and had to be removed.

Henry died in the 1970s aged 70, when Rod was around nine or 10.

Rod has now called upon the Royal British Legion to help piece together his grandfather's military history.

The charity is encouraging communities to commemorate Somme 100 by downloading or ordering a free toolkit.

This includes acts of remembrance and soldiers diaries, letters and poetry, a history of the Somme, music and poppy petals for scattering.