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Capt. Charles E. Cope, MC
Capt. Charles E. Cope, MC

 

MY grandfather Charles Cope enlisted early in the great war signing up to be a soldier in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, where he saw action on the western front in France.

The army soon recognised grandpa's leadership qualities and he was enrolled for officer training then transferred to the Royal Fusiliers.

He was awarded his Military Cross by King George V in person for leading a night patrol that destroyed a German barbed wire emplacement using a 'Bangalore Torpedo'.

On one occasion a German sniper took aim and fired a shot aimed at Capt. Cope's chest. Grandpa only survived because the bullet was buffered by his breast watch and an army pocket field manual.

Apart from a fractured ankle from awkwardly jumping into a trench grandpa got through years of fighting including at the Somme and Ypres unscathed. His colleagues though he was blessed by 'Cope's luck'.

After the war Charles stayed on in the army for a few more years as an army instructor before deciding to emigrate to Australia where he returned to his pre-war profession as a school teacher.