The power of prayer during war

Discussion in 'General' started by PAUL STEPHENSON, Nov 10, 2022.

  1. Prayer books issues to our troops in the wars must have helped a lot of them getting through the war. Even Atheists may have been converted to religion under certain conditions. Believing God was on our side must have helped.
     

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  2. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target All life is precious

    I don't intend to be unnecessarily cruel having been a choirboy myself but:
    Lt Beadle
    BNAF 3rd October 1943
    Today being Sunday, we have had our usual voluntary church service but this week more obligatory than normal
    (for the officers Mess at any rate) because the Padre of the Div. Arty. Is at present, staying with us for a week.
    At one time our Padre was an excellent chap whom everybody liked and respected but he contracted a duodenal ulcer and vanished from our ken.
    The present edition is a silly little man who has the brain of a child and a hesitation in his speech, a combination which makes his services positively painful.
    The question of such services in the Army is a sore enough subject when there is a good man to handle it but with his the
    whole thing gets out of hand.
    If the services are compulsory there is so much moaning and groaning and passive resistance that the whole thing
    becomes a farce.
    If they are made voluntary the attendance is so small that one feels an acute embarrassment mixed with pity for the unfortunate padre. That is our position at the moment.
    My pity for the padre is perhaps misplaced, for he is a self-satisfied little man who has about as much holy seal as an average bank clerk.

    Major Shepherd (son of an Archdeacon) writing from Anzio about the battle of Gueriat el Atach the previous year.

    If you followed the battle thoroughly, names like Peters Corner will be as familiar to you as to us. It was fierce fighting on difficult ground.
    I find that remains of men do not affect one at all. One is living at such a pitch that such sights are accepted as part of a far bigger more awful scene which one is moving through.
    Individuals cease to exist and so does the sense of transition from life to death.
    I cannot describe it properly.
    Fear is a terrible thing It grips you like some terrible fever and without tremendous effort of will, beats you into the ground.
    It can become so intense at times that you feel as if your whole inside has wilted away and often my spirit seemed to leave my body altogether, so that I seemed to stand outside it and watch it from without.
    But with a weapon in one's hand, some means of striking back, all fear diminishes, it becomes a fascinating game and hours pass like minutes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2022
  3. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target All life is precious

    Major Shepherd Reflections September 1944
    A philosophical letter to his father who became a Canon of Worcester Cathedral.

    This was a time when the men were thinking about the end of the war and returning home.
    He had experienced the loss of Bill Beadle and Bdr Jack Tummey from his battery along with the other officers in the Jeep.
    It was a huge shock to both officers and men in the Regiment.

    Like a great many of us I am very weary of the war which seems to have settled like a great fog on our lives and blotted out the part which continuously becomes more dim and remote.
    There was a time when I was continually filled with nostalgia for the things of home and only longed to settle down again.
    Now I get the feeling that I will never recapture my old mood that to return there would be intolerable, that I should be quite unsuited to such life and only make myself and others unhappy.
    I find myself fighting shy of when having this opportunity of resurrecting that life, knowing that any attraction it may have will be only temporary.
    Quite honestly, I can see little future for any of us.
    The more I see and read of what goes on in war the less confidence I have in the future of peace.
    I have thought this out deeply and quietly, I do little else but think it out.
    I think these feelings I have are afflicting all my work.
    I suppose I do my job all right because my battery nearly always is best at everything and seems to follow me well.
    My own personal world I find easy and now from my general indifference, more easy because I find myself hardly fearing what happens to me.
    But from this and from any praise I get directly or indirectly, I derive no satisfaction because I feel that anything I achieve does not really come from myself but merely from a fortunate combination of circumstances in which I find myself involved in as a disproportionate outsider.
    The sufferings of the Italians which we see are very harrowing, though one tends to harden oneself – but I shall never forget the things I have seen and heard – and never cease to thank God that our own country was spared the passage of modern land warfare.
    We shall have a grave and terrible responsibility for rebuilding after all this – and the responsibility cannot be shirked on account of old animosities and differences.
    It’s a direct Christian human responsibility on everyone. I know for myself I am sure that I shall never be able to settle down to enjoying my own life unless I can feel that everything is being done for Europe.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2022
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  4. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target All life is precious

    A Regimental Memorial Service was held near Rome in June 1944. As per the wishes of the King.
    Particularly for those who died at Anzio (in this campaign).
     

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  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    British Chaplain Reading Prayer for Troops at Open Air Service Held By Royal Welch Fusiliers, Roermond, Netherlands, 26/11/1944
    Object description - British chaplain reading prayer for troops about to go into battle at open air service held by 6th Bn Royal Welch Fusiliers, 160th Infantry Bde, 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Div at Roermond, Netherlands, 26/11/1944

    British Open Air Service Held By Royal Welch Fusiliers, Roermond, Netherlands, 26/11/1944
    Object description - British open air service held by 6th Bn Royal Welch Fusiliers, 160th Infantry Bde, 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Div at Roermond, Netherlands, 26/11/1944

    ----- x ----- x -----

    Re. Peter Thomas Handford...
    Find an object | Imperial War Museums


    -- x --

    140 - The Interesting and Unusual Army Film & Photographic Unit M.B.E....

    Auction: 5019 - Orders, Decorations, Campaign Medals & Militaria
    Lot: 140
    The Interesting and Unusual Army Film & Photographic Unit M.B.E. Group of Five to Captain P.T. Handford, Royal Artillery and Royal Army Ordnance Corps, a Veteran of the Fall of France, the D-Day Landings, the Liberation of Paris, and the Allied Advance through the Low Countries (a) Order of the British Empire, 2nd type, Military Division, Member´s (M.B.E.) breast Badge, silver, in case of issue (b) 1939-1945 Star (c) France and Germany Star (d) Defence and War Medals, with MID Oak Leaf, nearly extremely fine (e) Items of uniform, including Battle Blouse with unit insignia, medal ribands, scarce shoulder insignia of the AFPU, cap badges, dog tag, and buttons &c (f) A most comprehensive collection of over 100 letters from Handford to his Mother covering the Second World War period, including Evacuation from France and D-Day "I can´t tell you how glad I was to land again in England...our voyage was somewhat adventurous...twice attacked by low flying planes on the way over..." (22.6.1940); "...the weather was very bad...just avoided being seasick...almost a relief to land in spite of the unfriendliness of the Germans..." (14.6.1944), many with their original stamped and postmarked envelopes (g) Four comprehensive interesting and graphic Personal Diaries covering the same period, including D-Day and the Liberation of Paris "...there is a ghastly bedlam of noise...confusion...exploding mines, general inferno, machine gun fire..." (6.6.1944); "...never will I forget the scene as we entered [Paris]...their joy at seeing us is overwhelming...never have we been kissed so much and by so many lovely women..." (25.8.1944) (h) Certificates for M.B.E. and Mention in Despatches, Soldier´s and Officer´s Service books, and Officer´s Release book, together with an extensive documentary and photographic archive, the majority of photographs taken by Handford himself to great acclaim (lot) Estimate £ 400-500M.B.E. London Gazette 24.1.1946 Mentioned in Despatches London Gazette 10.5.1945 Captain Peter Thomas Handford, M.B.E., born in London 21.3.1919 and educated at Christ´s Hospital. After leaving school he worked as a sound recordist for London Film Productions 1936-1939, before he enlisted with the Territorial Army 16.10.1939 on the outbreak of the Second World War; he was subsequently transferred to the Royal Artillery and was sent to France to guard Airfields near the Maginot Line. Following the French surrender, Handford was evacuated from Cherbourg June 1940. Once back in Britain he enlisted in the newly created Army Film and Photographic Unit as Sergeant; two years later he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant 30.3.1942, and promoted Lieutenant 1.10.1942. He returned to France and took part in the Operations on D-Day, and landed with the Commandos 6.6.1944; in the following months, he was present for a while in Caen before advancing to Paris, and was one of the first Allied Officers to enter the French Capital in the Liberation of Paris, before he continued with the Allied Advance through Holland. Lieutenant Handford was among the 1,400 Allied cameramen filming the war for the official film ´The True Glory´. Of these, 32 were killed in action, 16 were listed as missing, and over 100 were wounded, the highest casualty list, proportionately, in the Army. Filming in Copenhagen on VE Day, he later transferred to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, and was Mentioned in Despatches before being promoted to Captain 25.6.1946. After the War he resumed his civilian career, and was responsible for the sound recording on more than 60 films, including ´Room at the Top´, ´Billy Liar´, ´Out of Africa´ (which won him a Bafta and the Academy Award ´Oscar´ for best sound track 1986), and ´Murder on the Orient Express´. He was also a keen railway enthusiast, and noted for his sound recordings of steam trains.

    -- x --

    FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
    IWM BU8364
    Object description - Lieutenant Peter Handford, the Army Film Unit’s only sound recordist in North West Europe, poses with his equipment after the end of hostilities in 1945. The recording of sound in the field was difficult with the equipment then available.
    Label - Lieutenant Peter Handford, a sound recordist with the Army Film Unit, poses with his equipment after the end of hostilities in 1945.

    large_000000.jpg


    Peter Handford - Wikipedia

    Peter Handford - Biography - IMDb



     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2022
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  6. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

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  7. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target All life is precious

    Major Shepherd MC was the son of a clergyman. An Arch Deacon, he became a Canon of Worcester Cathedral.
    This is probably why Major Shepherd has a monument, a stained-glass window, in the Cathedral.
    The family were a long-standing line of Anglican Clerics and Doctors who came from South Wales, one was seemingly a Bishop in Barbados.
    Another relative was a well-known Archaeologist who won a VC in WW1.
    Major Shepherd's coolness under fire may have been in his blood so to speak,
    along with his ability to rationalise his experiences after the events.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2022
  8. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member

    I have a reproduction 100th Anniversary copy, extract below:
    upload_2022-11-26_14-38-30.jpeg

    "When there is incoming, there are no atheists in a slit trench .." is an old military adage.
     
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  9. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    There are lots of variants in bibles, prayer books etc I think I've got about 100 types from WW1 & 2 - the one I'd really love is the one that was issued to the Cameronians as a special Regimental tradition but I've never seen one for sale, the attached is the only image I can find online

    005.jpg
     
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  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

    I told my guys that if they were praying instead of shooting I'd shoot them myself. They believed me.
     
  11. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    Well worth getting if your interested in the topic;

    God and the British Soldier by Michael Snape
    upload_2022-11-28_8-10-6.png upload_2022-11-28_8-11-5.png
     
  12. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Images below of an altar, set up for a service in the Burmese jungle in 1944, The Royal Sussex badge on the cloth clearly visible.. The comments on the reverse speak of the importance of such occasions. I believe this photo was taken in the Arakan, shortly before the 9th Btn went into their forst attack against the Japanese.
     

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