Saturday, 18 June 2016

More News from the Rector of Clophill

Old Parish Church, Clophill [Z50/31/83]

Sunday 18th June 1916: Revd. C. L. Matthews, the Rector of Clophill, has written again from France where he is serving as a chaplain:

“I am sorry I have been so long in writing you again, but I have unfortunately been laid up and had five weeks in Hospital. I am glad to say I am quite fit again, and we are now back in the line … The work out here is absolutely different to that at home. WE never hold a Service in a Church, though the French Roman Catholics are very kindly disposed towards us. Sunday, except at Headquarters and Bases, is very like any other day, and we have to hold Services when and where we can. I have celebrated the Holy Communion in Schoolrooms, barns, dug-outs, and quite often in the open air. Sometimes we manage to get the room very nicely fitted up with table and chairs borrowed from a cottage, at other times we have to use a packing case for an Altar, and the men have to stand around. The heaviest Sunday I have yet had was in the middle of winter when I had nine Service and about 26 miles on horseback.”

“Funerals are always sad and solemn, but I think the funeral of a man who has given his life for his country is more solemn than any other. The cemeteries are getting very full, some of them, but every grave is carefully marked, and the place is tended with every care. Each grave is marked, first of all by a bottle, containing a paper with the man’s name, number, and regiment, and later on by a plain wooden cross with a metal inscription bearing full particulars.”

Source: Barton Parish Magazine, P21/30/18

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