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Remembered Today:

Spirituality and the war


GRANVILLE

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I've recently been sent a fascinating two page read which concerns the spiritual state of the nation during WW2. For instance, with a disaster at Dunkirk looming, the King called for a national day of prayer to "plead for Divine intervention". As a result all over the country people queued for hours to get into churches and pray. To quote from another article on the subject which I have since found: "Two events immediately followed. Firstly, a violent storm arose over the Dunkirk region grounding the Luftwaffe which had been killing thousands on the beaches. And then secondly, a great calm descended on the Channel, the like of which hadn’t been seen for a generation, which allowed hundreds of tiny boats to sail across and rescue 335,000 soldiers, rather than the estimated 20-30,000. From then on people referred to what happened as “the miracle of Dunkirk”.  Sunday June 9th was officially appointed as a Day of National Thanksgiving." Dependent on your point of view, either evidence of Divine intervention or jolly good luck.

This got me wondering if there are any like stories connected with The Great War? I'm familiar with the 'Angels of Mons' story but do not know if the King ever called for a national day of prayer at any time. I would be quite interested if anyone can shed any light or point me to some previous posting on the subject.

The above mentioned article re: WW2 is very interesting with quotes from the head of the British and American Planning Staff - Lt General Sir Fredrick Morgan, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, General Sir William Dobbie - Governor of Malta, General Eisenhower, Field Marshal Montgomery, senior church leaders and lastly a Private named Joel in Patton's Third Army. If anyone would like a copy, PM me and I'll get one to you.

 

David

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The King wrote to the leaders of the Church of England 'suggesting' the first Sunday of 1915 should be a National Day of Prayer.

His letter expressed a ' disinclination to advocate the use of any term that may be misinterpreted at home or abroad.'  

This date continued for the duration, in  January 1916; 1917 and in 1918, by which time it was declared a 'Proclamation'; and on into 1919, when the date was fixed in the Church calendar for most denominations.

 

The King also 'suggested' that August 4th 1918 should also be declared a National Day of Prayer, and so it was.

 

The Archbishops were always keen to propose and promote a national day of prayer at times of crisis.

 

Ken 

 

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Thanks Ken, extremely helpful and appreciated.

 

David

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  • 2 months later...

From 1916. As the writer wasn't sure if it was a good or bad omen, maybe the men in the trenches had given up believing in religious visions by then.

 

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Seem to recall that Spiritualism came to the fore in the war (hardly surprising given the scale of losses really).

 

I have a (vague) memory of someone quite publicly significant who lost his son writing a book about contact with him through mediums or similar? Can for the life of me remember what or who, sorry. Someone like Conan-Doyle and the book was his son's name, killed in 1915 I think? 

 

Sorry it's vague; I was fleetingly interesting 10-20 years ago when I came across it but just cant recall the details! 

 

Edit; this may be it - http://www.historyinanhour.com/2012/05/22/arthur-conan-doyle-spiritualist/ 

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Or this one...

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/736297.Raymond_or_Life_and_Death

 

I've recently submitted 7,000 words to the Neath Antiquarian Society on another lad (from Neath) who was also KIA but then contacted by his mum, who was (secretly) a prominent medium.

 

To be published next year.

 

Bernard

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   There is an interesting chapter  in :

 

Dismembering the Male: Men's Bodies, Britain, and the Great War

Joanna Bourke

Published by University Of Chicago Press (1996)

ISBN 10: 0226067467 ISBN 13: 9780226067469

 

     Professor Bourke has a chunk on all the medium/spiritualism stuff about Kitchener after his death in 1916- some good insights on the general subject as well.

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