The life of this man from Stroud, England, was filled with close call after close call with death. Most of us would consider ourselves lucky to escape just one!
But Alec Alder himself was in disbelief, having been spared from death fourteen times in his 88 years on earth.
“I must be the luckiest fella alive,” Alder told The Telegraph in a 2008 interview.
Headlines that could have been…
Had Alec Alder not survived any one of his 14 close encounters, these are just a few of the headlines that could have announced his death.
“Boy Dies In Car Crash”
Alder’s luck started when he was 10 years old—an oncoming car hit him as he biked along a cramped country road.
“I went around the corner and there was a car in front of me,” Alder described. “I went straight into the car, up into the air and landed spread-eagle on the bonnet (the hood of a car).”
How do you survive that? Amazingly, the driver who hit him happened to be a doctor, and he saved his life.
“Entire Military Squadron Dies in Dunkirk”
Fast forward ten years later when Alder was a part of the Glosters Regiment of the Territorial Army during World War II. While serving, his squadron was sent to battle on the beaches of Dunkirk.
Alder, who was 21 years old at the time and was engaged to be married, was granted leave for five days to attend his wedding and honeymoon. Upon his return, his fellow soldiers had all been dispatched to Dunkirk, but Alder was then sent to Cheltenham instead. Cheltenham was just a few miles down the road from Dunkirk. His entire company lost their lives at the disastrous Dunkirk battle in 1939.
“My old company went off to Salisbury Plain and eventually to Dunkirk,” recalled Alder. “All my friends got killed at Dunkirk, and I should have been with them.”
“Soldier Dies During Military Training Tank Mishap”
During military training exercises in Yorkshire three years later, Alder was run over by a tank.
“For some reason, the driver was standing up and waving his arms,” Alder explained. The mammoth war machine missed rolling over his head and chest by inches. Luckily, it rolled over his leg instead, and his leg was only pushed down deep into the mud.
“It had gone over my foot and my leg when the engine stopped. I don’t know why – I think it was a divine purpose,” Alder said. “If he had gone further, he would have gone over me and killed me.”
“Sleeping Man Killed After Fighter Jet Crashes Into House”
That same year, Alder was promoted to Sergeant. While staying with relatives in Devon, a British fighter pilot crash landed, blasting through the house, but somehow sparing Alder who was asleep in an upstairs bedroom. The plane literally violently smashed by him, missing his head by just inches.
“The roof collapsed around me and the plane burst into flames and crashed into the garden,” Alder recounted in detail. “If it had been two feet lower, it would have burst into flames in my room.”
Alder credited his luck to divine intervention
As the war came to an end, Alder went to Burma where he played football. In a game-playing injury that broke his leg, he was sent to the hospital. The life-changing experience he had there would be like no other he had experienced before.
A ward matron (chief of nurses) at the hospital influenced Alder to convert to Christianity.
“She said, ‘You’re giving only five per cent of your time to God, but he doesn’t want five per cent—he wants a hundred percent,'” Alder remembered. “It was that moment I became a Christian. I told God I wanted to serve him.”
That is exactly what Alder did. He served as a minister when he returned from the war, and he stated that he believed God saved his life each and every time he encountered disaster.
Alder died just two months after being interviewed by The Telegraph. He was 88 years old.
A few more of Alder’s close calls…
Want to know some of the other ways Alder came close? Here’s a list of a few more. Can you imagine the headline for any of these had they not turned out as they did?