The Tudor Watch That Took a Bullet in Vietnam

Now this is an amazing story. “I had told the story of the watch to other people—family members, other veterans—many times over the years. 50 years,” says Barry Jones.

Jones served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. During a firefight in Vietnam, Jones was shot in the leg, side, and on the wrist, where he was wearing a Tudor watch.

Tudor Watch took a bullet in vietnam

“I was assigned to the Navy underwater swimmer school in late 1967, and I needed a good diving watch. And I knew about Rolexes. I didn’t have a good diving watch at the time and went searching for one and I found a good Tudor in a jewelry store in Key West, Florida. I think it was in the neighborhood of $150, which was a third of my monthly salary at the time,” recalls Jones.

During a mission moving toward Danang to attack a position that had been taken by a North Vietnamese sapper unit, Jones attempted to take out a machine gun nest. “I unholstered my 45 and got a couple of hand grenades handy and started moving on that machine gun. I got real close and I fell down—or at least I thought I fell down, and that was when I had been shot,” recounts Jones. That’s when 3rd Hospital Corpsman, USN, Lorrie McLaughlin came in.

Tudor Watch side view

The watch had been hit in the lug and bent it. McLaughlin asked Jones what he wanted to do with the watch, and Jones told him to keep it. After coming home, both men set up their new lives. McLaughlin kept the watch in a small box with other mementos from Vietnam for 50 years. When the anniversary of their return home came up, McLaughlin sought out his brothers in arms.

He was able to connect with Jones through a friend. “When Carl called, he said, ‘I got this call. Does the name Lorrie McLaughlin mean anything?’ I said, ‘Of course, the watch.’” The watch was returned to Jones 50 years to the date that McLaughlin had taken the watch off of Jones’ wrist in that steamy jungle.

Tudor Watch with military watch

“The watch has taken on a much larger meaning than just a watch,” says Jones. “It’s a symbol to me. It’s a symbol of my connection to Lorrie and to our fellow marines.”

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Tudor Watch took a bullet in vietnam

Tudor Watch back view

Tudor Watch

Tudor Watch in vietnam

Mark Jessen

Mr Mark Jessen

Mark Jessen studied English at Brigham Young University, completing a double emphasis in creative writing and professional writing/editing. After graduating, Mark went to work for a small publisher as their book editor. After a brief time as a freelance writer, Mark entered the corporate world as a copywriter. These days, his hours are spent mostly in proofing and editing, though he continues to create content for a wide variety of projects. In 2017, Mark completed UCLA's Creative Writing Certification. A prolific writer, Mark has over 20 years of experience in journalism.