In a moving ceremony at Russell Offices on April 14, RSM-Ceremonial ADF WO1 Paul Richardson was handed a shrapnel-holed French Bible that saved the life of an Anzac digger at Gallipoli.
The Bible belonged to LCpl, later Lt, Elvas Jenkins, of 2 Fd Coy, RAE, who enlisted on September 19, 1914, shortly after the outbreak of WWI.
The Bible is part of Bible Society Australia’s historical collection.
WO1 Richardson said it would be an honour and a privilege to take what was considered a national treasure to Gallipoli for the centenary commemoration.
“What we’re going to attempt to do with the bible is to try to trace back to where it was, where it received the shrapnel hit, and pay our respects once we reach that particular site,” he said.
“We’ll then try to give it as much involvement as we can in the journey of Anzac.”
Bible Society Australia’s senior biblical consultant Rev Dr John Harris said the Bible was given to the society by the family of Lt Jenkins’ fiancée, Jeanie Reid, three years ago.
“We’re sending it back to where it came from in a way,” he said.
“It was received in Egypt by then LCpl Jenkins, when the Anzacs were training there. It went to Gallipoli on the first day, it saved his life by stopping the shrapnel ball on May 6, and it was there until the last day of Gallipoli.”
“When it comes back from Gallipoli it will go into the Bible Society’s exhibition, before returning to Gallipoli for the centenary of Lone Pine in August, then to France for the centenary of the Battle of Pozieres in 1916,” he said.
“After that it will be kept in Canberra in St Mark’s Library’s rare book room and shown at least every Anzac Day, if not more.”
LCpl Jenkins was promoted to Second Lieutenant at Ismailia, Egypt, in March 1916, a week after he transferred into 1 Pioneer Bn.
He was promoted to Lieutenant on June 22, 1916, in France, and was wounded in action near Albert with gunshot wounds to the neck and chest on July 20, dying of those wounds later that day
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