On July 23, 1974, Canadian Airborne Private Michel Plouffe was driving Capt. Normand Blacquiere and several Turkish soldiers along the Green Line during a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cyprus when they were attacked by a group of Greek combatants.
Blacquiere took a bullet in the leg. Plouffe pulled him out of the line of fire, but while he was performing first aid, a bullet ricocheted off his helmet into his mouth.
He put the bullet in his pocket and continued with first aid until relief troops arrived.
After that, Plouffe was sent to hospital and eventually back home at the end of his tour, but for saving Blacquiere’s life, was awarded the Star of Courage.
Plouffe’s story, his helmet, the bullet, and his medals, are all now part of the new permanent exhibit that presents Canada’s involvement in the United Nations Force in Cyprus at the Canadian War Museum.
Cyprus was the longest traditional peacekeeping mission to which Canada contributed, said Andrew Burtch, post-1945 historian at the Canadian War Museum.