The Fighting Padre: Pat Leonard's Letters From the Trenches 1915-1918
Pat Leonard served during the nice conflict as a Chaplain to the Forces in France, Belgium and, after the Armistice, in Germany. besides the numerous 1000s of letters he wrote to the family members of these ‘parishioners’ who died or have been wounded, he stumbled on time to explain for his mom and dad again at domestic the bleak fact of lifestyles within the Trenches, and at the makeshift aerodromes from which the pilots of the Royal Flying Corps operated from the Observer’s seat which liberated his spirit from the dust of Flanders.
Very a lot a ‘front-line’ priest, his descriptions supply an strangely target view of military lifestyles, and of the task of the multitasked chaplain who was once anticipated to adopt the jobs of counselor, comforter, caterer, censor, leisure officer and activities superb to call yet a couple of. The extracts chosen from his letters are filled with aspect, humor, self deprecation and simply occasionally whilst judged via today’s criteria, gentle ‘political incorrectness’! referred to as ‘a veritable battling parson’ (because of his prowess within the boxing ring) he additionally performed rugby for the RAF, was once pointed out in dispatches, and used to be embellished for bravery.
90 years have handed ahead of this chance arises to proportion his account of a existence which the area recollects as ‘dreadful past belief’. interpreting it demonstrates that regardless of the ghastliness, human features emerged with which we should always all be proud. Pat Leonard used to be born in 1889 right into a clergy relatives in Cumbria, MPG (Pat) Leonard went from being Head of faculty at Rossall to Oriel university, Oxford on a arithmetic scholarship. After graduating and acquiring a TA fee within the King’s personal Royal Lancaster Regiment, Leonard served as a curate in a Manchester parish sooner than being approved as Chaplain to the eighth Battalion, the King’s personal, from September 1915 within the battlefields of the Somme presented the DSO for bravery and pointed out in dispatches, he transferred to the RFC in early 1918.
After the battle he was once a lot enthusiastic about the advance and progress of TocH during the global. hence after a interval as Rector of Hatfield and ten years in Glasgow as Provost of St. Mary’s Cathedral he used to be consecrated Bishop of Thetford in 1953.
pass made as ordinary out of a damaged propeller. The crash happened in the house paddock of a farm during which a Battalion past due from Palestine have been billeted. the blokes in fact crowded around looking at as we turfed the grave, erected the go, and customarily made it prepared for the photo. It happy me immensely to get one of the Infantry boys back and to hear their old fashioned tales of the Holy Land. What wouldn’t I provide to were the place they've got and obvious what they've got visible! in a single of my.
Repel a counter-attack or consolidate the trenches captured. not anything at the moment is sure, yet no matter what it can be, I anticipate once it really is over we'll escape to a pleasant quiet a part of the road. day after today night i go for a twenty-four-hour ‘Retreat’ within the ecclesiastical feel of the be aware in basic terms – prepared via Neville Talbot for chaplains out right here. yet extra of this in my subsequent. 31 March 1916. Behold me sitting right here with a beautiful black eye, very un-clerical and so much unprepossessing! fortunately.
The Bishop bought via what was once left of the window! whilst at size we controlled to move slowly out of the wreckage, and to get a mild at the scene, we came across that the ground finish of our trainer used to be inside a number of toes of the canal, into which 5 or 6 luckless fellows jumped of their eagerness to go away the teach. all of them stated afterwards that they suggestion it was once a difficult white street, and received the surprise in their lives after they disappeared within the icy move. The compartment we have been occupying was once the center.
Else pass the ocean to Serbia. yet hearsay as you recognize is at most sensible a mendacity jade, and we wait in a few suspense to determine what is going to befall us. 25 October 1915. Saturday used to be a pleasant sunny day, so within the periods of arranging and getting ready for companies I washed my blouse and socks, additionally my pyjamas and different articles of intimate clothing. It was once an exceptional success, and although my issues gathered a certain quantity of dust within the drying approach, they definitely glance cleanser than they did. This.
Australian Imperial strength [AIF] did ‘hold on in any respect expenses’ within the very heavy fighting]. We have been relieved within the trenches [by the thirty fourth AIF] at the evening of final Thursday/Friday, because of this the Battalion arrived in camp right here [Mory] at three o’clock on Friday morning. It was once a bitterly chilly evening and black as ink, and striking approximately awaiting the late-comers used to be something yet friendly. This time we received out with no need a shell inside of miles folks. i believe my move to the Flying Corps will.