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Rushden Echo, 4th June 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins
Private C Magee
Triumph for the Surgeons
Rushden Soldier’s Arm Saved - After Various Operations
The Only Case of its Kind – Joining up the Nerves
A Modern Discovery

Pte C Magee (Rushden), of the 2nd Beds. Regiment, is at home on seven days’ leave, after having been in hospital and convalescent home for seven months. He was wounded at Ypres on Oct. 31st and was sent to England and is still under treatment. His, we understand, is the most protracted case under treatment, and not only was his wound a very serious one but the nerves of his left arm were also severed by the same bullet that shattered his arm. Interviewed by a representative of the “Rushden Echo” Pte Magee said:-

Chris in his uniform“In the battle in which I was wounded we lost over 600 men, including our C.O. and our second in command. It was O.T. I can tell you, as we were fighting in the open without a bit of cover. When we got the order to advance we took nothing with us but our rifles and bandoliers, and we rushed forward until we got within 100 yards of the German trenches and that was as far as we did get. The hail of bullets and shrapnel was so terrific that we dare not go either forward or backward until dusk, and we were compelled to lie in this exposed position from 10a.m. to 6p.m., when it got dark. It was about noon when I received my wound. As we were rushing forward I saw a shovel lying on the ground and picked it up with the intention of digging myself in. Owing to the tremendous rifle fire of the Germans, however, we were compelled to fall flat on our faces, and when I got down the blade of the shovel was sticking in my ribs. I emptied the magazine of my rifle and then grasped the shovel with my left hand with the intention of pulling it from under me. In doing so I raised myself above the head cover I had made, and a German bullet at once struck me under the left arm pit and caused a horrible wound. I found that all the use was gone from my arm and there I had to lie, helpless until dusk. I then managed to walk into Ypres, where I received medical attention, and the same night I was sent to Rouen.

“After ten days at Rouen I was sent across the Channel to Exeter Hospital, and whilst there I underwent four operations in five months. My wound was septic, and I had been in hospital a month before the cause of this was ascertained. I underwent the second operation, and on that occasion a piece of khaki cloth was discovered embedded in the wound, this having been the cause of much of the mischief. The cloth was removed, and my wound then began to heal, although it was found necessary to apply fomentations to it every four hours.

“A month later I underwent another operation, being under the anaesthetic for three hours. On this occasion the wonderful operation of joining up my nerves was performed, the surgeon being two hours finding my nerves and one hour in joining them. So skilled was his work, that it has been recorded in surgical annals, and several eminent medical men have been to see me. The surgeon told me that the bullet just missed one of the main arteries, and that if I had received my injury two years ago, when this method of operation had not been discovered, I should have lost my arm. Even as it is my arm is deformed and practically paralysed below the elbow, but the surgical authorities are still doing all in their power to save it.”

Private Magee is afraid that his career as a soldier is finished.

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