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Object of the week: A stick that stopped a bullet


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A particular favourite item of Museum curator David Willey is this walking stick (pictured top left); an object that at first may appear mundane.

 

But the hand written label attached to the handle reveals an interesting story…

“This walking stick was shot from my hand whilst following the tanks of ‘B’ Coy 2nd Battalion at Cambrai on 20th November 1917 – I was company Reconnaissance Officer. The bullet split my thumb and knocked this stick 20 yards away. I went out to the objective and returned to the dressing station. N.M. Dillon.”

 

As Reconnaissance Officer, the 21 year-old Dillon (pictured right) was responsible for marking out the best routes for the tanks to follow, both on a map and on the ground using white tape. Walking sticks like these were often carried so that the solidity of the ground could be tested, and as such the suitability of the route for tanks.

 

On the morning of that now infamous action, Dillon returned to his white tape with the intention of leading a Company of tanks, only to find it was missing.

 

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