Funeral workers were shocked after they cremated a 90-year-old war veteran and found a BULLET that had been lodged in his hip – for 69 YEARS.
Tough Jack Mansell had been shot at Arnhem in the Netherlands during WWII’s Operation Market Garden – but did not realise the artillery had become stuck in his body.
While the injured vet believed the bullet had passed right through him it wasn’t until 30-years-later that a routine x-ray to discover the source of pain at work found the lodged ammunition.
Private Mansell had been part of the massive attack, in which around 17,000 allied soldiers died, at the age of just 21.
Fighting as part of the elite airborne unit of the Second Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment Pte Mansell was part of an anti tank unit manning a six-pound gun when his team landed by glider in Holland.
After fighting wave after wave of tanks for several days it was only when he was forced to pull back that Pte Mansell was shot by a sniper through his right hip.
Jack, from West Bromwich, West Mids., was taken in by a Dutch family after his injury, but was hunted down by the Nazis and hauled away to a POW camp.
There he was twice put in front of a firing squad after helping to sabotage German train lines – but lived to tell the tale.
After spending a year in Germany working as an Army dispatch rider after the war he returned to his native West Midlands and worked as a sheet metal engineer.
He lived at home until just a few months ago when ill health forced him into a nursing home – where he died on November 14.
He was cremated at West Bromwich crematorium on November 22 where – to the shock of staff – the bullet survived the heat and was found amongst his ashes.
Speaking after the funeral Jack’s nephew Kevin Edwards, 53, said: “During the 1980s Jack injured his abdomen while moving some metal at work.
“A routine hospital x-ray showed showed a bullet located in his right hip. All those years ago Jack had though the German bullet had passed through him – in fact it was still lodged in his body.
“It was left there as it gave him no trouble.
“Later in his life he used to tell people about the bullet in his right hip. He had loads of x-rays afterwards and they always asked if he wanted it out but he said it didn’t bother him.
“He lost his brother during the war, and he was a very proud man, never considered himself to be a hero even though he was.
“He was put up against the wall and a firing squad twice, after that he always said he could face anything.
“When he was cremated we asked them to keep an eye out for the bullet, but never thought it would make it out.
“Then when we collected his ashes the people from the crematorium also handed us an envelope.
“Inside was the bullet, it is a bit melted, but still we know what it is.
“He was a very popular well loved man. Men like him are literally a dying breed, and should never be forgotten.
“He was a wonderful man, he got me my job at the same factory he worked in.
“His war stories were amazing, I could sit and listen to him for hours.”
Jack lost his beloved wife Evelyn 10-years-ago after a long illness but his funeral was attended by more than 300 friends and family members.
Five regimental standard bearers were also in attendance and a bugler who played The Last Post. Guest raised #620 for Help for Heroes in his honour.
Julie Wilds, Jack’s daughter, added: “My dad was a very easy going, family orientated man. He was a massive baggies fan and still went to a lot of matches in his old age.
“Despite the amazing things he had done he didn’t really talk about it till his later life, but when he did, the stories I’ve been told were amazing.”