Skip to comments.Weighty Memento: War Veteran's Secret Revealed After His Death [Cremation Reveals Bagful of Metal]
Posted on 10/19/2012 9:24:40 AM PDT by Steelfish
Weighty Memento: War Veteran's Secret Revealed After His Death The family of a war hero only discovered the full weight of his bravery after his death when his cremation left behind a huge pile of shrapnel. [Pic in URL]
The bag contained a whopping 6oz of bomb shrapnel, roughly two handfuls, that Mr Brown had been carrying around for 60 years 18 Oct 2012 Ronald Brown stepped on a land mine while on a mission in France in August 1944. The blast peppered his left leg with red-hot fragments and he was forced to crawl two miles to safety.
But because of medical conditions of the day it was thought safer to leave shrapnel in his body. He survived the war but only ever told his family the basic story and said the accident had left him with a 'bad knee'.
Mr Brown told loved ones he still had a 'bullet' in his leg and asked his grandchildren not to sit on his knee because of the pain it caused. But when he died last week aged 94 his family had him cremated and were stunned when staff handed them back a big bag of shrapnel.
The bag contained a whopping 6oz of bomb shrapnel that he had been carrying around for 60 years. Daughter Jane Madden, 55, of Exeter, Devon said her father told her there was a bullet in his knee from the war, never mentioning the pile of fragments. She said: "I don't think he ever realised all that was in his leg - it weighed about six ounces.
(snip) "But when we went to scatter his ashes we asked whether the bullet had been found and they gave us this bag full of metal.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
The Greatest Generation
They didn’t whine and whimper, they went on with their lives.
Wow, you think he’d have suffered from lead poisoning long since.
Thought you might like to alert the Canteen to this!
God bless the WWII vets and all our heros.
Dear Jesus. That's 3%.
My understanding is that shrapnel is steel, not lead.
"a projectile that consists of a case provided with a powder charge and a large number of usually lead balls and that is exploded in flight
After looking at some of the shrapnel, I’m shocked he didn’t have a severed vein or artery. By all rights the guy should have bled out on the battlefield.
What a great story, great guy. This article was a keeper.
Is that what mine fragments look like? Is it normal to find screws, nails and what looks like bent wires in a mine? Shouldn’t there be jagged case fragments? Just asking.
Was that booby trap made by the IRA or the Weather Underground? looks like stuff from a hardware store, not shell fragments.
Hmm. That looks more like the bits you’d have left after burning a wooden casket.
It might have been some kind of improvised device. Might even have been something the French Resistance set up and he got it by mistake.
He stepped on a land mine which at the time were made of steel. The fragments were therefore steel not lead. Bullets used in military small arms of that era were "full metal jacket", so called "ball" ammunition. Ball ammunition exposes very little of the lead core and is designed to pass completely through a person, it does not "mushroom" or expand as does hunting ammunition. In any event, there was never a bullet involved with his injury since he asked his grandchildren not to sit on his knee because the mine fragments caused him pain.
I think you folks are on to something there. I should have considered those thoughts myself.
IEDs could contain a bunch of crap, but a military device isn’t going to include those things.
That much mass could not remain inside the body IMO. At some point over the years, it would have to be addressed. Besides, that much mass would have probably taken the leg clear off, or both legs.
I try not to get taken to the cleaners, but here I believe I have.
In that pile is probably the true artifact. If they look intently, I’m sure they’ll find it.
Heck, I wouldn’t tell them what the truth here is. Let them think what they want. Their relative was a hero, and if this big pile lets them think the more-so, great.
We might be able to tell by the shape of the screw heads. I’m fairly sure the 1940s era screws and the 2012 era screws would look different. These look pretty modern.
I think the ‘casket parts’ comment was probably fairly close to the winner here.
I still don’t think you’re totally out of the running, but I don’t think this guy would only be mentioning pain in the knee if all this was in there for 60-70 years.
Thanks for the response.
I’d have to check on the screws to see if there’s a difference between old and modern, but as far as casket parts go, I always thought when they cremated someone they were transferred to cardboard “coffin.” No idea how they do it in the UK however.
I think you're right. I had a late friend who caught a load of shrapnel in his legs from a Cong booby-trap. (The term IED hadn't been invented yet.) For the rest of his life he was going back to the VA hospital from time to time to get another piece removed, as it became a problem.
> Their relative was a hero, and if this big pile lets them think the more-so, great.
I second that. Amen.
A lot of those bent wire pieces look like staples from a pneumatic stapler, like the one’s used for construction. Or they could be wire used to generate shrapnel from some sort of improvised mine. A landmine constructed from a wooden box and wrapped in fence wire could do some serious damage.
I would think you’re right on the casket. The mass of the spent wood would probably be more than the human remains. I’m just trying to think of an alternative source, than his body for the bulk of it.
Thanks for the response. Yes, your friend’s story does sound like what I would expect here.
I tried to think of a wire source too. Perhaps something to wrap something like a box or casket. In your box scenario, it would seem the wire would blow in all directions if it was a wrapping. If the wire had been previously cut, I could see it blowing out, but it seems like that would have been in all directions too.
Some of those long pieces, couldn’t have entered the skin and remained inside. They could have been picked out of the resulting wound with little problem. They wouldn’t imbed at length submerged so as to be out of reach of forceps or another tool.
Doesn’t look like bomb shrapnel at all. More like surgical material to fix broken bones.
Not intending any disrespect.
Phillips head screws were around during WWII?
No offense taken.
Go down to the fourth paragraph here. In it, you’ll note they give Henry Phillips credit for the invention of the Phillip’s head screw in the early 1930s.
How broadly they were used outside motor vehicle plants, or over in Europe during that period is unkown to me.
Also referenced here: Cadillac adopted useage...
Okay, I dug some more. Here is a link to a site that claims the introduction of the Phillip’s head screw to Europe was during WWII. U. S. military equipment introduced these screws to Europe.
My take is that these screws would probably not have been plentiful enough in Europe to be used in an IED design, or by the Germans. This may be incorrect, as it’s only my take on it.