Remembrance Day – Thank you for your service

My Father served in WWII in the Reconnaissance Corps, as a despatch rider, serving in Africa and Italy. He landed at Salerno, and if you know anything about military history, you’ll know that was an horrific conflict – all through Italy. Terrible brutality and suffering. He survived that, but not unscathed. He had bronchial problems all through his life and suffered many years of nightmares.

He never attended any Remembrance Day parades or visited any of the places where he served – many did that, but he didn’t, the memories were just too painful. He did eventually attend the Remembrance Day parade, and I’ll explain how that came about later. He especially, and my mother, as I recall, always watched the Remembrance Day Sunday service on TV. He always had the utmost respect for the Armed Forces.

Dispatch Riders (Dad)

He picked up many habits from that time, I’m sure. One habit he never lost, and it was so ingrained in him, was to tip his shoes or slippers back before putting them on to check for scorpions. He did it every single time. A habit learned in the desert. I don’t recall him ever putting on a pair of shoes or slippers or any footwear without tipping them back first.

The big change came for him when his rebellious son became a Christian. Quite extraordinary. He was clearly not a religious man, even though my parents sent me to Sunday School, as many did back then. As he told my mother ‘he didn’t want his son ramming religion down his throat.’ To which my mum said, ‘You leave him be Maurice, it’s doing him some good.’

Well, his rebellious son did ram it down his throat – and down my mother’s throat as well. I didn’t see it quite like that of course – and I’m glad I didn’t otherwise I might not have said anything at all. Oh to have that zeal!

Remarkably, my parents came to a Christmas Day morning service at Railway Terrace (in Rugby), where I was a member. (Thinking about it, they must have come to my baptism, but my memory isn’t clear of the order. I digress. Perhaps I could check the date?) At this service Clive Goulden was preaching. And my word, he did not pull any punches. His text was ‘And you shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:21) And I clearly remember that! It was a full on, both barrels, no holds barred, Gospel message. You have to understand, my Dad was a plain speaking man. He would tell it straight. A spade was a spade. He respected plain speech.

We went home after the service, and before we ate, I was asked to give thanks. I’m not sure if it was after this service, but they both said ‘what terrible sinners they were.’ My parents were good folks. And they thought so too. So this confession of being sinners, especially from my Dad, was a really big deal!

As things went on my Dad softened towards the things of God. Then one time they were away in Bournemouth on holiday. While they were away, on the Sunday they went to the church where Harry Kilbride was the Pastor / Minister. After the service they both went to see him. Back then after the service the minister would go into the vestry and see anyone that had spiritual concerns or was affected by the ministry. This was Peter Jeffery’s practice as well. I’m not sure how widespread this was but I think a) There seemed to be a need for it. Sometimes there was a queue to see the minister out of concern for their souls. This is unbelievable! A queue. To see the minister. Do we see this now? Not to my knowledge.  And b) this was what Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones did at Westminster Chapel. Whether it was a case of simply copying MLJ, I don’t know. All I know is people wanted to talk and ministers made themselves available in that way at the time.

At that time then, they went in to see Harry. After chatting for a while about where they were spiritually, and I think each was waiting for the other to become a Christian, but he told them he thought they were already converted. Somewhere along the line both had trusted The Lord Jesus for their Salvation. The evidence of this inward change was beginning to manifest itself. For the first time in a very long time my Dad and I began to have a real relationship.

Back to where we started. My parents started to regularly attend the services, eventually becoming members, and entering fully into the life of the church. It was during this time my Dad struck up a friendship with, I think at the time, a serving soldier. His name was Ian. Ian had been a Christian for many years, coming to faith, I think, through the ministry of SASRA (The Soldiers & Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association). Because of my Dads time in the Army they got on really well with much in common. It was Ian that encouraged my Dad to get his medals mounted – up to that time they simply sat in a box, almost hidden, at the bottom of his wardrobe. (Dad said they gave them out like Smarties – sweets) The other thing Ian did was to encourage him to take part in the Remembrance Day parade. Up till then, as I said, he never went on a single one. I had never been on one either. It was a great moment to watch my Dad march past (with other Veterans) wearing his Reconnaissance Corp Beret, Blazer with Badge, and his recently mounted medals. It was a great sight. I was proud of my Dad.

And that’s why, or partly why, I try to attend some sort of Remembrance Service each year. I believe we should remember and be thankful for our Armed Forces and their sacrifice. But I also attend and remember for my Dad. Dad is in Glory now. But Dad, thanks for your service.

Sue’s Birthday Today – 25/11/1955

2012-03-31 11.55.12Today has been really tough. Sue would have been 60 today. She missed it by 2 days.

We would joke about it because we are the same age then for 10 days. This year (and all the years I have to come) it is not to be.

Happy Birthday darling. I know you are safe with Jesus. I’ll be joining you soon.

I can thank God for her.

It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road,
And midst the brotherhood on high
To be at home with God.

It is not death to close
The eye long dimmed by tears,
And wake, in glorious repose,
To spend eternal years.

It is not death to bear
The wrench that sets us free
From dungeon chain, to breathe the air
Of boundless liberty.

It is not death to fling
Aside this sinful dust
And rise, on strong exulting wing
To live among the just.

Jesus, Thou Prince of Life,
Thy chosen cannot die:
Like Thee, they conquer in the strife
To reign with Thee on high.

César Malan 1787 – 1864 (Translated by George W. Bethune 1806-62)

Wedding Anniversary Today – 32 Years. Thank you Lord for my Wife.

Sue is the most wonderful woman I have ever know. She truly is an amazing person – a true gift from The Lord. I love her.
Genesis 2:24; Proverbs 18:22; Proverbs 31:10; Ephesians 5: 31-32.

Our daughter scanned some of the ‘official’ Wedding Pictures from 1st October 1983 – here’s two of them. I love that face.

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A Belated VE Thanks – Thanks Dad

I looked on all my drives for some pictures I took a few years ago of my Dad wearing his medals, blazer with badge and his cap. I couldn’t find them but I do have his cap. So I took  a picture of his Cap & Badge. Here it is.
Dads Cap


To All Those That Fought for our Freedom

Mudeford – Order is everywhere!

Took this photo at Mudeford beach on the South Coast a few days ago. I really like it. Everyone likes it that I’ve shown it to. Why? I think it’s because we are naturally attracted to order. There is order everywhere you look. There is order everywhere because God has made it to be so. This is an example of how presuppositionalists view evidence. Everything points to God!

Mudeford Beech Huts
Mudeford Beach Huts

We have been visiting the Lymington & Milford-on-Sea area for years but for some reason have never been to Mudeford Quay. We have been many times to the beach – a short walk along from the Quay. Just missed it I guess.


Looking towards the Key - Beech huts behind me.
Looking towards the Quay – Beach huts behind me.
Lobster pots stacked on the Key.
Lobster pots stacked on the Quay.

Let both grow together until the harvest.

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

The Harvest is coming soon!

Going to Woodstock

Going to Woodstock. No, not the Woodstock of festival fame, but the Historic small town of Woodstock in Oxfordshire, England. There’s shop there that sells specialist paints and renovation products for older houses – Oldhouse.

It’s about an hours drive away. This was our second visit but haven’t had the time so far for a good look round. It was the first visit when I found another entrance to Blenheim Palace is actually in the town. I discovered it completely by accident looking for somewhere to park – a busy place on a Saturday morning.

Old House Store
Old House Store
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The Woodstock Arms

Just a couple of pictures. Above is a pub just down from the The Old House Store. And below, judging from this entrance,  is an old Coaching Inn, The Feathers.

Coaching Entrance
Coaching Entrance
The Feathers of Woodstock
The Feathers of Woodstock

A picture looking down the street over the road from The Feathers.

Looking down the street
Looking down the street

Behind me and down the street is the entrance to Blenheim Palace – picture next visit!

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The Incomparable 29th Division

War Memorial at Stretton-on-Dunsmore - geograp...

It’s in the very distant past for most of us and way before our time. But with the many ‘celebrations’ or commemorations of the First World War this year, other more localised memorials easily pass us by. One of these memorials is to ‘The Incomparable 29th Division‘. On my way home from church yesterday morning I came upon four soldiers dressed in FFW uniform marching by the side of the road. After a double take – not a normal sight on a busy duel-carriageway – right in front of me were a number of people gathering round a monument in the centre of the approaching (large) roundabout. I’ve passed this monument hundreds of times and not given it a second thought, but as home was not too far away, I quickly collected my camera and made my way back to the scene. By the time I got back there were a good few more people gathered, about twenty or so in FFW uniform and a number of old soldiers from the various branches of The British Legion – complete with Banners – and a few others. I reckon about fifty or so all together.

King George V inspects the 29th Division at Du...
King George V inspects the 29th Division at Dunchurch, 21 March 1915. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The history is King George V inspected the troops on this spot in 1915 before going off to Gallipoli where many of them met their death – and maker. Someone I think said there were 20,000 troops there. Info below says total losses for the division were 94,000. An incredible figure. A good number of people in the picture then, probably never came back. All of them young men. The tragedy of war.

One of the old soldiers said to me ‘we promised to remember them and that’s what we will do’. I admire that. I’ll not pass that monument in quite the same way again. Below are a few of my pictures from yesterday. Some more historical info follows after my pictures.

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The following text about the Memorial and some of the associated history is from

Long Description:
The Marker commemorates the The Incomparable 29th Division formed in the First World War. It reads as follows:


The 29th Division of the British Army assembled here between December 1914 and early March 1915. Many were billeted locally.

The members of the Division came largely from the north of England, Ireland, Scotland and South Wales and only a few came from the Midlands.

On the 12th March 1915, prior to their departure for Gallipoli, in Turkey, H.M. King George V reviewed his troops here at Knightlow Hill.

The Division served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front in France and Belgium thoughout the Great War. When the Armistice brought hositilies to an end on 11th November 1918 the Division moved to the Rhine.

The total casualities suffered by this single Division were 94,000. It won 27 Victoria Crosses.

The Division landed at Cape Helles in Gallipoli on 25th April 1915 under heavy fire from the Turkish Army. They fought throughout the campaign until the evacuation of Suvla on the night of 19th/20th December 1915.

Their brave efforts earned them the name ‘The Incomparable 29th’.

The Division served in France and Belgium and was involved in the first day’s fighting of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916.

In 1917 it played its part at Arras and Ypres.

In 1918 it was still in action fighting at Estaires, Messines and Hazebrouck. In the same year it helped to lead the advance to victory, capturing OutterSteene Ridge, Ploegsteert and Hill 63. It was present at the final advance in Flanders, fighting again AT Ypres.

The Division was disbanded on 15th March 1919.

A Memorial Service to commemorate the Anniversary of the landing of the 29th Division on Gallipoli was held on 25th April 1993.

The event was initiated by James F. Pawsey, the Member of Parliament for Rugby and Kenilworth, and F.G. Watson, O.B.E., MM, the Chairman of Warwickshire County Council.


Money was raised by public subscription following a local wish to commemorate KING GEORGE V’s review of the troops and their brave action with the 29th Division.

The Memorial was designed by Bridgman and Sons of Lichfield and erected late in 1920 at the cost of £646.

It has an overall height of 12.3mtrs.

The Memorial was unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Lord Craven, and handed over to the Chairman of Warwickshire County Council, Lord Algernon Percy, on Tuesday, 24th May, 1921 before a crowd estimated to be over 7,000.


An avenue of elms planted in the early eighteenth century extended for an unbroken length of six miles over Dunsmore Heath on either side of the London road (now the A45).

Many elms were blown down during the severe gales of 1916. In the interests of safety the Duke of Buccleugh wanted to fell the remainder of the trees.

So in 1917 Warwickshire County Council formed the ‘Dunchurch Avenue Committee’. Successful negotiations with the Duke resulted in the rights for the verges and trees being conveyed to the County Council, who undertook to replant the avenue.

There was also a strong local wish to commemorate in some way the King’s review of the troops and the Division’s brave efforts during the war. The committee invited subscriptions for a Memorial Monument to the 29th Division and the replanting of the avenue. The Duke of Buccleugh donated £720 to the fund and the freehold of the land for the Memorial.

During the autumn and winter of 1920/21 two miles of lime trees at the Coventry end of the Avenue and elms and beeches at the London end were planted by Messrs. Dicksons of Chester: 444 trees at a cost of £664 2s 0d.

In 1953 Kew Gardens were consulted about disease in the elms. In October that year the Committee agreed to replace the dying elms with limes (Tilia x euchlora).

A second carriageway was added in the late 1950s and some of the trees felled. The Ministry of Transport’s replanting was agreed with the Committee.

The Dunchurch Avenue Committee DAC met for the last time in 1973. The trees were inspected and 70 new limes were planted on the east side of the Memorial.

In 1985 some trees were felled to accommodate a roundabout.

In March 1993 two lime trees 6.5mtrs in height were planted as part of the scheme to enhance the setting of the Memorial.’

The Memorial stands on the roundabout nearby.

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Remembrance Day Hypocracy

Dad with MedalsIt’s Remembrance Day today. The Eleventh Hour, of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month.

What were (and are) these people fighting for? We are told with serious countenance and hushed tones that they (and subsequently) were fighting for Freedom. My Dad died in his Eighties trusting in The Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour. He (with my Mum) became a Christian much later in life. I can remember as a youngster sometimes hearing him moan in his sleep as he relived the horror of war. From a historical perspective he didn’t talk too much about the war and I now wish that I’d ‘interviewed’ him about his experience. He managed to write a few pages though (I could post his words in a later post) At just 17, he was a dispatch rider in the Reconnaissance Corps – always at the front!

Over the years he had many invitations to various ‘old soldier’ meetings and could have gone over to Europe to re-visit some of the sites of the conflict. He turned them all down because the memories were so bad. It was only a few years before he died that he even went to the Remembrance Sunday parade though he always watched the Remembrance Day service on TV. Watching him march with the old soldiers did make me proud of him. The picture is of him at an 11, 11, 11 meeting. He said they gave out medals like sweets and it was only at the encouragement of a serving Christian soldier in the Church that he got them out of the drawer and had them mounted. This same soldier (Ian Fraser – now retired) also encouraged Dad to attend the Remembrance Sunday service.

RIP free speechWhat is the point of saying all this? I know my Dad would be appalled at the steady but relentless loss of Religious Liberty we are experiencing in this country (and the US) and that he thought he was fighting for. And so on the news we see Prime Minister Cameron and cronies ‘Remembering’ the fight for freedom while all the while steadily taking it away. It appalls and sickens me but we must trust in our God & Saviour. As Christians we must speak out while we can. The night is coming. The world hates Christ, hates The Gospel and hates the Word of God.

New every morning!

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The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22 – 23