Bullets and Bibles

bible from Their Sacrifice exhibitionAn exhibition displaying a Bible that saved the life of a young soldier in Gallipoli will visit Launceston during November and December.

Their Sacrifice is a year-long national exhibition hosted by Bible Society Australia. It commemorates the Anzac centenary by showcasing stories of 10 soldiers and the Bibles they took with them to war.

One of the Bibles on display belonged to Lance Corporal Elvas Jenkins.

Mr Jenkins was born in Ararat in 1888 and was a member of his local Methodist church. After leaving school to work as an apprentice in a printing firm, he decided to train to become a Methodist minister. He was eventually ordained in 1914, at the age of 26.

A month later, war broke out in Europe.

Mr Jenkins was one of the first Anzacs to land at Gallipoli and among the last to be evacuated. Under intense bombardment at Gallipoli, he was hit directly over his heart by a lead shrapnel bullet. Instead of ripping through his heart, the bullet pierced the Bible he carried in his shirt pocket, saving him from instant death.

But Elvas Jenkins did not survive the war. After Gallipoli, he journeyed to France, where he became the first Anzac to die on the Western Front.

His Bible is now housed in a protective box made from a branch of the Lone Pine tree at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Bible Society CEO Greg Clarke encouraged Tasmanians to visit the exhibition.

“The stories of these brave men and the Bibles that sustained them under fire underline the value of the Bible during wartime, or indeed during any time of crisis,” he said.

Drawing on video, sound and animations, the exhibition takes visitors back to campaigns as far back as the Boer War, through two world wars and up to Afghanistan. As well as displaying the Bibles the soldiers took into battle, the exhibition also features a steel helmet that saved the life of Major Joe Mullins in Burma during the last days of World War II.

Their Sacrifice will be at Launceston LINC for one month, from 17 November to 17 December.

For more information about the exhibition, visit the Their Sacrifice website.



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