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A Message from Our Vicar – November 2018

        ‘Working as Christ’s presence within the world’

Revd Lynn Boyle

Revd Lynn Boyle

 ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do’

During the First World War 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers were shot for desertion and cowardice. Most were sentenced following a short trial with no opportunity for defence, many were under age. They had joined brothers and friends in the great camaraderie in which so many went to war. They were totally unprepared for what they were about to experience. Many suffered from shell shock or what we would now call ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’. Having fled in terror, they were pursued, caught, tried and killed, their lives cutshort, not by the enemy, but by those who should have cared for their wellbeing.blindfold

Thank goodness that we now recognise what the experience of conflict can do to the individual and that we have organisations who are there to help and support those suffering from PTSD. We thank God for the high profile that Mental Health and wellbeing has been given and the fact that mental illness, following time served in our forces is no longer seen to be a stigma.

As we commemorate all who gave their lives to gain our freedom, let us not forget those who suffered at the hands of their own senior officers. And in the same way, let us remember that Christ forgave those who executed Him at Calvary and forgive those who gave and carried out these orders in their ignorance.

At nineteen you marched out, first light of dawn

And in the half light of a new day
in an unmarked grave by the road
At nineteen ceremoniously executed and hastily buried

A queue of poplar trees with arms outstretched
lifted plaintive prayers to the war torn sky
At nineteen hope flew as far as the eye can see

Shortly before dawn, escorted by armed guards
tied to a post, blindfolded, white cloth to the heart
At nineteen your regiment paraded through gun smoke…

At nineteen you were shot at dawn


An excerpt from ‘Shot at Dawn’ by Frederick Kesner

 God Bless




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