Scouts and rotters

The vicar of Cranbourne asked why the country was at war, while saluting the young men who had volunteered to serve.

Why are we at war? The answer may be given in the words of Scripture “for righteousness sake.” The Empire is at war
(1) For the sanctity of treaties.
(2) For the support of friends wrongfully assailed.
(3) For the defence of the weak.
(4) For the cause of peace.

Our task is to break the curse which for more than a generation has been blighting civilisation, – the curse of military oppression which has arrested progress, poisoned morality, sucked the life out of religion, and made a mock of every human ideal. This is well put in a short poem by Mr. James Rhoades.

Not for passion or for power,
Clean of hands, and calm of soul,
England at this awful hour
Bids her battle-thunders roll.
That crown’d arrogance may quail
And brute-force be backward hurled –
Lest the hypocrite prevail,
Lest a lie should win the world;
Lest she see the trustful weak
Trampled on by perjured strong –
That her arm may help to wreak
Justice on red-handed wrong,
Till the hierophants of fear
Cease, beneath the darkened sun,
To boom out in Europe’s ear
To grim gospel of the gun.
So, to meet you myriad host
As we muster land by land,
Witness Heaven- no braggart boast-
That for righteousness we stand!
In the dread impending hour
Heedful of that warning word,
“‘Not by my might, and not by power- By My Spirit’ saith the Lord.”

The Bishop of Durham (who is, we believe, a member of the Peace Society) writes “The voice of elementary righteousness calls us today, awful as the call is, to withstand with all our might the militant German Empire.” Therefore, young men of Cranbourne, the call comes to you to come forwards in the defence of your country to fight for righteousness. Several of our boys have joined our Troop of Boy Scouts, and are preparing themselves for when the call comes to help England. A well-known Scoutmaster says “The boys of England are two sorts, Scouts and rotters. Many one-time rotters have now become Scouts, helping their country as best they can. Are the young men of England going to allow themselves to be beaten by boys?”

All honour to Walter George Bish, Wilfred Lawson Clarke, Evelyn Jack Needham, who as volunteers have joined our army, to Dick Maxwell Williams who has joined the Royal Navy Reserve. “Who follows in their train?”

We are praying in Church day by day for our Soldiers and Sailors, mentioning by name those who have relatives and friends in this parish:- James Andrews, Albert Bartlett, Ernest Harold Brant, Walter George Bish, Wilfred Lawson Clarke, Amariah Cox, William George, Walter Giles, George Giles, John Herridge, Evelyn Jack Needham, Ralph Noel Phillips, Geoffrey Phillips, Albert Reeves, Richard Reeves, George Searle, Archibald George Seymour, Charles John Walls, John Wells.

You are asked to offer up a short Prayer when the bell rings at 11 a.m. and at 9 p.m. The following prayer has been suggested: “O God, we beseech Thee, guard and bless our sailors and soldiers, and give us victory and peace”; or perhaps you could copy out this prayer and use it at these hours.

O God, the strength of all them that put their trust in Thee, Whose power no creature is able to resist, we flee to Thee for succour on behalf of those who are now struggling in the war. Prosper our navy and army, protect those who are in danger, give help to the wounded, recovery to the sick, rest and refreshment to the dead, comfort to the mourners. In Thine own good time restore unto Thy people the blessings of peace. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our Lord. Amen.

Evening Prayer
Wher’er our people be tonight
Our husbands or our sons
Tossed on the thunder-bolted deep
Or bivouacked by guns;
Treading the mire of foreign land
Or guarding native coasts,
Be Thou their Shield and Comforter,
We pray Thee, God of Hosts.

You will remember our Bishop’s words.

“We must believe that through this war, our God has a purpose for the nation and for us, a purpose of good. Whether we are fit to understand and follow this purpose will depend on the strength of prayer amongst us. This is an occasion when every Parish should learn as never before the secret of united prayer. I hope that every Christian may learn to believe in prayer and practice fasting as never before, and to join, if it may be, fasting with prayer. Then, whatever happens, we shall have made a step forward in realising our brotherhood and be more fit to respond to God’s call on us as a nation.”

Almost anyone who can use a needle is now busy at work for our Sailors and Soldiers. The members of the Mother’s Union will not forget the meeting, already announced, for Thursday afternoons in the Sunday School at 3 p.m.

Ascot, Bracknell, Cranbourne and Winkfield District magazine, Seeptember 1914 (D/P151/28A/6)

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