Soldier finds shrapnel in mouth, 65 years on

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The Independent Online

A Second World War nurse injured in an explosion spoke today of his shock after a piece of shrapnel fell from his mouth - 65 years later.

Alfred Mann, 87, has struggled to eat and speak since he was injured in the land mine blast while serving with Royal Army Medical Corps in Italy in 1944.

Mr Mann, who had no idea the half-inch shrapnel had lodged in his jaw, has spent years in pain, eating only soft foods.

Mr Mann, who lives with his 87-year-old wife Constance in Sheldon, Birmingham, said he now felt like a new man.

"I couldn't believe it when it came out, " he said. "It was about 5am in the morning on 4 May.

"I've had problems with my mouth for 65 years - bleeding, soreness. I went to the doctor and he said it was an ulcer and sent me to the dentist.

"I am so relieved. I could only eat soft food and now I'm eating everything and enjoying it."

Mr Mann suffered hearing loss, face, shoulder and leg injuries in the explosion in Monte Cassino while helping to treat injured soldiers.

"I do not remember anything about it," he said. "I woke up two days later in hospital in Naples."

The pensioner had wanted to join the Navy but instead ended up joining the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1941.

He was turned down by Navy chiefs for being too short.

Mr Mann said: "I feel so much better now it's out. I've been in pain and wasn't able to eat or open my mouth properly.

"I had no idea it was there. I had a piece in my shoulder which was taken out in 1946. They wouldn't let me keep the shrapnel.

"I'm not going to part with this one."