The Padre

29 Apr

Padres in the British forces are of all denominations and apart from their normal duties; they are there to help service men and women with any personal problems.
Many Padres won the Victoria Cross, particular in the First World War Two men come to my mind. The first being, Theodore Bayley Hardy who was attached to the 8th Lincolnshire Regt and the 8th Somerset Light Infantry. He won the D.S.O and the Military Cross in 1917. The Following year in April 1918 he was awarded the Victoria Cross and was presented with the medal by King George V in France. One month before hostilities ended in October 1918 He was wounded and died of his wounds in Rouen France. He was 54 years of age
The other Padre was The Reverend Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy who was nicknamed Woodbine Willie. He won the Military Cross at Messines Ridge for rescuing men in Gas attacks in 1917. He died at the age of 46 in 1929.
During My National Service with the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, we had a Padre name Rev G.G Holman CF; I.V. He would visit platoons out on schemes or in the camp on a regular basis. A popular man, who would always tell us not to salute him which we always did, because of the respect we had for him. He came out to the Cameroons with the regiment and would visit the various camps up and down the country. I must say he was a friendly sight due to his easy going attitude and topics of conversation. One day on a road block, in the middle of a jungle area, smack in the middle of nowhere. Who turned up, the Padre with the words “I knew something would happen on this road”.
A few years back I received a letter from a man who was born in Banso in the Cameroons 1960. He wrote saying he was baptised by the Chaplain of the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment. He said he was getting married in France and needed his certificate of baptism because his original one had been lost over the years. He didn’t know the name of the Chaplin and he had contacted the army Chaplains department who said they had no records for Africa.
He asked if I could help him. I gave him the name of our Padre G.G.Holman with details etc. and told him to again get in touch with the Chaplin’s Department. I told him not to be fobbed off and wished him the best of luck. A week later I received a thank you letter telling me the information I gave paid off. The Reverend Holman was alive and well living in York. This is a few years ago and I hope he is still in the best of health.
I am sure ex and present service men and women have a tremendous amount of respect for their Padres. It does not matter if one is not religious; because there are no barriers when you talk to the Padre.
Alan

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