Patriotism is not enough

The Maidenhead parish magazine included various inspiring stories arising from the war, some well known today like that of Edith Cavell, other less so.

Sons of the Clergy.

All classes of the community have vied with each other in manifesting courageous self-sacrifice in the nation’s hour of need. But without drawing undue distinctions it is generally admitted that the sons of the clergy have been conspicuous in the Roll of Honour throughout the War. Week after week the long list of names appearing in the Church newspapers bear eloquent testimony to this fact. The work of the clergy in ministering to those left behind in a variety of ways has been of the greatest value.

“How Can I Help England – Say?”

Miss Helena L. Powell, the Principal of St. Mary’s College, Lancaster Gate, has written an earnest and helpful leaflet for children, showing how children can help in the War. It is addressed to the elder children in our Day and Sunday Schools, and copies required for distribution to these may be had free of charge from Miss Edith Neville, Banstead Place, Banstead, Surrey.

A Daughter of the Parsonage.

Edith Cavell, Directrice d’Ecole des Infirmières, Brussels, who was shot by order of Court-Martial in Brussels on a charge of aiding the escape over the frontier of British, French and Belgian soldiers, was the daughter of the late Rev. Frederick Cavell, Vicar of Swardeston, Norfolk. She was formerly a nurse in the London Hospital. In 1907 she went to Brussels, and when the Germans entered the city she refused to leave.

The Rev H. S. Gahan, British Chaplain at Brussels, has given a touching account of her last hours.

“She said, ‘I have no fear nor shrinking. I have seen death so often that it is not strange or fearful to me.’ She further said, ‘I thank God for this ten weeks’ quiet before the end. Life has always been hurried and full of difficulty. This time of rest has been a great mercy. They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.’

We partook of Holy Communion together, and she received the Gospel message of consolation with all her heart. At the close of the little service I began to repeat the words ‘Abide with Me,’ and she joined softly in the end. We sat quietly talking until it was time for me to go. She gave me parting messages for relations and friends. She spoke of her soul’s needs at the moment, and she received the assurance of God’s Words as only the Christian can do.”

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Every man jack comes to services, even the sentries

The Maidenhead parish magazine had more fascinating details of army chaplains’ work close to the front line.

Soldiers and Religion.

The Rev. C. E. Doudney, Vicar of St. Luke’s, Bath, Chaplain to the Forces in France, writes solemn and cheering words about the eagerness of officers and men at the Front to hear the Gospel:

Services were great yesterday. All my brigades are ‘in,’ so no services could be held for them, but I was on all day long at guns and transport, ambulance and motor machine guns. Informal little services with congregations ranging from 50 to 200, generally sitting in a group singing hymns and talking to ‘em. And the chaps listening hungrily. In some units every man jack came, from officers to cooks, and they withdrew the sentries because they didn’t want to miss it.

We have established a padre’s mess, the three of us, and find it works A1. We’re almost out of range, and it’s a great relief to get back after a night’s work in the trenches, or under heavy fire getting there, to the quiet and peace of this place.

The work is great. Welcome everywhere. Services well attended and attention simply riveted. The attendance at Holy Communion very good. We celebrate anywhere, mostly in the open air at all hours of day or night. In one’s addresses one has to go to bed-rock at once. It’s no time for flowers of speech. The officers and men are thirsting for the fact of Christ as living in and among them…

The men are altogether different, the whole tone is changed, and one only prays that it may last on after the war. If it does, England will be a new place.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, October 1915 (D/P181/28A/24)