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Media fooled over helmet escape

Walderman's shredded helmet:
Walderman's shredded helmet: "A great wheeze"

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A British serviceman fooled the media when he was portrayed as having had a miracle escape after his helmet was hit by four gunshots, it has been revealed.

Commando Eric Walderman, 28, was nowhere near his helmet when it was shot by members of his own unit, serving in Iraq, said the British tabloid, The Sun.

The newspaper, which had carried the story saying Walderman had been targeted by Iraqi soldiers, unashamedly revealed the hoax on its front page Tuesday under the headline "Mr Lucky was not so plucky."

The helmet had been placed on Walderman's pack before the Marines began firing at a nearby unexploded anti-tank weapon.

Newspapers around the world ran with the picture and story of the "miracle" escape.

The incident happened ahead of the battle for Umm Qasr in the south of Iraq in the early stages of the war.

Walderman did not give an interview but he did not stop reporters assuming he had been wearing the Kevlar helmet when the bullets ripped into it.

The trick was only discovered when The Sun phoned for an update. A senior officer was quoted as saying: "I'm afraid the pressmen have been had.

"All commandos have a great sense of humor. Boys will be boys. It will go down in history as a great wheeze."

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