Lifestyle & Human Interest

This Penny Helped Save a Soldier's Life 105 Years Ago After Taking Impact of Bullet


A penny that helped save the life of Pvt. John Trickett, a British soldier who fought in World War I, is set to be auctioned alongside a collection of war memorabilia that belonged to the soldier.

More than 100 years ago, Trickett placed a penny in his front pocket before heading to fight on a French battlefield in 1914.

When a bullet shot by a German enemy flew toward Trickett’s heart, the penny deflected the bullet, leaving the soldier disabled for life, but alive.

Trickett kept the penny his entire life, a reminder of his brush with death and the war that claimed the lives of two of his brothers.

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The coin was minted in 1889 and has been passed through Trickett’s family for generations. Now, the coin is set to be auctioned by Hansons Auctioneers, BBC News reported.

Trickett’s granddaughter, 63-year-old Maureen Coulson, said that every family member knows the story of the penny.

“Everyone in our family saw the penny and heard the story of how it saved my grandfather’s life,” Coulson said, according to a media release from Hansons Auctioneers. “His two brothers, Horace and Billy, both died in the First World War. My grandad was the only survivor.”

Coulson said her family estimates Trickett, born in 1899, was around 19 years old when he was shot. Trickett returned home after the injury, which she said damaged his left-hand side and left him deaf in his left ear. He struggled with balance issues as well.

“We think it’s likely he signed up to serve in the army when he was under age as he looked older than he was,” Couson said. “Many soldiers were under age, they were so keen to serve their country.”

As the penny moves toward auction on March 22, militaria expert Adrian Stevenson hopes the dented coin will go into the hands of someone who loves and cherishes military history.

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Stevenson said that many soldiers kept items in their front pockets at the time in an attempt to protect themselves from enemy fire and explosions.

“It’s likely John Trickett kept the penny there on purpose,” Stevenson said. “When the bullet hit the coin, it ricocheted up through his ear. It left him deaf and disabled, but still alive.”

When she sees the penny, Coulson is reminded that her family’s story would look very different had Trickett died on the battlefield that day.

“It’s strange to think that, but for that penny, his children would not have been born and I wouldn’t be here,” she said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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