By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: With our Fighting Men - The story of their faith, courage, endurance in the Great War
Author: Sellers, William Edward, 1859-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "With our Fighting Men - The story of their faith, courage, endurance in the Great War" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

       *       *       *       *       *

    | Transcriber's Note:                                       |
    |                                                           |
    | Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has     |
    | been preserved.                                           |
    |                                                           |
    | Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For     |
    | a complete list, please see the end of this document.     |
    |                                                           |

       *       *       *       *       *


   _See page 57._]

  Our Fighting Men




  _Author of "From Aldershot to Pretoria"_


  4 Bouverie Street & 65 St. Paul's Churchyard



In sending forth this book I wish to acknowledge the kindness and
co-operation of many friends, new and old, who have made my task easy
and my story, so far as possible, complete.

In the first place, I express my hearty thanks to the Rt. Rev. Bishop
Taylor-Smith, D.D. (the Chaplain General); Revs. E.G.F. Macpherson,
M.A., and F.G. Tuckey (senior Church of England chaplains at the
front); Rev. J.A. M'Clymont, D.D., V.D. (Convener of the Church of
Scotland General Assembly's Committee on Army and Navy chaplains);
Rev. J.H. Bateson (Secretary of the Wesleyan Methodist Army and Navy
Board); Rev. J.H. Shakespeare, M.A. (Secretary of the Baptist Union of
Great Britain and Ireland, and of the Free Church Army and Navy
Board); Rev. E.L. Watson (senior Free Church chaplain at the front);
General Booth and Brigadier Carpenter (of the Salvation Army); Mr.
A.K. Yapp (General Secretary of the Young Men's Christian
Association); and several others.

In the second place, I acknowledge with gratitude the help I have
received from reports in the _Methodist Recorder_, _Methodist Times_,
_United Free Church of Scotland Record_, _Church Pennant_, _Baptist
Times and Freeman_, _Guardian_, _Guy's Hospital Gazette_, _War Cry_,
and many other papers, to the respective editors of which I tender my

I also wish to express my cordial thanks to my colleague, the Rev.
E.G. Loosley, B.D., for the painstaking care with which he has revised
the proofs of my book.

I hope and pray that the story recorded in these pages may quicken
interest in Christian work among soldiers and sailors, and so help to
extend the kingdom of Christ.

  _April 1915_.


  CHAPTER                                                    PAGE

  PREFACE                                                     iii

  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                                       vii

  INTRODUCTION                                                 ix

     I. AT THE HOME BASE                                        1

    II. EARLY DAYS AT THE FRONT                                26

   III. AT THE FIGHTING BASE                                   44

    IV. THE MARNE, THE AISNE, YPRES                            63

     V. THOMAS ATKINS IN THE TRENCHES                          79

    VI. CHRISTMAS AT THE FRONT                                100

   VII. CHRISTIAN HEROISM                                     116

  VIII. AT THE SIGN OF THE RED CROSS                          135

    IX. WITH THE GRAND FLEET                                  153

     X. CHAPLAINS DESCRIBE THEIR WORK                         171

        WORK AT THE FRONT                                     192

   XII. WHEN THE MEN COME HOME                                207


  A MOONLIGHT CONSECRATION SERVICE                 _Frontispiece_

    GALLANTRY OF OFFICERS                                   p. ix

                                                     TO FACE PAGE

  WHEN THE LADS DEPART                                         12

  HELPING THE HELPLESS                                         26

  "IT'S A LONG, LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY"                         43




  A SUNDAY EVENING SERVICE ON THE FIELD                        98

  IN THE TRENCHES                                             108

    SERVICE CORPS AT THE FRONT                                118

    WORK                                                      134



  A VOLUNTARY SERVICE ON A BATTLESHIP                         162

    MONOPLANE                                                 178

  AN INCIDENT IN THE FORÊT DE LA NIEPPE                       190

  WHEN THE MEN COME HOME                                      207

   [Illustration: THE MILITARY CROSS.
   The New Decoration for Special Gallantry of Officers. Already
   several Army Chaplains have won it.]


The story I am about to tell is one of surpassing interest. It is the
story of Christian life, work, and heroism among our troops at the

The soldier is easily moved to good or to evil. In the past evil
influences have been more powerful and more numerous than influences
for good. Our soldiers had been drawn, for the most part, from classes
outside all churches and Christian influences, and the wet canteen had
been the most popular institution in the Army.

For the last twenty-five years, however, the situation has been
altering for the better. The day-school has done its work, and a free
education has accomplished splendid things for the working-man. The
Sunday-school, too, has extended its scope and has of late years been
more efficient than ever before. There has been a steady levelling up
of the people, and the Army has risen with the rest. Said a soldier to
me during the South African war: "They think we are the same as we
used to be, but we are no longer the scum of the earth."

Slowly and surely the work done outside the Army has been reflected
_in_ the Army. The Army Temperance Association, the Soldiers'
Christian Association, the Soldiers' Homes provided by the churches,
and other uplifting organisations have found that they were working on
soil to some extent prepared. The soldier has responded readily to the
appeals made, and the Soldiers' Homes have become as popular as the
canteens, and often more so. A Soldiers' Home in a camp has meant at
once a change for the better. The senior officers have recognised this
fact, and have gladly welcomed every Christian effort on behalf of
their men.

I remember, when Bordon and Longmoor camps were formed, with what joy
my colleagues and I were welcomed by the officer in command.
Everything he had was placed at our disposal, a hut was apportioned to
us, and we furnished it, for the most part, from furniture belonging
to the camp. Everything was very rough in those days, and the roads
well-nigh impassable; but when we got there what a welcome we had! The
late Colonel Gordon, R.E. (nephew of Gordon of Khartoum), lent us his
piano and his wife often played it for us.

I was standing on Petersfield Station platform one night looking sadly
at a group of drunken and half-drunken soldiers, when a
non-commissioned officer came up, and, after saluting, said, "They
would not be like that if you had a Home for them, sir."

By and by it was not only a hut we had, but a permanent Soldiers'
Home, and when it was opened by the Earl of Donoughmore, it became
crowded at once. Brigadier-General Campbell stood our friend through
all those difficult days, and rejoiced as much as we did in the
prosperity of the Home.

It must be remembered also that for many years past there has been an
increasing leaven of Christian men in the Army. The Home to which I
have just referred could not have been the power it became had it not
been for this. I remember a lance-corporal who, so far as he knew, was
the only Christian in his regiment. He used to go out among the solemn
pines at night and pray for his comrades. Soon another joined him
there, and many another, and by the time the Home was opened we had a
company of Christian men ready to work among their fellows.

During my ministry in Aldershot I saw this illustrated in much larger
measure, and the Christian men were, all of them, Christian
missionaries working with great success.

I have already told the story of Christian work during the South
African war in my book "From Aldershot to Pretoria." The story is one
for which all the churches may well thank God. Though that war was
child's play compared with this, the higher war waged--the war for
Christ and His Kingdom--was one of constant victory. Large numbers of
men gave themselves to Christ, and when the war was over remembered
the vows they had vowed to Him.

Now we have witnessed a mobilisation of Christian forces, such as
would have been impossible hitherto. The Chaplaincy Department has
developed into a great and well-organised agency for good. Over two
hundred chaplains are already at the front, and the ministers of all
the churches are busily at work in the camps at home. All the old
Christian and temperance organisations are to the fore, only developed
out of all former knowledge, and the Young Men's Christian Association
has astonished and delighted the whole Christian world.

The Christian men in the Army--more numerous before the war broke out
than they had ever been--are carrying on their noble work and are
constantly receiving additions to their ranks.

We have known for years what Thomas Atkins was like--susceptible as a
child. I have heard sobs all over the room while picture slides of a
little child's story, such as "Jessica's First Prayer," were being
shown. But what will the new army be like? Will it be as susceptible
as the old? Will the men still thrill when the Gospel story is told?
They are different men--men drawn from all classes, actuated by a
common purpose to save their country. Will they think only of that, or
will their hearts also be "strangely warmed" by tidings of their
Saviour's love? Already the answer comes to us "Yes." Never before has
such deep seriousness fallen upon our men, and in their quiet moments,
and even amid the stress of battle, thoughts have turned to Christ and
hearts have been surrendered to Him.

"The truth of the matter is," wrote the Bishop of London, in the
_Times_, after his visit to the front at Easter, "that the realities
of war have melted away the surface shyness of men about religion;
they feel they are 'up against' questions of life and death; and I
have heard of more than one censor who has for the first time realised
the part religion bears in a soldier's life by censoring the
innumerable letters home in which the writers ask for the prayers of
their relations or express their trust in God."

It is the purpose of the following pages to tell, so far as it is
possible, in these early months of the war, something of the Christian
work attempted and accomplished among our men at the front and at sea,
and to answer the questions I have just asked.




    Enlisting--"Good-bye"--Excitement and Drunkenness--Then came
    Kitchener's Army--The Churches gave of their Best--A Canvas
    City--Not for Pay, These--What the Churches Did--The Home
    Church in the Camp--A Powerful Christian Leaven--Theological
    Students Volunteer--What the Boys Did--Organising Religious
    Work--Fifty Men Stood Up--The Y.M.C.A. Tents--A Proud
    Boast--At Work in the Tents--A Typical Service--The Canadian
    Y.M.C.A.--What the Salvation Army is Doing--The Church Army at
    Work--Huts of Silence--W.M. Hut Homes and "Glory Rooms"--Hymn
    494--Teetotal Soldiers--Lord Kitchener's Message--The Work of
    the Navy Chaplains--The Sailors' Homes--Work among the Wounded
    in Hospital--Hospital Stories.

A troop train slowly passing through Winchester Station. Heads out of
every window. One great shout by hundreds of eager young lads, "Are we
downhearted?" And then, not waiting for those of us on the platform to
answer, the emphatic response "No!"

Winchester Station looked strange that morning, early in August 1914.
Its dignified quiet had gone. No one would have dreamt that this was
the station of an ancient cathedral city. Armed sentries were posted
at every point of entrance and departure. With fixed bayonets they
guarded the signal-boxes. Their beds were in the waiting-rooms. The
whole station was given up to the military.

And this was not the only case. All down the line it was the same,
while every few yards by the side of the metals, all the way to
Portsmouth and Southampton, soldiers with fixed bayonets were on
guard. Here and there Boy Scouts were assisting, and enjoying
themselves immensely.

Portsmouth Harbour at that time was closed to ordinary traffic. The
few passengers who still ventured to the Isle of Wight, in what should
have been the height of the holiday season, had to betake themselves
to Southampton, and be thankful if after long waiting they could get
across from there.

The Solent was full of troop-ships. We counted over forty at one time
waiting to take troops across, while many more were in Southampton
Water. The Isle of Wight was an armed camp. At night search-lights
played all over it.

What touching farewells there were! Stand on almost any platform and
see--that is if you have the assurance to look on at that which is
sacred. A mother brings her little ones to say good-bye to their
soldier father. An old woman with difficulty slowly comes to the edge
of the platform to give her blessing to her soldier son. A wife is
locked for a few brief moments in a loving embrace.

The father, or son, or husband brushes the sleeve of his tunic across
his eyes, and then, as the train begins to move, says "Good-bye. I'll
soon be back!" And as the train steams out those brave lads ask
again, "Are we downhearted?" and the mothers and wives and
sweethearts, with tears streaming down their faces, strive to answer

Those were stirring times at Aldershot. The old scenes at the outbreak
of the war in South Africa were re-enacted, only on a larger scale.
That was mere child's play to this, and every one realised it.
Incessant coming and going as troops gathered from all parts of the
country. Military bands marching detachments to the station on their
way to the front.

At first there was much drunkenness, for this is generally the case
where there is much excitement. But soon a serious feeling crept over
all, and the town grew more sober in every respect. Our troops were
going to fight the greatest military power in the world, and every man
realised that it would be a struggle such as this country had never
known before.

By and by our regular troops had departed, and the "Terriers" began to
come in. A workman-like lot of men these, shaping like good soldiers.
In their thousands they had volunteered for active service, and to
active service after a period of training they should go.

And then came Kitchener's Army. And what an army! The appeal had gone
forth for half a million men, and then for another half million, and
by and by for still another million.

The response was magnificent. Never was our country so great as in
those days when Kitchener's Army was being formed. The rush of
recruits was overwhelming. It seemed as though the whole body of young
men in the country would volunteer.

The churches were to the front in this matter. All suspicion that the
churches would prove unpatriotic was blown to the winds. They had been
training their young people for peace, but when their country was
threatened they were ready for war. They had, many of them, been
strongly opposed to conscription, but it was no conscript army which
was being embodied; it was an army of free Englishmen.

The churches gave of their best. The vicarages and manses of the
country were denuded of their sons. In some Sunday-schools the young
men's classes volunteered to a man. In many places it was only with
great difficulty that the work of the Sunday-schools was carried on,
because the male teachers had enlisted. From the Nottingham Wesleyan
Mission went five hundred young men.

All sorts and conditions of healthy young manhood responded to their
country's call. Kipling's lines, true of the regular army, were
prophetic when applied to Kitchener's Army of those days:

    Parson's son, lawyer's son, son of the parish squire,
    Garden hand, stable hand, hand from the smithy fire,
    Counter boy, office boy, boy from the dock and mine,
    Eat together, sleep together, follow the drum in line.

And the young women would have gone too, if they could. It went hard
in those days with a sweetheart who was not disposed to volunteer. And
the young women _did_ go. The rush of volunteer nurses was tremendous
and had to be checked. We shall hear of their good work as we

Aldershot was taken by storm by Kitchener's Army. At one time there
were a hundred and fifty thousand men in the camp. Seeing that the
barrack accommodation in the camp is not for many more than fifteen
thousand in normal times, it was evident that the only way to meet the
new conditions was to create a canvas city, and a canvas city it
became. There were many miles of tents.

It was a sight indeed to see Kitchener's Army drill. The rush was far
too great to be met by the Army clothing factories, and for many weeks
there were no uniforms, and the men drilled and were drilled by other
men in ordinary civilian clothing.

One could see the varied occupations of the men who had enlisted. Here
is a man, great of girth, who will need to have his size reduced
considerably ere he rushes at German trenches, and he still wears the
leggings with which he trudged across his fields. Here is a man who
evidently a few days ago held in his hand the yardstick with which he
measured his calico. He is bent on sterner work now.

Here, again, is one from the pit and another from the mill, and a
third who looks as though he had been a lawyer or a lawyer's clerk.
And drilling them all is a man who evidently a few days since was
hewing coal from a Welsh mine. He is back to the colours now, but will
have to wait for his transforming uniform.

But all eager, all intense. No work for pay this. "Mercenaries" the
Kaiser called them, but no mercenaries these--England's best and
noblest ready to give their lives for the land they love so well.

It was a happy thought which allowed men who had been accustomed to
live and work together to form their own battalion or regiment; and so
we had the Public School Corps, and the Pals' Brigade, and many
another. Fastidious young men from West End drawing-rooms proved that
they had the hearts of true Englishmen, and worked hard as the rest.
Later on, in one hut were men whose income was said to average £2000 a
year. They were just privates.

From the religious point of view it was a great opportunity. Nearly
every church in the land had sent of its best and had done its best to
honour those who went. "Rolls of Honour," containing the names of
those who had gone from that particular church, hung in the porches.
In many, Sunday by Sunday, the names on the Roll of Honour were read
out and special prayer offered for them.

The young men had left their homes and churches with the voice of
prayer ringing in their ears. They knew that they were going to
serious work and that many of them would never return. The most
careless of them were serious now, and were ready, if the impression
did not pass away, to give themselves not only to their King and
Country, but to the King of Kings.

And right earnestly was the work begun in the Home Church continued in
the camps. These camps were established all over the country, for
Aldershot and Salisbury Plain were altogether inadequate. To all such
camps chaplains were appointed, and, for the first time, the Baptists,
Congregationalists, Primitives and United Methodists, who, except in
the great military centres, had stood out of the Army work, had their
appointed chaplains--not many as yet--but sufficient to show that they
also felt the need and were ready to do the work. They have since
joined forces for this service, and are carrying on their united work
by Free Church chaplains.

The entry of the Free Churches into the Army work is of such general
interest that I asked the Rev. J.H. Shakespeare, M.A., Secretary of
the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland, to send me a brief
account of the facts. Mr. Shakespeare replied under date of February
10, 1915.

"Up to ten years ago, the sentiment among Baptists and
Congregationalists was not very sympathetic towards the Army, and
there was no provision on the Attestation Sheet for the entry of men
as belonging to these two denominations. I then secured a column for
this purpose, which has been in use ever since, but I do not think it
has been very effective.

"When the war broke out, our churches were practically unanimous in
their support of the Government. At that time about three thousand
troops were entered under our two denominations. I went to see the
late Mr. Percy Illingworth, who interested himself very warmly in the
proper recognition of Baptists and Congregationalists. Large numbers
of our young men began to enlist. The Rev. R.J. Wells and I, through
interviews at the War Office, secured that orders were sent out
directing that men were to be entered according to their religious
professions. Mr. Lloyd George brought the matter under the notice of
Lord Kitchener, who strongly resented any sort of sectarian unfairness
and wished our recruits to have the same facilities as those of other
denominations. Meanwhile, Mr. Wells and I collected the names and
regiments of Baptist and Congregational recruits, with the result that
we are able to announce the following figures, though more than a
third of our churches have made no reply:--

  Bloomsbury                              113
  Hampstead, Heath Street                  92
  Plaistow, Barking Road                  400
  Hornsey, Ferme Park                     160
  Peckham, Rye Lane                       116
  Glasgow, Hillhead                       210

"In spite of what had been done, a great mass of certified evidence
began to reach us that recruiting sergeants were refusing to enter our
recruits as Baptists or Congregationalists, but were putting them down
to some other church. Of this we have exact evidence. Further orders
were then issued by the War Office that this must not be done.

"At the beginning of the war there were only two Baptist Chaplains to
the Forces--Rev. F.G. Kemp at Aldershot, and Rev. J. Seeley at
Woolwich. The War Office now asked our Army Board to nominate
additional provisional chaplains, both for home camps and for the
Expeditionary Force, and, in addition, that ministers should be
appointed for any place where there was a considerable body of troops
as 'officiating clergymen,' still carrying on their churches, but
having the right to hold church parade, visit in camp, hospitals, &c.
Of these a large number have been appointed. In addition,
Congregational chaplains were appointed.

"The next stage was that we were approached from the Primitive
Methodist and United Methodist Churches asking to be grouped with us
for Army and Navy purposes. The result has been the formation of a
United Army and Navy Board for the four denominations, and our
chaplains and officiating clergymen have charge of soldiers and
sailors belonging to these four churches.

"The next step was that an appeal was made by the Rev. R.J. Wells, for
the Congregationalists, and myself, for the Baptists, for an 'Army
Tent and Chaplain Fund,' the result being that we have raised a
sufficient sum to enable us to erect permanent institutes or huts with
chaplains, or 'officiating clergymen,' in about half a dozen camps.
The Primitive Methodists and United Methodists are taking the same
course, and together we shall shortly have a considerable number of
such huts available.

"Concurrently with this we have succeeded in securing appointments for
'officiating clergymen' and chaplains for the Navy and at naval
stations, though some of our chaplains hold a double position, both to
the Army and Navy."

From the character of the response it was evident that there was a
powerful Christian leaven working in the Army itself.

To begin with, there was a wholesale offer by Christian ministers for
chaplaincy work. Not a tithe of the offers could be accepted, and then
was witnessed a sight such as has never been seen before. As they
could not be accepted as chaplains, a large number of ministers of
religion enlisted as private soldiers, and these from practically all
the churches.

Certainly the proposal that the clergy should volunteer as combatants
was not favoured by the ecclesiastical authorities. The Archbishop of
Canterbury recognised the _prima facie_ arguments used by the younger
clergy in support of such action, but concluded that fighting was
incompatible with Holy Orders.

However, many, with the Archbishop's consent, enlisted in the Army
Medical Corps, and are devoting themselves to the sick and wounded.
Among the Wesleyans, the matter was left to the judgment of the men
concerned. Some enlisted in line regiments, but the majority also
entered the Army Medical Corps. In one barrack room of the R.A.M.C. at
Aldershot, we hear of five Church of England curates and one Wesleyan
minister. So far as we know the other Free Churches adopted the same
line as the Wesleyans.

The Theological Colleges were not slow to follow the example of the
ministers, in fact in many cases they led the way. Both in this
country and in Scotland a large proportion of the students
volunteered--so many in fact that it has become a serious matter for
the immediate future of the churches.

The Church of England has been suffering from a dearth of candidates
for its ministry for years past, and, as the _Times_ says: "The great
reduction caused by the war may quite seriously affect the Church's
efficiency." However, these young men evidently thought that they
might serve their Church and its Divine Lord as well in the ranks as
in the pulpit, and might serve their country at the same time, and
they went.

This was a new army--new in every respect. Never before had Christian
ministers and young men in training for the ministry volunteered, in
any numbers, as private soldiers; but the call had been imperative,
and they were out to save their country. They took their religion with
them and made it felt.

Still another great work for the Army has been done by the Christian
churches. In an important article in the _Times_ of January 1915 we
were told:

"It is impossible to give an adequate account of the valuable work
done by the different churches in providing men for the Army through
the various Lads' Brigades and Boy Scouts. The Boys' Brigade is the
senior and largest of these organisations; it has many branches
throughout the Empire, with a present total strength of 115,000. Many
of its members have enlisted. The Church Lads' Brigade had in 1913 a
membership of 60,000, besides two junior organisations, the Church
Scout Patrols and the Church Lads' Brigade Training Corps. It has also
contributed a very large number of recruits. In London the Diocesan
Church Lads' Brigade, which forms part of the Cadet Force of the
country, sent practically every officer eligible and nearly every
cadet of seventeen years of age to join the regular forces soon after
the declaration of war. Many of these have been in action, and the
following casualties have been reported: Killed, two; wounded,
thirty-two; missing, six; invalided, five; prisoners, two. These Boys'
Brigades have become very popular. Besides those already mentioned
there are the Jewish Lads' Brigade, the Catholic Boys' Brigade, the
Boys' Life Brigade, and the Boys' Naval Brigade. Three of the new
V.C.'s have been won by former Brigade lads. On behalf of all these
admirable organisations the Lord Mayor of London has issued an appeal
for financial support, pointing out that 225,000 of those now serving
with the colours have been prepared for their work by one or other of
these organisations."

The Government heartily backed the efforts of the churches. In
addition to the chaplains of all denominations, others for whom no
appointments could be found were allowed to go to France at their own
or their friends' expense, to render to the soldiers what spiritual
help they could.

Services for the men in training were organised everywhere. Schools,
vicarages, and manses were turned into temporary soldiers' homes.
Wherever they came, the men found the churches ready to receive them.
They supplied them with literature to read and with writing materials,
provided refreshments, organised religious services, and did their
best, not only to cater for their social needs, but to enlist them
into the Army of Jesus Christ.

Numbers of the soldiers were preachers too, and supplied the pulpits
of the Free Churches where they were stationed. They occupied choir
stalls, taught in Sunday-schools, and generally helped to carry on the
work of the churches. Many of these Christian lads were themselves
unofficial chaplains among their comrades.

At Aldershot and the other great military centres, the work of the
churches was naturally of the best. Never was the opportunity so
great, and never was the response so rapid.

Take, for instance, the report that comes to us from Grosvenor Road
Wesleyan Military Church, Aldershot. Grosvenor Road Church dominates
the town. It is a noble Gothic building, its tower visible for many
miles. It is locally known as the "Wesleyan Church of England." It is,
of course, customary for it to be crowded at the Parade services, but
now it was thronged with soldiers at the voluntary services also.
Wesley Hall at the back and the Soldiers' Home Lecture Hall at the
side were thronged at the same time. On one Sunday evening, when the
appeal was made for decision for Christ, fifty men stood up in the
midst of eleven or twelve hundred of their comrades, to avow that they
did then and there give themselves to Christ. It was no easy matter
for a soldier to do, but it was done, and similar scenes were enacted
on many occasions.

   [Illustration: _Drawn by Arthur Twidle._
   One of Kitchener's army salutes his mother as he leaves.]

Let no one suppose, however, that this was the only place where
decisions for Christ were registered. Nearly all the churches could
make some such statement, though perhaps they could not speak of such
large numbers. Never a night passed but some soldiers gave themselves
to Christ, in the "Glory Rooms" of the various soldiers' homes. The
chaplains and the Army Scripture readers were busy all day and often
far into the night: by day visiting the men in barrack room and tent,
in the evening conducting services for them, and at night writing
letters on their behalf.

It is impossible to chronicle such work as this. Much of it is too
sacred to be told. Many of the best workers are the slowest to speak
of their work, and where all did their best--their _very_ best--it is
invidious to mention names. But on every hand we hear of spiritual
results surpassing all previous experience in work among
soldiers--work which the Great Day will declare.

It must be borne in mind that the men were ready for this spiritual
work. The times were serious and they were serious too. It must also
be borne in mind that splendid preparatory work had been done in the
churches and Sunday-schools of our land. And now that the spiritual
need was felt, the response was rapid, and the Sunday-school teacher
far away reaped the result of his labour.

I turn now to another class of work, the work of the Young Men's
Christian Association. For many years the Y.M.C.A. has been identified
with social and Christian work in the Army. It has had its tents
wherever soldiers have gathered for their training, and during the
South African War it rendered most efficient and appreciated service.

Since the outbreak of the present war it has to a large extent
suspended its ordinary work, in order that it might establish a system
of recreation tents and reading rooms in all the naval and military
camps. It is the boast of the Association that it has not refused a
single request for a tent, and by the end of March 1915 it had 700
centres in different training camps, each with its wooden "hut" or
canvas tent.

Not only are they in England, but in Scotland and Ireland, and by and
by upon the Continent also. When the Canadians came they found the
Y.M.C.A. ready to receive them. Six buildings were erected for their
use, and the largest of these measured a hundred feet by thirty, with
wooden walls and floor, and a canvas roof.

Coffee is served in these extemporised Soldiers' Homes from five
o'clock in the morning to the end of the day. Everything that it is
possible to do for the soldiers' comfort is done. In one of these
tents 5000 letters were written and posted in one week. In the
evenings "Singsongs" are arranged, and hundreds of thousands of a
popular Christian songbook have been sold. Literature, largely
provided by such agencies as the Religious Tract Society, abounds.

On Sundays the "Homes" are given over to the ministrations of the
chaplains. All denominations are welcome, and the freedom of the
buildings is also allowed for services to the Roman Catholics and the

Over 3000 voluntary helpers have taken part in this work as well as
the staff of the National Headquarters, while 95 per cent, of the
general secretaries throughout the country have acted as supervising
agents. We do not wonder that the Association has received the thanks
of the Government.

May I describe one service in a Y.M.C.A. tent? It is Sunday evening.
The various Parade services of the morning have been held, the Church
of England in the open air, and the Congregationalists and Wesleyans
in the tent. But now a sergeant is in charge, and for half an hour he
allows the men to choose what hymns they like, and right heartily do
they sing. But now an Anglican archdeacon is on the platform, and with
eager words and practical advice is urging the soldiers to live as
Christian gentlemen. Then follows a Wesleyan minister with many a
story and many an appeal. Then a Congregationalist minister, in
quieter vein but with restrained earnestness. There are Christian
songs between the addresses and many an audible response from the
"Tommies" to the word of exhortation spoken. It is a re-union of the
churches, proving that at heart they are all one in Christ Jesus, and
it is made possible by the work of the Y.M.C.A.

In the case of the Canadians, the Y.M.C.A. is actually a part of the
military force, and that is a remarkable thing. Six of the Canadian
officers of the Association in the first contingent were at the same
time officers in the Canadian Army, and were told off to the service
of the Y.M.C.A., but they were none the less officers for that. In
this way the Association is recognised, and the officers can go with
the men right into the trenches, and do. Fine men were these first
six officers, four of them with the infantry brigades, one with the
cavalry, and one with the artillery.

The Salvation Army is also doing this work in its own way, but on a
smaller scale. Writing to the _Times_ in October 1914, Commissioner
Higgins said: "We have established centres of work by permission of
the authorities in about forty camps, and others are in course of
preparation. We have many indications that the men highly appreciate
what is being done. In one centre alone, on one day recently, we
received 2000 letters for men in camp.

"In addition to personal help--which is so valuable when men are
separated from their families and friends--there are opportunities for
reading and writing, simple recreation and rest, and we are, so far as
possible, holding bright and happy meetings, where men who know
something of the power of Christ are able to urge upon their comrades
the love and service of God. It seems to us that these cannot but be
of the highest advantage to the men when they come to face those
dreadful ordeals which must lie before many of them. Salvation Army
officers have been appointed by the authorities concerned as chaplains
for various units, both in the forces coming from Canada and New

Everyone who knows anything of Christian work in the British Army
knows how efficient is the service rendered by the Salvation Army, and
its Salvation soldiers are always at work bringing other soldiers to

The Church Army is, and also has been, at work. Prebendary Wilson
Carlile reports that it has supplied tents in a number of the larger
stations, tents which were welcomed everywhere, and in which the same
class of work has been done as in those of the Y.M.C.A. The "Lord
Kitchener" tent in Hyde Park, close to the Marble Arch, has proved to
be an admirable institution, and has afforded an object lesson as to
how this work should be done.

At the request of Bishop Taylor Smith, the Chaplain General, a new
departure in Christian work among the troops has been taken. In twelve
different camps small chapels have been built, each 30 feet by 20
feet. In each chapel are a Lord's Table and chairs, and there is a
small room, 5 feet by 8 feet, for interviews with the chaplain. These
chapels are called "Huts of Silence" and are intended for quiet
meditation and prayer. It is a new experiment and will be watched with
much interest. Tommy is a gregarious creature, and how he will take to
silence remains to be seen. There is, however, opportunity for all
classes of Christian work in the ever-growing British Army.

In connection with the Army work of the Wesleyan Methodist Church,
Soldiers' Homes have long played a conspicuous part. Before the war
broke out that church had already spent £154,420 on providing
forty-one such homes in different parts of the Empire, twenty of these
being in England.

Always full in peace time, these homes have of course been overcrowded
in time of war, and scores of temporary homes have been brought into
use in all the great centres. Soon after the war broke out an appeal
was made for £5000 to erect tent or hut homes in all the camps. It has
had a noble response, and the work is succeeding beyond expectation.
In each of these homes there is a "Glory Room." The name comes from
the Mother Home at Aldershot, and they call it so because

    Heaven comes down their souls to meet
    And glory crowns the mercy-seat.

No pressure is brought to bear on any soldier to enter the Glory Room.
There are the reading rooms, games room, refreshment room as
everywhere else, but night by night an increasing number of lads find
their way into the Glory Room. There prayer is wont to be made, and
Sankey's hymn-book, loved of the Christian soldier, is in evidence.
Never a night passes but some soldier lad comes home to God, and
"Glory crowns what grace has begun."

Every night the gathering ends with the Christian soldier's
watchword--"494." Years before the South African War it was used among
our Christian lads. It went right through South Africa. As company
passed company on the march, a Christian man in one company would
shout "494," and if there were a Christian in the passing company he
would respond "494." Sometimes the response varied and instead would
come the ringing shout, "Aye, lad, and six further on." Thus the
Christian soldier's watchword rang out from the Cape to Pretoria. And
it has been ringing right through this war.

So every meeting in the Glory Room of a Wesleyan Soldiers' Home closes
with it. If you turn to Sankey's hymn-book you will find that "494" is
"God be with you till we meet again," and "six further on" is "Blessed
assurance, Jesus is mine." Thus our lads cheer each other in times of
difficulty and danger.

I must not forget to mention the little Red Books and Blue Books
which, to the number of 60,000, have been distributed to all Wesleyan
soldiers and sailors in the Expeditionary Forces. These, which contain
hymns and prayers, have been compiled by the Rev. F.L. Wiseman and are
greatly appreciated by the men. Also a "Housewife" has been given to
every man, containing all things necessary for patching, darning, and

But every church has cared for its men, if not in these, in other
ways, and the men have been loaded with comforts. I have singled out
the Wesleyan Soldiers' Homes for special mention, because that church
has made this work a speciality, and has homes now in every great
military or naval centre throughout the Empire. But it must not be
forgotten that the Church of England has its "Institutes" also, and
that the Presbyterian Church is just beginning this work. Miss
Daniel's Soldiers' Home at Aldershot has for many years rendered good

Perhaps this is the best time to speak of Temperance work in the Army,
for it is another form of Christian service.

Temperance principles had been rapidly leavening the Army years before
the outbreak of war. We are apt to forget that we have a new army, an
army educated in our Council schools and Sunday-schools, and most of
its men have been under Christian influence. Before the war broke out,
over forty per cent. of our Army in India were members of the Army
Temperance Association, and in this country, though the percentage of
members was lower, that magnificent institution was rejoicing in great
success. There was still a "tail" to the British Army, a long and
unwholesome tail, but it was growing shorter and more wholesome each

Since the war commenced it has grown shorter still. Temperance work
has been done everywhere. The Army Temperance workers are in all the
homes, and the fruit of their work is seen on every hand.

The decree of the Czar of Russia prohibiting the sale of vodka gave a
great impetus to British Temperance work, and perhaps Lord Kitchener
gave as great if not an even greater stimulus.

Lord Kitchener's message to the Expeditionary Force on its departure
for France may in part be quoted: "In France and Belgium you are sure
to meet with a welcome, and to be trusted. Your conduct must justify
that welcome and that trust. Your duty cannot be done unless your
health is sound, so keep constantly on your guard against any excess.
In this new experience you may find temptation in wine.... You must
entirely resist temptation."

Lord Kitchener also issued a strong appeal to the British public,
urging them not to treat our soldiers to intoxicating drink, and his
entreaty was backed by strong measures in many camps.

At the request of the naval and military authorities the Home
Secretary (Mr. McKenna) carried through Parliament a measure giving to
licensing justices in any district, upon the recommendation of the
chief officer of police, the power temporarily to restrict the sale,
consumption, and supply of intoxicating liquors on licensed premises
and in clubs.

Add to all this the immense work of the churches and various
temperance associations, and there is no wonder that we have new men
in a new army.

I turn now for a few moments to work among the men of the Navy. Not so
much could be done for them as for our soldier lads. Church of
England chaplains were, of course, on the larger ships, but room
could not be found for the chaplains of other churches. All the
records tell of splendid work done by the chaplains on board.

And when from their life on the ocean wave the men came in for brief
periods to the home ports, the chaplains on shore rejoiced in the
opportunity of service. Everywhere services were arranged--services on
board ship, and services on shore. All sorts of literature was
provided. Comforts, in the shape of warm garments made by loving hands
at home, were distributed.

The Sailors' Homes were open to them, and were thronged during the
brief periods when they could be used by the men. Special mention must
be made of the splendid work done by Miss Agnes Weston for many years.
It must not be forgotten that long before the outbreak of war
Christian and Temperance work had been as fruitful in the Navy as in
the Army. But the war has made such work still more effective.

On board ship the Christian men were always ready for prayer. The Rev.
R.H. Hingley tells that one day he had been conducting a brief service
on a cruiser, and as he was waiting for his boat, man after man came
up to him and suggested a prayer meeting. It was a newly commissioned
ship and many of the men who gathered to the prayer meeting confessed
Christ for the first time.

At sea these men congregate every evening for prayer in the chaplain's
room, but often that room is too small, and more commodious quarters
have to be sought.

Mr. Hingley tells of a letter he has received from a sailor saint. "We
have taken the ninety-first Psalm as our special song. How grand it
is to be sure, and how true have we proved it to be!" Thus many of our
Christian sailor lads go down to the sea in ships singing as they go,
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide
under the shadow of the Almighty," and so they are not afraid "for the
terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day." Christ has
many witnesses among our sailors in the North Sea.

It was not long before another class of service came to those at the
Home Base, viz. the work among the wounded in the hospitals. This war
has brought the fact of war home to every one.

Not long was it before the hospitals already in use were all too small
for the numbers of wounded drafted from the front, and hospitals
sprang up in all the great centres of population. For weeks
preparations had been made. Red Cross amateur nurses and St. John's
Ambulance nurses had been completing their training. Medical men had
volunteered their services, and ministers of religion of all
denominations were ready to do what they could for the spiritual needs
of the men.

The opportunity was golden. Never had there been one like it before.
These men had come through the Valley of Death. They were ready to
think and pray. Says one chaplain:

"Again and again, while going through the wards, men have said, 'I
shall be a different man after this, sir.' They have told us of their
life in the trenches and of the prayers they have made while the
bullets have been flying about them. Said one: 'I know this--on the
field I prayed hard, more than ever I prayed before.' Another man
speaks of the peace he had when facing death. 'I remembered those
words in one of the Psalms--"A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten
thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee"--and God
brought me through.'"

Multiply this story a thousandfold and we shall see what the war has
done for men, and also realise how easy it has been to lead soldiers
thus impressed into fellowship with our Lord. A loving work is this,
requiring ministry tender and true, but it has been done and done
right nobly. Men who had learnt not to be afraid of death have learnt
also how to live.

In Denmark Hill Hospital a wounded man told this story to the Rev. A.
Bingham. A young soldier was mortally wounded in one of the great
battles. When he realised that he was dying he began to sing. Faintly
but clearly he sang:

    Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
        .     .     .     .     .     .
    Hold Thou Thy Cross before my closing eyes;
    Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
    Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
    In Life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Far away from loved ones--far from home--wounded to the death, the
soldier found in the love and presence of Jesus his Saviour and
friend, rest and peace. And his comrade in the hospital remembered his
dying song and passed it on that it might become a message to many
another when they too came to die--

    In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

One more hospital story will suffice. It is of a different order from
the last, but it reveals Thomas Atkins as he really is.

The wife of the local colonel was making the round of a hospital and
paused at the bedside of a wounded soldier, who evidently hailed from
the North of England. He was toying with a helmet, apparently a trophy
of war.

"Well," said the lady, "I suppose you killed your man?"

"Well, naw," quietly responded the soldier. "You see it was like this.
He lay on the field pretty near me with an awfu' bad wound an'
bleedin' away somethin' terrible. I was losin' a lot of blood too fra'
my leg, but I managed to crawl up to him, an' bound him up as well as
I could, an' he did the same for me. Nawthin' o' coorse was said
between us. I knew no German an' the ither man not a word o' English,
so when he'd dun, not seein' hoo else tae thank him, I just smiled,
an' by way o' token handed him my Glengarry, an' he smiled back an'
giv' me his helmet."

Thus Thomas Atkins has shown how to fight his enemy and to love him

       *       *       *       *       *

This, then, in brief outline, is the story of Christian work at the
Home Base during the early stages of the war.

Chaplains or acting chaplains everywhere, Scripture readers, Y.M.C.A.
workers, voluntary workers, all sorts and conditions of workers.
Bright, cheery services every evening. Loving appeals for decision for
Christ--appeals which have been responded to by thousands of our lads.
Centres for thought and rest and recreation everywhere. The need has
been great, and the need has been supplied by people moved to
self-sacrifice as never before.

Few families but have had some members in either Navy or Army, and as
parents have said good-bye to their sons they have known that a hearty
Christian welcome awaited them where they went, and that they might
safely leave them to the kindly ministry of willing hearts and hands.
The motto of everyone, high and low, has been _Ich dien_--I serve.



    If Minister Shoots Minister!--A Brighter Side--A Beautiful
    Story--Pastors and Members in the Firing Line--A German
    Pastor--The Retreat through Belgium--The Work of Heroes--A
    Rear-guard Action--Seeking the Wounded--Refugees Stupid with
    Terror--Behind the Rear-guard--A Narrow Escape--A Night to be
    Remembered--The Man who Saved the British Army--God has been
    with Me--The British Soldier will Joke--Why Not?--Awful
    Experiences--A Monotony of Horror--Picking up Wounded
    Stragglers--Lines of Broken Men--Still Retreating--A Wonderful
    Triumph of Will--Thirsty Heroes--The Ambulance Found--The End
    of the Retreat--Mentioned in Despatches--No Parade Services.

Viewed from a Christian standpoint, the most distressing things about
this war are: (1) That _Christian_ nations are engaged in a life and
death struggle. It is a lamentable confession, an awful fact. Two
thousand years of Christian teaching have absolutely failed to keep
Christian nations at peace.

And yet are these nations Christian? Has not Germany by its adoption
of a false philosophy forfeited the title of Christian? So far as its
military class is concerned I fear we must say "Yes," but so far as
hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants are concerned we rejoice to
believe we can still answer "No." They are fighting because they
_must_, and because they do not understand. And we are fighting in
another sense because we _must_. Like Luther, "We can no other." May
God forgive us if we are wrong! We believe--with all our hearts we
believe--our cause is just.

   [Illustration: HELPING THE HELPLESS.
   Royal Navy Division helping Belgian soldiers and refugees
   during the retreat from Antwerp.
   _Drawn by Ernest Prater from sketches made by one who was

And out of this first distressing thing there emerges another. (2)
Christian _ministers_ are opposed to each other in the ranks, not
because they _want_, but because they _must_. The law of conscription
in Germany and in France applies to them as to others.

Surely these might have been left out of the call, or at any rate
might have been left free to respond or not as their conscience
dictated, as was the case in England. The consequence is that hundreds
if not thousands of churches are left without their spiritual leaders,
and everywhere the flock is destitute of the shepherd's care.

I said "a distressing thing," but is it not a tragedy? And if they
should meet--these Christian ministers--across the trenches or in the
line of battle, and minister shoot minister, or perforce meet him in a
bayonet charge!

But there is a brighter side even to this dark picture. There are
twenty thousand priests, "religious," and seminarists serving in the
French Army. Among them are three bishops. Monsignor Ruch, coadjutor
of Nancy, is one; he is employed as a stretcher-bearer. Another,
Monsignor Perros, is a sub-lieutenant; and the third, Monsignor
Mourey, is simply Private Mourey in the ranks. It is quite an ordinary
thing for confessions to be heard by soldier priests in the trenches,
and for absolution to be given before the charge. Protestant
ministers, too, fighting in the ranks never forget they _are_
ministers, and their ministry may be even more effective than that of
the chaplains, for are they not comrades too? Thus the armies are
leavened by Christian men, whose supreme business must be the Kingdom
of God.

A beautiful story comes to us from the early days of the war. In the
hall of a great railway terminus in Paris, a number of wounded were
laid out on straw waiting to be taken to a hospital. Several of them
had evidently not long to live. One especially was very restless, and
a nurse moved to his side, and began to do what she could for him.

"I badly want a priest," moaned the dying man.

The nurse looked round upon the company of wounded.

"Is there a priest here?" she asked. A voice in little more than a
whisper replied:

"Yes, Sister, I am a priest. Take me to him."

There he lay at the point of death, wounded and wounded sorely. It was
a strange sight--his dirty ragged uniform not yet removed, the stains
of war and of awful travel from the front upon his face, and he a

"Take me to him," he repeated.

She said: "You are not fit to be moved, I dare not do it." And then
insistently he whispered:

"Sister, you are of the faith. You know what it means to the dying
lad. I must go."

He tried to rise from the straw on which he lay, and seeing his
determination the nurse had him moved to the dying soldier's side. A
few whispered words of confession, and the priest motioned to the

"I cannot raise my arm. Help me to make the sign," he said.

The Sister lifted his arm and together they made the sign of the
cross. And then, exhausted, the soldier priest fell back. His comrade
felt for his hand, clasped it in his dying grasp, and together priest
and penitent passed away.

Thus heroically are many French priests doing a double work, at once
fighting for their country and for their faith.

It is the same with French Protestant ministers. All of military age
have had to go. The President of the French Wesleyan Conference, the
Rev. Emile Ullern, is fighting as a private soldier in the French
Army, and many another. Two-fifths of the pastors of the Reformed
Church of France are also in the ranks. Already three of them, plus a
missionary and a most promising theological student, one of the
Monod's, have fallen on the battle-field. Our French churches are
without pastors, and the work of many years is seemingly being ruined.
But their members are at the front too, and it is a joy if, now and
then, they meet and are able to comfort one another in the firing

It is the same in Germany. Already we hear of one German Methodist
minister who has fallen at the front--Rev. Friedrich Rösch, Ph.D. He
graduated brilliantly in philosophy and languages at Strasburg
University. He then offered for missionary work and rendered excellent
service among the Mohammedans of Northern Africa. He had a good
knowledge of Arabic and had learned two other African languages. Now a
British or French bullet, or shrapnel shell, has cut short his career.

This is the grim tragedy of this awful war--Christian fighting
Christian, Christian minister fighting Christian minister.

Our business, however, is with the _British_ army and with Christian
work therein. Our task is a difficult one, for the veil of secrecy
which enveloped the early days of the war has hardly as yet been
lifted. Only here and there has that veil been raised just a little,
but wherever we are privileged to gaze we are filled with admiration.
The work of our chaplains and doctors and nurses has been heroic, and
the no less noble work of Christian soldiers fills us with

The war began with retreat. That apparently invincible German army
strode ruthlessly through Belgium, leaving fire and rapine and death
in its track. It found a garden, and it left a wilderness; prosperity,
and it left starvation. It will be remembered for all time for
barbarities that disgraced war. Belgian mothers will tell their
children, and the story will be passed down the ages, of broken hearts
and ruined lives, and a tortured devastated land.

And then, the devoted little army of Belgium thrown upon one side, the
clash of war began in France. Our British Expeditionary Force had been
rushed across the Channel with General Sir John French in command.
With marvellous efficiency it had crossed without a single casualty,
convoyed by British and French men-of-war. With the forces went the
chaplains of the different denominations, their numbers to be steadily
augmented throughout the war.

But the French were not ready, and our force was all too small for the
task allotted to it. To our eternal credit, we also were not ready.
Our Army did the work of heroes, but the huge German Army steadily
marched on, and there was nothing to be done but retire. When the full
story of the retreat from Mons comes to be written, what grim reading
it will make!

Of course, in those desperate days all that the chaplains could do
was to look after the wounded and bury the dead. Organised services
were out of the question. A few men gathered here or there at the
close of a terrible march, a prayer or two, a message of cheer or
consolation, and then a brief sleep, and the inevitable weary march
again, the rear-guard fighting all the way. But all day long there
were opportunities of individual service and these were used to the

From the publications of the Salvation Army we get a vivid picture of
those days. Being an international institution it had, and still has,
its agents in every part of the fighting area. Germans, Russians,
French, Belgians, and British are all the same to it--they are men who
need salvation. It has been as vigorous in its work among Germans as
among any others, and its trophies won upon German battle-fields will
be bright jewels in our Redeemer's crown.

Brigadier Mary Murray, who rendered signal service during the South
African war, and who wears the South African medal, was in Brussels
when the Germans entered the city. She gives us a vivid picture of her
experiences in connexion with the German occupation. I quote from the
_War Cry_ of September 12, 1914:

"At last I am able to write. Twelve days of silence, no post, no
papers, nothing but such news as the Germans cared to put up, and all
the time a sound of heavy firing.

"We reached Brussels last Tuesday week. The first impression was of a
town _en fête_. The streets, even the poorest, were gay with bunting
and flags; on every side black, orange, and red caught one's eye.

"In trying to get an extra man officer for our party we were still in
Brussels on Thursday, and by twelve o'clock found ourselves German
prisoners. Every house in the better part of the town was closed and
the windows shuttered. The empty streets at twelve o'clock gave one a
horrid chill, but by four o'clock dense masses of people watched the
German Army pass. Old men, young men, bare-headed women, women with
hobble skirts, but one and all holding tiny dogs in their arms!
Behind, the cafés were in full swing.

"Hour after hour the 4th German army corps rolled along the cobble
streets, a solid grey line of burly men and magnificent horses. I
turned from watching and saw a boy in the act of throwing a
heavily-weighted belt dragged away by two policemen. In the cafés men
were drinking the inevitable beer and playing cards. I turned again.
Still on they came, cavalry, artillery, and infantry--a man to my
right in French said, 'One of these men told me they knew they were
going to their death.' Just then a cavalry man, catching sight of my
uniform, very courteously and gravely saluted me, saying, 'Heils
Armee' (Salvation Army).

"The next day--still the army passing through,--a gunner, bending
down, said, 'Heils Armee--Hallelujah!' Wild rumours throughout the
town; atmosphere electric, a single act of violence, and one felt the
Germans would have opened fire. Notices were posted all over the town
imploring the people to be calm; every day, often all day, we tried
for a way to get out, but without a ray of hope; day after day
refugees arrived with tales of misery and horror.

"My diary runs: 'All cafés to be closed early. Germans send for
quicklime to cover their dead. 7000 wounded arrive--all Germans.
Germans posted notices to-day: "English badly beaten; French
retreated." Threatened to sack Brussels. No milk, no bread, no eggs,
no butter. We were mobbed to-day, as the rumour had spread that
Brussels had been betrayed by the English. Notice out not to touch
water, as German dead were lying in great numbers unburied near

From Brussels Brigadier Murray made her way to Le Havre. The scenes
she witnessed among the flying Belgians were terrible. One picture
will ever live in her memory--and ours.

"A woman who had to fly at night from her village had to do so with
three tiny children; the baby she put into her apron with some
clothing, the other two she carried. Through the darkness she had to
walk to the junction, where ensued a wild scramble for seats. When the
train had started the distracted woman discovered that the baby had
dropped from her apron, when and where no one could discover."

Later Brigadier Murray has had charge of the first ambulance sent out
by the Salvation Army.

The bravery of these women Salvation Army officers is past

During the battle of Mons Adjutant L. Renaud, a French-Swiss officer,
was in charge of the Salvation Army corps at Quaregnon, near Mons. She
tells us her experiences during those fearful days.

"Here in Quaregnon it has been terrible--beyond all expression. More
than 300 houses have been destroyed, and many civilians killed, not
only men and women, but also children, _but none of our Salvation
Army comrades has been touched_. We have been protected in a
marvellous manner. We can say with David, 'The Angel of the Lord
encampeth around those that fear Him and plucks them out of danger'
(French translation). God has done that for us. The battle continued
from Sunday morning at eleven o'clock to Monday evening. The
bombardment did not cease a moment; while it was on we had thirty of
our comrades with their little children in our large cellar."

We understand that the officers got possession of this house with the
large cellar last year. The hall is on the ground floor. In their
former house there was no cellar. The adjutant proceeds:

"I am so glad that I remained at my post, to aid and encourage not
only my Salvation Army comrades, but also the population. The people
were completely panic-stricken. I do not know how it has happened, but
the Lord has enabled me to rest in a great calm and without any fear.
Lieutenant and I have been enabled to go amongst the people,
comforting them and taking help to them even when the balls have
whistled by our ears. Oh, how God has protected us! That night of
August 23 will never be forgotten by me.

"The day after the battle--what horrible sights! Dead bodies in the
streets, the wounded, and from all sides poor maddened people flying
to save themselves with their little children--all the people weeping.
I could never describe what I have seen. How is it possible that such
things could take place in this age of education? And now the misery
is here for the poor workers. It is already seven weeks since the men
(colliers) could work. The food has been seized and more often than
not wasted by the German troops. The future is very dark for these
poor people.

"When the English soldiers came here the Lieutenant and I prepared tea
for them while they dug trenches. After the battle, when the Germans
came, we lodged many of them in our hall and did what we could for
them. Then I thought of all our dear Salvationists who are in the
different armies--English, German, French, Austrian, Russian, Belgian.
Oh, how glad I am that I remained at my post to help my comrades! On
the Sunday during the bombardment the cry went forth, 'Let all those
save themselves who can do so!' I went outside to see if there was any
serious danger. Then I said to the people, 'Come with us in the hall;
I will take care of you as much as I can.' They came, and were content
to be with their officers. They said, 'If it be necessary for us to
die, well, we will be with our officers; it will be better for us to
be with them.' Thus they remained with us, and God has protected all.
Blessed be His Holy Name!"

Adjutant Renaud and her Lieutenant, however, were not the only women
Salvation Army officers who stuck to their posts. They all did so,
nerving themselves with the strength of Christ, and daring all things
in His name. And to-day many of them are still working in Belgian and
French towns overrun by German troops doing their best for Christ and
the Kingdom.

It is time, however, that we rejoined the British troops who by this
time are retreating from Mons. There had been terrible fighting around
Mons for four days, but the opposing forces were overwhelming, and
they had no option but to retire fighting a rear-guard action all the
way. The retreat began on or about August 24, 1914, not three weeks
after the declaration of war. It was a pitiful experience for our
soldiers who are not accustomed to turn their backs to the foe.

It is not our purpose to tell the story of that awful retreat--other
books will do that. Nor is it possible as yet to tell in full the
story of the Christian work attempted during the hurried marching of
those fearful times. In the first place commissioned chaplains are not
permitted as yet to publish reports, and in the second place all work
attempted was necessarily unorganised and fragmentary. It could be
nothing more than caring for the wounded and whenever possible burying
the dead.

The horrors of the retreat can only be known by those who experienced
them, and there was little light amid the darkness of apparent
failure. It must be remembered that our men were fighting all the
time, sometimes it seemed to them succeeding, but really only
succeeding in allowing the main body to retreat to the rear. For
twelve days the retreat continued and did not terminate until
Saturday, September 5.

Here and there we get a little light in the darkness. The _War Cry_ of
September 19 contains a story from the pen of a motor driver in the
R.F.A., who was also a Salvation Army bandsman, which has to do with
the battle more than the retreat, but which may as well be told here,
leaving a description of some incidents in the retreat itself to
follow later.

"We got everything ready for the enemy, the trenches dug and the guns
fixed, and then came the worst job of all--waiting. For thirty-six
hours we lay there watching and listening for the first sign of the
Germans. Then for five hours the battle lasted without cessation.

"Having brought my transport wagons up to the firing lines with my
motor, I had to help load the guns. Shells were flying and bursting
all round us. I was wounded by a splinter from one of the shells, but
as it was only a flesh wound I bound it up and went on with my work.

"Now, the enemy seemed to be beating us, then again they retreated.
All the time my comrades were falling around me, and the Germans were
falling in hundreds too. So thick were the enemy's dead that when the
advance was given we simply had to force the motor up and over heaps
of bodies--there was nothing else for it.

"At last the battle, so far as the batteries in our neighbourhood were
concerned, went in our favour, and we were ordered to follow the
retreating Germans. In doing this six of us got lost, and for four
days we were tramping about without a mouthful of food or drink!

"By day we lay concealed in the corn or grass fields, and by night we
crept along, without any guide, only hoping and praying--I've prayed
many times in the past, but never so much as on these nights--that all
would come right.

"On the first day we were fairly well, on the second we were _very_
hungry, on the third our tongues were hanging out, and two of my
comrades went mad.

"On the fourth night we fell in with a British ambulance section and
were taken into camp. As I was passing an ambulance tent I heard some
one singing:

    'I'm a child of a King,
    I'm a child of a King,
    With Jesus my Saviour,
    I'm a child of a King.'

I asked who it was, and was told it was a Salvationist.

"In the stillness of another night from one of the tents I heard--

    'Then we'll roll the old chariot along,
        And we won't drag on behind.'

"I tell you it was thrilling; it made me dance for joy. Two or three
Salvationists were having a Free and Easy; after the chorus had been
sung once or twice I heard it taken up by other Salvationists in other
tents, and presently from many parts of the camp could be heard the
old Salvation Army song. It was splendid!

"My, didn't the old verse go with a swing--

    'If the Devil's in the way
        We'll roll it over him!'

By this time the whole camp had joined in. Some of the
non-Salvationists would sing it with a slight change.

"Another favourite with us Salvationists was the last verse of 'I'm a
child of a King'--

    'A tent or a cottage what need I fear,
    He's building a palace for me over there.'

"I was unable to get to chat with any of the Salvationists, because if
you want to go from one battery to another you have to get permission.
But one night I did go and listen outside one of the tents to their
singing. It cheered me only to know I was near some of my comrades. I
learned that the Salvationists in camp came from various parts of
England, some were bandsmen, some local officers, and others soldiers.
I didn't hear that any had been wounded beyond myself, although the
comrade I heard singing in the ambulance tent was in all probability

But now for the retreat itself! The passage I quote is from the pen of
the Rev. Owen Spencer Watkins, as printed in the _Methodist Recorder_.

Mr. Watkins had already seen much war service. He was in Crete. He
accompanied the British Army to Khartoum and was present at the battle
of Omdurman. He went through the South African war and was shut up in
Ladysmith during the siege. He knows what campaigning is, and he knows
how to describe what he sees. When this war broke out he was attached
to the 14th Field Ambulance, in command of which was Lieut.-Colonel
G.S. Crawford. The personnel of the ambulance consisted of nine
medical officers, one quartermaster, two chaplains--Rev. D.P.
Winnifrith (Church of England) and himself (Wesleyan)--and 240
non-commissioned officers and men. His full description of the retreat
is as fine a piece of writing as I remember to have seen in connexion
with this war.

"On we tramped through Maretz, our destination being, we were told,
Estrées. Never a halt or a pause, though horses dropped between the
shafts, and men sat down exhausted by the roadside. A heavy gun
overturned in a ditch, but it was impossible to stay to get it out, so
it was rendered useless, and the disconsolate gunners trekked on.
When horses could draw their loads no longer, the loads were cast by
the roadside; there could be no delay, for the spent and weary
infantry were fighting in our rear, and every moment's delay had to be
paid for in human lives.

"Darkness fell and still we marched--I dozed in the saddle to waken
with a start, but still nothing but the creak and rumble of waggons
and guns, and the tramp, tramp, tramp of men. I cannot give a
connected account of that night--it lives in my memory like an awful
but confused nightmare--the overpowering desire for sleep, the
weariness and ache of every fibre of one's body, and the thirst. I had
forgotten to be hungry, had got past food; but I thirsted as I had
only thirsted once before, and that was in the desert near Khartoum.

"About midnight we reached Estrées, and I asked a staff officer where
the 14th Field Ambulance was camped. 'Camped!' he exclaimed. 'Camped!
Nobody camps here. Orders are changed and there must be no halt.'
Then, as an afterthought, 'What Ambulance did you say?' 'Number 14.'
'Do you belong to it?' 'Yes.' 'Then I congratulate you, for if reports
are true, you are all that is left of it: it is said to have been
wiped out by shell fire.' I said I thought the reports were, to say
the least, exaggerated, and rode on.

"Shortly after I heard a familiar voice also asking for the 14th Field
Ambulance. It was Major Fawcett, R.A.M.C, who, like myself, had been
detached from the Ambulance on special duty. We greeted each other
with joy, and for the rest of that awful march had company.

"At last we felt we could go no further (remember, in the last four
days we had only ten hours' sleep, and three proper meals), and were
in danger of dropping out of our saddles from exhaustion. So we
dismounted, sat by the roadside holding our horses, and at once were
fast asleep.

"Two hours later we wakened, dawn was just breaking over the hills,
and still the column creaked and groaned its way along the road, more
asleep than awake, but still moving. A wonderful triumph of will over
human frailty. But at how great a cost to nerve and vitality was
revealed by one look at the faces of the men.

"I was noticing how worn and gaunt my companion was looking, and was
about to remark upon it, but the same thought was in his mind and he
forestalled me. 'Isn't it wonderful how quickly this sort of thing
tells upon a man? You know, Padre, you look as though you had just got
up from a serious illness, and only three days ago you looked as hard
as nails, and as fit as a man could be.'

"Soon after sunrise we came up with two of our ambulance waggons and
one of our filter water-carts. The wounded were in such a state of
exhaustion with the long trek, and the awful jolting of the waggons,
that Major Fawcett decided to halt and make some beef-tea for them, so
rode on ahead to find some farm where water could be boiled. He had
hardly gone when a battalion of exhausted infantry came up with us,
and as soon as they saw the water-cart, made a dash for it.

"Hastily I rode up to them, explained that there was very little water
left in the cart, and that little was needed for their wounded

"'I'm thirsty myself,' I said, 'and I'm awfully sorry for you chaps,
but you see how it is, the wounded must come first.'

"'Quite right, sir,' was the ready response. 'Didn't know it was a
hospital water-cart,' and without a murmur they went thirsty along
their way."

Soon the retreat was renewed and steadily they marched to the rear
until St. Quentin was reached, where they got their first wash and
actually eight hours' sleep. Then on again--back, back, always back.
The River Aisne was passed, soon to be regained and made memorable by
a brilliant fight. But now it was all retreat. Day after day, night
after night they trekked. The days were tropical, the nights arctic.
Often it was too cold to sleep, though sleep was needed badly.

At last, on Saturday, September 5, they reached Tournan, south of
Paris, and were informed that the retreat was over, and that they
would ere long turn to attack the foe who had so ruthlessly followed

The men were not down-hearted even through that awful march.
Down-hearted? No! They were always asking when they could get "a bit
of their own back." Their one desire was to turn and face their enemy.
This was a retreat, not a defeat. The men were ragged, bearded,
footsore, unkempt, but were unconquered and unconquerable. The spirit
of their country burned in them and blazed through their eyes, and
when the message of Sir John French came thanking them for their
magnificent courage and promising them a share in the rounding up,
they cheered until they could cheer no longer.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Sir John French published his first list of names for honourable
mention, the names of seven chaplains were "mentioned in Despatches."
And among the seven the name of the Rev. Owen Spencer Watkins was
mentioned twice.

No Parade services--they were out of the question,--hardly any short
unofficial services such as we grew accustomed to during the South
African War. Just a hearty handshake, a "God bless you," a whispered
text, or a hearty word of cheer, but the ministry to the wounded
always, and wherever possible the burial of the dead. No more is
possible in such a retreat. But the Christian soldier is cheered by
the sight of his chaplain. His "494" is never forgotten, and as he
passes along the lines of the wounded they look up and call him

Thank God, the Cross is always where there is suffering and death, and
never is it needed more than on the stricken field, or in such a
retreat as "The Retreat from Mons."

   [Illustration: "IT'S A LONG, LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY."]



    Commissioned Acting Chaplains--All Creeds Participate--Stories
    of Christian Workers at the Fighting Base--Pluck, a Miracle
    Worker--A Whole Regiment Praying--More Chaplains' Stories--The
    French Mayor's Speech--Protestant Service in a Roman Catholic
    Church--An Old-Fashioned "Revival"--The Cross upon the Field
    of War--A Hospital Confirmation Scene--Y.M.C.A. at the
    Fighting Base--The Story of the German Sniper.

Perhaps this is the best time to say a word about religious
ministrations in the Army.

When a soldier enlists he is expected to "declare" his "religion."
Time was when only two forms of religion were recognised in the
Army--the Church of England and Roman Catholic. A recruit was asked,
"What are you? Church or Catholic?"--that was how it was shortly put.
But that day has gone by, and now all the chief religious
denominations are recognised, and the men--to the extent I have
already indicated--have the ministration of the chaplains of their own
churches. This some officers at first fail to recognise.

The story goes that a captain, who had recently changed regiments and
had not as yet become acquainted with the idiosyncrasies of his new
command, was surprised at the small muster for Church of England
Parade. "You see," explained the sergeant-major, "we've sixteen Roman
Catholics, twelve Wesleyans, six Primitive Methodists, two Jews, and
four Peelin' Purtaties!"

The Church of England, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian chaplains hold
commissions in the Army. The Wesleyans, although commissions have
repeatedly been offered, prefer to keep their ministers under their
own control. Their ministers become "Acting Chaplains," and, as I have
already indicated, during the present war for the first time, the
other Free Churches have been recognised in the same way. When,
however, war breaks out, all the chaplains, commissioned and acting,
are on the same footing, are attached to some unit, and are under its
commanding officer. They all wear uniform, and the only way to
distinguish the "Padre" from the ordinary officer is by the black
shoulder-knots and the cross on his hat.

At the head of the Chaplaincy Department is Bishop Taylor-Smith, the
Chaplain-General. He is a powerful preacher, a good administrator, a
broad-minded man, and eminently fitted for his high position. But he
remains at home during this war, for the Chaplaincy Department has
become a big thing, and only very occasionally can he pay visits to
the front.

The chaplain in charge of the Army work at the front is the Rev. Dr.
J.M. Simms (Presbyterian), one of the chaplains who also have the
distinction of being Hon. Chaplains to the King. It shows how catholic
the Army authorities are, and how little they allow their sympathies
to be with any one church, that the man in charge of the chaplains of
all the churches is a Presbyterian. He takes this position by virtue
of seniority, for Dr. Simms has seen long and varied service; but
never before has any other than an Anglican clergyman found himself in

The senior Church of England chaplain is the Rev. E.G.F. Macpherson,
who served with distinction throughout the South African War and was
among those shut up in Ladysmith.

Chaplains have military status. The Chaplain-General ranks as
Major-General, Dr. Simms as Brigadier, and the others as Colonels,
Majors, or Captains. They do not use their title of military rank.

As Bishop Taylor-Smith says: "There are no flouts or sneers against
the Sky Pilot in the Army of to-day. Quite the reverse; for does he
not bring them comfort and courage, and that quiet confidence which a
man of great moral might can implant in the most irreligious mind?...
Sometimes one hears grumbles at having to salute civilians 'dressed up
as officers,' but never a word against the Army chaplain--the Padre."

In an interview reported in the _Daily Chronicle_, Bishop Taylor-Smith
goes on to say: "Chatting with a senior Army chaplain who had been at
the front from the beginning, I was not surprised to hear that he had
not once received a snub, for his story confirmed the remarks made to
me by Tommy Atkins himself. Down there in the bleak desolation of mud
and morass, with death hurtling through the grey sky, one is face to
face with the Unknown, and the man who in his native town never sets
foot in church, turns with gratitude to the chaplain to strengthen him
with the comfort of God.... All Protestant creeds are one in the
fighting line. If an Anglican minister is not at hand, a Presbyterian
speaks a few words, and all of the Protestant denominations work hand
and glove.... Only for Holy Communion in the field does he wear his
surplice, and usually he invites all, the unconfirmed, or even those
of other creeds, to participate, for any minute may mean death out

I can bear this out from personal knowledge. There is much less
distinction between the denominations in the Army at home than one
would expect, but in the "field" they rejoice in the grand old title
of Christian, and on occasion each does the other's work.

Every day is a Sunday, so far as the chaplain is concerned. He takes a
service when and where he can. He cannot have too many, and the men
readily respond to his call.

At the fighting base, however, his most important work lies in the
hospital. Here he is sorely needed. The men want him more than they
ever did in their lives. And it is his to hear their last words and to
tell them of the peace of God.

We must remember that the fighting base is an ever-moving base, moved
according to the exigencies at the front, now forward, now back. It is
many miles behind the firing line, far from the sound though not the
sights of war. Here are Headquarters, where the brains of the Army do
their responsible work. To Headquarters comes information from every
available source. The telegraph and telephone instruments tick and
ring all day long. Motor cyclists bring their store of knowledge, and
aeroplanes, most important of all informants, dispense their news.

Here, also, somewhere among the miles that measure the fighting base,
are the base hospitals, where the cases that cannot at once be sent to
the homeland are received and cared for; and here, also, are soldiers
on their way to the front, or those who--retired from the
trenches--are resting until their turn comes to go back.

It will be seen, therefore, that the term fighting base is a very
elastic one. It stands for that wide area behind the advanced lines,
where all but the fighting work is done.

Now, let us get among the Christian workers and see what they are
doing there.

We are impressed with their magnificent opportunity. The men who have
been fighting know what it means. They have looked the king of terrors
in the face, and they feel the need of a Saviour as never before. The
men who, as yet, have not been to the front cannot escape an
indefinable dread, and they, too, are ready for the gospel message.
While the wounded--suffering, and maybe drawing near to death--eagerly
drink in the words of life.

We will listen to some of the chaplains as they tell their own tale.

We will begin with the Rev. J. Esslemont Adams, of the United Free
Church of Scotland. Writing to the _Record_, the organ of that church,
he begins by emphasizing the splendid character of the men of the
Expeditionary Force. He says (November 3, 1914):

"Of 200,000 men forming the Expeditionary Force only 366 are in
prison--one man out of every 546. That statement proves the clean
character of the force. Of these 366 men in prison we find that the
number penalised for yielding to the sins about which Lord Kitchener
warned the troops before they left for overseas is (according to the
official returns) one man in 5000. Only one man in 5000 is worthy of
contempt. The rest are in gaol for reasons which stir not wrath but

This is a remarkable statement, and when we consider the strain that
these men have experienced, and the reasons for their failure as given
by Mr. Adams--breaking ranks to seize a bunch of fruit, falling asleep
on "sentry-go" and the rest,--the wonder is that there have not been
many more. We do not wonder that he adds: "British soldiers have a
good name and a good character in this country, and it is well that
this be placed to their credit by the people of the Christian Church."

Like all the chaplains at the base, Mr. Adams finds his chief
opportunity in the hospitals. He says:

"At the base there are nine hospitals, some in public buildings, some
in tents out on the plain. Of these nine hospitals, some are filled
with British wounded, others with British and French, and the fellow
soldiers of both--Turcos, Senegalese, Belgians, Indians. The
chaplain's work is principally there, going from ward to ward and tent
to tent, talking on all subjects from the war to the Word of God,
writing letters, or getting those angels of mercy, the nursing
sisters, to write for men too crippled to write.

"As he goes on his way the Padre distributes out of his well-filled
haversack gifts which have come from kind-hearted people at home.... A
fig, a handful of raisins, a packet of 'Woodbines' (greatest of all
luxuries in the opinion of 'Tommies' and 'Jocks'), a box of matches,
an old illustrated paper, a little bottle of perfume, or a little bag
of perfume for the uneasy and restless. These are some of the contents
of the wonderful haversack, and words cannot express the value of the
good things. The men look on them as love-tokens from home.

"These men deserve our best care. They are brave in suffering as they
have been in service. Their pluck is extraordinary, and the instances
I now put down in my note-book prove the assertion.

"In one of the field hospitals there are two men in the same tent, and
occupying beds next to each other. One man has had his left leg
amputated above the knee, the other his right leg. Both are recovering
and are as happy as sand boys. 'Good job, sir,' says one, 'it isn't
the same leg with both of us. One pair of boots will do between us
when we are allowed to get up.'

"In another tent lies a 'Jock' shot in the back in two places, and
with his left arm shattered by shrapnel. He, too, is mending and
developing an alarming appetite for theological argument. Pluck, the
doctor says, is a miracle-worker here.

"In a third tent is a lad with paralysis, the result of a bullet wound
in the region of the spine. He believes he will recover and says he
must hurry up, as no other fellow in the regiment can valet the
Colonel as he can....

"As a rule the wounded are eager for the chaplain's visit. They want a
talk, and very often the talk turns steadily to the thing that counts.
Men are not ashamed to discuss religion, and get to the subject often
without much manoeuvring. That is not surprising. Very many have been
in the Valley of the Shadow, and they tell you that they found God
there. 'One' was with them--they cannot explain it, but they remember
it. And a soldier is a strong partisan. The hard fact is that God was
with them, and now they want to tell you what God is to them.

"One lad (he is little more than a boy in years) said to me when he
was telling me all about the battle of the Aisne, where he was

"'I never knew before then what it was to pray. Of course, I had
learnt to say my prayers, but I never really prayed till that day at
the Aisne. We all went into the battle singing "You made me do it, I
didn't want to do it," but when we got in the trenches it was like
hell. You should have seen some men dropping on their knees and
praying. Why, the whole regiment seemed to be praying. I know I was
praying, and somehow I felt better, and I've prayed every night
running since.'

"That plain tale is the parable of many an awakening. It is the
parable of the soldiers' need and vision and faith. They have seen
something, and that something which is responsible for the question
they so frequently ask, 'What is it like at home? Are the people at
home praying? Are they praying for us doing our bit out here, or are
they still going on the old way?'...

"The other day I was acting chaplain at the funeral of a 'Jock,' aged
twenty-eight, who leaves a widow and three little children amongst
that great company at home weeping for their beloved dead.

"The night before he died I said, 'Good-night, boy, I'll be in to see
you early to-morrow morning.'

"The poor fellow knew he might not last till morning; and as I turned
away he tried to raise himself and salute, and then he said:

"'Good-night, sir, and God bless you! and if I'm gone, sir, remember
I'm all right--all right. Send my love to Janet and the bairns, and
tell them I'll be waiting for them.'

"Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. These men are our heroes and God's
own children."

Yes, that is the universal testimony--"brave in suffering as they have
been brave in service." Grand lads these, and we shall never forget
what they have done for us.

My difficulty in this chapter is to select out of the mass of material
to hand stories which will best illustrate the work which is being
done. Much will necessarily have to be put upon one side.

I will turn next to the Rev. Richard Hall. For many years he had been
at the head of the Welcome Soldiers' and Sailors' Home at Chatham, and
in this position had done most effective service for the men. The
Chatham Wesleyan Central Hall is also his creation, and in it he had
led hundreds of sailors and soldiers to Christ. No truer friend of the
soldier and no more efficient worker is to be found with the men.

He, too, tells us something of hospital work at the fighting base. I
quote from the _Methodist Times_.

"One night," he says, "as I was going my rounds, my attention was
directed to a man who was in delirium. I knelt down to hear what he
was saying. His mind was dwelling on his boyish days. He was

    'Hark, hark, hark, while infant voices sing
      Loud hosannas to our King.'

And then he uttered a name--it was the name of 'Peter Thompson.' This
man had evidently when a boy attended our East End Mission, and had
known Peter Thompson. I buried him in the little cemetery close by.

"It was All Saints' Day, a great festival in France, the time when
friends visit the graves of their departed loved ones, and place
thereon flowers. It was a beautiful morning, scores of people were
there, and by invitation of the Mayor, as many officers from the
hospital as could be spared were present also. The funeral service was
combined with the celebration. I conducted the funeral first. At the
close the Mayor made the speech, a copy of which I enclose.

"'Ladies and Gentlemen,--Often have I been proud to state that many of
you have considered it a duty and a patriotic devotion to accompany to
their last resting-place the glorious remains of our Allies who have
fallen on the field of honour, and to show your fraternal friendship
in bringing flowers, a spontaneous testimonial, but ephemeral, which
we will confirm later by a commemorative monument, and we shall put it
up together on this ground of supreme rest.

"'In the name of the Municipal Council of Boisguillaume, ladies and
gentlemen, I thank you one and all.

"'English officers and soldiers,--Be assured we shall never forget
here your brothers in arms. The people of Boisguillaume will make it
their duty to watch over these glorious remains you trust to their
care, and they will regard it as a perpetual honour.

"'When later they bring the younger generation to bow to these graves,
they will ask them to remember for ever that the men who rest here
have shed their blood for France and England, in union of heart with
the civilised nations, in order to fight against the invasion of our
land by the barbarian hordes who are desirous of exterminating justice
and right, our genius and our civilisation.

"'Glory to you, noble heroes, who for the sake of a sacred cause have
sworn to defend France unto death! Carry away with you into eternity
this confidence that you will live for ever in the memory of the
French, who have at present only one heart, one soul, whose gratitude
to you will never fade.

"'Glory to England!


I have given the Mayor's speech in full, not because such a speech was
exceptional, but because it gathers up into itself the sentiments of
the French nation, and eloquently expresses the reverence felt for our
British dead.

But not only do British soldiers know how to die, but German soldiers
also. They are our enemies, but it is a pleasure to record that many
of the captured German soldiers have their Bibles with them. Mr. Hall
tells of one who died suddenly. His open Bible was found on his bed;
and John iii. 16--"For God so loved the world "--were the words he had
been reading as he passed into the presence of his Saviour.

Mr. Hall also tells of a graceful act of kindness on the part of the
Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Diocese. In company with Father
Bradley and the Church of England chaplain, he waited upon the
Archbishop to ask permission to hold Protestant services in the small
but beautiful Roman Catholic church. The Archbishop received them most
kindly and readily gave consent. By the by, Mr. Hall pays a beautiful
tribute to that same Roman Catholic chaplain whose tent he
shared--Father Bradley. He says: "I never met a more gentle and
refined Christian character. His one thought was to serve others, and
he cared nothing for his own discomfort as long as he was helping
someone else." When they parted--for Father Bradley was the first to
go to the front--the Father's last words were, "Hall, don't forget to
pray for me, underneath and round about both of us are the Everlasting

Differing as we do so much from the Roman Catholic Church, it is a
pleasure to record this testimony.

The services in the Roman Catholic church were conducted by the Church
of England chaplain and Mr. Hall. They were united services, for in
face of danger and death all are one in Christ Jesus.

The services were fruitful in results as such services must always be.
Not only did large numbers attend, but doubtless the Great Day will
declare that many received the pardon of sin.

"Padre, did you see me at the service last night?" asked one young
officer of Mr. Hall.

"I did."

"Well, do you know that is the first _voluntary_ service I ever
remember attending, and I have made up my mind that from to-day God
shall have the first place in my life?" A fortnight after he said, "I
thank God that I have been a new man since that day I spoke to you."

That is it--"a new man." God is making "new men" by the hundred, if
not by the thousand, in France and Belgium, and the chaplains are
reverently looking on and praising Him.

The Rev. W.H. Sarchet tells quite a different, but not less striking,
class of story. It is his privilege to record an old-fashioned
"Revival" at the fighting base. Mr. Sarchet has seen much work among
soldiers and sailors. For eight years he was Wesleyan chaplain at
Gibraltar; for another seven he was chaplain at Devonport; for the
last four he has served in the same capacity at Portsmouth, having
charge of the Duchess of Albany's Soldiers' and Sailors' Home there,
and the services in the Town Hall.

In a letter to the Rev. John Bell, Mr. Sarchet tells the story of this
remarkable spiritual movement which has been taking place at the
General Hospital, with which he has been serving at the fighting base.
I give the story in his own words as printed in the weekly article by
the Rev. J.H. Bateson in the _Methodist Recorder_. Mr. Bateson is
Secretary of the Wesleyan Army and Navy Board and Ex-Secretary of the
British Army Temperance Association in India. His weekly article is
replete with first-hand information, and that and its corresponding
article in the _Methodist Times_ are a gold mine in which students of
the war may well dig.

Mr. Sarchet, after referring to the wounded "fresh from the trenches
in all their grime and dirt, torn clothes, broken limbs, and ghastly
wounds," goes on to say:

"In addition to this really distressing work, I am having some most
delightful camp work experiences. Last Sunday week at my second Parade
service--my first was at 8 A.M. three miles away--I discovered by the
very hearty responses in the prayers that there were some out-and-out
Christian men present. I asked them if they would like a voluntary
service at night. They said they would very much, so we fixed it up
for 6.30 P.M. We had a delightful service just at setting sun. I think
that 'Abide with me,' as that crowd of R.F.A. men, waiting to go up to
the fighting line, sang it, never sounded so beautiful.

"At the close of the service, we had an after-meeting by moonlight,
and three sought and found Christ. I announced a meeting for Monday
night, and so we have gone on right through the week, and there have
been seekers every night. At the close of this meeting we enlarge the
ring in the centre, and then invite those who have decided to serve
Christ to come right out into the ring before their comrades.

"It is beautiful clear moonlight, just like day, and out they come one
after another. One never-to-be-forgotten evening we had twenty out.
They kneel down and we pray with them, then close the meeting with
'God be with you till we meet again,' and prayer. Then we take the
names and talk with the soldiers individually. We have enrolled the
names of over eighty men who have come out in this way in the last ten

"The meetings are having this good effect--finding the Christian men
in the camps around. There are several camps and thousands of
men--reinforcements just waiting for orders to move forward. Night and
day men are coming and going. A Christian officer too heard us singing
and has come and joined us. He has been with us every night when not
on duty."

Supplementing this story Mr. Sarchet tells of another series of
meetings still proceeding as he wrote. He says:

"A large number of our mounted men have recently gone forward, so this
week we started in the infantry camp, which is about three miles away.
We had our first open-air service there on October 26. We were only
two when we started, but a great crowd before we finished, with eleven
men out in the ring seeking Christ. This is grand work. The weather
has turned very wintry and wet this week, but the Camp Commandant has
promised me a store tent for our meetings, so we shall go on."

What wonderful scenes these are when you think of their setting and
the men who were the chief actors! As Mr. Bateson says: "In the Nile
Expedition, in the South African Campaign, in the frontier work in
India, there have been many soldiers who, here and there, have
surrendered their lives to Christ, but this 'Revival' in the British
Expeditionary Force in France is surely unique in the history of war."

We picture the scene--not a Salvation Army ring in some country town
in England, but crowds of khaki clad soldiers, supposed to be
trifling, light-hearted, devil-may-care. But here they are out in the
open, in full view of hundreds of their comrades, surrounded by great
camps, humbly kneeling in penitence at the Throne of Grace, "owning
their weakness, their evil behaviour," and pleading "God be merciful
to me a sinner." So strangely, yet so powerfully, stands the Cross
upon the field of war.

Another beautiful little picture is presented to us by Mr. Sarchet in
another letter--a gathering of twenty-six soldier lads on the
afternoon of the Lord's Day.

"We had a talk about temptation, and then celebrated Holy Communion.
It was all out in the open in a little wooden dell. I had my portable
camp table. It was a very gracious and never-to-be-forgotten time, as
we knelt there on the grass, with a beautiful clear sky overhead.
There seemed absolutely nothing between us and God, and the presence
of the Risen Christ was a great reality. Before next Sunday some who
were there will be fighting in the trenches, but they will carry the
memory of this soul-hallowing time with them."

   Rev. E.L. Watson, Senior Baptist Chaplain at the Front.
   Rev. O.S. Watkins, Senior Wesleyan Chaplain at the Front.
   Rev. J.M. Simms, D.D., K.H.C., Presbyterian, Principal Chaplain
   at the Front.
   Rev. E.G.F. Macpherson, Senior Church of England Chaplain at
   the Front.]

So out there in France our soldier lads "do this" in memory of Him
"until He come."

Before I pass from the record of the directly spiritual work at the
fighting base, let me tell the story of a unique confirmation--a
confirmation without lawn sleeves. Bishop Taylor-Smith was the chief
actor in this strange scene. A Church of England chaplain represented
to him, during his visit to the front, that there were some men in
hospital, badly wounded, who desired confirmation. The Bishop gladly
consented to confirm them. They could not come to him, and so he went
to them. But it was not in his bishop's robes he went. He was on
military duty and he went in his military uniform as major-general.

There was no attempt to get a congregation. The Bishop was only
attended by a chaplain and Scripture reader. He first went to a ward
where lay two lads side by side, each with his right leg amputated
above the knee. They were simple country lads and they were crippled
for life. Their hearts had been won for Christ, and they desired to
give their lives to Him. The Bishop spoke words of hope and cheer, and
laid his hands upon them. Then he went to another ward where lay a man
with a terrible shrapnel wound in his arm. Him also the Bishop
confirmed. In the next ward were two men--older men these--who had
known agonising pain. Their beds had been brought together, and upon
these also the Bishop laid confirming hands. Then he passed to the
church where the convalescents who desired confirmation could receive
his Church's rite.

A simple record this, but I fancy we shall search history in vain for
any other story of a bishop in military uniform administering the rite
of confirmation to wounded soldiers.

       *       *       *       *       *

A word about the Y.M.C.A. work at the fighting base. It is being
carried on there much as in England. Wherever possible Camp Homes are
being erected, and the work done in them not only keeps the men out of
temptation, but is the means in many cases of turning their steps
toward Christ and heaven.

Mr. A.K. Yapp (the General Secretary) has recently paid a visit to
France and reports most cheerily of the work done there. They have
received ready help from both officers and men. In the erection of
Queen Mary's Hut, for instance, every consideration has been
exhibited. Materials have been carted free of charge, and other
important and valuable concessions made, which have proved of the
greatest service.

The work by the Y.M.C.A. in the Indian hospitals is exceptionally
interesting. Those who are in charge can speak Hindustani, and are
able to render many kindnesses to these brave Eastern fighters. They
cannot, of course, undertake Christian teaching, but they are able to
show the Christian spirit, and the lesson will not be lost on the sick
and wounded Indians.

The more we study the work of the Y.M.C.A. for our soldiers in this
war, with its branches now grown to nine hundred, the more we shall
agree with the statement of a British officer: "You Y.M.C.A. people
are marvellous."

And the men--what of the men among whom these chaplains and "Y.M.C.A.
people" and others work? "The men," said General Buller in South
Africa, "are splendid." That is still the verdict--the universal
verdict--they are _splendid_. Everybody loves Thomas Atkins who knows
him; cheerful and kindly, ready to do anyone a good turn, heroic in
action, patient in suffering, tender and chivalrous to women, he has
set us all an example in this war. And he has done with the greatest
ease what some people in this country find it so difficult to
accomplish; he has shown us, as I have already indicated, how to fight
his enemy and to love him too.

The Rev. Harold J. Chapman, M.A., vouches for the truth of this story
told him in artless fashion by the hero of it. A German sniper was in
a tree some distance from a small company of our men. He wounded one
of our lads, and the pal of the wounded lad, lying not far from him,
said, "I'll have to bring that fellow down, or he'll be hitting _me_
next." So he took aim and fired, and the German sniper dropped from
the tree wounded. The ambulance that carried to the rear the wounded
British soldier took also the German sniper.

After some days, to their astonishment they found themselves opposite
each other in the same compartment of the same train.

"Well, what did you do?" said Mr. Chapman. "Did you hit him?"

"Oh no! why should I hit him? I couldn't speak his 'lingo,' and he
couldn't speak mine, so I smiled at him and he smiled back at me. Then
I offered him a cigarette, and he offered me one of his, and we were
the best of pals all the journey."

That is it, the man who had shot the British soldier, and the man who
had been shot by his pal, the best of friends! After all, why should
not nations emulate the example of their soldiers?

Aye! They have seen suffering--these men--and they have risen superior
to it, and speedily they forget the suffering, but they never forget a
kindness shown. As Private Simmons of the 1st Cameronians says: "I
have seen hell, for I have seen war, and I have seen heaven, for I
have been in hospital."

They are worth all that is being done for them--these splendid
fellows--and still they go on singing, the words that Mr. Robert
Harkness has recently written for them:

    Sometimes the clouds hang heavy and low,
    Nor can we see each step as we go;
    No silver lining the cloud doth bestow.
      Are we down-hearted? No!
    Bravely we march in the battle of life.
    Fierce is the conflict, the turmoil, and strife;
    Fraught with such peril, danger so rife,
      Are we down-hearted? No! No! No!



    Christian Work during the Fighting--A Monotony of Horrors--A
    Brave "Bad Lad"--Strange Places for Worship--No Apples on his
    Conscience--Transferred to Flanders--Strangest Spectacle of
    the War--Lord Roberts in France--At Dead of Night--A Shell
    Stops a Sermon--The University Student.

Sunday, September 6, 1914, will be a memorable date for British
soldiers, for it was the day on which the long and perilous retreat
from Mons came to an end, and they once more turned to meet their foe.
It was a day of great rejoicing. They were not privileged to join
together in the worship of God; instead there was constant marching.
But they were advancing now, not retreating, and there was a spring in
their tread, and a glad light in their eyes, which showed of what
stuff they were made, and pronounced them "ready, aye ready."

As they marched steadily forward, they passed through village after
village devastated by the German troops. Stories of barbarism were
told them which made them clench their hands and set their teeth. Here
and there, however, it was different, and they passed through villages
on some of the doors of which was the notice, "Only defenceless women
and children are here. Do not molest them." It seemed as though when
the German troops had their commanding officer with them, and were
well under control, they regarded the rules of war; but that when they
were detached from the central command and could do more as they
liked, then all the savage in them was let loose.

At last the Marne was reached and the battle begun. It is no part of
our purpose in this book to describe that and the following battles.
Our business is with the Christian work done in connexion with them,
and only so far as they help to illustrate the work done have we
anything at all to say about the conflicts. For five long days raged
the battle of the Marne, from September 6 to 10 inclusive. During it
deeds of heroism were performed by the hundred which will never be

While it continued but little of a specifically religious character
could be performed by the chaplains. But they were everywhere--with
their men in the front, with the ambulance and stretcher-bearers,
bending over the wounded with words of Christian hope, and when the
darkness fell, burying the dead. They had the perils of the battle,
but none of the excitement of participation.

Take this as a tribute from the Rev. Owen Spencer Watkins to the work
of the R.A.M.C. I quote from the _Methodist Recorder_.

"Then the shrapnel swept the road; the bearers scattered in all
directions; for a moment I thought General Rolt and his staff were
wiped out, but all reached cover in safety. For myself, I leaned close
against the high bank, whilst in the bush just above my head rattled
the bullets like rain, and the leaves and twigs fell round me in a
shower, but the danger was not for long.

"'Stretcher-bearers!' came the shout down the hill, and Major Richards
sprang to his feet and the first squad followed him. My task was for a
time to direct the bearers, and I was filled with admiration as the
men faced the hillside, and what waited for them in the woods above.

"Remember these were not fighting men who carried arms, and they could
take no cover, for they had the stretcher to carry with its suffering
load. I never admired the Royal Army Medical Corps as I did that day
on the hills above Pisseloup and Montreuil.

"'Next squad!' I would shout, and without the slightest hesitation or
sign of fear they would take their stretchers and climb the hill. Now
Major Richards was in the road dressing the wounds of those brought
in, and working with equal bravery and almost a surgeon's skill, good
Sergeant-Major Spowage laboured at his side. Later they were joined by
Lieutenant Tasker, R.A.M.C, and still the wounded streamed down the
hills above.

"How those doctors and orderlies worked! That day at the cross-roads
near Pisseloup, I saw some of the best work done that has ever been
accomplished in the field, and none seemed to realise that they were
doing anything out of the ordinary."

When night fell, Rev. D.P. Winnifrith and Rev. O.S. Watkins did work
similar to that which other chaplains were doing elsewhere on the
field. We have their record, but must wait for that of the others.
What a picture it is upon which we gaze! Aye, and not only at night,
but next day following the advancing British troops.

Here and there is a wounded soldier who has lain for hours in the
rain. Their sufferings must have been horrible. And here and there,
nay, all around, the dead. They buried them in fields, in gardens, in
orchards and vineyards, sometimes singly, sometimes in twos and
threes--in one grave two officers and eighteen men. But we draw a
curtain over the scene. It will soon become a monotony of horrors. Let
us hasten on.

The Marne won, the next line of battle was the Aisne.

Here I pause to relate a little incident variously reported in the
papers. I give it as it came to me first, judging that the first
report is probably the most correct. It dates from some of the fierce
fighting near the banks of the Aisne.

A village was temporarily evacuated by the British under the pressure
of German troops. In the hurried retreat six or eight British soldiers
were left behind. They took shelter in a cottage, knowing that the
Germans were close upon them. There was a hasty council of war. One of
them was the "bad lad" of the regiment--a drunken ne'er-do-well. He
had his own solution of the problem.

Said he, "I have never been any good. I never shall be any good. Let
me go and I will try to save you lads. The Germans are upon us. I can
hear them in the street. I will rush out of the house and down the
street. They will see me and they will fire. They will never suppose
that one would run and not the others. They will not trouble to
search, and you will be saved."

His comrades protested and said they would all die together. But there
was no time to argue. In a moment he was out of the house and down
the street. Shots rang out and the "bad lad" of the regiment fell,
pierced by many bullets. It was as he said. The Germans passed the
house, and for a moment the rest of that little company were saved.

But the British had received reinforcements. They advanced to the
attack again and the village was cleared of Germans. Then the little
company came out of their hiding-place, reverently lifted the body of
the dead hero who had died for them, and carried it to the rear. They
dug a grave and buried him. Over the grave they placed a rough wooden
cross, and wrote upon it--"He saved others, himself he _would_ not

They hoped, they said, they were not guilty of blasphemy in altering
and using the historic words, and we, as we quote them, are quite
certain they were not.

The battle of the Aisne was long drawn out, if that can be described
as a battle which consisted of many days of fierce fighting
culminating in long continued siege warfare in the trenches. During
its continuance there was the same individual ministry, the constant
hair-breadth escapes of chaplains and doctors--not always, however,
for both chaplains and doctors suffered--the same heroic endeavour to
ameliorate suffering and to point the dying to the Saviour.

Here and there we get glimpses of brief services held behind the
firing line. A brigade at a time would be withdrawn from the trenches
and then was the chaplain's opportunity. We read of a Sunday spent
among these men who had just been facing death. An early communion,
the men kneeling on the straw of a dimly lit barn, a service in the
open-air among men of line regiments and of batteries, a united
service in the evening at which the Rev. D.P. Winnifrith read the
prayers, Colonel Crawford the lessons, and the Rev. O.S. Watkins gave
the address.

We are told of hurriedly arranged services in the evenings--one in a
cart-shed lit by two hurricane lamps, in which Church of England and
Wesleyan chaplains took part, and Lieutenant Grenfell, R.A.M.C, a
Wesleyan local preacher, gave the address. Another in a deep cutting,
safe from shell fire, while overhead the guns were booming, but clear
above the noise the music of the hymn--"Blessed assurance, Jesus is
mine." Another, which Lieutenant Grenfell reports, in a farmyard, amid
the neighing of horses and the constant tramp of men.

Strange places these for the worship of God! But with a heart at rest,
even amid the strife of battle, the Christian turns to God, and there
is a deep longing in the hearts of men who cannot call themselves
Christians for the consolations of religion.

Corporal Chappell, invalided home with a bullet in his leg,
illustrates this with some touching stories of the battle of the
Aisne. As they advanced to the front the road was for some distance
lined with orchards. The Colonel issued orders that no apples were to
be taken, for, said he, "It would be stealing." One man, however,
could not resist the temptation, and when for a few minutes they
rested, filled his pockets with apples. In a short time they were in
the thick of the battle and shells were falling fast and furious. Out
came the apples from the lad's pockets. He flung them as far from him
as he could. "There, I will not have you on my conscience, anyhow!" he

Another lad close to Chappell said to him: "Chappell, I have a sort of
feeling I shall not reach home again. I cannot help thinking of my
wife and children."

"Have you thought of your own soul?" asked Chappell.

"There is no time for that," was the reply.

"Oh yes, there is a minute at any rate. Pray, lad, pray! Your wife and
children are in God's hands. Pray for pardon now."

And so they two went forward praying. A few minutes and a shell almost
annihilated the company, and among the rest the lad who had just been
pleading "God be merciful to me a sinner" was killed. Thank God! no
one ever prays that prayer in vain.

A few minutes afterwards Corporal Chappell was himself shot in the
leg. As best he could he proceeded to hop into safety. Two men of
another regiment saw him and carried him to the shelter of a cow-shed
and laid him there. It was only some time afterwards that he found
that one of the men who had helped to carry him was only less severely
wounded than himself. The cow-shed was filthy, the pain severe, he
wondered how long he was to lie there alone, and untended.

"Then," said he, "I remembered that my Lord was born in a stable, and
I just lay still and went to sleep thinking of Him, and I slept on and
on until night fell, and the stretcher-bearers found me and carried me
to the rear."

Thus these simple lads help their fellows, preach Christ even in the
midst of the battle, and when in sore need themselves, find in the
thought of their Saviour comfort and rest and hope.

Then came threatenings in Flanders, and the daring plan of a German
advance on Calais. This necessitated the withdrawal of our troops from
the lines of the Aisne to the Yser and their replacement by French
troops on the Aisne. The transference of our troops was accomplished
with the greatest secrecy and skill. It is doubtful if the Germans
were acquainted with the transference until it was accomplished. It is
perhaps one of the greatest deeds of the war, and speaks of supreme
skill and daring on the part of our commander.

The soldiers took it all in good part. "Over incredibly bad roads,
often up to the boot tops in mud, they marched with a swing that would
have done credit to a Royal Review on Laffan's Plain, and as they
marched they chanted their war-song, 'It's a long, long way to
Tipperary.' It seemed hardly possible that for three solid months they
had been fighting without a single day's rest. As they crossed the
Belgian frontier their spirits rose. 'This is better than the last
time we crossed it, isn't it, sir? Then we was on the run, having got
more than we wanted at Mons, but now the boot's on the other leg. Now
if we could only capture 'Kaiser Bill,' or even 'Old one o'clock'
(General von Kluck), we might get home for our Christmas dinners after

Then followed the battle of Ypres, the bloodiest battle of the winter
campaign, and one of the most critical engagements of the war. It was
now cold--bitterly cold. Rain and snow--snow and rain! The trenches
became almost uninhabitable. Frost-bite among the men became common.
Many were invalided to the base suffering from rheumatism. All that
could be done for the men was done. Warm goat-skin coats were served
out, and the men looked more like Teddy Bears than soldiers. Charcoal
braziers were sent to the trenches, and, most important of all, the
men were well fed.

It was only a thin line to keep back the German hosts. How thin a line
no one yet is permitted to tell. But it accomplished its task, and by
November 20 reinforcements arrived and the situation for the British
was somewhat relieved.

All through the series of battles the chaplains had been busy with
their grim work, caring for the wounded and burying the dead.

"Bit of an attack on, sir," said the pioneer sergeant, "but they're
firing high, and all the bullets are going well overhead; they don't
matter. But there's a sniper who seems to have a line on that grave.
It's so dark that it's certain he can't see us, but he seems to have a
sort of instinct; as sure as we go near the place he begins firing.
There you are, sir; he's at it again. Lucky he ain't a good shot."

But notwithstanding the sniper, the chaplain buried his dead, and then
tramped back in the darkness with shells falling all around.

The battles now developed into a sort of siege, and for long drawn-out
months the British and German armies faced each other in the trenches.
By this time the Indian contingent had arrived and their chaplains
with them.

Then we had the strangest spectacle of the war--Roman Catholics,
Protestants, Hindus, Mohammedans, in all speaking fifteen different
languages, but fighting side by side in a common cause. The fact that,
notwithstanding the proclamation by the Sultan of a Holy War, our
Indian Mohammedan soldiers stood firm by Old England, was a sign that
no longer could Constantinople be reckoned as the headquarters of
Mohammedanism. The Sheik-ul-Islam might sound forth his proclamation
in great state, but the princes and soldiers of India, Egypt, and the
Sudan heeded not. They knew that under the British flag they had
religious liberty, and they were loyal to the core.

It was just before the battle of Ypres commenced that Lord Roberts
paid his visit to France. He was over eighty years of age, and it was
dangerous in the extreme for him to attempt such a journey at his time
of life. But he was most wishful to review his much-loved Indian
troops, and they in their turn were anxious to see their "Father,"
whom they all revered. When the risks at his age were pointed out to
him, he replied, "We must do what we consider to be our duty; then we
are in God's hands."

It was bitter weather, but he reviewed the Indian troops, caught cold,
and died on Saturday, November 14, 1914.

He was the darling of the British Army. When the soldiers knew that
"Our Bobs" was coming to their relief in South Africa, their delight
was unbounded. They had absolute confidence in him; they would follow
him anywhere. And something more--they knew that when they read their
Bibles that was what Lord Roberts did--was there not a message from
him within the cover?--and when they knelt to pray they knew that that
also was what Lord Roberts did. His influence was widespread and was
all for good in the Army.

In the eloquent tribute which Earl Curzon paid in the House of Lords
to the memory of Earl Roberts, he quoted a letter received from him
only a fortnight before.

"We have had family prayers for fifty-five years. Our chief reason is
that they bring the household together in a way that nothing else can.
It ensures servants and others who may be in the house joining in
prayers which, for one reason or other, they may have omitted saying
by themselves. Since the war began we usually read a prayer like the
enclosed, and when anything important has occurred I tell those
present about it. In this way I have found that the servants are
taking a great interest in what is going on in France. We have never
given any order about prayers. Attendance is quite optional, but, as a
rule, all the servants, men and women, come when they hear the bell."

"The man who penned these words," said Lord Curzon, "even to a friend,
was not only a great soldier, a patriot, and a statesman; he was also
a humble-minded and devout Christian, whose name deserves to live, and
will live for ever in the memory of the nation whom he served with
such surpassing fidelity to the last hour of a long and glorious

The Army bade farewell to the body of the great field-marshal at St.
Omer, then the headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force. The
route to the Mairie was lined by British and French troops. The
coffin, draped with the Union Jack, was placed upon the gun-carriage
by eight non-commissioned officers selected from regiments of which he
had been colonel. All the British and French courage was represented
in the procession. The Prince of Wales represented the King. The
Indian chiefs who honoured and loved him were there.

At the service in the Mairie which followed, the Rev. F.I. Anderson,
assisted by the Rev. C. Marshall and the Rev. A. Helps, officiated.
The service, as was fitting, was very simple. The music was led by a
choir of soldiers, accompanied by a harmonium, and the hymns sung were
"Now the labourer's task is o'er," and "O God, our help in ages past."

At the conclusion of the service, British bugles sounded the "Last
Post." Then the body was reverently borne down the steps and placed in
the motor ambulance which was to convey it to Boulogne. As this was
done the guard of honour once more sprang to the present, French
trumpeters blew a fanfare, and the guns of Lord Roberts' old regiment
thundered a salute.

Thus the British Army said farewell to its old chief, and will
remember him for ever as a great soldier and a great Christian.

In the fighting round Ypres fell that distinguished British officer,
General Hamilton. The record of his funeral will show a great contrast
to that of Lord Roberts, but it gives us a weird and pathetic picture
of the circumstances under which our chaplains do their work.

While standing on a hillock near the village of La Couteau in the
midst of his staff, the commander of our Third Division was struck by
a fragment of shrapnel and killed. They buried him "at dead of night,"
and the whole scene recalls the famous lines on the burial of Sir John

It was a sad and silent party of distinguished French and British
officers which followed the coffin up the winding path to the little
churchyard, where the grave had been hastily dug, near the
shell-battered church. The only light was that of the electric flash
lamp used by the Rev. E.G.F. Macpherson (the senior Church of England
chaplain) to enable him to read the burial service.

   _Drawn by D. Macpherson._]

He had scarcely begun to speak its solemn words when the Germans
opened a perfect hurricane of fire. But the chaplain never altered the
measured dignity of his intonation, though shells were bursting all
around and the enemy's bullets were pattering against what remained of
the church walls.

This weird service over, the officers present had to hurry away to
their respective duties with the rattle of German musketry in their
ears. As General Smith-Dorrien also left, he said to Mr. Macpherson:
"A true soldier's funeral, Padre. We couldn't fire a volley, but the
enemy have given him the last salute for us."

Aye! a true soldier's funeral, and the one which he would perhaps have
preferred to any other.

Bishop Taylor-Smith, who tells the story of the funeral, also says
that the very next day the same chaplain (Mr. Macpherson) had gathered
the men of a battery into a musty old barn for a short service, when,
in the midst of the service, the roof of the barn was lifted right off
by a shell which, however, failed to explode. The service came to a
summary conclusion, not because of fear, but because the battery must
stop that sort of thing, and gallop away into action.

Further stories by Bishop Taylor-Smith of the period to which this
chapter relates show under what weird circumstances the sacrament of
the Lord's Supper is sometimes administered.

A jute factory near Armentières was being heavily shelled, but down in
the cellar, while the shelling was proceeding, the chaplain calmly
distributed the elements to one hundred and twenty-eight officers and
men of the Monmouth regiment. The only light was that supplied by the
chaplain's flash lamp. The battalion went into action next day, and
several of those who had taken part in the Holy Communion were killed.

On another occasion a celebration was taking place in a house at
Houplines when shells demolished the houses on either side, and no
sooner was the service over than a shell struck that self-same house.
Close by was the crackling of rifle fire, for a shed in which the
ammunition of the West Yorks was stored had been fired by a German

In the same district an ordinary service--lasting about twenty-five
minutes--was held at the O.C.'s request in a barn round which shells
were dropping every moment. And yet so powerful was the singing of the
men that it almost drowned the din of the bombardment. The chaplain,
as he stood there conducting the service, thought how fearful it would
be if a big shell dropped into the midst of that company of praying

After this who will call parsons cowards? I do not wonder that already
one of them, the Rev. P.W. Guinness (Church of England), has won the
D.S.O., and that Mr. Macpherson was among those "mentioned in
despatches." I shall tell the story of Mr. Guinness' brave deed in
another chapter.

One more funeral and this chapter shall draw to a close. The scene is
too beautiful to leave out, even if it does mean bringing three
funerals into one chapter. It dates from the battle of the Marne, and
the story is narrated by our old friend the Rev. O.S. Watkins.

No men are braver, and very few render more important service, than
the motor cycle scouts. They are, many of them, students from Oxford
and Cambridge. Their intelligence, knowledge of languages, and
general resource are a great asset to the British Army. Their work,
however, is perilous in the extreme. One of these had lost his way and
had actually ridden through two villages occupied by Germans when, at
Douai, a bullet found its way to his heart.

When the Germans retired from the village, the villagers carried him
tenderly into a cottage, straightened the fine young limbs, and
covered him with a clean white sheet. They placed a bunch of newly
gathered flowers upon his heart. He was carried to his last long rest
by the old men of the village--the young men had all gone to the
war--and as they passed through the village, the women came from the
houses and laid flowers upon the bier.

Slowly they climbed the hill, with many a halt to rest the ancient
bearers, while ahead boomed the heavy guns, and at their feet they
could see the infantry advancing to action. At last the hill-top was
reached, crowned by the little church, with "God's acre" all around.
They laid him in the hastily dug grave, the peasants, with uncovered
heads, listening reverently to the reading of the burial service in a
language they could not understand. Before the service was finished
shrapnel shells were bursting over the hilltop, and the peasants
quietly moved to the partial shelter of the wall, still with uncovered

When the final "Amen" was said, the chaplain stood for a moment gazing
down into the grave and thinking of all the brilliant possibilities
wrapped up in that splendid young fellow "gone to his death," when one
of the old men, forgetting his fear of the guns, came forward to the
graveside, and cast earth with unconscious dignity upon the body lying
there. "You are a brave man," he said, "and our friend. You have
given your life for our country. We thank you. May you sleep well in
the earth of beautiful France!" And the old men under the shelter of
the wall added "Amen."

Thus they go, the grand old field-marshal 'neath the weight of years,
the brilliant general in the full tide of useful service, and the
young man, his life-work scarce begun! Thus they go and the flower of
our nation's manhood with them. If that were the end, if death ended
all, Britain could hardly lift up her head again. But we cheer
ourselves as we remember that what we call the end is only the
beginning. Goethe draws a picture in _Faust_ of his hero gazing at the
setting sun. As he watches it slowly setting in the west, he longs to
follow it in its course--

            To drink its everlasting light,
    The day before him and behind the night.

But they may and do. There is always--

    The day before _them_ and behind the night.

"There is no night there." And so we comfort ourselves with the
thought that service broken short off here may be continued yonder,
that the old will grow young again, that the o'erthrown fighter will
rise conqueror, and life--eternal life--will crown all.

    The best is yet to be.



    The Original Thomas Atkins--No Infidels in the Trenches--In
    the Trenches at Night--A Salvation Army Story, and Others--Man
    Who was Digging a Trench--They have "Kept Smiling "--What
    Christ is to the Soldier--What a Picture!--Every Place the
    "House of the Lord"--The Soldier Spirit--The Gilts from
    Home--Courage has never Failed--And the Christian Soldier?

"I tell you what it is, sir, God is jolly near you in the trenches."
So spoke Thomas Atkins to a Church of England chaplain. It was just
like him to speak thus. A vigorous utterance suits him.

But how did he come by the name Thomas Atkins? The story goes that it
dates from the Peninsular War. The Duke of Wellington was directing
some operations in the field. An aide-de-camp rode up to him with the
outline of a new attestation form, or something of that kind sent out
by the War Office of those days.

It was advisable to fill up the top line in order that those who
filled up the following lines might have an example of how it should
be done. The question was, Whose name should be put in there? The
aide-de-camp thought the Duke would mention the first name that came
into his mind, but not so the Duke. He looked at it a moment, and
said, "I must think. Come back to me in an hour."

During that hour he turned over in his mind the deeds of bravery he
had seen performed by private soldiers. He thought of the brave deeds
of soldiers in the Peninsular Campaign. And then his mind went back to
India, and at last he said to himself, "Yes, that was the bravest deed
I ever saw performed by a private soldier." And when his aide-de-camp
came back he said, "Put down Thomas Atkins." And "Thomas Atkins" it
has been from that day to this. So the title enshrines the memory of a
brave man, and I wonder if he, too, felt God "jolly near" him in the

"Jolly near!" It is a thought-provoking phrase. "Near!" Ah! yes, we
know that, and if we can look up amidst the bursting shell and see,
not the angry, but the smiling face of God, then the word "jolly," if
not as we should put it, is at any rate expressive.

The "Eye-witness" with the British Army tells us something of what it
is like in the trenches.

"After a short outburst of fire lasting perhaps for only three or four
minutes the hostile trenches are obscured by a pall of smoke, in the
midst of which can be seen the flashes of the shrapnel bursts and the
miniature volcanoes of earth where the high explosive common shells
burst in the soft clay soil. Then, if an infantry attack is to be
launched, the cannonade suddenly ceases. There is a moment of
suspense, and a swarm of khaki figures springs from our trenches and
rushes across the fire-swept zone, possibly 100 yards in breadth.
Instantly there breaks out the rattle of machine guns and musketry.
There is some hesitation as the stormers reach the entanglements, and
then, if the assault succeeds, they disappear into the enemy's
trenches, leaving a few or many scattered bodies lying in the track
of their advance. Save at such moments as these there is often no
movement whatever in the battle zone, for not a man, horse, or gun is
to be seen, and there are periods of absolute stillness when, except
for the sight of the deserted and ruined hamlets, the scene is one of
peace and agricultural prosperity."

Yes, it is very quiet in the trenches. Not a head must appear over the
top or death is the result. Quiet, yes; up to the knees, or sometimes
up to the waist, in water, eating there, sleeping there, often dying
there. We read of some trenches where the water was so deep that the
wounded men were drowned. There was no place to put them, and they
just fell into the water, and there they died.

Quiet, until the artillery has done its preparatory work, and then
charge, charge, charge!

I do not wonder that a wounded soldier said to the Rev. T.J. Thorpe:
"My mates used to tell me in barracks that they were infidels--they
did not believe in God--but after their experiences in the trenches
they have lost their infidelity. They pray now. _There are no infidels
in the trenches._"

Said another soldier, "We leapt from our trenches singing a rowdy
song, but in a minute I was praying as I never prayed before. My mates
were praying. We were all praying, and I have been praying ever

I do not wonder that "there are no infidels in the trenches."

The Rev. Cuthbert J. Maclean (Church of England chaplain), writing
from France on November 3, 1914, tells us that he had been in the
trenches continually under fire for three weeks, and had not even had
a rough wash or taken off his boots. He has had several wonderful
escapes from death, even being hit in the neck without, however,
sustaining any injury.

"Four days ago," he says, "I spent some hours sitting in my
'funk-hole' in a trench, and then I left for a little exercise. About
twenty minutes after I had moved out, a huge shell burst in the exact
spot where I had been sitting for hours, and blew up the trench for
some twenty yards."

It will be seen from this that the trenches are not always waist-deep
or even knee-deep in water. It depends upon the weather. At first
elaborate precautions were taken to make the trenches as comfortable
as possible. They were deep and comparatively wide. All sorts of
necessaries and, occasionally, luxuries were kept there. They were
drawing-room and dining-room and kitchen.

But when the long continued rains came they were almost uninhabitable.
Men stood in liquid mud, sometimes covered with frost. They stood day
after day and suffered sorely. Many of them had to be invalided to the
rear with rheumatism, and will never recover from the effect of those
terrible days.

An elaborate system of network communication trenches was formed,
communicating with the rear, but in the worst of the weather, the
communication trenches became worse than the fire trenches, and in
some cases the water in them was up to the necks of the men.

It was only when night fell that communication with the fire trenches
was possible. Then it was that rations were conveyed to the men at the
front--only then was it possible--and even in the dark it was a
difficult and dangerous task. No light must be shown; to strike a
match might be death. Says the non-commissioned officer to his men
engaged in this hazardous task: "Whenever a searchlight is turned on
you, or the country is lit up by a flare or a star shell, stand
perfectly still. It's movement wot gives the show away. Keep still,
an' they'll think you're a bush, or a tree, or what not. But as sure
as yer move, you're a deader."

Under these circumstances, Christian work in the trenches would seem
impossible, but the apparently impossible has been accomplished. The
chaplains are from time to time with their men in the trenches. The
experience of Mr. McLean has already been quoted, and many another
might be added.

Christian men are there also in ever-increasing numbers, and these are
themselves unofficial chaplains. We hear of at least one Methodist
class meeting regularly held in the trenches, and there is many a
prayer meeting there. Yes, and many a man has found his Saviour there,
for the Lord Jesus is very near those who seek Him in the trenches.

Here is a sacred little letter scribbled in the trenches by a man who
there gave himself to Christ:

"To my darling wife and children. Daddy fully surrendered to Jesus
20.11.14 at Ypres. Sudden death--sudden glory. Safe in the arms of

A soldier, who has recently returned home for a brief rest after many
weeks in the firing line and in the trenches, says that he is quite an
altered man as the result of the war. As a boy he was never taught to
pray; but in the trenches he began to pray, and prayed regularly.
Hundreds of men, he says, are doing the same thing day by day. He also
says that the men at the front expect and reckon upon the prayers of
the people at home on their behalf.

And now a Salvation Army story. One day a man came into a Salvation
Army hall in the East End of London, and when the officers were
speaking to him they found that he had never been to a Salvation Army
service before. They asked him what brought him there.

"In the trenches," he replied, "I made up my mind that the very first
chance I had I'd come. You see, I was fighting next to a Salvationist.
One morning he was hit and fell fatally wounded. I knelt beside him in
the trench and asked if I could do anything for him.

"'Yes,' he said. 'In my pocket there is the address of my father and
mother; if you live to get home, tell them how I died, and tell them
that religion was good for me away from home in the trenches, and
death has no terror for me.'

"I said, 'Yes, I'll tell them.'

"Then he opened his eyes and pulled me down. 'Supposing a shot came
for you next,' he said, 'how would it be for you?' And although he
only lived five minutes longer, he talked to me all that five minutes
about my soul, trying to get me converted.

"Then he closed his eyes and died."

Yet another Salvation Army story. It is told in the _War Cry_ by
"Leaguer" John Coombs of the 1st Gloucester Regiment:

"The battle of ---- was in progress, and our trenches were being raked
by the enemy's fire. We were expecting any moment to be told that the
German guns would have to be silenced, and presently along the line
came the order 'Charge!' We scrambled into the open and rushed
forward, met by a perfect hail of bullets. Many of our men bit the
dust, but we who remained came to grips with the enemy. I cannot write
of what happened then. The killing of men is a ghastly business!

"On the way back to the trenches I saw a poor German soldier trying to
get to his water-bottle. He was in a fearful condition. I knelt down
by his side. Finding his own water-bottle was empty, I gave him water
from mine. Somewhat revived, he opened his eyes and saw my Salvation
Army Leaguer's button.

"His drawn face lit up with a smile, and he whispered in broken
English: 'Salvation Army? I also am a Salvation Soldier.' Then he felt
for his Army badge. It was still pinned to his coat, though
bespattered with blood.

"I think we both shed a few tears, and then I picked up his poor,
broken body, and with as much tenderness as possible, for the terrible
hail of death was beginning again, I carried him to the ambulance. But
he was beyond human aid. When I placed him on the waggon he gave a
gentle tug at my coat; thinking he wanted to say something, I bent low
and listened, and he whispered: 'Jesus, safe with Jesus!'"

Sergeant-Major J. Moore, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, tells us
that he had often spoken to one non-commissioned officer on the claims
of Christ. Three days ago, he says, he was walking from his company
officer's trench to another part of the company, when a bullet struck
through his greatcoat at the right arm, passed through his right
service dress pocket, then over his heart, and out through his left
pocket. He was not touched himself, but as he dropped into the trench
a little bit stunned, and saw how near he had been to death, he then
and there lifted up his heart to the Lord, thanked Him, and gave his
life to Him.

Sergeant-Major Moore tells another story of a lad brought up in a
Sunday-school. He had had the best mother in the world, he said, but
she was dead. He was sure she had gone to heaven. "Four days ago,"
says the sergeant-major, "his home-call came. Inside his war pay-book
was found an envelope from his wife, and he had written the following
while in the trenches:

    Jesus! the name that charms _my_ fears,
      That bids _my_ sorrows cease;
    'Tis music in the sinner's ears,
      'Tis life, and health, and peace.

    He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
      He sets the prisoners free;
    His blood can make the foulest clean,
      His blood _avails_ for _me_.

That was the last he was known to write."

Sunday-school teachers may take heart of cheer. The work that they
were tempted to think was thrown away is taking root and bearing fruit
in the trenches.

Another sergeant-major writes:

"We are not able to meet so well, owing to the scattered condition of
the battalions. But we have managed, when things are a bit quiet, to
steal from the trenches this week, and hold prayer, praise, and
testimony meetings, and it would have done your heart good to hear the
dear brothers testify to the saving and keeping power of our adorable
Saviour, and every one felt drawn nearer to each other, and to God."

What does a charge from the trenches feel like to a Christian "Tommy"
who is taking part in it? Listen to this:

"We were in the trenches the whole time. Sometimes we had burning sun,
at others pouring rain, and at nights heavy dews soaked you. At the
end the order came to fix bayonets for a charge; then I just put my
hand over my eyes--so--and asked God to help me to do my duty like a
man. We rose up and ran forward a little way, and then fell flat while
the bullets and shrapnel flew over us like hail; then on again. We
hadn't advanced very far before their artillery was cutting us up
badly. Our adjutant and the two mates either side of me were shot
dead. Then I was hit in the leg. It made me go right silly like, and I
didn't know where I was for a bit. When I came to my mates had gone,
so I crawled away as far as I could. I didn't want them Germans to get
at me, sir.

"Thank you, sir; I'm just fine now. Doctor says I'm doing marvellous.
It's through living a straight life, 'e says. There's nothing like
keepin' respectable. As you say, sir, the Lord heard my prayer, and He
must have spared me for a purpose. I hope to be back again soon, and
give 'em some more socks."

And now it is time that we retired from the trenches and saw these men
when they come out. We will not retire far, but just far enough to the
rear to see the men as they retire, and watch others who are just
going in.

Here is one who has got a trench to dig, and it strikes me as a very
quaint ending to a quaint letter. He has told us in the letter of a
comrade of his who, when wounded in the foot by a shrapnel shell,
exclaimed, "Never mind; thank God, I still have one left." And he
concludes by saying, "I could still go on relating my experiences, but
I am just about to dig another trench, so I will close now with 1
Peter i. 5, 'Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto

Evidently he was thinking of divine things all the time, and as he dug
his trench he might truly sing--

    My hands are but engaged below,
      My heart is still with Thee.

See them as they come out of the trenches! Some of them during the
terrible weather about Christmas time had literally to be dragged out
by their comrades, for they stuck fast in the mud.

Talk about arctic or antarctic regions! In those regions explorers can
at any rate move forward or move back, but to the men in the trenches
during the worst of the weather there has been no possibility of
movement. They could not even drag one leg out and put it down again.
Many of them beat their feet with their muskets, or anything that came
to hand, to keep _some_ life in them.

But their relief time has come. Look at them, caked with mud, unshaved
and haggard. A few days in the trenches makes old men of them. March!
How can they march? They just shuffle along as best they may, comrade
helping comrade.

But actually baths have been provided; and while a good hot bath is
being enjoyed, their clothes are cleaned and sterilised, and then a
hot meal and a good sleep, and you would hardly believe these were the
same men. But they have never been down-hearted--not they. They have
"kept smiling," as they are so fond of saying.

   When "Tommy" asked what he could do for his late antagonist,
   the latter replied, "Nothing, unless you would be so good as to
   hold my hand until all is over."
   _Drawn by F. Matania._]

What stories they have of their experiences. Here is one who writes to
the Rev. J.H. Bateson:

"I want you to praise and thank God with me for sparing my life last
Thursday, when I had a narrow escape from death. The enemy started to
shell our trenches at 3 P.M. and continued until dark. One shell burst
just outside the trench which I occupied with my section, blowing the
trench right in and burying me in earth and mud. I was fast
suffocating when God heard my prayer, and sent a corporal and private
of my company who dug me out alive. Four of my section were buried up
to the hips, but, praise God, they also were got out safely. Further
along a shell burst right in the trench, blowing two men out of the
trench, who were killed on the spot; a third was buried alive; a
fourth was stunned and wandered out in front of the trench, and was
shot through the head by the enemy and killed. We have had twenty-five
days in the firing line out of the thirty days of November."

This soldier goes on to say that, when at last relieved from the
trenches, he had held services in barns with some of his comrades, and
had even been called upon to bury the dead. He closes his letter with
the verse:

    All the way my Saviour leads me;
      What have I to ask beside?
    Can I doubt His tender mercy,
      Who through life has been my Guide?
    Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
      Here by faith in Him to dwell!
    For I _know_, whate'er befall me,
      Jesus doeth all things well.

Mr. Bateson sends to the _Methodist Times_ a letter which he received
from a Christian sergeant at the front in January 1915. I quote it in
full because it describes in such vivid detail the experiences of a
Christian soldier in the trenches and during the charge. Only by
listening to the men themselves can we fully realise what Christ is to
the soldier, and how gloriously he is sustained in the most trying

"We are having some good times in serving the Master, both in the
trenches and during rest periods in billets. It matters not where we
are--we can still laugh and sing the praises of Him Who died that we
might live. During the retirement, at the commencement of the
campaign, when fatigued to the utmost, when drowsing or at least
stumbling along as best I could, halts were given, and officers,
non-commissioned officers and men simply fell down exhausted, you
could notice here and there some kneeling in prayer. I have done the
same, and after a few minutes in silent prayer, thanking our beloved
Saviour for preserving us, I have gone off sound asleep, and have
awakened and gone on again. Then with fresh vigour and a determined
effort have managed to pass up and down the ranks under my command, to
speak a few encouraging words and turn their thoughts heavenwards. At
rest intervals I have managed to get one or two together for a
Christian song and prayer, thank God for keeping us so well, and ask
for strength to endure it all.

"Now, again, we are in the trenches. It is Sunday morning, my thoughts
are of all in the Homeland, and more so about Him Who died for us, and
as I think of it all out comes my Bible, and those who are near join
in listening to a passage of Scripture; then a few words of prayer,
then a chorus or two that we all know. We sing as heartily as if we
were at home in our churches. Then over comes 'Jack Johnson.' For a
time all is silent, excepting that lips are moving in fervent
prayer--not through fear, but with thankfulness and praise. Glory!

"Another time we are in a different part of the country, and called
upon to go into the attack. As we go, not seeing any danger, suddenly
over us bursts a shrapnel and shells of the 'Jack Johnson' type,
ploughing up the ground, and comrades fall. Some are killed outright;
others are severely wounded. I rush here and there to assist with a
handshake or a 'God bless you.' I pass on to lead those left, and then
right into the thickest of the fray with heavy rifle and machine-gun
fire. But nothing daunts the British soldier, and on we press until at
last the enemy turns and runs in fear. Then we thank God for all His
goodness in protecting and sparing us, and on we go, administering to
the wounded and those whose life is fast ebbing away, and in a few
words get the assurance that they hear the Saviour's welcome voice. I
have felt Him so near at such times as these. Tears of joy and
gladness--maybe of sorrow--well from the eyes. Jehovah is present, and
after the busy day is done and the shades of night are falling, I
again pursue my duties, collecting here and there a few men to
establish a firing line and join up the gap between our regiment and
those on the right. We start to work to dig ourselves in. When all is
complete, we kneel reverently with a heart full of praise and thanks
for being enabled to accomplish a little more for King and country,
and, above all, to do something for others by grace and strength from
on high.

"One day we had just finished trenching in a wood; it was Sunday
afternoon. All was complete. I had been reading to four others in my
'dug-out,' and prayed. We were holding a short service. I had just
finished speaking, and we were heartily singing that beautiful hymn,
'All hail the power of Jesu's Name,' and had got through the third
verse, when we were suddenly called to man our rifles, as the sentry
had seen the enemy approaching and given us the warning. Over us
scream harmlessly the big shells; some fall in front, some behind.
Over comes the shrapnel and bursts over us; then the spurt of
rifle-fire begins. But the beauty of it is we are not troubled with
fear at all--who could be in the presence of the Master?--but go on
singing the chorus 'Crown Him' right on to the finish, although the
enemy is only 150 or 200 yards away."

"The beauty of it is we are not troubled with fear at all--who could
be in the presence of the Master?" That sentence seems to sum up the
situation. Christ is there and He is all-sufficient. Strong in His
strength the Christian soldier goes anywhere and faces anything. How
grandly old "Diadem" would sound as these Christian soldiers sang it
in the battle charge--"And crown Him, crown Him Lord of all." There
was nothing in the situation incongruous to them. They did not think
of the Germans--only of their Lord and Saviour. And so they went right
on. Some of them were sure to fall, but they did not think of that.
The fact of Christ dominated them. Every other idea was "a grand
impertinence." He was with them here, and He would be with

Sergeant-Major Moore gives us a picture of the King's Own Yorkshire
Light Infantry. Writing to Mr. Bateson on December 17, he says:

"Last Tuesday, that is a week ago, they went into the trenches when
it was pouring with rain. They were wet through to the skin, and then
had to enter trenches where the water was in the majority of cases up
to the knee, and in some as high as the waist. On being relieved some
had to be lifted up with drag ropes, and then they had to be helped to
walk. Others, after taking their boots off, were unable to put them on
again, and I saw several who could not walk at all.

"I was able to have a few quiet talks with some of the young men and
older ones, who during the past month have surrendered to the claims
of Jesus. Their bright faces told very plainly that they have found
the pearl of great price, and can say, 'What a friend I have in

What a picture!--weary and worn, but not sad. Having to be dragged out
of the trenches, unable to walk, and yet with "bright faces." It
reminds us of what the Rev. R. Winboult Harding says of a wounded man
in hospital at Cambridge: "He is of the Coldstreams and the Glory
Room. He has ten shrapnel wounds in his legs, but he has heaven in his

Now was the time for services. And if no chaplain were available, the
men held meetings themselves.

Writes one, a corporal, to his chaplain: "I thank you for your letter,
also for the books for the little services which I hold amongst my
comrades when out of the trenches, and in billets, which is not often
the case, I am sorry to say. However, if our meetings are not
frequent, I praise God my prayers for my comrades are being daily
offered for them, in and out of the trenches, and on the march. What a
privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! Now it is Sunday
night, the 20th, and I have just held a nice service among my
comrades, who greatly enjoyed the singing and also the address. We
came out of the trenches last night, and go in again on Monday, so far
as we know."

After one such little service as these a corporal said to his lads
before they lay down to sleep: "If any of you want to lead a Christian
life, do so; I will see that no one interferes with you." Next day
that corporal was killed.

And now was the opportunity of the chaplains. In the trenches they
could only set an example of patient courage to the men and cheer them
with words of faith and hope and love. But now they could get among
them, hold services for them, and this they did incessantly. Chaplains
of all denominations were thus engaged. We read of many united
services,--a Church of England chaplain reading the prayers, the
colonel of the regiment the lessons, and the Wesleyan chaplain giving
the address, or vice versa. As the Rev. E.L. Watson (Baptist chaplain)
says: "In the rush of work a chaplain has little time to inquire _re_
denomination; he gives his help where most needed; he comes as a
brother man and affords God's own consolation." The Psalmist said, "I
will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." To him all life was
sacred, every place the House of the Lord. It is the same at the front
to-day, every place sacred--trenches, farmyards, cellars, aye, even
pig-sties--the House of the Lord.

Lieutenant Grenfell, R.A.M.C, describes one such service where Mr.
Watkins preached his sermon from the door of a pig-sty, while a number
of young porkers slept within. The men illuminated the scene with the
light from an acetylene operating lamp, and so were able to have a
good sing. Those were tender moments. The pigs were forgotten,
everything was forgotten but the presence of God, and, wearied but
not discouraged, they were able to say, "Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house
of the Lord for ever."

Here, too, was the opportunity of showing kindness to one's enemy,
which Tommy is always ready to show. Many a trembling German fallen
into the hands of the British, terrified because of the frightful
stories he has been told of British cruelty to prisoners, has been
cheered by the kindly words and acts of British soldiers.

A young officer writing to the _Times_ says: "We are out to kill, and
kill we do at any and every opportunity. But when all is done and the
battle over, the splendid universal soldier spirit comes over all the
men.... Just to give you some idea of what I mean, the other night
four German snipers were shot on our wire. The next night our men went
out and brought one in who was near and get-at-able, and buried him.
They did it with just the same reverence and sadness as they do to our
own dear fellows. I went to look at the grave the next morning, and
one of the most uncouth-looking men in my company had placed a cross
on the head of the grave, and had written on it:

    Here lies a German,
    We don't know his name;
    He died bravely fighting
    For his fatherland.

"And under that 'Got mitt uns' (_sic_), that being the highest effort
of all the men at German. Not bad for a blood-thirsty Briton, eh?
Really that shows the spirit."

It does, and a noble spirit too.

    God bless you, Thomas Atkins; here's your country's love to you.

Now was the opportunity also for the chaplains to dispense the gifts
from home to the war-worn men. How delighted the men were with them,
and how every gift was regarded as the gift of love! Even war has its
bright side, and surely one of the brightest spots on the bright side
of war has been the spontaneous offering of kindly hearts at home to
our soldiers abroad. In almost every home in the land skilled and
unskilled fingers have been at work. Knitting had almost become a lost
art, but now every school-girl knits, and knits not for herself but
for the soldiers.

And the men who could not knit found the money, and sent their own
special gifts. How they rolled in! What delightful work they gave the
chaplains and those associated with them! Cigars, tobacco, cigarettes,
candles, matches, soap, socks, mittens, body belts, gloves--and so we
might go on quoting almost every article the soldier needs. "You see,"
said one Tommy, "I've lost all my shirts but one--the one I'm
wearing--and that's borrowed. Thanks very much, that's just what I

And the Indians, too, how they appreciated their gifts! One of them
wrote this characteristic little letter to his chaplain--the Rev. A.E.
Knott--who had come with them from India.

"Honourable and most gracious Captain Sahib, Padre Sahib,--We are all
delighted with the things you have sent us. Sir, may God bless you
that you have remembered us. It is very kind of you, and we are very
pleased, and for the ladies, our gratitude, who like mothers have
regarded us. May no sorrow befall them. From many men, many, many
thanks and salaams; also from the writer many salaams."

So hearts were gladdened, and bodies made warm, and our soldiers
thanked God and took courage when they realised that they were not
forgotten by "the old folks at home."

And now it is time to sum up this chapter. What is the general
impression that it leaves?

The whole scene is weird in the extreme. Darkness hangs over the
trenches. The work is done for the most part at night. When those of
us at home are sleeping, our brothers and sons at the front are
charging with the bayonet through the deep darkness. Others are
quietly moving backwards and forwards--backward with the wounded,
forward with food and reinforcements. Snow and rain and frost!
Shrapnel, and rifle fire, and "Jack Johnsons"! Day after day, week
after week, even month after month! The monotony of the day must be
fearful, the horrors of the night recall the descriptions of the
_Inferno_. I do not wonder that, in some cases, nerves have given way,
and men have had to be carried to the rear suffering from complete
nervous collapse.

But courage has never failed, though nerves have become unstrung.
There used to be a story told in Aldershot of an officer who was about
to take part in his first battle. His legs were trembling so that he
could hardly sit his horse. He looked down at his shaking legs and
said, "You're shaking, are you? and you would shake more if you knew
where _I_ was going to take you to-day, so let us get on." That is the
highest courage, which realises and fears and yet goes.

This courage our soldiers in the trenches have possessed in the
highest degree. The charge brought against them is that they have
exposed themselves to the fire of the enemy. I do not wonder. They
intend to "get on," however much they fear.

And through it all, as Tommy would say, they have "kept smiling." Wet
through to the skin, or nipped by frost; sleepless for days together,
only getting provisions replenished by night, comrades falling by
their side! But they have "kept smiling."

And what about the _Christian_ soldier? He has had all these
qualities--for to none of his comrades is he inferior in courage. But
he has had another--an added quality. Something--_Someone_--who has
given him peace in the midst of privation and danger; Someone who has
enabled him to exult in the battle. He has had a light in the darkness
possessed by none else.

As I have written this chapter the words of Isaiah have been
continually in my mind,--"But there shall be no gloom to her that was
in anguish. In the former time He brought into contempt the land of
Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time hath he made
it glorious.... The people that walked in darkness have seen a great
light, they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them
hath the light shined."

Our soldiers have been called to walk in darkness but they have seen a
great Light. They, too, have _dwelt_ in the land of the shadow of
death, and upon _them_ also hath the Light shined. And so there is no
"gloom" for them. It may be night all around, but the sun shines upon
_them_, and it is always day.

The problem of death has been greatly puzzling us at home--the death
of thousands of our best young manhood. Goethe says, "The spectacle
of nature is always new, for she is always renewing the spectators.
Life is her most exquisite invention; and death is her expert
contrivance to get plenty of life." We probe into his meaning, and
during these months begin to understand.

   [Illustration: _From the drawing by A. Michael._

But the Christian soldier has no difficulty. Death is to him but an
incident. Here and yonder he is in the presence of his King. He
advances to his death singing "Crown Him," and then wakes up
astonished to receive his own crown of life.



    The Royal Christmas Message--A Christmas Communion--Services
    Held Anywhere--Carol Singing--The Soldiers' Christmas
    Day--Christmas in the Trenches--The Unofficial Trace--They did
    not want to Fight--Strangest Story of All--The Strangest

Christmas 1914 will ever be remembered in this country. The message of
peace and goodwill spoken from our pulpits, and yet half the world at
war! Christmas carols, Christmas dinners, Christmas presents, and yet
our sons out there in the trenches, and our fleet keeping constant
watch at sea!

It was indeed a strange Christmas, and yet we could not forgo it, for
the Christmas message was needed more than ever before, and the poor
and needy and the little children must not be forgotten.

For weeks before Christmas we had been considering what we could do
for our sailors and soldiers on Christmas Day. Our King and Queen had
been busy sending out Christmas cards to their troops, bearing a
Christmas greeting, and the message, reproduced in facsimile from the
King's handwriting, "May God protect you, and bring you home safe."

All sorts of organisations had arranged for presents--they were sent
from the ends of the earth. The newspapers made appeals to their
readers, and arranged for the despatch of Christmas hampers and
parcels. Nearly every church remembered its own men at the front, and
sent kindly greetings and appropriate gifts. We were all thinking of
those who were fighting our battles, and we strove to give them a bit
of Christmas in the midst of the war. Not that we took any credit to
ourselves for this--it was the very least that we could do. They were
_of_ us, and they had gone out _from_ us. They were our very own, our
best and noblest, and they were doing all that men could do. They were
laying down their lives for their country--and for us, that we in
peace and plenty might quietly spend our Christmas as of yore, "none
daring to make us afraid."

And they? What of them? Well, our presents reached them. Not a ship
bearing our gifts was lost. They had our presents on Christmas Day. In
the trenches, in the rear of the firing line, in hospital and in camp
there was the Christmas distribution, and the men looked up and
thanked God that they were not forgotten on Christmas Day.

My purpose in this chapter is to tell how that strange Christmas at
the front was spent.

Let us first hear our chaplains' stories, and then listen to the men.

Bishop Gwynne of Khartoum is again serving as a Church of England
chaplain with our troops. He shall tell, first of all, how he spent
his Christmas.

"When I woke early on Christmas Day," says he, "the tiny window in my
small room at the farm-house was frosted over, and the rattle of the
ammunition waggon on the road sounded like trolleys over an iron way.

"Our first Communion was in the mayor's office (the church was denied
us), and was packed to the doors with generals, colonels, and
'Tommies.' We sang 'While shepherds watched their flocks by night.'
The celebration of Holy Communion within the booming of the guns,
where bodies were being broken and blood shed, brought vividly, as
nowhere else on earth, the message and meaning of the sympathy of God
in the sufferings of men, and each one was thrilled with the reality
of it all, as men of all ranks partook of the Holy Sacrament, and
thoughts turned homeward to those who thought and prayed at the same
service, convinced of the reality of the Communion of Saints.

"My next service was under the shelter of a haystack along the side of
a road, where a congregation of gunners in a semicircle sang the
Christmas hymns with real feeling in the keen frosty air. It was too
cold to keep them long, but I gave them the Christmas message, and
wished them every Christmas blessing.

"A couple of miles further on, I found a congregation of about two
hundred and fifty men assembled in the small theatre of a country
town. With deep reverence and great heartiness they followed the
service. These men were under orders for the trenches, and every word
in every prayer seemed so suitable--'Defend us thy humble servants in
all assaults of our enemies, that we surely trusting in Thy defence
may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus
Christ our Lord.'

"As soon as my first lot finished, another lot of two hundred and
fifty filled the room for another service. What struck me most was
that, though the surroundings were strange, the men showed no more
signs of emotion than if they were keeping Christmas at home. The
sounds of artillery every now and then accompanied our prayers, but we
all felt we were in our right place.

"I am convinced they envied not the man who sat down in comfort to his
Christmas dinner at home; they had no wish to change places with those
who, in luxury and ease, chose the easiest part in this time of war.
In a few hours they would be in the forefront nearest their country's
foe, and that was the place of honour this Christmas Day. Their hearts
were warmed as I told them how many were thinking of them and praying
for them to-day, but they needed no pity. They were where they would
be,--where the bravest and best always want to be,--fronting the enemy
who threatened their hearth and home.

"When the last lot went, I prepared for the Holy Communion on the
theatre stage, and nearly a hundred came back to receive the Blessed
Sacrament--officers, non-commissioned officers, and men kneeling on
the muddy floor, remembering, worshipping, receiving into their hearts
by faith, the vital power to fight, and, if need be, to suffer and die
for the righteous cause. The Cross of Christ seemed to be so real, and
its meaning so clear, to men who are really living away from the
world's conventionalities, and up against death and the other life.

"On the way back to my billet I found my unit on the road, having
orders to move off, and I had to march along with them until dark,
when we were all crowded into a farm with outbuildings large enough
for our men. We had our goose and plum-pudding at nine P.M., and after
a chat round a wood fire, lay down to rest at midnight."

I have ventured to quote Bishop Gwynne's letter _in extenso_ from the
_Guardian_, as it tells us so delightfully how one chaplain spent his
Christmas Day, and how worthily he earned his Christmas dinner. What
an insight it gives us also of the power of religion in our British
Expeditionary Force!

The Rev. E.R. Day, M.A. one of the senior Church of England chaplains,
has a similar story to tell. He says that on Christmas Day there were
no fewer than seven hundred communicants from one regiment and four
hundred from another, and the service was held in a ploughed field
with a packing-case for the Lord's Table. He adds that during the war
he has conducted these Communion services in the back room of a
public-house, in a stable, in a loft, in a lean-to shed, and in the
open air--anywhere where room could be found.

Another Church of England chaplain, writing to the _Church Times_,
describes an attempt he had made to hold "Early Communion" at 6.30 on
Christmas morning. He had done his best, with the assistance of the
Army Service Corps, to provide all the accessories of a High Church
celebration, candles, &c., but that was a failure--no one came. We are
not surprised, for Thomas Atkins, as a rule, does not care for these
accessories. He succeeded better, later in the morning, on the
straw-littered floor of a soldier's billet. As he quaintly says, "It
seemed fitting that as He first came among the straw, He should come
to His soldiers to-day as they knelt on the straw."

The Rev. J.D. Coutts, Wesleyan Chaplain with the First Division,
describes another service. He says:

"I preached a Christmas sermon, and the men sang as only men can sing
when they are having a good time. We went through the whole service in
the small red book, the men reciting the responses with enthusiasm.
After the service we held a Communion Service. We took Communion in
the Town Hall of an old French town, and it will remain in my memory
for a long, long time. Two planks on trestles formed our communion
table.... An access of solemnity came upon us, and we knew ourselves
to be standing in the presence of God. Seldom has it been given me to
take part in such a service.

"This morning in going out to visit the regiment at dressing stations,
I met a regiment returning from the trenches. There were not a hundred
and fifty of them. The rest were put out of action in taking some
trenches; they won their trenches, but were enfiladed. I thought of
our Communion Service, for not one of the men whom I knew did I see."

I might go on recording many of these Communion services, but these
will serve as specimens of similar services held throughout the
Expeditionary Force. We at home and they abroad were one in this act
of commemoration and communion. We at home thought of them and they of
us, and said "Amen" to the prayer contained in the communion hymn,
part of which I copy from the United Free Church of Scotland _Record_.

    Here with hearts that would be calm
    In the lifting of the psalm.
    Hearts that would in quiet prayer
    Cast on Thee their load of care,--
    All our loved ones o'er the sea
    We remember, Lord, to Thee.

    In the trenches, on the field,
    Lord, be Thou their Strength and Shield--
    And for them the Wine outpour,
    Give them Bread from out Thy store--
    Let us feel while here we pray,
    They are one with us to-day.

The Rev. Owen S. Watkins gives us another picture of Christmas at the
front. The 14th Brigade had gone into the trenches, so those who were
left sat disconsolately round the fire on Christmas Eve, and one of
the number said, "Well, one thing's certain, we shan't hear any carol
singers this year," but the words had hardly been spoken, when there
came the sound of singing,--"Hark, the herald angels sing," "While
shepherds watched their flocks by night," and so on through all the
old familiar carols. Some of the musical members of the Ambulance had
formed a carol party and proceeded to serenade the General and the
others who were in the village. It made them all realise that
Christmas was indeed here. Mr. Watkins then proceeds to describe
Christmas Day:

"Christmas Day dawned bright and frosty, truly seasonable weather, and
welcomed by the troops as far better than the pouring rain. For the
chaplains it was a busy day. In the course of the morning Mr.
Winnifrith held two celebrations of Holy Communion, conducted two
Parade Services in the Brigade, and performed the last sad rites for
three men who had been killed during the night. My work was found in
the 13th Brigade, who were resting in the billets we had just vacated,
and a good deal of my morning was spent in the effort to keep my horse
on his feet, for the roads were like glass, and my journey occupied
twice as long as I had anticipated. I had arranged for the service to
be held in the village school, but the congregation was far too large
for that, and when I arrived I found they had decided to hold the
service in the school-yard, which was packed as close as men could
stand with a congregation which swayed and made a noise like thunder
as they stamped their feet on the stones to keep them warm.

"On my arrival the stamping ceased, and we at once began the
service--Scottish Borderers and Yorkshire Light Infantry most of them
were--and in spite of the bitter cold, both officers and men joined in
the singing with a zest and heartiness which was most inspiring. My
address was of necessity brief, but throughout the service there was
that influence which it is the preacher's joy to feel.

"In the afternoon I held a service in the schoolroom of the village
where our ambulance was billeted. It was attended by men of all
denominations who had been unable to attend any of Mr. Winnifrith's
services, and was chiefly composed of our own men and gunners
belonging to some heavy batteries in the neighbourhood, some of whom
had walked a couple of miles to attend the service. Once again I
realised the joy of leading God's people in worship, and felt that,
however unusual the surroundings, the true spirit of Christmas was
resting upon us.

"In the evening the men feasted, had a singsong, and generally made
merry, whilst in the officers' mess we also tried to celebrate
Christmas in the old-fashioned way, but soon settled down to the
fireside quietly to talk of other days and other scenes, and to think
of those who missed us at this festive season."

We have seen how the chaplains spent their Christmas Day. How did the
Christian men spend theirs? Perhaps one picture will suffice. Our old
friend Sergeant-Major Moore shall draw it for us. On Christmas Eve he
was occupied nearly all day giving out Christmas presents to the men.
His regiment had come out of the trenches on the 23rd, and the men
were, many of them, in a terrible condition. They had been standing in
the water for days and numbers were frost-bitten. But how they
appreciated their gifts! It was indeed good to see a cart-load of
gifts, all of them sent direct from the homeland to this one Christian
sergeant-major for distribution. Christmas Eve was spent in a barn,
and as the sergeant-major spoke to the men, at least one soldier gave
himself to Christ.

Christmas morning broke fresh and clear, and the staff-sergeant had a
splendid menu for the day, provided so far as extras were concerned by
friends from the homeland. Breakfast--Tea, sugar, and milk (the last a
great luxury), bread, English butter, ham, tinned sausages, and cake.
Dinner--Roast-beef, potatoes and cabbage, plum-pudding. Tea--Tea,
sugar, _milk_, bread and butter, ham, honey, sardines, shortbread,
Christmas cake, and chocolates afterwards.

Not a bad menu that for men fresh from the trenches! Let it not be
supposed, however, that all fared so well. The Rev. A.D. Brown,
chaplain with the Indian Cavalry Division, mournfully records: "We
spent Christmas Day on the trek. My Christmas dinner consisted of
bully beef and bread and butter."

But these men of the King's Own Yorkshire L.I. fared well, and the
sergeant-major finishes his characteristic letter by saying: "After
tea I had still a few parcels of comforts, chocolates, &c., which you
so kindly sent me, and with a few tracts and Christmas letters, I
visited the barns to find out those lonely ones who had not received a
letter or parcel from the homeland, and before I left for my billet
again I had the joy of knowing that, as far as I knew, every lad of
the battalion had received a parcel of cheer, and many were the
thanks, and 'God bless you, sir,' that night. Yesterday being Sunday
we had three services in barns and a few hymns and prayers in a
fourth, there not being time for more. It would cheer many a mother to
hear her boy out here singing the old gospel hymn she taught him in
his childhood days. Again, on the part of the men, thanking you for
your splendid gift. Good-day! 494!"

   [Illustration: IN THE TRENCHES.]

It is now time we got nearer the firing line and asked how our soldier
lads in the trenches spent their Christmas. It is a strange sight
which meets our gaze. I confess that when I first read the stories of
that Christmas truce I thought that the reporters were romancing. But
there was no romancing after all. Truth is stranger than fiction, and
this was truth.

The French do not seem to have observed Christmas Day as did the
British. The French _Eye-witness_ records: "On Christmas Day the
Germans left their trenches shouting 'a two days' truce.' Their ruse
did not succeed. All were shot down." It is evident, however, that on
some parts of the field there was fraternisation between even the
French and the Germans.

The British soldiers took the law into their own hands, and
unofficially themselves proclaimed a truce. In some cases the
initiative lay with the Germans, and in others with the British; but
in nearly every case, all along the line, the informal truce was
accepted, and British and Germans fraternised. The Angels' Song was
heard again, this time over the blood-stained trenches, and the
bursting of the shrapnel ceased, the whizz of the bullets was heard no
more, and, instead, the sound of Christmas carols dominated the firing

The period of this truce varied in different parts of the firing line.
One officer states: "The Germans looked upon Christmas Day as a
holiday, and never fired a shot, except a few shells in the early
morning to wish us a happy Christmas, after which there was perfect
peace, and we could hear the Germans singing in their trenches. Later
on in the afternoon my attention was called to a large group of men
standing up half-way between our trenches and the enemy's, on the
right of my trench. So I went out with my sergeant-major to
investigate, and actually found a large party of Germans and our
people hobnobbing together, although an armistice was strictly against
our regulations. The men had taken it upon themselves. I went forward
and asked in German what it was all about and if they had an officer
there, and I was taken up to their officer, who offered me a cigar. I
talked for a short time and then both sides returned to the trenches.
It was the strangest sight I have ever seen. The officer and I saluted
each other gravely, shook hands, and then went back to shoot at each
other. He gave me two cigars, one of which I smoked, and the other I
sent home as a souvenir."

Corporal T.B. Watson, Royal Scots (Territorials), says: "We were all
standing in the open for about two hours waving to each other and
shouting and not one shot was fired from either side. This took place
in the forenoon. After dinner we were firing and dodging as hard as
ever: one could hardly believe that such a thing had taken place."

Private J. Higham, of the Stalybridge Territorials, tells of a truce
that lasted throughout Christmas Day.

"On Christmas Day the Germans never fired a shot, and we were walking
about the trenches. In the afternoon about three o'clock the ----, who
were on our right, started whistling and shouting to the Germans whose
trenches were only four hundred yards away. They asked them to come
down.... After about ten minutes two Germans ventured out, and the
---- went to meet them. When they met they shook hands with each
other, and then other Germans came, and so we went up to them.... I
was a bit timid at first, but me and a lad called Starling went up and
I shook hands with about sixteen Germans. They gave us cigars and
cigarettes and toffee, and they told us they didn't want to fight but
they had to.... We were with them about an hour, and everybody was
bursting laughing at this incident, and the officers couldn't make
head or tail of it. The Germans then went back to their trenches, and
we went back to ours, and there was not a single shot fired that day."

"Elsewhere," says a subaltern writing to the Press Association, "I
hear our fellows played the Germans at football on Christmas Day. Our
own pet enemies remarked that they would like a game, but as the
ground in our part is all root crops, and much cut up by ditches, and
as, moreover, we had not got a football, we had to call it off."

One incident recorded by the _Manchester Guardian_ from the letter of
an officer is surely the strangest of all--the story of a friendly

"At eleven P.M.," says the officer, "on December 24, there was
absolute peace, bar a little sniping and a few rounds from a machine
gun, and then no more. 'The King,' was sung, then you heard 'To-morrow
is Christmas; if you don't fight, we won't,' and the answer came back
'All right!' One officer met a Bavarian, smoked a cigarette, and had a
talk with him about half-way between the lines. Then a few men
fraternised in the same way, and really to-day peace has existed. Men
have been talking together, and they had a football match with a bully
beef tin, and one man went over and cut a German's hair."

I might multiply these extracts indefinitely, but sufficient has been
said to show the spirit in which our lads and the Germans spent
Christmas Day. I do not wonder that one soldier, after saying that
some German officers took the photographs of our men between the
trenches, adds, "I would not have missed the experience of yesterday
for the most gorgeous Christmas dinner in England."

If the strangest incident of that strange Christmas Day was the
cutting of a German soldier's hair by one of our lads, surely the
strangest service was that conducted by the Rev. J. Esslemont Adams,
Chaplain of the United Free Church of Scotland, of whom I have already
had occasion to write.

I piece the story together from various reports that have been sent to
Scotland, and then add Mr. Adams' own brief comments. He is attached
to the Gordon Highlanders, and on Christmas morning visited the
trenches to wish his men a happy Christmas. The Gordons had recently
relieved the Scottish Borderers, and there were several dead bodies of
the Borderers lying midway between the British and German trenches,
the result of the last charge. Only about a hundred yards separated
the trenches.

On Christmas morning some of the Germans astonished the Gordons by
appearing on the top of their trenches, but the Gordons did not fire
on them, and instead an officer went out to suggest that, as they had
a "Padre" with them, and there were also several German dead, they
should have a truce for a burial service. It was arranged, and the
Germans lined up on one side of the chaplain and the Gordons on the
other. The service began with the hymn "The Lord is my Shepherd," and
then the "Padre" prayed. After the burial of the dead, of whom there
were about a hundred, Mr. Adams gave an address, which was interpreted
sentence by sentence by an interpreter sent forward by a German

The service over, the German officer shook hands with Mr. Adams and
offered him a cigar. Mr. Adams begged leave not to smoke it, but to
keep it as a souvenir of that unique occasion. The officer consented,
but said he should like some little memento in return. Hardly knowing
what to give, Mr. Adams took off his cap and gave the officer the
Soldier's Prayer he had carried in its lining since the war began. The
German officer read it, put it in the lining of his helmet, saying, "I
value this because I believe what it says, and when the war is over I
shall take it out and give it as a keepsake to my youngest child."

Then the men gathered together, exchanged keepsakes, and spent their
Christmas in perfect unity. Not a shot was fired that day, nor on the
next. It seemed as though each side was reluctant to fire again, after
the sacred service of Christmas morning.

During a brief visit home Mr. Adams occupied the pulpit of his own
church--the West U.F. Church, Aberdeen. In the course of a sermon full
of interest he referred to his strange service on the battle-field.
The Aberdeen _Daily Journal_ thus reports what he said:

"There had been some weird stories told about Christmas Day. He was
not going to deny these stories. He was not even going to deny the
cigar incident, but was going to show the cigar. Christmas Day made
him understand something of the size of God. The day ended for him
with the vision of a great German regiment standing behind their
commanding officer bareheaded, and not so far distant as one gallery
from the other of that church, British officers with their soldiers
bareheaded, and between them a man reading the Twenty-third Psalm. In
the name of the One Christ, these two foes, the most awful the world
had ever seen, held Christmas. It was the fear of God--the need of
God--that did it all."

I have told the story in the simplest language, without any attempt to
give it colouring, because it seems to me it speaks for itself. It
tells that deep down beneath the uniform, beneath all that makes man
true Briton or true German, there is the bond of brotherhood. They
were Scotchmen, these Gordons, and I wonder if they thought of the
lines of their Scottish poet:

    Man to man the warld o'er,
    Shall brithers be for a' that.

Is it not a grim tragedy that men who can thus fraternise on Christmas
Day should a few hours after be sending each other to their death? We
look forward to the day, and pray God it may not be far distant, when
war shall cease.

Here at home and there on the battle-field, Christian men unite in the

    Not on this land alone,
    But be God's mercies known
        From shore to shore:
    And may the nations see
    That men should brothers be,
        And form one family
    The wide world o'er.



    A Picture in "Punch"--Tommy's Deep-rooted Religion--Courage of
    Chaplains--A Shell in His Back--Stories of Christian
    Soldiers--First Clergyman Soldier to Die--Driver Osborne--A
    Church Parade of Four--"Tell My Wife I am Ready "--Duty
    overcomes Fear.

There was a time when men thought that the reckless devil-may-care man
made the finest soldier; that the hard drinker, the hard swearer, the
riotous liver came out best in a fight. Wellington wrote of his
"collection of ruffians" in the Peninsula: "It is impossible to
describe to you the irregularities and excesses committed by the
troops. We are an excellent army on parade, an excellent one to fight,
but we are worse than an enemy in the country." How greatly times have
changed since then!

Sir George White once said that recklessness and lawlessness will
carry men a certain distance, but when men are half fed, when nights
are wet and cold, and when nerves are broken down by shot and shell,
then the lawless man disappears. It is when he is called upon to take
the place of a comrade shot on a lonely picket that the man who has
disciplined himself proves the true soldier.

General Nogi, who commanded the Japanese forces at Port Arthur, held
the same view. His words may well be borne in mind at this time:

"Only he who has conquered himself in time of peace can aspire to be a
fighting man under the Sun flag. The brilliant and faithful deeds of
the soldier on the battle-field are nothing but the flowering and
fruition of the work and training of his daily life in time of peace.
A man whose life is in disorder in time of peace would have a rather
difficult task if he tried to perform with correctness and success the
duties of a true soldier on the field of battle."

If we carry these statements on to their issue, then surely the
Christian soldier should fight best of all. He has not only the
discipline and training of the Army, but moral discipline and training
as well. And he has something more--the spiritual fact which dominates
his being and transfigures and transforms him. To him death is not
death, he lives and will live, and in the worst of all fiery furnaces
there is always with him "the form of the fourth, like unto the Son of

Such men as these are unconquerable. They remind us of _Punch's_
famous cartoon, "Unconquerable"; for _Punch_ is not only a humorist,
he is a preacher too.

_The Kaiser_: "So you see--you've lost everything."

_The King of the Belgians_: "Not my soul!"

The Kaiser has gained his victory and sheathed his sword. Belgium is
his; there is nothing in that country left for him to conquer. A
ruined building is behind him, on his left is the broken wheel of a
gun-carriage. In the distance is a Belgian family--an aged man, a
woman, a child. The woman's husband is not there--most likely he is

The King of the Belgians has lost his helmet. His uniform is war-worn,
his hair untidy. His scabbard is empty, but he has not parted with his
sword. He still grasps it in his strong right hand.

"You have lost everything," says the Kaiser--"Liège, Namur, Brussels,
Antwerp." "No, not everything. Not my soul."

But the King of the Belgians was not alone in the claim which _Punch_
puts into his life. Every Christian man fighting for his country, and
many another, wounded, frost-bitten, dying, can answer "Not my soul."
You cannot take that from him, it is his own sacred possession, and
the consciousness that he possesses it still nerves him to do and

As the Rev. E.R. Day, Church of England chaplain at the front, says:
"There were men to whom we might almost kneel down in reverence. The
bravery, endurance, heroism, and patience of our men at the front are
such that French people could not understand it."

It is not necessary to claim that these qualities are the sole
possession of the Christian man. It is, indeed, far otherwise. But the
Christian graces produce them best of all. Mr. Day is right when he
says, "Though apparently careless and light-hearted, one realised that
there was a deep-rooted religion in our soldiers, and that it was
indeed a fool's game to judge a man by his outward appearance." It is
largely because of that "deep-rooted religion" that the qualities of
"bravery, endurance, heroism, and patience" are produced.

We must remember that our Army at the front is made up in no small
degree of men from homes in which God is honoured, many of them old
Sunday-school boys. They have been trained in religion, they have been
taught to pray. Some have forgotten much that they were taught, but
they have not forgotten the old hymns and prayers, and in their time
of need that "deep-rooted" religious instinct has asserted itself. As
one of them said to me, "I grew too old for Sunday-school, and I
wandered far away from God. For years I never prayed; but in the
battle of the Marne I began to pray again, and I have kept on praying.
I tell you what it is, sir, most men out there are praying now." Yes,
there is felt the need for God and so there is prayer. My point is
that, all things being equal, the man who prays is the best soldier,
because he possesses spiritual power as well as material.

   [Illustration: _Central News Photo._
   Addressing men of the Army Service Corps from a transport cart]

I purpose therefore telling in this chapter of the heroism of the men
who pray, while at the same time I do not overlook the heroism of the
Army as a whole. My purpose will be answered if I convince my readers
that, instead of religion impairing the courage of our soldiers, it is
increased and intensified thereby.

May I first speak of the courage of our chaplains? Not every one
expects a "parson" to be brave. The pulpit has been spoken of by the
ill-informed as "The Coward's Castle," but hundreds of these parsons
have been transferred to the forefront of the fight. As I write this,
many of them are already fighting in the ranks, and many more will
soon be there.

But the chaplain is not a fighting man. Not a shot does he fire, not a
bayonet thrust does he give. He sees the shot and shell bursting round
him, but he has not the stimulus of the fight. How have they borne
themselves--these men who have been transferred from the pulpit to the
battle-field? Two hundred of them are there. Has there been one
lacking in courage? I doubt it. The stories I have already told are
stories of conspicuous bravery. Let me add one or two more.

I have already mentioned the name of the Rev. Percy Wyndham Guinness,
Church of England chaplain, 3rd Cavalry Brigade. He has been appointed
by the King a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, in
recognition of his services with the Expeditionary Force. The official
statement is: "On the 5th November at Kruistraat when Major Dixon,
16th Lancers, was mortally wounded, he went on his own initiative into
the trenches under heavy fire and brought him to the ambulance, and on
the afternoon of the same day, being the only individual with a horse
in the shelled area, took a message under heavy fire from the 4th
Hussars to the headquarters of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade."

That is the bare official statement, but it is enough. We may read
between the lines bravery pre-eminent, and right worthily does he wear
the D.S.O.

"T.P.'s" _Great Deeds of the Great War_ tells another story. "Some of
the ministers at the front are doing great deeds of sacrifice. As I
was coming away from the hospital, I met one of them accompanied by a
corporal. The minister stopped and inquired from me the way to the
hospital. Naturally enough, I asked the corporal what was the matter
with him. Before I could get the words out of my mouth, the minister
turned round,--and I don't think I could describe the admiration I had
for that man. He had walked about a mile and a half with a great lump
of shell in his back, the size of a man's hand." That was endurance if
you like, and it was the endurance of a Padre.

I cannot better sum up the heroism of the chaplains at the front than
in the words of Field-Marshal Sir John French in his despatch
published on February 17, 1915. "In a quiet and unostentatious manner
the chaplains of all denominations have worked with devotion and
energy in their respective spheres. The number with the forces in the
field at the commencement of the war was comparatively small, but
towards the end of last year, the Rev. J.M. Simms, D.D., K.H.C,
principal chaplain, assisted by his secretary, the Rev. W. Drury,
reorganised the branch, and placed the spiritual welfare of the
soldiers on a more satisfactory footing. It is hoped that a further
increase of personnel may be found possible. I cannot speak too highly
of the devoted manner in which all chaplains, whether with troops in
the trenches, or in attendance on the sick and wounded in casualty
clearing stations and hospitals on the line of communications, have
worked throughout the campaign."

The day after this statement was published came the despatches
mentioning the names of those noted for distinguished conduct in the
field, and in this--the second list--we find the names of no fewer
than sixteen chaplains, while the Hon. and Rev. Maurice Peel (brother
of Lord Peel) has received the new Military Cross.

The stories, however, that I most want to tell are the stories of the
soldiers, officers and men. They were all alike, but my stories are
confined to the definitely Christian soldiers. Their spirit is
indicated in the following letter from Captain Norman Leslie of the
Rifle Brigade, who has since died for his country.

"Try not to worry too much about the war, anyway. Units, individuals
cannot count. Remember we are writing a new page of history. Future
generations cannot be allowed to read the decline of the British
Empire and attribute it to us. We live our little lives and die. To
some are given chances of proving themselves men and to others no
chance comes. Whatever our individual faults, virtues, or qualities
may be it matters not, but when we are up against big things let us
forget individuals, and let us act as one great British unit, united
and fearless. It is better far to go out with honour than survive with

That is the true spirit of the Christian soldier--"Better far to go
out with honour than survive with shame."

But again I am oppressed with a superabundance of riches. The stories
of Christian heroism which could be told would fill this book. The
Church's Roll of Honour lengthens rapidly. I choose at random.

There is, for example, Captain James Fergus Mackain, 34th Sikh
Pioneers, a zealous member of the Church of England Men's Society, and
before the war Honorary Secretary of its Union in the diocese of
Lahore. "Always bright and hopeful, brave and zealous, ever ready to
help anyone in any way he could, and yet so humble and retiring that
it was always his beautiful Christian character rather than himself
that seemed to stand forward. The quality of his handshake won all
hearts, and even now one seems to feel his vigorous grasp so
characteristic of his thoroughness. A great gentle plaything with the
children, a pacifying, controlling influence with boys and lads, a
quiet sure leadership with men, is it any wonder that such a man was
loved and honoured?" He, too, laid down his life for his country.

There was Lieutenant David Scott Dodgson, R.G.A., who was killed in
action ten days before his thirtieth birthday. Since his death his
promotion to a captaincy had been gazetted. He was laying out a
telephone cable for the battery--a particularly dangerous and
important piece of work--and while doing so was shot. His father
served through the Indian Mutiny and saved the life of Havelock at
Lucknow. Like father, like son.

There was Second Lieutenant H. Arnold Hosegood, 5th Royal Fusiliers,
who was killed in action near Ypres on February 24. A fine upstanding
man, six feet three inches in height, a daring rider, a good shot.
"Generous, chivalrous, and modest, he had a great gift of
friendliness." Before the war he was for a time Superintendent of the
Westbury Park Wesleyan Sunday-school, Bristol, and Secretary of the
Trinity Guild. He was only twenty-three years of age.

There was Private Paul Holman of the H.A.C. He was killed while on
sentry duty on February 17. A comrade writes: "His first thought was
evidently that he must warn the guard; this he did, becoming
unconscious immediately afterwards." His colonel says of him: "He was
a splendid type of young Englishman and a fine soldier, greatly
beloved by us all--officers and men." He had just begun to practise as
a barrister before the war broke out.

There were Second Lieutenant J.C. Baptist Crozier, Royal Munster
Fusiliers, nephew of the Archbishop of Armagh, and Captain L.A.F.
Cane, East Lancashire Regiment, who died leading his men to capture a
trench, and Lieutenant Compton, Royal Scots Greys, son of the late
Lord Alwyne Compton, and scores of other officers, of whom we may say
as was said of those of old, "Who through faith subdued kingdoms,
wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of
lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from
weakness were made strong, waxed mighty in war, turned to flight
armies of aliens."

We expect, however, that officers will set an example of bravery to
their men, and though we mourn the large percentage of officers who
have fallen in the field, we would not have it otherwise. It is the
tradition of the Army, and a noble tradition too.

Perhaps this is the place to record the death of the first
clergyman-soldier who has been killed in this war. The combination of
minister of the Gospel and soldier of the line is so remarkable that
the death of the first of these marks an epoch in the Church's

Captain Lionel Fairfax Studd, of the Rangers, 12th County of London
Regiment, died of wounds received in action on February 14, 1915. He
was the son of Mr. J.E.K. Studd, of the Polytechnic, and nephew of Mr.
C.T. Studd. He had been ordained by the Bishop of London to a curacy
at St. James, Holloway, at Trinity, 1914. But, on the outbreak of war,
he felt it to be his duty, after very grave reflection, to take his
place with his old regiment. Devoted to Christ, he was devoted also to
his country.

The deeds, however, upon which I wish to dwell in this chapter are the
deeds of Christian non-commissioned officers and men. I must choose
with care, and the stories I tell will, I hope, show different phases
of Christian courage.

Let me first tell how Driver F.A. Osborne won the French V.C. For
years Driver Osborne has been associated with the Wesley Hall
Brotherhood, Leicester, and although now on the field still counts
himself a member.

I quote from the _Methodist Times_.

"The story has been slowly imparted to us. In September the gloom of
the long and terrible retreat from Mons was lifted by the announcement
of the capture of ten German guns by the English. Then fugitive
paragraphs made reference to three men who had fought alone, wounded,
but undaunted. Only now can the whole story be pieced together, and it
is a veritable romance--tragic, heroic, glorious.

"It was on September 1, 1914, in a village near Compiègne, that the L
Battery of six guns limbered up on reveille at 2.30, waiting for a
missing order to retire. The French cavalry they were supporting
retired unnoticed in the mist, and at 4.25, as the light grew, the
Germans were perceived, but were thought to be the French. At 4.57
their battery of eleven guns and two maxims opened fire. The first
shell killed Driver Osborne's horse, and in three minutes the gun
teams were destroyed, only six horses being left.

"Men fell in droves, but Captain Bradbury and the men available strove
to unlimber the guns, and in five minutes three were ready for action.
One was instantly disabled by a German shell, and Driver Osborne was
thrice wounded. A shrapnel bullet deeply grazed his cheek, another
caught his shoulder, a third grazed his ribs and inflicted a nasty
chest wound. The second gun was shattered in ten minutes, and then for
another hour and a quarter one gun fought the German battery. It was
an inferno. The screaming dying horses, the shattered groaning men,
the shells in hundreds digging holes of four to five feet deep, and
shrapnel bullets by thousands searching the ground made it a Gehenna.

"Men fell fast. The officers were killed or wounded, but the one gun
fought on. Driver Osborne, thrice wounded, fetched the ammunition
from fifty yards away amidst showers of shrapnel. One shell dropped
within six feet, but did not burst; another hit a gun muzzle, but the
fragments missed him. He was running behind a shattered gun for
ammunition when a shell hit the wheel, and the concussion of the
broken wheel knocked his knee up, and he could go no more. An officer
started for ammunition instead and was instantly killed.

"Osborne holds Captain Bradbury in high honour. 'He was a hero and a
gentleman.' His courage, promptitude, and resource inspired his men.
One by one the German guns were hit, shattered, silenced, and their
gunners fell, under the terrible accuracy of that one British gun. Ten
guns ceased fire, and the Germans fled from the other. The Middlesex
Regiment of infantry arrived at this point and found three men
wounded, covered with blood from horses and men, but working their one
gun with their ebbing strength.

"Dashing forward, they captured the German guns, brought out the
English battery and rescued the wounded men. The three men, with their
fallen comrades, had saved the battery, destroyed the German attack,
saved the village beyond, and secured the English rear."

For this splendid service Driver Osborne was rewarded with the
Médaille Militaire for distinguished conduct. This is the French V.C.
It is equivalent to the Legion of Honour in France, and carries with
it a pension of a hundred francs a year.

Driver Osborne was also recommended for the British V.C., but it does
not yet appear to have been given.

The first Wesleyan soldier in this war to receive the V.C. was
Bandsman Thomas Edward Rendle, 1st Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.
The reward was, according to the official notification, conferred--

"For conspicuous bravery on November 20, near Wulverghem, when he
attended to the wounded under very heavy shell and rifle fire, and
rescued men from the trenches in which they had been buried by the
blowing in of the parapets by the fire of the enemy's howitzers."

Still another story of Christian heroism, the hero of this being a
member of the Salvation Army. I quote from the _War Cry_ of October
17, 1914.

"Jumping into a carriage of an already moving train the other day
(writes a _War Cry_ representative) I was seized by a soldier in
war-stained khaki, who gave me a tight hand-grip and said, 'Good luck
to you! God bless you and your people!'

"'I'm afraid I don't know you,' I replied.

"'Perhaps not,' he responded, 'but I know some of your people, and the
one I met in the firing line was one of the pluckiest fellows I know
of. We had been lying in the trenches firing for all we were worth. On
my right, shoulder to shoulder, were two Salvationists. I remembered
them as having held a meeting with some of us chaps about a week
before. As we lay there with the bullets whistling round us these two
were the coolest of the whole cool lot!

"'After we had been fighting some time we had orders to fall back, and
as we were getting away from the trenches one of the Salvationists was
hit and fell. His chum didn't miss him until we had gone several
hundred yards, and then he says, "Where's ----?" calling him by name.
"I must go back and fetch him!" and off he hurried, braving the hail
of shot and shell. I admired his bravery so much that I offered to go
with him, but he said, "No, the Lord will protect me; I'll manage it!"

"'So I threw myself on the ground and waited. I saw him creep along
for some yards, then run to cover; creep along, and take shelter
again; and, finally, having found his chum, he picked him up and made
a dash for safety.

"'How the bullets fell around him! Into the shelter of some trees he
went; out again and in once more; and when he did get into the last
piece of clearing I couldn't wait any longer, so rushed forward to
help him.

"'Then I got hit, and was, of course, bowled over. But your man
quickly came to me.

"'What do you think the brave fellow did? He just put his other arm
round me and carried us both off! Darkness was fast coming on, and
presently he laid us down and bound the wounds, which he bandaged up
with strips which he tore from his shirt. I shall never forget that
terrible night!

"'The three of us struggled on, we two getting weaker and weaker,
until just as dawn was breaking we all collapsed.

"'How far we had gone I don't know, for the next I remember was that I
was in a field hospital. I could find no trace of my brave rescuer nor
his chum, and have heard nothing of them since. But he's a brave boy,
and if ever I chance to meet him again I'll ask his name, and the _War
Cry_ shall know it as soon as word can reach you.'"

The next story is one altogether different. I quote it from the United
Free Church of Scotland _Record_. It speaks for itself.

"It was a Sunday morning in Belgium. There had been a sharp
engagement, and the British troops holding a village had been
hurriedly forced by great masses of the enemy to retire. In the
confusion three Scottish privates and a corporal had been cut off in
the streets and had backed into the first open door they came to. The
occupants had fled, and they made their way up a long staircase,
intending to find the roof and watch events from there. But it ended
in an empty loft, where there was only a skylight beyond their reach.

"'Better lie low for a while,' suggested the corporal as they stood
listening to the terrible sounds outside. The Germans were evidently
burning, looting, and killing. Now and again they heard screams and
the discharge of rifles: sometimes an explosion would shake the
building, showing that houses were being blown up; while the smell of
burning wood penetrated to their retreat. This went on for hours. The
soldiers knew they would be discovered sooner or later, and expected
no mercy, as the enemy would be sure to invent some excuse for putting
them to death.

"Suddenly the corporal said: 'Lads, it's time for church parade: let's
hae a wee bit service here; it may be oor last.' The soldiers looked a
little astonished, but they piled their rifles in a corner and came
and stood at attention. The corporal took out a small Testament from
his breast pocket and turned over the pages.

"'Canna we sing something first? Try ye're hand at the 23rd Psalm.
Quiet noo--very quiet.'

    "Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
      Yet will I fear none ill:
    For thou art with me; and thy rod
      And staff me comfort still."

"There wasn't much melody about the tune, but the words came from the

"Then the corporal began:

"'Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the
soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body
in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them
shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs
of your head are numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value
than many sparrows.'

"As he read there were loud shouts below: doors banged, and glass was
smashed. But he went on:

"'He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life
for my sake shall find it.'

"He ended, and his grave face took on a wry smile.

"'I'm no' a gude hand at this job,' he said, 'but we maun finish it
off. Let us pray.'

"He stood, with the book in his hand, and the others knelt and bowed
their heads. His memory went back to the days of family worship in his
father's cottage, and he tried to remember the phrases he had heard. A
little haltingly, but very simply, he committed their way to God and
asked for strength to meet their coming fate like men.

"While he prayed a heavy hand thrust open the door and they heard an
exultant exclamation and then a gasp of surprise. Not a man moved, and
the corporal went calmly on. After a pause he began, with great
reverence, to repeat the Lord's Prayer.

"That a German officer or private was standing there they realised:
they did not see, but they felt, what was taking place. They heard the
click of his heels, and they knew that he also was standing at
attention. For a moment the suspense lasted, and then came the soft
closing of the door and his footsteps dying away.

"The tumult in the house gradually ceased, and soon afterwards the
storm of war retreated like the ebb of the tide, and quiet fell upon
the village and remained upon it. At dusk the four men ventured forth,
and by making a wide detour worked round the flank of the enemy and
reached the British outposts in safety."

One other story will suffice. Sergeant William Taylor of the 1st Royal
Berkshire Regiment died of wounds in the Herbert Hospital, Woolwich,
on Thursday, December 10. A beautiful character, a devoted Christian
soldier, he was promoted on the field from the rank of lance-corporal
to sergeant for conspicuous bravery. On one occasion he stood over a
fallen comrade with bullets whizzing all around, until eventually the
comrade was carried to a place of safety. On another occasion Sergeant
Taylor volunteered with others to attack a position held by a strong
force of the enemy. The Berkshires lost heavily until reinforced, and
then the position was carried. He was the ideal soldier--the
"righteous man" who is "brave as a lion."

The late Rev. T.J. Thorpe, who cared for him while he was in hospital
at Woolwich, says: "The Lord Jesus was very precious to him amidst the
agony of his last days, and he died more than conqueror." This grand
Christian hero was only twenty-four years old.

Before I close this chapter, let me give extracts from two letters
sent home by two Baptist chaplains and published in the _Baptist Times
and Freeman_.

The Rev. T.N. Tattersall writes:

"I have made inquiries as to how the men behave in the trenches. What
effect has the imminence of death upon the character of the men? Some
use language more forcible than polite. Some find the Black Marias and
shells a source of entertainment. Some turn their feelings into the
songs of Zion. Many vows to God are made on the field of battle, and a
Christian soldier has a great opportunity of which he is not slow to
make use. In a chat with one such, Private J. Downs, of the Welsh
Regiment, a good Baptist, whom I found in hospital recovering from a
wound, he told me how he lost his chum. They were sharing a dug-out
together, and had agreed, should either fall, to write home the
terrible news. His friend said, 'You will tell my wife I am ready,
that to God I have given my trust.' Just before he fell he sang 'Jesus
is tenderly calling thee home.' Little did he realise how near was his
own call. A bullet struck him in the head. Last Thursday the letter
was written."

The second is from the Rev. E.L. Watson, and forcibly depicts to us
the highest form of courage--courage that triumphs in spite of fear
and triumphs through Christ. Such courage is the possession of every
Christian soldier.

"At another farm-house in absolute darkness and silence we reached our
second dressing station. The regimental medical officer was absent,
but the sergeant in charge was ready to deliver over his charge. I
stepped into what appeared to be a large living room covered with
straw, upon which some fifteen men were lying in absolute silence. No
groans, no word of complaint escaped the lips of a single man, no
asking for drink, nor claiming first assistance. I felt my way over
several, and was able to whisper a word of cheer here and there. One
badly wounded man guided my hand to that of a lad near by with the
words, 'Speak a word to that lad, chaplain, he must need his mother.'
Out of that darkness one by one they were carefully lifted on to
stretchers and put into the ambulances.

"One incident impressed me very much that night in that chamber of
agony. Just as the last man was being carried out I heard a sob near
by me, and putting out my hand touched a stretcher-bearer who had
become jumpy. Poor boy, and no wonder. Only seventeen years of age,
and away from home for the first time. Empty stomach and soaked
clothes, bringing in and remaining with the wounded till relieved,
with death outside at every step. This first night of his experience
with war was trying his strength and testing his nerve. I took his
hand, and whispered a message, and I heard him go out with his little
company again towards the trenches over a fire-swept area.

"Men claim that heroism always comes to the front in a crisis, and so
it does, but I have learned too that the heroic soul is not always the
fearless one. In the case of this lad the sense of duty overcame his
sense of fear, and away he went to face death, brave and heroic, in
spite of a trembling heart and unsteady hand."

Yet one more picture of heroism, and it is, indeed, a strange one.
There is a touch of unconscious humour in it, but for all that it is
grandly heroic.

Six Royal Field Artillery men, soldiers of the King and of the
Salvation Army too, have been holding daily prayer meetings just
behind the guns, and have succeeded in capturing several of their
comrades as "trophies." There was no "penitent rail" to which to
invite them, and so, notwithstanding the cold, they piled their
overcoats together, and kneeling at this improvised "rail" their
comrades gave themselves to Christ.

What a picture it presents of absolute devotion and of the highest
Christian courage! The guns hardly cool from their deadly fire, soon
to belch out death again, the men in the depth of winter caring naught
for the cold or for the enemy's shot and shell, using their brief
interval to lead their comrades to Christ. Pray on, Salvation Army
lads! You will fight all the better for your country because of your
fight for the King of Kings, and if death stares you in the face you
will know that you have spent your last moments in pointing your
comrades to the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world.

   [Illustration: A NEW FORM OF RED-CROSS WORK.
   The Red-Cross Motor Field Kitchen, under the direction of Miss
   Jessica Borthwick, dispenses hot soup to the wounded on the
   _Drawn by S. Begg._]



    Regimental Aid Posts--What Night Fighting is Like--The Young
    Doctor--Making the Grave Bigger--Field Dressing
    Stations--Where Caution is Required--Where Pluck is
    Shown--When Does the Doctor Sleep?--Nothing but Tragedy--Those
    Grand Tommies--Winning a V.C. Clasp--A Dreadful Scene--A
    Kitchener's Train--Devoted Nurses--The Healthiest
    War--Preventive Measures--Hospital Ships.

So complete is the organisation of the Red Cross at the front that it
is possible to indicate its work in four terms--Regimental Aid Posts,
Field Dressing Stations, Clearing Hospitals, Base Hospitals. Add to
these the Home Hospitals, to which the men are finally transferred,
and you have the work of the Army Medical Organisation at a glance.

During this war the cryptic letters R.A.M.C. and M.S.C. have
interpreted themselves into actual glorious service which the British
public will ever delight to honour, and it will be borne in mind that
most of the Christian ministers who have enlisted during this war,
have enlisted into this branch of the service. They bear no arms, but
theirs is the highest of all service, that of ministering to the
wounded and dying. Such work as this requires heroism of the highest

Let us glance at each branch of the work, that the service of the Red
Cross may live before us.

1. _Regimental Aid Posts._--Just a little behind the firing line, as
near to it as possible, often exposed to shell and rifle fire, is the
Regimental Aid Post. It may be in a cottage, possibly in a cow-shed,
perhaps only under the partial shelter of a hill, with a doctor and a
few men of the R.A.M.C. in charge. To it are brought as quickly as
possible the men wounded in the firing line. During recent months,
however, it has been impossible to bring the wounded even this short
distance during the day. It has only been at night that the men in the
trenches could remove their wounded hither, or the stretcher-bearers
could go out to seek for them. The fire has been so terrible that no
one could venture into the open. The men have had to lie where they
fell, often in agony, waiting until they could be carried to the aid
post to receive first aid from the doctor waiting for them. But the
doctor does not always wait; he goes where he is needed most, right
into the trenches, risking his life at every step, and there ministers
to those who cannot wait to be brought to him.

The Rev. E.L. Watson (Baptist chaplain) vividly describes one such
outpost as I have indicated.

"In the vicinity of the trenches star bombs were constantly being
thrown up, causing whole lines of trenches to be under the weird
flare. German search-lights swept the whole of the surrounding
country, bringing to light every movement of the troops not under

"For one brief moment the shaft of light rested on me as I stood
watching the scene of battle. The experience is equal to an unexpected
cold douche. Night fighting under modern science is, I should
imagine, hell let loose, and the surprise to me is that so many should
survive the inferno.

"From 8 P.M. to 8 A.M. the rush was terrific. In one of the field
hospitals no less than seventy odd wounded were treated, about twenty
of these requiring chloroform.

"Be it remembered that each case is hastily but carefully dressed by
the regimental doctor at the Regimental Aid Post before coming in to
the field hospital for more thorough treatment, then one realises the
enormous amount of work that often falls to the men occupying these
positions of grave risk and tough work.

"These gentlemen are night and day at the call of the man in the
trenches, and gladly make any and every sacrifice to render needed
medical and surgical assistance. Each trip they make to the line of
fire means that they carry their lives in their hands; for there is
more danger getting into the trenches than actually exists in the
trenches, because most of the fire passes over our trenches and sweeps
the approaches night and day.

"Some few days ago, I had occasion to spend some time with a young
regimental doctor in his lonely outpost. We were drawn together by
common interests and promised ourselves a smoke night together. The
first case that met my gaze in the field hospital was my friend the
young regimental doctor, fatally wounded whilst going in the rush of
work to render help to the wounded.

"Perfectly conscious, he said as he took my hand, 'You see, Padre,
they have claimed me at last. I always felt it would come.'

"Calmly he dictated a brief message to his young wife and child, then
bravely waited for the end. He knew exactly the nature of his wound
and was quite prepared for the surrender of his soul to God. He
accepted his end as nobly as he had striven to do his God-inspired
work. The real tragedy of this is in the house yonder in England made
desolate by this cruel war."

So does the Regimental Aid Post doctor give his life for his country.

The Rev. Owen Spencer Watkins (Wesleyan) gives us another picture of a
Regimental Aid Post.

"Near the trenches in a deserted farm by the roadside is the
Regimental Aid Post which last I visited. Two regimental doctors have
made it their headquarters--Captain Brown and Lieutenant Eccles--and
thither are gathered the sick and wounded belonging to the Manchester
Regiment and the East Surreys. I had been sent for to bury the dead.
As usual on such occasions, I went out with the bearers and ambulance
waggons after dark, and when I arrived I found three men waiting
burial. Two as they stood side by side had been killed by the same
bullet, the other had been shot whilst issuing rations to his comrades
in the trenches.

"'You've timed your visit well, Padre,' said Captain Brown. 'There's
been a bit of an attack on. Enemy evidently got the wind up badly, and
have been loosing off wildly in the air. Bullets have been falling
around the house like hail; half an hour ago you couldn't have got to
us. One comfort is that if the bullets were falling here, they must
have been going high over the heads of our fellows.'

"'Yes, we're ready for you as soon as ever the waggons are loaded, but
Eccles has a man of the East Surreys; perhaps the grave had better be
made bigger, and then you can make one job of it.'

"A few minutes later we were passing through the farm-yard at the back
of the house, mud over our boot tops, into a field, in the corner of
which a little cemetery had sprung up. 'Twenty officers and men, most
of them Manchesters,' Brown said in an undertone. 'Winnifrith buried
three here last night, and two the night before. No, you need not be
afraid to use a light to-night. The weather is too thick for it to be
seen by the enemy, and in any case they're busy, for our fellows are
attacking. Listen.' Again the angry voice of the machine-gun, the
noise of rifle fire, so heavy that it sounded like the bubbling of
water boiling in some gigantic cauldron."

2. We pass now to the _Field Dressing Stations_. It appears to be only
when the fighting is severe that these are needed in addition to the
Regimental Aid Posts. Sometimes the wounded are taken direct to the
clearing hospital from the Regimental Aid Posts; but when the wounded
crowd in upon the latter, they can only receive rough first aid
treatment there, and are passed back as quickly as possible to the
Dressing Station.

This is carefully explained in a letter by Staff-Sergeant Barlow,
R.A.M.C., to the Vicar of Prestwich. "Perhaps it would be well to
explain where our work as a field ambulance comes in. We are not in
the sense of the word a hospital. In the first place a regiment is in
the trenches, and in close proximity to the trenches, the regimental
bearers carry their wounded to some place of cover or comparative
safety, such as a barn or farm-house, or in the case of a town being
shelled, cellars are used. These are called Regimental Aid Posts.

"As a Field Ambulance we follow from one to two miles in the rear of
the firing line and form dressing stations, using schools or barns for
the purpose. Our ambulance waggons and stretcher-bearers go out under
cover of darkness to collect from the Aid Posts the wounded soldiers,
the waggons halting perhaps half a mile away, while the bearers cross
fields and roads to the Aid Posts where the wounded soldiers are.

"This is very dangerous and requires much caution; lights are
prohibited, as even the flare of a cigarette becomes a good mark for
the enemy's snipers, of whom they appear to have many.

"Each regiment forms its own Aid Post. One ambulance unit attends a
brigade. After the wounded are brought to the dressing station, the
wounds are redressed, and the soldiers are as soon as possible
despatched to the clearing hospitals at the base."

Staff-Sergeant Barlow proceeds to describe his first impressions of
this awful work:

"What were my first impressions? you may ask. They were such as I can
never forget. We were halted near a farm-house, the tenants of which
had cleared out, leaving fowls and pigs unattended. The pigs could not
have been fed for several days, as they were shrieking for food; we
called it crying. The pigs were fed with food from the lofts. Dinner
was served to the men (army biscuits and jam), in the midst of which
an order came for an ambulance waggon for a wounded man.

"We were all astir, and it was the first casualty we had had to deal
with. The waggon went out, and later several stretcher squads and
other waggons. The remainder had to fall back about half a mile to a
small village to prepare a school and church for the receipt of the

"My first thoughts were: What is it like; shall I be able to stand the
sight of it? In the evening our waggons began to return, bringing many
wounded. The medical officers rolled their sleeves up and set to work.
My duty fell to assisting by taking off the dressings from the wounds,
the first one being that of a soldier with part of his elbow blown
away. It looked awful, but I got over it very well. Why? Because we
had not time to think of it. There were others to attend to, most
patiently waiting--and I think it is in such circumstances as these
that one can see the true pluck and courage of the British
soldier,--with here and there one pleading for attention.

"Everyone worked hard; the hours passed as minutes, and when all were
attended and we looked in solemn silence around, I turned to a comrade
and asked the time. He answered it was after 4 A.M. I thought it was
midnight. We had dealt with 134 wounded, among whom were several
Germans. Under a shed in the school-yard lay five men who had died
after being brought in; they were reverently buried in the local
cemetery. Since this we have had worse and much of a similar nature,
but they have become a conglomeration of events. It is the first night
with the wounded that lives, and through it all a voice within me
continually saying: 'And this is war.'"

3. Away behind the firing line, in some quiet spot unreached by shell
or rifle fire, is the _Clearing Hospital_. To this spot come the
ambulance waggons bearing their ghastly freight of broken bodies
gathered from Regimental Aid Posts and Dressing Stations.

The doctors are busily at work. Night is their busiest time. We wonder
when the doctor at the front sleeps. We wonder with how little sleep
it is possible to support life. These men seem tireless. Hour after
hour through the night they toil on, probing here, amputating there.

This is where we see in all its horror the meaning of that new word
"frightfulness." I cannot describe the scenes that may be witnessed. I
have before me, as I write, copies of _Guy's Hospital Gazette_ from
the beginning of the war, kindly supplied me by the Editor. It is
necessary that descriptions of the horrors should be written for
professional eyes, but I will not harrow the feelings of my readers. I
turn away from their perusal echoing the words of Staff-Sergeant
Barlow--"And this is war."

   [Illustration: A RESCUE PARTY.
   Systematic search is made for the wounded, who often crawl away
   in the hope of reaching their own lines.
   _Drawn by Sydney Adamson._]

I will rather let the Rev. E.L. Watson (Baptist chaplain) describe to
us, as he saw it, the work at such a Clearing Hospital.

"In the same ward were many wounded upon the floor stretchers, lying
still in their soaked and muddy clothes just as they had fallen, with
bloody bandages showing up in dreadful contrast against their poor
soiled bodies. Some delirious, others lying in profound silence, but
noble fortitude. In a ward like this one sees nothing but tragedy.

"In the receiving room the R.A.M.C. officers were working at highest
pressure to save life and limb, by steady hand and cheery manner
imparting confidence and hope to every patient in turn.

"I could not help expressing admiration for the way in which each
piece of work was carried out, but the officer commanding simply
said, 'You know, Padre, we cannot sacrifice enough for the man who is
standing up to this hail of hell for us.'

"I was surprised to see such a large percentage of officers among the
wounded. No wonder our men are proud of their leaders; where risks
must be taken, the officer claims this as his privilege and thus shows
the way in every undertaking. One brave major leading his men into the
German trenches, when hit, simply shouted "Go on!" as he fell wounded
in the head. He is being buried to-day, as every brave soldier
desires, in his uniform and blanket."

It will be perhaps as well to look at a similar scene through a
doctor's eyes, and I therefore quote a letter from a medical officer
at a receiving base in France published in the _Scotsman_.

"We get the wounded here at practically first-hand. They are brought
in with all possible speed, dealt with at once, and sent out to other
hospitals as soon as we can send them, to make room for the others who
may (and who invariably do) come. They're wonderful chaps, those
Tommies. Great stuff; too good to lose! They are brought to us at all
hours. Exhausted, covered with mud, hastily but well bandaged on
common-sense principles; and aye the quiet, plucky grin, or the
patient, enduring set of the jaw.

"'What price this little lot, doctor? '--and the querist indicates
where the bullet entered his thigh. 'And me futball leg, too!' growled
another one, brought in dripping one night. 'And who will do the
schorin' fur the ould tame now? All the same, sir, I schored ag'in'
the man that did this, or wan av his side.' Man, they're wonderful!
They tell us, under the nervous stress in which we usually find them,
some things that have made me wish to lay my eye to the sights of a
rifle, despite my bay windows. They tell them in such a
matter-of-course fashion, too, that they simply sink in.

"'When did you get this?' I asked a man wounded in both thighs.

"'Yesterday morning, at eight, sir; chargin'. Dropped between their
trenches an' ours. Half a dozen of others there too, all wounded, lay
there all day. Those snipers poured lead into anything that showed
signs of life. Chap next to me was badly hit, and inclined to move. I
warned him twice to lie flat an' not squirm, as the Germans were
watchin' for every move, an' would plug him, wounded or not. He stuck
it steady for four hours. Then he tried to roll over, an' showed a
shoulder. Got it. Soon's the snipers couldn't see me after dark, I
started to drag myself back, an' met some of the boys out to look for
us. It was more than seven to one against us that day.' And so it goes

"It's a great experience this. As a surgeon, I know its value. But I
wish it was over. It's awful. The stream of wounded seems unceasing,
and sometimes I ask myself, when I've time to realise it at all, how
long I will be able to meet this strain. We must do our work, however,
and I'm proud to do it for those grand men the Tommies."

It is, of course, difficult to single out for mention the names of
doctors who are doing this heroic work at Regimental Aid Posts and
Dressing Stations. Where all are heroic particular mention would be
invidious. There is, however, one outstanding name--Lieutenant Arthur
Martin Leake, R.A.M.C. I mention him because he has been the
recipient of a unique distinction. He served through the South African
War and there won the V.C. for conspicuous bravery. Having won the
V.C. it could not be given to him again, and so a clasp has been added
to the Cross.

The brief official record is as follows:

"Lieutenant Arthur Martin Leake, Royal Army Medical Corps, who was
awarded the Victoria Cross on May 13, 1902, is granted a clasp for
conspicuous bravery in the present campaign.

"For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty throughout the
campaign, especially during the period October 29 to November 8, 1914,
near Zonnebeke, in rescuing while exposed to constant fire a large
number of the wounded who were lying close to the enemy's trenches."

So far as I know this honour is unique. Probably Lieutenant Leake
would say that he is no braver than scores of other doctors who are
nobly doing their work at the front, but he has had his opportunity
and he has used it, and by so doing has brought honour upon the whole
medical profession. Great is the man who fearlessly "takes occasion by
the hand" in the cause of humanity.

When all that can be done for the men at the clearing hospitals is
accomplished, they are despatched to the rear. Those who, in the
opinion of the medical staff, can bear the journey to this country are
despatched thither direct via hospital train and hospital ship. The
majority, however, are taken to the base hospitals, where they lie
until they are well enough to be sent home, or death eases them of
their pain.

In the early days of the war this transit to the base was difficult in
the extreme, and the wounded arrived there in a shocking condition.
It is as well, perhaps, that we should know what really happened, so I
copy a paragraph from _Guy's Hospital Gazette_ of November 7, 1914. It
is from a letter signed "G.H.F.G."

"The train has just arrived and even now some few wounded are being
removed from the waggons, the gravest of all being given treatment in
an improvised hospital by the sidings, others less serious, though bad
enough in all conscience, are carried on stretchers to the central
goods shed, where the commandant, aided by a large staff of excitable,
bearded assistants, directs to what hospital they are to be sent.

"For some minutes we watch the unloading of these waggons. Preceded by
orderlies the officer passes from door to door, entering some, and
questioning briefly the men lying full length or sitting in what
comfort they can upon the straw-covered boards. As the panel slides
back a fetid odour of pus reaches the nostrils; startled by the
unexpected brightness a couple of horses tethered at one end of the
truck stamp and whinney. Carrying an acetylene flare, which makes
weird effects of chiaroscuro on the bare walls and floor, an orderly
comes in and collects the histories of the men. One man, wounded in
the head, persists in taking him for a German, the others laugh and
point to their foreheads. A little further on, in second and
third-class carriages, men with arms in slings, and less serious body
wounds, crowd in the corridors and clamour for food and drink."

What wonder after this that we are told that most of the wounds
received in those early days were septic on their arrival at the base

How different it all is at the present time! Now well-appointed
hospital trains move backwards and forwards from the clearing
hospitals to the base. For the first time we enter the nurse's sphere.
Everything changes when the nurse appears upon the scene. She loves
order. Cleanliness is her life. She is trained in all the little arts
of nursing which bring comfort and peace. She can do what no man can
do. The doctor is splendid at his own special work, the
stretcher-bearer, the ambulance man, and the hospital orderly at his.
But it remains for women to do what man can never do, and with her
light touch, and tender sympathy, to soothe and comfort and bless.

    When pain and anguish wring the brow
      A ministering angel thou.

The hospital trains are called "Kitchener's trains"--another tribute
to the great man who, from his room at the War Office, seems to
overlook everything and forget nothing.

Miss Beardshaw, writing to her old hospital--Guy's--gives a
description of one of these hospital trains well worth reproduction

"Ours is known as the 'Khaki Train '--a Kitchener's Train; it is half
Great Eastern and half L.N.W. There are 220 beds, stretcher ones, two
layers. In between each carriage is a little department, a place for
plates, mugs, dressings, &c. The officers' and sisters' part is at one
end with their kitchen. Dispensary in the middle. Patients' kitchen
and orderlies' quarters at the other end. There are three medical
officers, one army sister in charge of wards A and B and the general
run of all our work. I have C, D, and E wards, and Miss Wilson has F,
G, H; a 'London' nurse has the three others. The army sister is an
old Guy's, so I think we shall be very happy together. There are
forty-five orderlies. The paint of the train white, bed frames dark
red, curtains green, and blankets dark brown, so the general effect is
very pretty. It is kept most beautifully clean, and the orderlies are
very proud of their train--the best on the line, they say. We go up
and down to the clearing station, so I am greatly looking forward to
seeing Sisters Kiddle and Ames. I do hope they will not be moved
before we get there. We often take convalescent patients about, often
to Havre. Have been between Havre and Rouen twice these last few

What a picture this gives us of organisation at its best! "Beautifully
clean!" Surely this is just what is needed, and we cannot wonder that
over sixty per cent. of the wounded are able ere long to return to the
firing line.

4. And then after the journey in the hospital train _de luxe_, there
is the _Base Hospital_, with everything in perfect order, and all that
can be done for the wounded men. I have written about the work in the
base hospitals in the chapter on "Work at the Fighting Base." It is
not necessary, therefore, that I should linger here. I will, however,
add a tribute which the Rev. R. Hall (Wesleyan) pays to the nursing
sisters. Says Mr. Hall:

"I must say a word about the nursing sisters. No braver and truer
women ever lived, kind and gentle and brave in the face of disease and
death. By day and night they watch and care for our comrades; many a
lad's dying hours are made more comfortable by the gentle touch and
loving word of these devoted women.

"I heard one day that in another hospital seven miles away one of our
own men was dying. I went over and found that he was isolated; he was
dying of an infectious disease. He was in great agony. A sister stood
beside him, and was trying to comfort him and ease his pain, at the
same time the tears flowed freely down her cheeks.

"I have been profoundly impressed by the work of this branch of the
Service. We forget sometimes that it is easier to face the shell and
the bullet in the excitement of battle than it is to watch hour by
hour and tend to those who are suffering from some deadly infectious
disease, or from some ghastly wound received in battle."

Mr. Hall's tribute is surely well earned. In this war woman has been
as brave as man or braver. She has given of her best and dearest, she
has worked and prayed and endured. And away out there among our
wounded and dying, far from the excitement of battle, by day and by
night she has given herself--all she is and all she has--to the
service of her country. And in doing so she has earned the undying
gratitude of those to whom she has ministered, and of the land she
loves so well.

       *       *       *       *       *

I turn now to consider another branch of Red Cross work at the
front--the treatment and prevention of disease.

This has been the "healthiest" war ever undertaken by the British
Army. The great problem of all armies is how to keep out infectious
disease, and never before has the problem been solved. If still not
completely solved, it is certainly in the fair way to solution.

In the campaigns of the forty years previous to this war the
proportion of sick to wounded was twenty-five to one, and of deaths
through disease to death by shot, shell, or bayonet, five to one. In
the South African War the proportion of sick to wounded was over four
to one. We all remember the terrible share that enteric had in the
wastage of that campaign. How the soldiers dreaded it. "Better," they
used to say, "three wounds then one enteric."

Now enteric has almost entirely disappeared. Speaking in February 1915
the Under Secretary of State for War said that so far during the
campaign there had been only six hundred and twenty-five cases in the
British Expeditionary Force and of these only forty-nine had died--a
percentage of deaths less than half as great as that among the victims
of typhoid in the forces still in this country.

Of typhus and cholera there had not been a single case. Strange to
say, one hundred and seventy-five of the men had had measles, and
among these there had been two deaths. One hundred and ninety-six men
had had scarlet-fever and there had been four deaths. How far the
healthiness of the climate affects these figures it is difficult to
say, but it must be remembered that it has been a terribly wet winter.

How far inoculation against typhoid has prevented the disease is also
an interesting question. The doctors have a note of victory in all
their statements on this subject, and the figures seem to justify
their satisfaction.

Certainly preventive measures have counted for much. Early in the war
the medical officers of the various ambulances acted, so far as time
permitted, as sanitary officers, and in later days a well-organised
Sanitary Section has accomplished great things. The cleansing of
camps, the appointments of sanitary offices, the provision of baths,
and, generally, every possible attention to hygiene, have kept our men
exceptionally free from sickness, and no praise can be too high for
the men who have accomplished so much for the British soldier.

   [Illustration: ON THE MARNE.
   The pet dog of a French regiment finds wounded soldiers and
   brings the stretcher-bearers to them. This dog has learnt to
   dig himself a hole when firing is going on.
   _Drawn by E. Matania._]

On the other hand, of frost-bite there have been over nine thousand
cases. It is questionable, however, if the vast majority of these
cases are really cases of frost-bite. Medical opinion inclines to the
view that most of these are a new disease known as trench foot, caused
by standing in the trenches with putties too tight and boots too

_Guy's Hospital Gazette_ publishes some remarkable figures. "On one
occasion a rifle brigade after marching fifteen miles went at once
into the trenches, and within forty-eight hours, over four hundred
were incapacitated through the foot trouble described in this report.
One hundred and eighty men of the Cameron Highlanders were in the
trenches without being relieved for eight days and only three suffered
from slight frost-bite. None of them wore anything upon their legs and
feet, except boots, which may explain the sparsity of cases."

If this be so, then frost-bite of this description is also largely
preventable, and the recommendation of the doctors as to large, easy
fitting, and water-tight boots, less tightly bound putties, &c., will
prevent most of this trouble in future.

On the whole, the country can congratulate itself very heartily on the
noble and successful work of the various Red Cross departments. The
doctors who have sacrificed their lives will not be forgotten, and
will be regarded as heroic as any officers who have led a charge from
the trenches. The nurses have earned a debt of gratitude we can never
repay. Nursing efficiency has gone far since "Our Lady of the Lamp"
moved with such tender dignity up and down the wards in the hospital
at Scutari. We would pay our tribute of admiration to the work of our
nurses in this war, and say, "Many daughters have done virtuously, but
thou--thou modern lady of the lamp--excellest them all."

I must not close this chapter without a word about the well-appointed
hospital ships which ply backwards and forwards between the French and
British coasts, each with its doctors, nurses, and chaplains on board,
bearing a freight of suffering humanity, such as our coasts have never
seen before. Everything in order, everything in the way of comfort and
ease provided. It was a dastardly act to aim a German torpedo against
the _Asturias_. Fortunately the attempt failed, but what profit would
it have been if this life-giving ship had been sunk? Enough surely has
been done to take life. The object of such ships as these--ships which
cannot be mistaken for any others--is to woo back to life, until their
suffering humanity can be tenderly placed in the care of loving hands
and hearts at home. Here we are waiting for them, and here we have a
right to expect them, that, nursed back to health in the hospitals of
our land, they may, by and by, greet wife, and mother, and child, and
sweetheart in their own homes once more.

But oh the cruel work of war! The legacy of broken bodies and broken
hearts! We look on, and look up to the City of God even now coming
down from God out of heaven. _Sursum corda!_ The hour of redemption
draweth nigh.



    Always "Ready, Aye Ready"--The Deciding Factor--One Hundred
    and Fifty Chaplains--On the "Bulwark"--"The Church Pennant"
    Postponed--Sunday on a Battleship--The Sailor and the Thought
    of Death--Stories from the Fleet--From a Torpedo-boat--The
    Shore Chaplain's Opportunity--Christian Bravery--"Save
    Yourself; I'll let go."

Everybody is asking, Where is the Grand Fleet? And that is just what
the Germans would like to know. It has a marvellous facility for
appearing and disappearing. Occasionally we receive letters bearing
the address, "In the North Sea or elsewhere," and sometimes we think
it is more elsewhere than there. No postmark gives its location away,
no newspaper paragraph lets us into the secret. And then suddenly it

    Out of the everywhere into the here,

and the Germans find to their dismay a part of it off the Dogger Bank,
and the sleepy Turk wakes up to find another part in the Dardanelles.

It is like one of the mysterious powers of nature--unseen, but ever
exercising a powerful influence. Its existence is always felt--felt by
our foes with ever-increasing pressure, and felt by us with influences
always beneficial.

It sleeps not and rests not. It is always "ready, aye ready." From
Admiral Sir John Jellicoe to the grimiest stoker, it is one in purpose
and in action. And because it is _there_, we sleep well in our beds at
night, and there are few of us, as we lie down to rest, but breathe a
prayer for those who seem never to rest--

    "God bless our sons upon the sea."

We have always been proud of our fleet, but never so proud as to-day.
It expresses the genius of our nation. Our way has always been "in
great waters." We talk of ourselves as "safe circled by the silver
sea," but the sea would not save us without our fleet.

When the war broke out, we found ourselves asking, "How will it be
with us now?" With forty million mouths to feed and only six weeks'
supply of food in the country, how will it be with us now?

Our fleet has solved that problem, and food has poured into the
country in plenty and everyone has been fed. It has been in every sea,
chasing our enemies off the ocean, protecting trade routes, convoying
troop-ships, and at the same time bottling up our enemies in their

Never was such a herculean task undertaken and never so well
performed. Battleships and cruisers, torpedo boats, and submarines,
all in their turn have done their work, and done it well. They are
waiting they tell us for "the day" of which the enemy boasted so much,
and when the day dawns they will be there.

We realise that our fleet will be the deciding fact in this war. Our
soldiers have done splendidly and will continue so to do, but without
our ships they would be helpless, and if once we lose command of the
sea, the glory of our country will pass away. But we have no doubts
and no fears. They are _there_--and _here_--_everywhere_.

The nation's gratitude has been shown in many ways during the war.
Busy hands have worked for it, and numberless prayers have risen to
God's throne on its behalf. As an instance of what has been done, I
quote the figures of "comforts" sent from _one_ girls' school to _one_
ship--the _Ajax_. The school is the Girls' Grammar School, Bury, whose
headmistress is Miss J.P. Kitchener (a relative of Lord Kitchener).
Wristlets, 137; mufflers, 118; body bands, 120; socks and stockings,
35; sea boot stockings, 16; mittens, 142; jersey, 1; books and
magazines, 500. Of course all the articles, except the books, have
been made by the girls. In addition to these they have sent 1673
articles to the soldiers. I wonder if this is a record for such an
institution? This, however, is only a specimen of what has been done.

Somewhere with that mysterious fleet are a hundred and fifty
chaplains. No Free Church chaplains are afloat. It would be difficult
to carry more than one chaplain on a ship, and, of course, many of the
ships of war carry no chaplain at all. Where there is no chaplain the
commanding officer conducts the ship's service. Nonconformists at sea
have to lose for the time the ministry of their several churches, but
when in port landing parties redress this inequality. Some ships,
especially those belonging to Devonport, have a strong Nonconformist
element in their crews.

The naval chaplain as a rule is an entirely different type of man from
his brother in the Army. He is monarch of all he surveys. He has to
face no competition in his work. He partakes of the freedom of the
sea. For the most part he is a right down good fellow, but, so far as
I can judge, he has not the type of spirituality of which we see so
much in the Army. He is all sorts of things rolled into
one--sea-lawyer, letter-writer, story-teller, lecturer, schoolmaster,
game-director, and a host of other things beside. He must be
absolutely sincere if he is to be any good at all, for he never gets
away from the busy life of the ship, and he of all men "cannot be
hid." Often he is the friend and counsellor of the men, sharing their
joys and sorrows. He is the go-between for officers and men, and if he
be efficient--and an inefficient man could hardly remain long on
board--he makes himself indispensable.

Of course he shares all the dangers of the ship, and to-day if a ship
be beaten it is also sunk. Never were the dangers of the sea so great.
Dangers _on_ the sea, _under_ the sea, _over_ the sea, crowd around.
He never knows when or how suddenly the end may come, and it behoves
him to be ready, and brave. We are told that, when the three cruisers
were torpedoed in the North Sea, the Rev. E.G. Uphill Robson, chaplain
of the _Aboukir_, went down cheering the men he loved so well. The
Rev. A.H.J. Pitts, the chaplain of the _Good Hope_, died bravely with
Sir Christopher Cradock. A petty officer who knew him in another ship
says, "With him compulsory church was quite unnecessary. Nobody in the
ship would be absent from the service if he could possibly manage to
get there."

One of the most terrible catastrophes of the war was the blowing up of
the _Bulwark_ in Sheerness Harbour. The Rev. G.H. Hewetson, the
chaplain, was on board and perished with the rest. He had only been
married a few months.

"Only the other week," wrote a correspondent of the _Church Family
Newspaper_, "I met a stoker, who told me he, Mr. Hewetson, held
meetings for men every evening in his cabin, and he was constantly at
their elbow when spells from duty would permit, guiding them in 'the
things that matter.' It was also my privilege to know him as chaplain
to the Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth, during his stay of nearly
three years, which terminated with his taking up duties on the
_Bulwark_ at the outbreak of war. He was a man of God, also a
sportsman of the highest tone, being an expert fencer, a runner-up in
the Army and Navy championships at Olympia two seasons ago. He was a
man of some literary ability, for which the Chaplain of the Fleet made
him editor of the _Church Pennant_, _i.e._ the Church magazine of the
Navy. Mr. Hewetson was an earnest believer in individual methods, and
invariably worked sixteen hours a day, visiting all recruits,
detention quarters, sick bay, and held no fewer than five services on

I suppose we include our chaplains when we pray for those who "go down
to the sea in ships"; but surely these men who are there, not to
fight, but to preach and pray, claim a special interest in our

Prayers are read every morning on every large war-ship, and this is,
of course, the chaplain's duty, if one is carried in the ship. The
life and work of the day depends very largely on how this is done.

On Sunday there is a sermon--just a quiet, homely talk from heart to
heart, and in these days we may well believe that men are thrilled by
the message as never before. Of course, during the winter storms
morning prayers on deck or Sunday parades are impossible, for many a
great green sea will break over the decks even of a super-Dreadnought.
At these times service is held below and men attend in relays. On some
of the super-Dreadnoughts there are little churches. The _Queen Mary_,
for instance, has one.

I have asked a few representative chaplains to tell me something of
the spiritual work on board their ships.

The Rev. C.W. Lydall, chaplain of the _Lion_, which took part in the
North Sea battle, says: "I can only tell you that in this ship our
religious motto has been 'business as usual.' I mean the war routine
has interfered as little as possible with our services, which have
been attended well. There has been a decided increase in the number of
communicants, and in many small ways the men have shown a fuller
consciousness of their dependence upon God."

The Rev. Arthur C. Moreton, chaplain of the _Invincible_, which was
engaged in the battle off the Falkland Islands, writes: "The usual
services are held when practicable, and on Sunday and Wednesday nights
I have a prayer meeting with Bible-reading in my cabin."

The Rev. M.T. Hainsselin, chaplain of the _Ajax_, writes: "The war has
made little or no difference to my routine of church work on this
ship. The only service I have added has been a second celebration of
Holy Communion in addition to the usual 7.40 A.M. one, to enable men
to come who could not be present earlier; and the opportunity has been
much valued. The other services of Morning and Evening Prayer are
continued as usual.

"As you probably know, sailors do not as a general rule care much
about the Parade Service at 10.30 A.M., but I think I may truly say
that since the outbreak of the war they have come far more to realise
it as an act of worship due from them, and it has become a deep
reality instead of--as it was to many--a formality.

"In the men's letters which I have had to censor, I have noticed a
very strong current of devout religious sentiment, hitherto
unsuspected, which encouraged me to think that one's ordinary teaching
is not so much wasted effort, as one is sometimes faithless enough to
think it is."

How heavy the veil of secrecy hanging over the fleet really is, will
be seen from the fact that only one copy of the _Church Pennant_,
which lost its editor in the _Bulwark_, was issued between the
outbreak of war and Easter, and that in February last. The _Church
Pennant_ is the organ of the Naval Church Society, and records the
Christian work on board H.M. ships. Several reports of Christian work
are given in this solitary issue, but the names of the ships are only
indicated by initials.

One report states that the place ordinarily used for celebrations and
evening service had to be given up to the doctors, but that Holy
Communion has been celebrated in the chaplain's cabin every Sunday. On
Christmas Day there were two communions and the number of communicants
was thirty-four. "The men in general are pleased to read religious
papers, and readily accept prayer cards."

Another report says: "On board this ship we were able, in spite of now
and then roughish weather, to keep up our regular daily prayers and
Sunday services. On Sundays we had stand-up church and two hymns from
the hymn cards, and all the responses of Matins with one lesson and
one of the Canticles sung. We had the harmonium to sing to. These
services were brief, but very heartily joined in. After stand-up
Matins we were able always to have our celebration in the captain's
cabin--there being no other place in the ship available. The
attendance was very good and showed that the old prejudice against
coming so far aft is at any rate moribund. Sometimes the weather made
it a little difficult both for the priest and worshippers, but we soon
got used to the necessary balancing.... Everyone throughout the ship
was merry and bright; we only regretted not having a chance of meeting
an opposite number of the enemy."

A third report is as follows:

"First of all, nightly Evensong has been held by the chaplain ever
since the war broke out. On account of the smallness of our numbers,
we meet in the chaplain's cabin, and there the service is performed.
Every Sunday morning, at 7 o'clock, we have a celebration of the Holy
Communion; and on the second Sunday in the month this service is
repeated after morning service. Our flotilla forms rather a large
parish for the chaplain, and to supply its wants we have a service
specially arranged whenever it is convenient. After our usual 7 A.M.
service, we sometimes proceed on board another ship, and have a
celebration, to which all communicants from the other vessels in our
company are invited by signal.

"The place allotted to us in each instance is the captain's forecabin,
which in this ship is as suitable a place as service conditions will
allow. On Sunday evenings we have Evensong at 8.30, followed by
hymn-singing, and occasionally we get a good attendance. But this,
like other services, suffers for want of good space, which is not
always easy to find on board ship....

"Conditions on board ship render any efforts with regard to church
work very difficult, and this is most marked during these trying
times. No doubt many more would join in our united devotions did their
duty allow. But we may well be content to go ahead and do the best we
can, even if it should be rather disheartening at times. And it will
be acknowledged that there has been at least some effort made to
continue our duty towards the Church of which we are so proud to
consider ourselves loyal members. Our daily evening service closes
with a prayer, in which all are remembered, and this is a means by
which all may help. We feel and know that those who are on shore are
doing the same, and praying for guidance and protection for us from
Him Who is above all this turmoil and strife, and Who alone is able to
preserve us from peril."

Here is yet one more report:

"Owing to the outbreak of the war the Temperance and Bible classes in
this ship have been discontinued, but the Daily Prayer Meeting has
been kept going in almost unbroken line.

"The voluntary services on Sunday evenings have been well attended,
also the weekly celebration of the Holy Communion is very

Putting the chaplains' letters and these various reports to the
_Church Pennant_ together, it is evident that the "business" of the
Church has been, so far as possible, carried on "as usual," and that
from a Church of England point of view it has been satisfactory.

It does not, however, satisfy us. We want to get into the men's hearts
and minds and find out what they are feeling and thinking in these
strenuous times. Does the thought of death affect them? Have the
things of eternity become more real? Are they conscious of sin within,
and of their need of a Saviour? Light-hearted and merry as ever, have
they the joy of the Lord?

All around them are terrible armaments. We are told that the 15-inch
guns of the new _Queen Elizabeth_ can send a shell weighing a ton for
a distance of more than twenty miles. The destruction which can be
wrought by one of these shells can be imagined when we read of the
havoc wrought by one such shell in one of the great forts of Antwerp.
It was not, of course, from a man-of-war, but its destructive force
would be the same. Says Sir Cecil Hertslet, our late Consul-General at

"Another of these great shells, weighing nearly a ton, fired from a
distance of about ten miles, rising three miles into the air, fell
upon the cupola of another of the great outer forts of Antwerp. It
went through the concrete roof of the fort, passed through the great
hall where the garrison of the fort was assembled; it went down to the
floor and lower still, and at last exploded, and with the explosion
swept away everything--forts, guns, garrison, disappearing."

Are they conscious that they have such terrible engines of destruction
on board which on occasion they will use? Does the thought of it ever
appal them? Do they think that all around them are mines strewing the
North Sea, and that submarines are lurking here and there waiting to
launch the terrible torpedo? Do these thoughts ever come to a Jack
Tar, and how do they affect him?

   [Illustration: _Photo Credit, Southsea._
   The church is "rigged" on the leeward side of a pair of 13.5
   guns. A most impressive service.]

To the real Christian death has, of course, no terror. He swings
himself into his hammock at night, knowing that to him sudden death
will be sudden glory. But to the ordinary man-of-war's man has there
come an accession of seriousness, such as has come to the men in the
sister service?

We can as yet only answer this question in part, and must wait for a
full answer until the veil of secrecy is lifted.

And in order to get as full an answer as is possible we must turn to
the men themselves, and as we do so, we offer for all of them the
beautiful prayer which the Archbishop of Canterbury has put into our

"O Thou that slumberest not nor sleepest, protect, we pray Thee, our
sailors from the hidden perils of the sea, from the snares and
assaults of the enemy. Steady and support those upon whom the burdens
of responsibility lie heavily, and grant that in dangers often, in
watchings often, in weariness often, they may serve Thee with a quiet
mind, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

We must remember that just as every regiment in our Army is to-day
leavened by Christian men, so is practically every ship in our fleet.
The work of our sailors' homes has been successfully done,--such
Homes, for instance, as those of Miss Agnes Weston, and the Homes of
the Wesleyan Church at Chatham, Portsmouth, and Devonport.

The previous work of the Sunday-schools and of the Salvation Army has
also told, and the men have, many of them, become out-and-out

_They_ have no difficulty in speaking:

    What they have felt and seen
      With confidence they tell.

And theirs is indeed a fascinating story. They have a way of making
their presence felt. They cannot keep to themselves the love that has
been shed abroad in their hearts, and so they gather their comrades
round them, and have "good times" together, while God's blessing rests
upon their work. Sometimes they meet in the chaplain's cabin,
sometimes elsewhere, but night by night they meet, and in their own
way worship God.

Let us listen to a few of their stories. They are most of them
Methodists or Salvationists, so we will turn to the Rev. J.H.
Bateson's reports in the _Methodist Recorder_ or _Methodist Times_,
and to the _War Cry_.

Mr. Bateson says:

"It is little that we know of our battleships in the North Sea. We
know that they are there, because the havoc of war is kept away from
our island home. The men, all Nelson's men, are doing their duty. A
letter from one of them will be read with interest:

"'I must tell you we had a grand meeting last Sunday. We had thirty
present. More would have been there only we were rolling and pitching
heavily in a full gale, which lasted five days--the worst I have
experienced for many a year. Can you just try to picture us trying to
keep our feet and clutching at the piano (oh yes, we have one on
board), occasionally. We started off with, "All hail the power of
Jesu's Name," had prayer from our Blue Books, reading from Isaiah
xlii. 1-7, and a talk on the same, then "Rock of Ages," prayers,
"Nearer, my God, to Thee," Benediction, and Doxology. You should have
heard us sing! I'm afraid some of the home praise and prayer meetings
would be envious! This was our first attempt. I expect ere long we
shall have to have the meeting on the upper deck, for the numbers
will be too many for our enclosed reading-room. However, we intend to
keep the flag flying. 'Tis little we feel able to do, but we will do
our little best. It may, and should, have good results.'"

Here is the account of another service sent home by an engine-room
artificer on one of H.M. battleships.

"It is Sunday evening, the time about 7.30, when upwards of seventy
men may be seen sitting about the deck, under the fo'castle of one of
His Majesty's cruisers. Outside all is dark, one watch of men are
standing by the guns, trying to penetrate the darkness, in case of the
approach of the enemy. A watch of stokers and engineers is below,
humping the ship along. Another is resting, waiting for the time for
their next trick to come round. What do we see in the gathering of men
under the fo'castle? They have Sankey's hymn-books, kindly presented
by Miss Weston. In one corner is an harmonium, assisted by a couple of
violins. These supply the music. Presently a voice cries out, 'What
hymn will you have, men?' and the chorus of replies makes it difficult
to select one. This goes on for a while. Then all heads are bowed
whilst prayer is made. Our quartette party renders a few pieces, after
which ---- gives the address, and right fine it is. He has some
splendid topics, and, being a worthy Methodist local preacher, he is
listened to with rapt attention. Another suitable hymn, and the
benediction brings the service to a close. The roughness and
simplicity of the service would cause some people surprise. Yet the
shots get home. To hear the men sing is a treat not easily forgotten.
The writer was much impressed by the singing of the hymn, 'Some one
will enter the pearly gates by and by,' one side taking the question
and the other the answer. Once during the week about eight gather in a
cabin for Bible study and to talk of the things of God."

What a picture these letters present of Christian life upon a
battleship! We could multiply them indefinitely, but must condense

One young Christian sailor on a battleship tells of a Bible-class and
prayer-meeting, held every Thursday, conducted by a naval lieutenant.
Another tells of a Methodist class meeting on board conducted _twice_
weekly. A third sends home the minutes of a meeting held by several of
the men, at which it was resolved to hold a meeting every evening to
be devoted to Bible study, except on Saturdays, when the hour would be
spent in prayer. The Bible study, it was resolved, should begin with
the Epistle to the Romans. We wonder if these sailor lads found any
difficulty in that difficult Epistle. It was further resolved that
every Sunday evening a Gospel meeting should be held, and that every
Christian brother should be expected to take part. And, finally, the
men's correspondent asks that Christian people at home will pray that
he and his comrades may witness a good confession, and that they may
tell forth "God's wonderful story of Christ's redeeming love."

A naval officer who is a Wesleyan local preacher says: "We are still
going on well--class meetings in the cabin and meetings on the Sunday
night. Wouldn't it be fine to have all the Service local preachers you
could get for a service in the Central Hall after the war and the
platform full of Methodist sailors and soldiers?"

Here is a touching little letter from a torpedo boat. It is full of a
simple trust in Christ, and pulsates with sweetest fellowship in Him.

"The winter has been rather a trying one for us in this tiny little
craft, but really I never knew the companionship of a present Saviour
so thoroughly as I have since hostilities began. It would seem almost
as if I were His only care, and that He made me a special study. The
wonder of it all is the more marked when I remember how poor has been
my service to Him, compared with all the great benefits with which He
daily loads me. In answering my prayers, in subduing the storms just
when they were at their worst, in giving me a thorough victory over my
usual weakness, and in a thousand other ways He makes me to lie down
in green pastures, satisfied and at rest, contrary to all the seeming
laws of warfare. These things I tell you, not from any conventional
compulsion, but because they really are so, and because I should be
thrice unworthy of His name if I forebore to tell out what great
things He has done."

I will quote one or two sentences, this time with reference to
Salvation Army work. A lance-corporal on board the _Centurion_ writes:

"The chaps on board H.M.S. _Centurion_ expect much from us
Salvationists these youthful days. There are five of us on this ship,
and we are not only engaged in cheering up each other, but we are
distributing as much cheer as possible. Our ship is called the
'Hallelujah Ship.'"

Another writes from the same ship: "We have had some glorious
soul-saving times."

A Salvation Army sailor has been given permission by the commander to
conduct meetings on the upper deck of the _Majestic_. He tells us that
he is the only Salvationist on board that ship, but that there are
fifty Christian men there, and that others are giving themselves to

We hear of stokers coming up from the stoke-hole grimed with dirt, so
anxious to attend the services that they do not stop to wash, lest
they should miss the precious hour; of men praying in public who have
never prayed before; of heartfelt addresses delivered by men who had
no idea they could speak in public for their Master.

There is no need, however, to multiply instances. We may take it for
granted that, in most ships, there is a little band of out-and-out
Christian men eagerly longing for spiritual fellowship, and finding it
in services to which they invite their fellows, and in which they have
the joy of leading many of their comrades to Christ.

When a ship comes into port for a few hours there is the opportunity
for the shore chaplain. He holds services on board, distributes
"comforts," leaves behind him books and magazines, cheers the
Christian workers, and in his quiet way works wonders. And when the
men are permitted to come on shore what a welcome they receive at the
various Sailors' Homes, and hearts are gladdened and resolutions
strengthened, for the return to sea. The work at sea must be trying in
the extreme--the constant watchfulness, the eager waiting for the
enemy who never comes, the patrolling in the midst of winter tempests,
enough to try the nerves of the strongest--but all the time the
certainty that the old-time message will receive fresh illustration
each day--"England expects that every man will do his duty."

The wooden walls have passed away, and steel walls have taken their
place, but the men are brave as of old--only better far and nobler. No
longer the scum of our seaport towns, pressed into the service against
their will, but men who are there because they choose and dare, and
who are willing any day to die for their native land.

Christian bravery, too, is as much in evidence on sea as on land. Take
this little story as an evidence of that fact. It is full of the joy
of glad surrender for another.

"A sailor who had just got converted at the Sheerness Hall, when he
rose from his knees at the mercy-seat, with the joy of salvation in
his face, said, 'I am glad to be saved. I was on the ---- (one of the
cruisers torpedoed) when she sank. I and another member of the crew, a
Salvationist, had been swimming about in the water for two hours or
more, and were almost exhausted, when just as we were about to give up
we saw a spar, made for it, and took hold. But, alas! it was not big
enough to keep us both afloat. We looked at each other. For a time,
one took hold while the other swam, and then we changed over.

"'We kept this up for a bit, but it was evident we were getting
weaker. Neither of us spoke for a while, and then presently the
Salvationist said, "Mate, death means life to me; you are not
converted, you hold on to the spar and save yourself; I'll let go.

"'And he let go and went down!'"

When we have Christian men like that on our men-of-war, we need not
fear for our country, nor for the Kingdom of Christ. And so not only
now, but when the war is over let us pray:

    "O! hear us when we cry to Thee
    For those in peril on the sea."

I close this chapter with one more quotation. It is from the
_Methodist Recorder_. It may be a comfort to some who lost dear ones
in the _Hawke_, or in some of the other ships which have met a similar

"On the Sunday before the _Hawke_ met her doom, one of our chaplains
conducted Divine service on the cruiser. As soon as he went on board
he was taken to the cabin of one of the warrant officers--a local
preacher--who is one of the few survivors of the disaster. About
thirty men gathered together. A few hymns were sung from the little
blue books, which have quite captured the sailors' hearts. The
chaplain read the latter part of Romans viii.--that great message of
inseparable love and glowing assurance. He then spoke from the words,
'All things work together for good to them that love God.' The men
listened most earnestly to the message. One of them asked that the
hymn--which has such sad but heroic associations,--'Nearer, my God, to
Thee' might be sung. The little service closed with prayer by the
warrant officer. As the chaplain shook hands with each man, one and
another said, 'Thank you, sir.' Arrangements were made to have another
service when the _Hawke_ next came into port. But that will never be.
To those whose hearts ache for the brave dead of the _Hawke_, there is
no sweeter message than that which was given to the men on their last
Sunday morning, 'All things work together for good to them that love



    Church of England Army Chaplains' Work at the
    Front--Permanently Commissioned Chaplains--Hospital
    Ministrations--Six Parade Services on one Day--Holy Communion
    in Strange Places--Services under Shell Fire--Tonic Effect of
    Difficulties--The Work of the Free Churches--The Salvation
    Army and the War--One Hundred and Thirty Best Rooms--A
    General's Testimony--He Plunged down on his Knees--In
    Belgium--At Hadleigh--Send them to the Salvation Army--S.A.

Readers of this book will be glad to have first-hand reports of
Christian work among our soldiers. I have therefore asked
representatives of the different churches and religious organisations
to give their own statements of the work attempted and accomplished. I
do not purpose, therefore, in this chapter doing more than presenting
to my readers the statements received, merely introducing them with a
few explanatory words.

The first is the Church of England report. It is written by the Rev.
J.G. Tuckey, one of the senior Church of England chaplains at the
front, and has been prepared for me at the request of the Rev. E.G.F.
Macpherson, the senior Church of England chaplain. Mr. Tuckey has had
long experience of army work. He served through the South African War
with distinction, and has served throughout the present war. Few know
the British soldiers better than he.

I preface his report with a brief extract from a letter received from
the Rev. E.G.F. Macpherson and dated March 8, 1915. He says: "We are
kept very busy. In addition to my work in Boulogne, I have to keep in
touch with Church of England chaplains at the front, and on the lines
of communications. I went up to Ypres the other day, they were
shelling the place, and I nearly got a shell in my car.

"The Church of England has a large number of chaplains at the front,
and they are doing splendid work for God. Their number, though, makes
it difficult for me to keep in touch with them all."

But now for Mr. Tuckey's report.

"You ask me about the Church of England work. Where am I to begin? How
tackle it? It is so vast. As to number of chaplains, all details can
be seen by reference to the _Army List_. It will be noticed that the
very vast majority of permanently commissioned chaplains belong to the
Church of England. The Presbyterians are now the only other body which
has permanent commissions. The Roman Catholics do not now allow their
men to accept them. They are only appointed temporarily for five
years, and even if re-appointed can never rise above the rank of
captain. This, of course, makes no difference to the Roman Catholic
chaplains appointed before the new regulations, but they will
gradually die out. As no doubt you know, the Wesleyans were offered
four commissions and refused. But though we have such a relatively
large number of chaplains to the forces, the work is so great that it
has to be supplemented by a very considerable and increasing body of
acting chaplains.

"Permanently commissioned chaplains are divided into four classes,
the chaplains therein ranking as colonels, lieutenant-colonels,
majors, and captains respectively.

"Now as to the distribution of Church of England chaplains on active
service. They may be roughly divided into two classes:

"(1) Those with hospitals at the Base or on lines of
communication--these hospitals being of three kinds, namely, general
hospitals, the largest which are not moved; stationary hospitals,
which are supposed to be mobile; and casualty clearing stations for
receiving the sick and wounded from the front and forwarding them to
stationary or general hospitals, whence they can, if necessary, be
conveyed to England in hospital ships.

"(2) Those with Field Ambulances. By this term we should understand
Field hospitals which receive the sick and wounded from their advanced
dressing stations, which in their turn receive them from the First-Aid
Posts just behind the firing line.

"To these two classes have recently been added another, namely, Senior
Chaplains of Army Corps, whose duty it is to advise and direct
chaplains of the divisions composing the corps in their work. For
instance, I am now senior chaplain of the Third Army Corps.

"I have now been in each one of these three classes, for I came out
with number four general hospital, though I was with them subsequently
for only a very short time.

"The work of class (1) consists principally of ministering to the sick
and wounded, holding services when possible, especially on Sundays,
and giving the patients and staff frequent opportunities of the Holy
Communion and other ministrations. It may often happen that chaplains
of this class may find troops near to them, who are away from their
own chaplain. It will then be their duty to minister to them so far as
they possibly can. They, of course, also have to conduct many

"As to the chaplains of class (2), the Field Ambulance will be the
centre from which the chaplain should work in his brigade, and such
divisional troops (R.A., R.E., &c.) as are included in the brigade

"I was for some time with the Eleventh Field Ambulance in the Fourth
Division, and as I was the senior chaplain in that division, the
general asked me to take over the arrangement of things. My plan was
that each chaplain in his area should endeavour to hold five or six
large central parade and other services on Sundays, with perhaps
celebrations of the Holy Communion after two of the ordinary services.

"Then, chaplains give special attention to particular units on
weekdays. Here all days are alike and so are all times. So I would
arrange with the commanding officer, and would set out on horseback
carrying the requisites for the Holy Communion, for I always, when
possible, had a celebration after the ordinary service. My servant
would ride behind me with the service books. In this way it was
possible to cover the ground in the division fairly well, and to see
that each unit had its due.

"The ordinary services were taken usually in the open air, though
sometimes some large building, a barn, schoolroom, or shed was
available. Whenever it was practicable I had the Holy Communion
indoors, and for this service I invariably put on my surplice. I have
had to celebrate in many strange places--in lofts, kitchens of
farm-houses, engine sheds, stables, and even in a slaughter-house. But
there has been a devotion and a spiritual uplifting in these most
unwonted surroundings which have been good to see, and officers and
men have come to the Holy Communion in large numbers with a reverence
and an evident longing for communion with God which one does not
always see, even in the most splendid churches at home.

"When my stay in the Fourth Division was drawing to a close, Mr. Hall,
whom you probably know, the Wesleyan chaplain at Chatham, was posted
to the Eleventh Field Ambulance, and came to live with me at my
billet. He and I did a great deal of work together, and he would tell
you about it, for he is at home now. I shall never forget how we went
together one night to a certain battalion which was going into the
trenches the following day. We first had the ordinary evening service
in an underground place, and afterwards there was the Holy Communion,
to which came 122 officers and men. The room in which we were gathered
was very dim, and we felt very deeply the immense solemnity of the

"It was all very wonderful and very beautiful. During the actual
administration, the commanding officer walked behind me with a
lantern, up and down the rows of kneeling men, so as to make sure that
all were cared for.

"We did not reach our billet until after eleven o'clock that night.
The next day some of those who had made their communion on the
previous night were killed in action.

"Very often our service had to be conducted under shell fire. I recall
one amongst many instances. I was taking a service one weekday
morning for a battery in the garden of a house at Houplines. A great
number of shells went over us while the service was proceeding.
Afterwards we had the Holy Communion in the house. During the service
the houses on either side of ours were struck, and, finally, at the
close there was a deafening crash and we found that the house in which
we were had been hit, though not much damage was done.

"These circumstances of difficulty and danger seem to bring out the
very best that is in men, and I have been immensely impressed by the
craving for spiritual help shown by both officers and men, and their
gratitude for anything I could do for them, as well as by the humble
reverence and real devotion of all ranks.

"There are, of course, many other sides of a chaplain's work: the
ministrations to the wounded and dying in the hospitals, and advanced
dressing stations of the Field Ambulance, the burial of the
dead--often at night and in strange weird circumstances--the visiting
of men in the trenches when feasible, the writing of letters to
relatives, the censoring of letters, and a number of other duties.

"It is often in a strange sort of place that one witnesses a poor
fellow's last dying testimony, in some cellar possibly, where a
wounded man has had to be conveyed so as to be safe from shell fire.

"In times of comparative quiet, and when troops are resting, I
consider it most important that chaplains should try to organise some
directly spiritual work, and also recreation daily during the trying
hours after dark, until men have to be in their billets. For instance,
in this place we have a room and a hall; in the room we have a
Bible-class each evening, while in the hall there are papers and
games, coffee can be procured, and there is an impromptu concert every
evening. We have a stage with footlights, and a serviceable piano. On
Sunday evenings there is a well-attended voluntary service there. Both
places are well warmed and well lighted, with plenty of seats and
chairs. This is most important.

"One great difficulty under which the Church of England has to labour
in this country is that, with very few exceptions, the Roman Catholic
ecclesiastical authorities will not allow us to use their churches.
This is, I think, to be deplored, and I cannot understand how people
can worship comfortably in their churches, while they know that
fellow-Christians are obliged to hold their service in the open air,
in cold discomfort, or in some quite unsuitable and mean building.

"Possibly, however, it is for our good that we should have these
difficulties. These difficulties and trials are perhaps a tonic for
our spiritual life. And after all we learn what every campaign has to
teach us, and what I was first taught in South Africa, that often the
truest worship can be offered in most uncongenial surroundings; and I
have been myself strengthened and helped, and I have marked the
reverence and devotion of officers and men at some service beneath the
sombre skies of Flanders, or it may be in some comfortless or even
squalid building.

"Out here one realises more what things really matter, and how to
distinguish the essential from the unessential. One has so much to be
thankful for and so much to help, strengthen, and inspire."

Hitherto I have given Mr. Tuckey's statement in his own words. Nearly
all the rest does not concern the public, but ere he closes he
acknowledges gratefully the kindness of the Archbishop of Rouen in
allowing him the use of two churches or chapels, and speaks most
appreciatively of the hospitality of some of the _curés_. We may hope
and pray that he may be long spared to do such glorious work as his
statement indicates.

Our next report is from the pen of the Rev. E.L. Watson.

Mr. Watson is the senior chaplain at the front representing the United
Army and Navy Board. This Board, recently formed, comprises the
Baptist and Congregational Unions, and the Conferences of the
Primitive Methodist and United Methodist denominations. Until the
outbreak of the war, Mr. Watson was minister of the Baptist Church at
West End, Hammersmith. His report has been written at the request of
the Rev. J.H. Shakespeare, M.A., Secretary of the Baptist Union of
Great Britain and Ireland. I omit from it a few sentences covering
ground already dealt with.

"The task that Great Britain has in hand is of such magnitude that the
demand for fighting men is without parallel. Proud we are of the fact
that every individual man now in the greatest army that Great Britain
has ever raised is serving of his own free choice, and happy indeed to
be of service to his King and country in the hour of need.

"This great body of men is necessarily composed of many types, drawn
as it is from all quarters of the British Empire, and representing
every political opinion and all religious denominations, but
co-operating in perfect unity.

   [Illustration: A FIGHT IN THE AIR.
   _Drawn by Christopher Clark._]

"Every provision has been made for the material comfort of the men,
especially those in the firing line. Transport arrangements are in
themselves a marvel, every modern appliance being requisitioned for
the purpose. Letters and parcels can be received and posted every day
if necessary. In like manner, also, is fresh food supplied, thus
saving any unnecessary privation.

"Equipment is also as perfect as British science and common sense can
make it. In these and many particulars the British Army has the
reputation of being one of the best fed and equipped armies in the
field, whilst the spirit of the men is recognised as second to none.

"Not only has the War Office spared neither expense nor pains to place
everything that is essential within the reach of the average soldier,
but it has also recognised the necessity of keeping the men in touch
with those spiritual influences that count for most in the British

"To meet this spiritual need a new army of chaplains, in addition to
those already in the regular list, has been appointed and sent forth
with befitting rank to minister to their respective denominations. The
field is a wide one and unreservedly open to the individual chaplain
simply to care for his men as he may see best. Where desired and
possible every facility is given to the men to attend the means of
grace. It is also placed on record in the King's Regulations that,
without distinction, every assistance is to be given to the chaplains
in the performance of their duties.

"Regimental work where possible is always a satisfactory task, for the
fortunate chaplain is then always identified with the men of his
regiment, thus getting to know each individual as in a regular

"Brigade work is more difficult because of the number of regiments and
width of operations, but even in this the work is within the reach of
the brigade chaplain. The most difficult and almost impossible task
falls to the lot of a Nonconformist chaplain who has charge of the
whole of a division. Besides the three brigades there are the masses
of men in the divisional troops. Under some circumstances the division
may have an area of some three miles of front and reaching back some
ten miles to the rear.

"To cover this ground and get into touch with my men scattered
throughout the whole of the division and keep in touch with them is my
task. The demands are so great upon time and capacity that I simply
have to shoulder as much of the work as strength allows and pray God
that my very best may count for most.

"For instance, there are three large and active field ambulances
operating in the division, where it will be remembered that most of
the collecting of the wounded is done under cover of darkness.
Consequently the dressing and operations are carried out immediately
upon their arrival, the cases rarely remaining more than a few hours
in a field hospital, being of necessity hurried away to the base
hospitals. Thus the time for visiting the sick and the wounded is

"There are letters to be written for the badly hit men to the loved
ones at home. There are the dying to be comforted and pointed to the
Saviour. A word of cheer to be spoken to all. It is indeed in the
field ambulance where valuable service is rendered to men and staff
in a hundred ways.

"To keep in touch with most of our men thus passing through the
ambulances, each ambulance operating in a different centre,
necessitates from four to six hours' duty each night.

"Besides the work of the hospitals there are pressing day duties to be
performed. Burials must receive attention. Regiments must be visited.
Many calls are received from anxious and troubled men. Even the firing
line claims attention at times in the performance of duty. Wherever
the men are standing to their duty and where the greatest service
could be rendered there I have striven to be. Identification with the
men is the key-note of a chaplain's work. He shares in the
recreations, pleasures, dangers, and sorrows of his men, and is looked
upon as the soldier's best friend.

"The strain is incessant, but the work is most encouraging and filled
with unequalled opportunities.

"The men prove responsive to the spiritual touch and take full
advantage of the means of grace and communion afforded.

"The circumstances of the front bring one into closest touch with the
men in such a way as is not possible at home, and it is indeed a joy
and a reward to feel that one is helping to keep the men in touch with
the faith and spirit of their fathers."

       *       *       *       *       *

The public imagination has been touched by the part the Salvation Army
has played in this great struggle. Its contribution to the fighting
line and to organised works of mercy has been striking. I am grateful,
therefore, to General Booth for the opportunity of including in this
volume an authorised account of the Salvation Army's war work,
prepared by Brigadier Carpenter.

"It is impossible to give in the brief space available anything
approaching a comprehensive idea of the work the Salvation Army is
accomplishing in the various new situations created by the war. The
more outstanding features of its activities can be summarised, but
such a statement appears--as do statistics to a lay mind--cold,
lifeless, uninteresting, whereas the tangible facts which they
represent glow with life and beauty and inestimable worth.

"On the outbreak of hostilities General Booth held conferences with
his chief officers at headquarters in London, to determine upon what
lines of action Salvationists would be of most service to the
authorities and the people in the national crisis.

"Our naval and military homes at Harwich, Chatham, Plymouth, and
Dover, and as many of our social institutions and halls as might be
found necessary, were placed at the disposal of the government; those
not taken for military requirements were offered to local governments
for use as relief and industrial centres.

"With the formation of the Expeditionary Forces, General Booth
dispatched to the continent a contingent of officers to minister to
the troops in any way that might be found possible. These officers
were placed under the direction of Brigadier Mary Murray, Secretary of
our Naval and Military League. It might be mentioned that the
Brigadier is a daughter of the late General Sir John Murray. Miss
Murray went through the South African war at the head of a Salvation
Army Red Cross contingent, and for her services was awarded the South
African medal.

"When the Prince of Wales Fund was inaugurated, Salvation Army
officers were appointed to most of the local committees formed in the
country, their close touch with the poor and their willingness and
practicality rendering them of great assistance in the wise
administration of the funds. In many centres, Leagues were formed for
looking out and caring for the wives and families of soldiers and
sailors. The women are visited in their homes, difficulties concerning
their allowances and other matters are straightened out; they are
invited to cheerful meetings held at regular intervals at the Army
halls, and when the sad news of disaster or death comes with its
paralysing sorrow into their homes, the Salvationist is at hand with
words of comfort and deeds of helpfulness.

"One of our first calls to serve the troops of the new Army was in
Wales, when the men poured in from the valleys to enlist. Until these
men passed the final attestment and had been enrolled, they were not
under government responsibility, and arriving in such numbers as they
did they could not be immediately dealt with. The Military Commander
at Cardiff, explaining the difficulty in an evening paper, requested
help. Within an hour of the edition leaving the press the Salvation
Army had offered to cope with the emergency, and by six o'clock the
next morning had actually commenced operations. The Council Cookery
schools were handed over to us, and during the following days hundreds
of men were suitably provided for. Not only were their temporal needs
supplied, but our officers did much in the direction of advising and
helping the men in an endless variety of ways. New Testaments and
religious literature were distributed amongst them and their letters
despatched to friends at home.

"More than 13,000 Salvationists have rallied to the Colours. Knowledge
of the temptations and discomforts to which these men, in company with
hundreds of thousands of their comrades in arms, are likely to be
exposed in camp strongly appealed to General Booth, who determined
upon providing as far as possible 'home away from home' for them. Thus
there are over 150 halls and rest rooms provided for the use of the

"During the warm weather the work was carried on under canvas, but
with the approach of winter the marquees were replaced by wooden
buildings. The men may procure wholesome refreshments, read good
helpful literature, write and converse with the officers in charge;
and in the evenings bright, interesting meetings are conducted.
Attached to many of these rest houses is an authorised post office. At
some of our huts bathing accommodation has been provided. The rest
centres are in charge of experienced married men, and the presence of
a good sympathetic, practical woman amongst the troops is of untold
value. The wife, ready for any emergency, 'mothers' the men,
corresponds for them with wives, parents, and sweethearts, advises
them on a multitude of questions. She prescribes for their minor
ailments, does bits of mending and various other little kindnesses,
which all appeal to the best side of the men. These officers, as a
rule, have some knowledge of First Aid, and cases of slight mishap are
frequently ordered to the Salvation huts.

"The troops bear hearty testimony to the blessings these havens of
rest and happiness have proved to be. Lord Kitchener himself has
expressed appreciation, and there have been many other most generous
expressions from highly placed officers regarding the Army's efforts
on behalf of the men. A general commanding one of the great camps
said, 'Please do not thank me for arranging sites for your buildings;
it is for me to thank General Booth and the Salvation Army for
rendering us such service. I know the value of the spiritual and moral
influence which the workers of the Salvation Army exercise over the
men.' The senior chaplain of a great camp applied for Salvation Army
officers to go and work amongst the troops, and himself defrayed the
cost of supplying and equipping a marquee for the purpose. 'Your men
go for the soldier's soul; that's why I want them,' he said.

"The value of over 13,000 Salvationists scattered amongst the troops
and the fleet can only be faintly suggested here. A Salvationist is
trained, from the moment he kneels at the penitent form, to confess
Christ by his life and testimony; and never has he taken a braver
stand than he is doing to-day in the barrack-room, on ship deck, and
in trench.

"The following incident, which has been multiplied a thousandfold,
illustrates the power of example. A rough, illiterate Salvationist
found himself in a barrack dormitory for the first time. Cursing,
swearing, and ribaldry were going on all around him amongst a crowd of
half-drunken, hilarious men. He knew he should kneel and pray, but
never before did he understand the full significance of the Salvation
Army song he had so often lustily sung: 'I'll stand for Christ, for
Christ alone.' Surely it would be easier to go into action than to
kneel and pray in such company! He turned hot and cold by turns, then
decided: 'Here goes,' and plumped down upon his knees. A few whistles
and jeers, a boot, a pillow followed, but he did not move. The
cursing gradually died away and there was silence in the room.

"Next day several men sought him out to confess that they, too, were
Christians, but had not dared to face that fire alone. Next night
several of them knelt to pray unmolested, and by degrees the
Salvationist became the conscience of the company. A military officer
of high rank remarked to one of our leading men the other day: 'I
really did not know the Salvation Army until the war, but I have
watched your men. Now I deliberately place Salvationists with the
wilder of our spirits, and invariably find that after a week or two
the tone of the company has noticeably risen.'

"During rest time at the front, Salvationists hold meetings behind
their guns and at their trenches. These 'unofficial chaplains' have
won many souls for Christ. During the coldest weather of this winter
some took off their greatcoats for their mates to kneel upon, and
there, within sound of the enemy's fire, they pleaded with their
comrades to turn from sin and seek the Saviour. One night twenty-two
men responded to this invitation.

"The authorities in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have appointed
Salvation Army officers as regular chaplains to the troops and
conferred military rank upon them. These officers are serving with the
Expeditionary Forces in Egypt and elsewhere.

"In this country and at the base on the continent special facilities
have been granted to us for visiting the wounded in hospitals and also
the prisoners of war. Services are conducted in the German language,
and literature of that tongue is distributed amongst the German
prisoners by Salvation Army officers who have been engaged in our work
in the Fatherland.

"It is an interesting fact that sufficient men to form an entire
battalion were recruited from our social institutions. Without
exception, these men came to us in a state of complete physical
unfitness. Drink and exposure, and in many cases other vices, had
robbed them of all the spring and confidence so necessary in the
soldier. After several months of good food, steady occupation, and the
message of cheer which our homes bring to their inmates, these men, so
recently the country's waste, marched out to serve their King and
country. Two of the number from one Home formerly held commissions in
the regular Army, but lost them through intemperance. Both were
Reinstated. One clever fellow, speaking several languages, was
attached to the Intelligence Department.

"To our home-loving nation one of the saddest circumstances of the war
is the depopulation of Belgium. General Booth with his officers was
among the first to come forward with offers of help when the destitute
and stricken people poured into our country. Three of our homes in
London were at once thrown open to receive them, and at port towns,
such as Folkestone and Cardiff, where the refugees arrived in such
numbers that they could not be distributed, accommodation was provided
for thousands in buildings adapted by the Salvation Army officers. The
refugees sheltered in one of our London homes despatched a message in
French to His Majesty the King at Buckingham Palace, expressing
profound thanks for the kindly reception they had been given in
England, and for the way the 'Armée du Salut' was caring for them.

"The value of this effort has been fully recognised by the government,
and a communication from the Local Government Board on the subject of
the Army's work was expressed in the following terms: 'I am directed
by the Local Government Board to express the Board's appreciation of
the action of the Salvation Army, and its officers, which has been of
great assistance to them in dealing with the situation, which for a
time presented considerable difficulties.'

"The assistance to the Belgian people was not confined to those in
England. General Booth despatched an experienced officer to Belgium
with orders to visit every centre of Salvation Army work in that
country. He succeeded in his mission and placed financial help with
the brave officers who had refused to leave their posts, though many
of them were right in the battle area, and had been exposed to the
utmost personal danger. Thus assisted, they were enabled to succour
hundreds of most deserving and starving people, and to continue their
spiritual ministrations to the people who clung to them for comfort
and support in their terrible experiences.

"A work of first importance was also undertaken by the Salvation Army
at the request of the Belgian government, viz. the care of the wounded
Belgian soldiers in this country. When fit to leave the hospital ward,
the hospital authorities in whatever part of the country the soldiers
were being nursed--from Aberdeen to Plymouth--communicated with our
headquarters in London. The men were brought to the Metropolis under
Salvation Army escort and provided for by our officers until they were
fit to return to military service, or to civil life should they be
permanently incapacitated. Our land and industrial colony at Hadleigh
in Essex has proved to be a veritable boon as a convalescent depot for
these brave men. More than 8000 Belgian soldiers in this way have
passed through our hands. The efficiency of the arrangements for the
comfort and well-being of these men has earned unstinted praise from
the officials concerned of both the Belgian and our own governments.

"On one of the worst nights of this winter a party of 200 Canadians,
Belgians, and a number of Russians arrived from across the Atlantic to
join the forces. They had no place to go to. 'Send them to the
Salvation Army' said the military authorities, and to the Salvation
Army they came. Coming in such an unexpected number in addition to the
hundreds of Belgians already under the Army's roof, they presented
something of a problem, but a little rearrangement soon enabled us to
warmly house and feed them all. The next night seventy more arrived
and were similarly cared for.

"Salvationists are a poor people. Their only riches consist in love
and power to serve. Nevertheless, out of their scant means they
contributed between three and four thousand pounds to the Prince of
Wales Relief Fund, and also raised a further £2500 for the purchase
and equipment of a Motor Ambulance Unit consisting of five cars. The
unit is manned by Salvationists. It is no new thing to send ambulance
brigades to the front at war time, but it _is_ a new thing to see that
they are all conducted by Christian men.

"The cars have splendidly stood the severe tests imposed upon them,
and the men in charge have borne themselves so well that they have
become known as 'The White Brigade.' No drinking, no smoking, no
swearing amongst them; always on time and carrying out the orders of
the medical staff with the utmost satisfaction, it is not to be
wondered at that our officer in command of the unit was promoted to
the charge of a section--with the management of twenty-five cars. A
second unit of six cars was despatched to France in February, with
which Her Majesty Queen Alexandra was pleased to identify herself by
personally dedicating the cars--now known as the 'Queen Alexandra

"Apart from the work of the ambulance party, Salvation Army officers
are exerting themselves for the comfort of the troops in the battle
area and at the base hospitals. At Boulogne, Rouen, and Paris our
women officers are continually visiting the wounded. In Paris alone,
they visit seven hospitals for the British wounded. Hundreds upon
hundreds of letters have been written to anxious relatives and
friends, and where husbands have been in distress about their wives in
ill-health or poverty at home, a swift message across the channel has
been sent to our officer in the town mentioned, who has gladly gone to
comfort and assist the distressed ones concerned, and our Army sisters
have received scores of 'last messages' to wives and children as the
brave fellows have been passing away. Testaments, papers, stationery,
and chocolates are distributed, and a thousand and one of those gentle
heart ministries peculiar alone to women, whose hearts are filled with
love to Christ, are performed. Every week two large sacks of clothing
made by Salvationists in England are sent to the visiting officers in
France for distribution amongst the men.

"At Boulogne, Le Havre, and Abbeville rest rooms, similar to those in
Great Britain, have been established.

"Passing mention must be made of the patrols of Salvation Army
officers at the great London railway stations, such as Waterloo,
Victoria, &c. The special work of these officers is to care for men
stranded on Saturday and Sunday nights. Rooms have been opened in the
neighbourhood where the men are provided with blankets and
refreshments. Some of the men, whose troubles have resulted from
drink, have been led to renounce their drinking habits.

   [Illustration: _Drawn by Paul Thiriat._
   An English private and a French sergeant bind each other's
   wounds, and then faint from loss of blood. Both were rescued,
   being discovered by a dog.]

"In this brief review reference has largely been confined to the
Salvationists in Great Britain in connexion with the war. This serves
as an index of similar efforts which are being actively carried
forward by Salvationists in every part of the world, especially in
France, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and
even in Germany. They are caring for those reduced to poverty as a
result of the war, caring for the wounded, succouring the refugees,
and lending the hand of help in many other ways.

"We are unable to more than mention the splendid service rendered by
Salvationists in the United States, who organised what was termed an
'Old Linen Campaign'; 300,000 articles for the wounded--comprising
bandages, pads, &c.--in a large variety have already been made up, and
after being sterilised and labelled, sent forward to France, Belgium,
and Germany."



    Church of Scotland Commissioned Chaplains--One Hundred
    Civilian Ministers of Scotland Offered Their Services--The
    Rev. W. Stevenson Jaffray's Report--Many Forms of Service at
    the Front--From No. 10 General Hospital, Rouen--The French
    Decorate Our Soldiers' Graves--Report of the 1st Echelon
    General Headquarters--A Chaplain's First Lesson--After Neuve
    Chapelle--The Work of the Y.M.C.A.--A Breathlessly Summoned
    Council--Six Hundred Centres--A Glorious Nine Months.

I am indebted to the Rev. J.A. McClymont, D.D., V.D., Convener of the
Church of Scotland General Assembly's Committee on Army and Navy
Chaplains, for the following account of Presbyterian work at the
front. It will supplement and bring up to date references to the work
of this great Church in the earlier chapters of this book.

"Before the outbreak of the war six ministers of the Church of
Scotland held commissions as regular military chaplains, and all of
them, along with four of our Indian chaplains, who accompanied their
regiments from the East, are now serving with the Expeditionary Force.
The names of the former are Revs. W.S. Jaffray (1st Class), J.T. Bird
(1st Class), F.W. Stewart (3rd Class), A.R. Yeoman (3rd Class), J.
Campbell (3rd Class), and D.A. Morrison (3rd Class); of the latter
the names are Revs. G.E. Dodd, Andrew Macfarlane, G.C. Macpherson, and
J.H. Horton McNeill. In addition to these, about two hundred civilian
ministers of the Church have offered their services as chaplains at
the front. Among them are many eloquent preachers, many distinguished
scholars, and not a few accomplished athletes. Some have had valuable
experience as chaplains in the Territorial Force, or have served as
combatants in that force or in the Officers' Training Corps, while
others can produce evidence of experience and skill in connexion with
the Red Cross Society, the Boys' Brigade, or the Boy Scouts. Some of
them can preach in Gaelic, others have a knowledge of French and
German and other continental languages, and a personal acquaintance
with the countries in which the war is going on. Some have served with
acceptance in the Boer War or at a military station at home or abroad.
Keen sportsmen are to be found among them who can shoot, ride, cycle,
or drive a motor.

"Until lately the number of additional Presbyterian chaplains allowed
by the War Office has been much smaller than was generally expected,
considering the many thousands of Territorials who have volunteered
for foreign service, and the immense multitude of recruits who have
enlisted in Kitchener's Army. The ideal arrangement would have been to
assign a chaplain to every battalion; but, instead of this, the
appointments were at first made to _divisions_ and _hospitals_, the
result being that after eight months of the war only eighteen
additional chaplains had been appointed for service at the front.
Recently the number has been increased to thirty-eight, making
fifty-four Presbyterian chaplains in all; and further additions will
soon be made.

In the partitioning of these thirty-eight new chaplaincies among the
several Presbyterian churches, the War Office has been guided by the
Advisory Committee on the appointment and distribution of Presbyterian
chaplains. This Committee was created by Mr. (now Lord) Haldane some
years ago, and consists of a representative of the Church of Scotland,
the United Free Church, the Presbyterian Church of England, and the
Presbyterian Church of Ireland, respectively, with Lord Balfour of
Burleigh, a trusted elder of the Church of Scotland, as chairman. The
Convener of the Church of Scotland Committee on Army and Navy
Chaplains was asked by Lord Balfour to nominate eighteen of the new
chaplains, bringing the number of Church of Scotland chaplains on
foreign service up to twenty-eight. The Revs. H.Y. Arnott, B.D.
(Newburgh), H. Brown B.D. (Strathmiglo), Geo. Donald, B.D. (Aberdeen),
A.S.G. Gilchrist, B.D. (Applegarth), Professor Kay, D.D., James Kirk,
M.A. (Dunbar), Oswald B. Milligan (Ayr), A.M. Maclean, B.D. (Paisley),
A. Macdonald (Glassary), D. Macfarlane (Kingussie), J. Campbell
McGregor, V.D. (Edinburgh), C.G. Mackenzie, B.D. (Methlick), James
MacGibbon, B.D. (Hamilton), J.J. Pryde (Penpont), D.A. Cameron Reid,
B.D. (Glasgow), Thos. Scott, M.A., T.D. (Laurencekirk), Patrick
Sinclair B.D. (Urquhart), and Geo. Thompson, B.D. (Carnbee), were so
nominated. All of these and the other Presbyterian chaplains above
referred to, with the exception of three who have gone to the East,
are serving in France and Belgium under the direction of the Rev. Dr.
Simms, K.H.C., a minister of the Irish Presbyterian Church, who, but
for the war, would have retired on account of the age limit before the
end of last year, but is now the responsible and honoured Head of all
the chaplains of every denomination at the western seat of war.

Many grateful tributes have been paid to the faithful services
rendered to their countrymen by Presbyterian chaplains in this war,
and four of them have had the honour of being mentioned in despatches,
two of whom are ministers of the Church of Scotland, namely, the Rev.
J.T. Bird and the Rev. A.R. Yeoman. So far, only two chaplains have
been wounded, namely, Mr. Yeoman and Mr. J.H.H. McNeill, who are both
ministers of the National Church. Before giving a few extracts from
letters and reports received from chaplains at the front, it may be
well to mention that upwards of twenty ministers of the Church of
Scotland and about fifty University students who were studying, or
about to study, in the Divinity Hall have joined the Army as
combatants--some of them as officers and some of them as private
soldiers--while others are serving with the R.A.M.C. Several have done
excellent work in connexion with the Y.M.C.A., notably the Rev. L.
McLean Watt (Edinburgh), who was unable to accept a chaplaincy for the
period required by the War Office, and the Rev. Hugh Brown
(Strathmiglo), before his appointment to a chaplaincy.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Rev. W. Stevenson Jaffray, senior Chaplain to the Forces, writes as

"'On the evening of October 2, 1914, I received telegraphic
instructions from the War Office to join the 7th Division, British
Expeditionary Force and reported myself for duty next day. On Sunday,
October 4--the last day and Sunday so many hundreds were ever to spend
in England--the Division was suddenly ordered to proceed to embark.
Few who were present at the open-air Parade Service that day are
likely to forget the scene of the great square, composed of such
famous units as the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards, 2nd Battalion Royal
Scots Fusiliers, and 2nd Battalion The Gordon Highlanders, gathered
together for divine worship. The Division--the first British force to
land in Belgium--was, within a few hours of disembarking, holding in
check no less than five German Army Corps. How the various units added
fresh lustre to their glorious traditions is known to all who have
read the story of Ypres.

"'The chaplain's work at the front is thrillingly interesting,
frequently dangerous, and often pathetic, and may be briefly described
under four heads.

"'1. _Visiting men in billets._

"'The first duty of a chaplain is to get into intimate touch with his
men. He can hope to be useful and influence the men when, and only
when, by constant visiting he wins their confidence and goodwill. The
shyness, stiffness, and indifference so familiar to chaplains visiting
barrack rooms in peace time is altogether unknown at the front. On
active service the chaplain is welcomed as a comrade and friend. The
men are in billets for a fixed number of days, after which they return
to the trenches. Every endeavour is made to get into personal touch
with the men during the periods of rest, and to become acquainted with
their difficulties and needs.

"'2. _Visiting wounded and dying._

"'The wounded are removed from the trenches immediately it becomes
dark and are brought to the Field Ambulance. The hospital work extends
far into the night--at times all night, for nights in succession,
particularly when a big fight is in progress. This is the most
important and impressive part of our work. After the patient has been
dressed by the medical officer, the chaplain kneels beside the
stretcher and gives whatever comfort and cheer he can. The heroic and
patient suffering of our men, their thankfulness and eagerness for
spiritual help and consolation, their thought for wives and little
ones, their absolute selflessness make one grateful and proud to
minister to such noble souls. Many messages are entrusted to the
chaplains. The wounded request a line to be written to allay the fears
of loved ones at home. The dying whisper such noble words as these:
(actual message) "Tell my wife I have merely done my duty." "I have a
wife and five little ones, God help them. I never thought I would come
to this, but I have done my best for my country."

"'3. _Divine Service._

"'Sunday services are held whenever possible. When the men are in the
trenches on Sunday, arrangements are made to conduct service as soon
as they return to billets. These services are held in barns or, when
weather permits, in the open air. At each service I have endeavoured
to give the men a text or thought to strengthen and help them
throughout the week. The intense interest taken by all ranks in these
services renders them very impressive.

"'4. _Soldiers' Clubs._

"'The comfort of men at the front has not been lost sight of. I was
requested by Divisional Headquarters to establish clubs in every
brigade area to break the monotony of life during the quiet winter
months. These clubs contain reading, writing, and game rooms and a
refreshment bar, where the men can obtain hot coffee. My thanks are
due to the Convener of the Army and Navy Chaplains' Committee, who
kindly sent me cases of general literature which proved most useful
and interesting to the men. Friends at home supplied games of various
kinds, as well as stationery, pencils, and such useful articles.
Lectures and concerts have been given, and everything possible has
been done to brighten the soldier's life.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

"The Rev. J.T. Bird, M.A., C.F., writing from No. 10 General Hospital,
Rouen, says:

"'In accordance with instructions from the principal chaplain I do
what I can to minister to Presbyterian troops within reach, where no
Presbyterian chaplain is available. This has usually meant, on
Sundays, holding a service in a Reinforcements Camp (infantry or
cavalry) in the morning, and two services in hospital: one in the
forenoon and one in the evening. One of the hospitals here is the
Scottish Red Cross Hospital--excellently equipped. I did what I could
for this hospital in the way of visitation and Sunday evening services
up till lately, when the Rev. A.M. Maclean of Paisley Abbey was able
to undertake these duties in addition to his work at a neighbouring
Infantry Camp. The attendance at my service held at the Reinforcements
Camp, at St. Nazaire and here, has varied from about 50 to 600,
according to circumstances. I have found the Church of Scotland Psalm
leaflets and the little blue booklet _With the Colours_ very useful
for all services. During the week one is kept busy visiting sick and
wounded in four hospitals; holding occasional week-night services for
convalescents and assisting to get up concerts for them; writing
letters for patients too ill to write themselves; and distributing
gifts of all descriptions (literature, cigarettes; woollen comforts,
&c., &c.) sent by kind people at home.

"'The Sunday evening service has always been a united one (Church of
England and Presbyterian), and the Church of England chaplains I have
found very willing to co-operate in this way.

"'I am glad to state that the number of Presbyterians who have died in
hospital has not been at all large, considering the large number of
patients treated, and this fact I think bears eloquent testimony to
the excellent equipment and comfort of the hospitals, as well as to
the skill of the medical officers and the great devotion of the
nursing staff. The mother of a wounded Seaforth Highlander, who was
lying in this hospital, came recently all the way from Inverness with
two other friends to see her son, and they all seemed deeply gratified
and impressed by the excellence and efficiency of the hospital. All
funerals of soldiers are announced beforehand in the French local
journal, and here, as at St. Nazaire, French ladies attend and
reverently place flowers on the grave after the burial service. They
specially decorated the graves for Easter. Such attention must, I
think, be gratifying to the sorrowing relatives. The Sacrament of the
Lord's Supper has frequently been dispensed, and the number of
communicants is always much larger than in time of peace at home

       *       *       *       *       *

"The Rev. Professor Kay, D.D., A.C.F., writes from 1st Echelon General
Headquarters, France:

"'A chaplain's first lesson, as I have learned it, is to give due
honour to the men he serves. All combatants have offered the supreme
sacrifice a man can make for any object; how can anyone not of their
consecrated number be worthy to say anything at all to them? Their
great vow is too sacred for words; the loss of comrades and the
uncertain future are felt but not discussed. The example of Christ
which made martyrdom an easy and a right thing for the apostles, the
new Covenant in His blood, the grace of His redeeming sacrifice--these
acquire fresh power and interest. The combatant understands them, if a
chaplain be an adequate minister of Christ's Evangel.

"'An army on active service cannot guarantee food and shelter with
certain regularity; far less can it provide fixed routine for common
worship. Buildings, organs, choirs, Sabbaths are often unavailable.
The army must be always ready to move and to act; it is not possible
to set everybody free at one time. Hence one has to discover at what
times there will be leisure among the various units. Recreation in
clubs and reading-rooms is often easy to contrive, and hours for
worship can also be arranged. In hospitals periodic services are
possible. In any regiment there are likely to be various denominations
of Christians, and minorities must sometimes do without their own type
of chaplain. Hymns and Holy Scripture serve as uniting influences, and
the fair and friendly feeling among the chaplains in this vicinity
makes work easy. Work here makes it evident that the Church of
Scotland as by law established is only one of a wide Sisterhood of
Presbyterian churches. Canadian, English, Irish, Welsh Presbyterians
have been nearly as numerous as those from Scotland, and one
representative from South Africa appeared on the list.

"'The battle of Neuve Chapelle caused a stream of casualties to flow
past this point for a week. Some died and were laid to rest beside
their comrades, their last messages being sent to their startled
kinsfolk at home. Some who were weary and willing to die took heart
again through sympathy and skilful nursing. One boy of seventeen in
sore torture was heard half-consciously crying: "Ah! bonnie Scotland,
what I'm suffering for you now"; he slowly recovered and did not
grudge his pains. Those at home for whom brave men are suffering and
dying should be done with tippling and trifling.

"'The work at this point includes attendance at three hospitals and
the conducting of services for troops as required. During last week
there were only four cases "seriously and dangerously ill" and about
thirty men sick and wounded. At a Rest Depot a class was formed to
prepare for First Communion, and at a special service on Good Friday
eleven soldiers were admitted. The Sacrament was administered on
Easter Sunday morning, and there were about sixty communicants. These
included a few Baptists, Congregationalists, and others, who, if
members of their own churches, were admitted and invited to this
Communion. A Church Parade with an Irish cavalry regiment followed at
11 o'clock. In the twilight the largest soldiers' club in the district
was crowded for Evening Service. There the Bishop of London--candid as
King Alfred and persuasive as Alfred Tennyson--encouraged and blessed
us all, and his inspiring words hallowed the great enterprise which
brings us here.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

The following statement of the work of the Young Men's Christian
Association at the front and at home has been written by the Rev. W.
Kingscote Greenland, at the request of the General Secretary, Mr. A.K.

"No branch of the religious and social work among our soldiers during
the war, both at the front and in the home camps, has been so well
known and universally acknowledged and appreciated as that
accomplished by the Young Men's Christian Association. The press has
spread the fame of it far and wide and devoted leaders and columns of
details to it. Any exhaustive story therefore is as unnecessary as it
would be disproportionally large. What makes it imperative, however,
that at least a brief summary of its widespread and manifold
activities should be included, is that it has been a work of quite
interdenominational character--all churches equally contributing both
workers and money--and therefore the credit, if credit there is to be,
must be shared among all. The fact of it is that the Y.M.C.A. has
acted throughout as a species of central bureau or clearing-house, by
the ready and available means of which anybody and everybody desirous
of assisting in the moral and spiritual welfare of our troops could do
so without calling into existence new organisation and machinery.

"And here it must be mentioned that two facts were, humanly speaking,
responsible for the striking emergence of the Y.M.C.A. into this
unique position. The first fact is that for fifteen years past the
Association has had great experience of this sort of work by reason of
its tents in all the Territorial camps every summer, so that the war
only meant an extension, though an immense extension, of activities to
which it was no stranger. And, secondly, the courageous spiritual
statesmanship and moral daring of the General Secretary, Mr. A.K.
Yapp, who on the outbreak of war, and in the holiday season too,
launched this policy.

"The story of that breathlessly summoned council meeting in the
Headquarters of the National Council in Russell Square on August 5 is
a veritable romance. Telegrams brought holiday-making secretaries
hurrying from the seaside, and in a few hours it was decided to pitch
canvas tents wherever the new recruits for Kitchener's Army were
located, and issue a national appeal for the necessary funds. As
everybody now knows, this was done--hundreds of tents for
refreshments, reading, writing, and rest sprang up as if by magic all
over the land; thousands of pounds of money flowed in from high and
low; and the Young Men's Christian Association was swept forward in
the tide from being a semi-disparaged adjunct of the Church's care for
a certain type of young townsman, to that of a great ally of the
nation in its hour of moral, no less than physical, agony. The tale of
the swift adaptation of practically the entire premises, resources,
and plant of the Association to the military and naval emergency,
involving almost superhuman hours of thought and skill, can never
adequately be told. The whole country was mapped out, committees
formed, hundreds of workers engaged, stationery ordered, stores and
motor-transport acquired, the patronage of the King and the approval
of the War Office secured, and in a few weeks the machinery for the
safeguarding of the leisure hours of the troops who were flocking to
the colours was in working order.

"Then came the late autumn with its rains and floods, and the
necessity for better accommodation than canvas tents. Wooden huts were
obviously required. But these would cost money--roughly £300 at least
apiece. A great appeal was issued for the necessary funds, and the
response was amazing. Several hundreds of thousands of pounds were
contributed, many donors presenting a hut and furnishing it, and as
winter closed in comfortable and warm and well-equipped huts replaced
everywhere the sodden tents.

"As the military situation broadened and developed, the Association
followed suit, and huts were built and opened in the base towns in
France, Egypt, and India, while many young men were sent on board the
troop-ships as lay chaplains to take charge of the soldiers on these
journeys and to look after them on their landing in foreign and
colonial ports.

"And so the situation as it stands at this present time of writing is
roughly as follows: 600 Y.M.C.A. centres in the home camps, of which
300 are permanent wooden huts. In France 50 centres, of which 36 are
huts. In Egypt 8 centres in charge of 10 young Christian men sent out
by the Association, and in India 30 centres, manned by 12 Association
workers. To this record must be added over 2000 camp workers, only a
very small proportion of whom are paid, and the innumerable ladies who
either serve at the counters or are quartered with local committees of
management. To this, further, several other inspiring features and
items must still be added. Under the Y.M.C.A. auspices, Princess
Victoria has a number of field kitchens across in France and Flanders
which supply the men at the actual front. Also, and by no means least,
scores of clergymen and ministers of all denominations give some, and
a few all their time, to conducting services and "talks" in the huts
in the evenings, while among the voluntary workers on Salisbury
Plain, at the Crystal Palace, the White City, Harwich and Felixstowe,
Hindhead, Milford, Southport, Alnwick and along the Tyne, and scores
of other camps, are to be found university professors and students,
men from all the theological colleges, retired city merchants,
ministers with leave of absence from their churches, business men
moved to leave their shops and offices in the care of wives and clerks
and managers, and almost every type of Christian man and profession
and occupation.

"All this deals, as it will be seen, with the many externals of the
Association work, and takes little or no account of the various more
directly spiritual agencies. Almost every well-known evangelist has
given up his time to the Y.M.C.A. huts, including such men as Mr. W.R.
Lane, Mr. C.M. Alexander, and the Rev. Canon Hicks, while the work of
the Pocket Testament League and of Temperance has been wonderfully

"Beginning on the Wednesday after Easter and continuing for seven
days, a special effort was made throughout the camps to make it a
Decision Week for the men of the new army. A pledge of acceptance of
Jesus Christ as Saviour and King was to be taken and a War Roll
signed. It is too early to give the final results, but already many
thousands have signed, and the reports of camp workers, chaplains,
clergymen, and ministers are most enheartening.

"Of the actual meetings held, of the conversations that have taken
place, of the strange, moving, pathetic and thrilling incidents that
have marked this tragic and glorious nine months, much has already
been written, and books could be filled. Thousands of men of our homes
and churches have written and spoken most affectionately of the
service rendered to them in the Y.M.C.A. tents, and of the lessening
of their temptations thereby, while many hundreds of thousands of dear
ones have received letters written under the quiet conditions only
obtainable in the Association's huts, and, be it added, on their
millions of sheets of free notepaper.

"Of the generosity of the public, the kindness and appreciation of the
generals and colonels and officers generally, and perhaps, most of
all, of the untiring and self-denying labour of those who have manned
the huts through these long months, short-handed, overworked, cheery,
and eager, in cold and mud, it is impossible fully to speak. Let it
suffice to say that the Young Men's Christian Association is deeply
humbled and proud, by reason of the honour God has manifestly
conferred upon it in giving it this supreme chance of serving the
interests of His Kingdom."



    Clergymen Serving in the Ranks--A Strange Burial
    Incident--When the New Army Comes Back--Will the Churches be
    Ready?--They are Coming.

The needs of the country led a good many men, already ordained to the
Christian ministry, to enter the new Army. The question whether they
should or should not do this was, as I have already indicated, a
matter of some dispute, but as the war went on a testimony gathered as
to the influence of such as did enlist. Thus "D." wrote to the

"At our table, which served for meals and other purposes, sat opposite
to me a clergyman of the Church of England, to do his best with us to
fight and prevent his country being treated like poor Belgium. We knew
what he was, and what he had given up to join us, and his influence in
that hut, and in his platoon, was greater than that of the khaki-clad
official chaplain who paid us occasional visits. We all respected him
and knew his aversion to things which were often thought lightly of by
us, and one look at his good and serious face would often keep back an
oath, which would come out naturally to a troublesome steer or a slow
and careless sailor, and many a tale which would have been thought
appropriate in a smoking-room or round a camp fire remained untold in
his presence. This has been my experience of one man, and I am glad to
say that in this battalion there are already serving as private
soldiers some half-dozen clergymen."

   [Illustration: WHEN THE MEN COME HOME.
   _Drawn by Arthur Twidle._]

Let one of them also answer for himself. I do not know his name, but
he is a young Wesleyan minister who enlisted in the R.A.M.C. last
October, and who is, as I write, now at the forefront of the fight.
The following extracts from his letter were published in the _Daily

"The call comes for stretcher-bearers, and I volunteer to go with No.
3. The medical officer comes out, flashes his torch, and gives the
order: 'Men to march in front of the waggon. Whole party walk--march!'

"We are off. Ten paces ahead walked the medical officer, a captain;
behind him a sergeant and four men of the squad. Then comes the
ambulance waggon, with the great Red Cross on both sides, one man
driving. Inside are the stretchers (one man in the squad carries a
surgical haversack), and behind the waggon comes the drag-horse, with
a waggon orderly mounted on it. This horse will help us out of a ditch
or the mud, if the waggon gets stuck in it.

"We head straight for the trenches. It is very dark; light rain
splashes on our faces, and there is a cold wind. Occasionally the
captain flashes his electric torch as we pass an outpost or a belated
infantry man returning from the firing line. The rattle of the waggon
sounds like the passing of heavy guns in the still night, and we
wonder whether we shall draw the enemy's shell fire. A road with a
waggon on it is a good spot to drop a 'Jack Johnson' on now and then.

"Suddenly the sky is illuminated by a brilliant German star-shell
with a long white tail. Every figure, every tree, every stone in the
road is revealed for one moment to the enemy's snipers and artillery.
Egyptian darkness follows the flash, and out of it ahead we hear,
coming towards us, the tramp of many marching men. Their officer stops

"'I have left two men on the road--ptomaine poisoning. Pick them up,
will you?' he asks.

"'Yes. Good-night!'

"On we go again. The rain pours, the wind is rising to a gale. The
road is very narrow. The wheels of the waggon plunge into a deep rut
and send a spray of mud up into our faces. Soon we pull up before a
little building at the side of the road not far from our firing line.
It is the dressing station where the wounded are brought until the
waggons can come to convey them to the hospitals out of the fire zone.

"Our captain and the sergeant enter the building, and a corporal in
charge of the place whispers, 'Sir, we have one dead here.'

"'One dead! We did not know that. We have no chaplain.'

"The sergeant whispers to the captain that I am a Wesleyan minister.
The captain calls me.

"'Are you a minister?'

"'Yes, sir.'

"'Can you bury this man?'

"'Yes, sir.'

"'Carry on, then!'

"What is his religion--the dead man? No one knows. One of the soldiers
has a Prayer-book on him, so we decide to read the Church of England

"Over the road, opposite the building, is a patch of ground--just a
cabbage patch. A grave has been dug, just a few minutes previously,
and the dead soldier lies in it uncovered, just as he fell in the
trenches. His arms are folded on his breast. A piece of cloth hides
his face from our sight. He lies two feet from the surface--no more.
Three of us stand by the grave. The corporal hands me an electric
torch, and I begin to read the burial service.

"'Ping-ping!' A bullet whizzes over us. Out goes the torch--and we
finish with an extempore prayer. Five minutes later two of his mates
are filling up this soldier's grave, and another is cutting out a
rough wooden cross. Ten minutes more and we are away with our

If they all acquit themselves thus we shall indeed be proud of
Kitchener's Army.

The Christian work at the front becomes increasingly successful as the
months go by, until one wonders whereunto it will grow. We must not
exaggerate or make too much of momentary impressions of those at the
front, but such scenes as the following, pictured to us by the Rev.
Lauchlan McLean Watt in the _Scotsman_, will live in our memory. As we
read it we can hardly wonder at his closing words declaring that it is
Resurrection and Pentecost through which they are passing in France
and Flanders to-day.

He had been in a deserted billet just behind the firing line, and was
about to move on when a couple of soldiers of the Black Watch appeared
on the scene. Here is the story he has to tell:

"They touched their bonnets, and said, 'We're going off to the front
to-night, sir, and we thought we'd like to have the Sacrament before
we go. Can you give it to us?' 'How many?' I asked. 'Oh, maybe
sixteen,' was the reply. 'Well,' I answered, 'at six o'clock in the
shed next to this one be present with your friends.'

"Off went the two with a deepened light in their faces, while I
prepared the place that was to be for some of them the room of the
Last Supper. A tablecloth borrowed from the officers' mess and a
little wine from the same source helped to meet our preparations. A
notice on the door that the place was closed for ordinary use until
the Communion service was over did not keep us free from interruption,
for the room was the ordinary one for the soldiers' 'sing-song,' and
men would come and beat upon the doors and clamour for admission, not
reading notices nor at first understanding.

"The men began to gather, and sat down there as reverently as though
the dim, little, draughty hut were the chancel of some great cathedral
holy with the deepest memories of Christian generations.

"'You might wait,' whispered one. 'The Camerons and Seaforths may be
able to come.' So we waited--a hushed and solemn waiting. Then quietly
some of them began to croon old psalm memories, and quiet hymns,
waiting. And at length the others came, stepping softly into the
place; and with them comrades, who explained that, though they were of
a different country and a different church belief, they yet desired to
share in the act of worship, preparatory to celebration. At length
about one hundred and twenty men were there, and we began.

"It was the 23rd Psalm, the Psalm of God's shepherding, the
comradeship of the Divine in the Valley of the Shadow, the faith and
the hope of the brave. What a power was in it--what a spell of wonder,
of comforting, and uplifting in this land of war! They sang it very
tenderly, for it spoke to them of times when they had held their
mothers' hands, and looked up wondering in their faces, in the church
at home, wondering why tears were there.

"It means a big thing still, to-day, for our Empire, this heart-deep
singing of our soldier men. I have never dreamed that I should see
such depth of feeling for eternal things. Do not tell me this is
Armageddon. It is not the end of things. It is Resurrection and
Pentecost we are passing through. A harvest is being sown in France of
which the reaping shall be Empire-wide. There will be angels at the

"It only needed the simplest words to seal that sacrament. And next
morning, in the grey light, the men who had been touched by the
thought of home and the dear ones there, and the big throbbing thought
of consecration, were marching off to grip the very hand of death, in
sacrifice, like Christ's for others."

The Easter visit of the Bishop of London to the front is fresh in our
memories. What a holy and triumphant progress it was! Vast bodies of
men have listened to the addresses of the bishop, and joined
reverently in the responses to the prayers. How grandly those glorious
hymns, "Rock of Ages" and "Jesu, Lover of my soul" have swelled forth
in the stillness which was only broken by the booming of great guns!

The programme of the visit had been arranged with much care. There
were all sorts of services. Now the bishop was with the Flying Corps
gathered in one of their great hangars, now with the Household Cavalry
massed in the field, now with the Army Service Corps beside their big
lorries. To all sorts and conditions of men the bishop spoke, and it
seemed as though he had the right word for each man.

He passed along the whole British front often within the range of the
German guns. At one part of the line, where there had recently been
heavy fighting, some five hundred officers, many of whom had only just
come from the battle, were present. The service was, of course,
voluntary, and the fact that those officers were present because they
_wanted_ to be there made the service all the more impressive. Veteran
generals knelt side by side with newly commissioned subalterns in
reverent worship on the hard stoned floor.

Easter Day the bishop spent with the Territorial regiment of which he
is chaplain. I quote the description of the services from the
_Manchester Guardian_:

"The regiment is in a most exposed position, and the bishop motored
into the village (a village that has been very much knocked about by
shell fire) in pitch darkness, only broken by the weird glare of star
shells fired from the German trenches about a mile away. A most
enthusiastic reception awaited him from the two hundred and fifty men
who were billeted in the village, the remainder of the battalion being
in the trenches.

"Cheer after cheer greeted him as he entered the barn, where a
'sing-song' of the most lively nature was in progress. After giving a
short address the bishop went with some of the men to their billets
and had a cheery word for each. At seven A.M. on Easter Day he
celebrated the Holy Communion in a barn, the roof and walls of which
had been scarred and shattered by gun fire. Over two hundred men
communicated. As this service ended we found at least a hundred and
fifty men of other regiments outside the building, who had been
waiting since seven o'clock, and had been unable to enter the crowded
room. For these the bishop celebrated at once. Strange as the
surroundings were, with guns firing and the crack of rifles distinctly
heard, one would doubt if in any church, however beautiful, a more
reverent congregation had ever gathered together on an Easter morning.
On the evening of Easter Day the bishop preached his final sermon at
General Headquarters in the presence of Sir John French, many
distinguished officers, and a large body of men. One heard on every
side how much the bishop's presence and his words had inspired and
encouraged the gallant men who were present at the services. Easter
Monday saw him leave the front to visit Rouen and Havre before
returning to England."

So once more old England greeted her sons across the Channel, and
commended them to Him who died and rose again for their Salvation.

But we are beginning to look forward to the future. The war will end
some day, and then, what then?

A new army will come back from the fight, veteran as regards its
fighting power, but new as regards its conduct and its spirit. Mr.
Asquith said this was a "spiritual war." It is so perhaps in a deeper
sense than Mr. Asquith meant. There has been "wrestling" out there,
not only against "flesh and blood," but against the powers of sin and
darkness. And there has been victory--victory over sin, victory in
Christ. And back they will come to us--these new men who have been
transfigured and transformed upon the battlefield. And the question is
to what sort of a Church will they come? Shall the fires of their new
love be chilled by the ice of our formality, or shall our worldliness
seem strange to these new citizens of the City of God?

If we are not ready to receive these new men when they come home, God
will send in a terrible account to us which we shall have to pay. Woe
to the Church which quenches the fire of their devotion, to the
so-called Christian who lives in Ease-in-Zion instead of in Beulah

Now is the time for the churches to prepare. We are told that the
enthusiasm of last September is dying out of our churches, that in the
busy work of the following months we have forgotten to pray. We are
even getting used to the war. Let the churches of our land bestir
themselves. These men will need our choicest care, as they deserve our
most brilliant example. Christ has not left Britain for Flanders. He
is here too, and we must seek Him in penitence and prayer, that when
the lads come home His Church shall be found ready for her Christian

What a welcome we will give them when they come! How the great hall
will be hung with flags, and the homely hearth will be gay for once!
What love light there will be in the eyes of the mother, the wife, and
the maiden! How hand will grasp hand, and all the world will seem
young again! They are coming--they are coming!

But not all are coming,--some have fallen in the fight, and sad hearts
will weep in silence, and lives will seem worthless now they are no
more. But it will not all be darkness even to those who mourn, for it
is great to die with honour and in the service of one's country. And
many a home will cherish the memory of its hero, and look forward to a
meeting by and by. And Britain will emblazon their names on its roll
of honour--this man and that man has died for her.

They are coming--they are coming, and we greet them one and all--the
men who fought for us and endured nobly on our behalf.

Let us show them when they come a new Britain, freed from the curse of
drink, purified as by fire--a new Britain which has crowned Christ as
its King, fit mother of such sons as these!

       *       *       *       *       *

The cross is still at the front--its power ever widening and
developing. It will go wherever our troops go, carrying with it the
life which is life indeed. Death cannot weaken its influence, it
triumphs over death, and many a soldier lad will it draw to itself,
and many a dying gaze will be fixed upon it, for it is there--always
there--when men need the truths it reveals.

       *       *       *       *       *

The cross is still at the front--many crosses. It has become a custom
to fix crosses over the graves of our soldiers, most of them rudely
and hastily shaped, but crosses still. Some of them large and strongly
planted, others hardly showing above the earth. Not long will many of
them last. Over some of them the feet of soldiers in the rush of the
battle may tread, others may be overthrown by the storms of winter.
But they are there now, and some day may be replaced by more permanent
structures. Whether that be so or not, the truth they symbolise will
abide--Christ died, Christ lives. He died the just for the unjust to
bring us to God. He is the resurrection and the life.

As we visit those graves by the wayside or in countless little
cemeteries, consecrated by our heroic dead, we thank God that over
them all is the Sign of the Cross.

    O dearly, dearly has He loved,
      And we must love Him too,
    And trust in His redeeming Blood,
      And try His works to do.

_Spottiswoods & Co. Ltd., Printers, Colchester, London and Eton._






  Large Crown 8vo. Cloth Gilt. 3s. 6d.


       *       *       *       *       *

    | Typographical errors corrected in text:                   |
    |                                                           |
    | Page 109: 'look the law' replaced with 'took the law'     |
    |                                                           |

       *       *       *       *       *

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "With our Fighting Men - The story of their faith, courage, endurance in the Great War" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.