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Grandad, your old bible kept me safe on Afghan mission
6:10am Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
A SOLDIER who carried his grandfather’s Second World War bible to keep him safe is returning it after six months in Afghanistan.
Corporal David Coles, of Colchester-based 156 Provost Company, Military Police, kept the precious posession in his body armour.
His grandfather Alfred “Henry” Collins, 95, constantly carried the bible as he served in the RAF Police in the UK and Norway during the war years.
Cpl Coles, 31, said: “My grandfather has a strong faith and wanted me to take his service bible with him.
“I have kept excellent care of it, because it’s a treasured possession of his. It’s been in my body armour, in a special pouch in my day sack. I’ve tried not to carry it too much to avoid damaging or losing it.”
The bible was taken by Cpl Coles to one of the chapels in Camp Bastion, the UK’s main Afghanistan base, where it was blessed and a small reading was pasted into its pages.
Returning the bible to his grandad is especially important for Cpl Coles as his grandmother Mary recently passed away. The bible will be used at her memorial service.
He said: “It will mean a tremendous amount for my grandfather to know that his bible was with me for the length of my time away and to know that it was blessed by an RAF Padre here.
“He and my grandmother were married for 68 years and have been a huge part of my life.”
Cpl Coles, who grew up in Cambridge, joined the army in 2007. He has served in Northern Ireland and Germany, as well as serving in Afghanistan before on Operation Herrick 15.
In Afghanistan Cpl Coles worked under the Theatre Provost Group, Military Police, whose role included working with British infantry to provide expertise such as special investigations.
Cpl Coles said: “It has been an enjoyable deployment but being back home in Cambridge is a good feeling. I really hope to be able to take my grandfather to a Remembrance Parade.”
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