Vicars at War

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The Work of Military Chaplains, etc. – as recorded in Trigg Major Magazine.
St Thomas, APRIL 1917: News of Service Men. We are glad to hear that Cpl Manning, who has been in hospital a long time, is making good recovery from his wounds. On the other hand Pte. WH Nute has had to have his leg amputated; the latest news of him is “that he is progressing favourably.” I have received an interesting letter from Pte. WH Lane, who says of what he has seen since he left the choir; he praises YMCA and Church Institutes very much, “by God’s help I’m trying to lead a Christian life in the Army. I read some of the Bible every day and never forget my prayers.” Pte – – -, writing from the trenches, says “I often think of the happy Sundays I used to spend, and I wish I was back again. We have services out here, sometimes in the trenches, sometimes in barns.” Pte. – – – also, writing from a Church Army Hut near the trenches, says “I always think about the Church when Sunday comes round. We have Communion Services here every Sunday, and I always attend. The Communion Table is made up of cartridge boxes, but that doesn’t matter as long as our faith is here. We have a fine Chaplain, he calls us “his Boys.”

St Thomas, April 1917: National Service. (Rev. JJ Haworth, BA, vicar). I have had the good fortune to be selected for Y.M.C.A. work in France and shall (D.V.) be leaving the parish shortly for a few months. I am sorry I cannot give any particulars, but hope to be able to do so next month. The YMCA and Church Army, and kindred societies are doing splendid work for our soldiers, and I regard the prospect of going into such a work as an honour and a great privilege. I shall be sorry to leave you, but glad to go if I can be of any service to “on whose every remembrance we ought to thank God” and ask ourselves “are we worthy of their sacrifices.”

St Thomas, Rev. JJ Haworth, June 1917: ‘My dear friends: I have scarcely had time to thank you for your kind gift and hearty send-off, since I left London. I arrived in London late one night; next morning at 10.30 I saw YMCA Worker’s Secretary, received uniform and had afternoon tea in France. The next day I set out on my journey and arrived here just as you were singing the opening hymn on Sunday morning, May 20th. Tomorrow I begin responsible Hut Work, so am writing to thank you one and all for the way in which you sent me off. I want you to remember that when you sing those lines about ‘our splendid men,’ you are singing something that is absolutely true – the men are splendid; there is the common feeling of the Hut workers.
I cannot tell you where I am, what I have already heard and seen, nor where my future work will be.
Ever affectionaly yours, J.J. Haworth.”.
A strange meeting: Who would have thought that when at the send-off meeting I expressed the hope that I might meet some of our own boys out here, my wish would be granted on my first full day (May 21st) in present quarters. I must reserve the full story until I come home, for it will seem incredible if put on paper. The fact is, I met Gunner Rundle, whose letter was in the magazine for March. The remarkable thing about the story is, I was actually looking for him as a Battery passed, and was talking about him to a YMCA Worker, when he!, Gunner Rundle, spotted me and crossed the road! At first I could not believe my own eyes, but when he shook my hands, I knew it was he. When my friend and I returned to YMCA headquarters and told the story, our excellent chief said “It was most extraordinary” and added “That the incident alone was well worth coming out for.” “Verily God is the living God.” Never did I feel the truth of those words as I did after that strange meeting. Yesterday Rundle and I spent a few hours together and had a really good time. I was able to tell him many things of interest and give him a little of what you entrusted to me. If possible we should have another good time together to-day, but if it is not possible – for nothing is certain out here – at any rate two hearts will pass on much changed by that strange –and may I not say? divinely ordered meeting. As I write a Bosche Aeroplane is passing over and is having a pretty warm time of it.

St Thomas, Rev. JJ Haworth May 1917: The Coming Months. I cannot quite tell when I shall be leaving the parish for work with the YMCA among the troops – Meantime I must be ready to go any day after the 8th May. I dislike to use the word “goodbye” so will wish you “good morning”, and would add ‘Pray for us’ and ‘carry on.’

July 1917: St Thomas. St Mary’s Mission Church, Tregadillett. Rev. JJ Haworth.
Whit Sunday in a Rest Camp. I shall always remember the Whit Sunday just passed, for it was my first complete Sunday out here, and it was ushered in by a visit from enemy aircraft. At 8. am. we had a beautiful Communion service with about Sixty Communicants, who but a few days before had come from the places mentioned in my letter above. The service was very responsive and very reverent throughout, notwithstanding the incessant noise of anti-aircraft guns and the far greater noise made by the guns nearer the line. Sometimes we could only faintly hear some of the prayers for the noise it made one feel that “the world is upside down” and it made one ask “Are we commemorating the birthday of the Christian Church or of the Kingdom of Satan?”
Other services were held throughout the day, and at night the YMCA when men ask for hymns.
The first hymn asked for was “Holy Father In Thy Mercy” (the hymn for absent friends), then came a request for “I’ve found a friend” and then “Crown Him with many crowns.”
I must say that if Felt the hymns were leading us aright and were good preparation for the helpful service which followed. The Hymn most sung at the services in this Hut is “Crown Him with many crowns”. I feel thankful for this, for it shows clearly where the failure lies and what is the only sure hope for the future. Another favourite hymn is “Oh for a thousand tongues”. The hymns I have selected and heard sung are unwittingly a tribute to the satisfaction and power found in our Divine Redeemer.
As Hut Leader of this Hut, I am largely responsible for the religious services, and shall be grateful if you will remember this in your prayers. On Trinity Sunday I took the 8.am. and the 9. am.(Parade Service) for the Chaplain, who was on duty elsewhere. We had over twenty Communicants on Trinity Sunday morning..

August 1917: St Thomas: St Mary’s Mission Church, Tregadillett: Rev JJ Haworth
YMCA Work in a Dugout. There is so much to write about that it is difficult to select what would apply and interest you most. I might tell you of the rollicking fun there is when ‘The Follies’ visit a camp, or the keen competition when ‘Sports Day’ is held, or again I could write an interesting account of our YMCA service last Sunday night when fifteen men came forward and signed ‘The (Spiritual) War Roll’ in the presence of their comrades. I think, however, I will tell you of a visit to a YMCA Dugout. It was a great privilege to see this good work carried out near the line. My guide and I passed all sorts of strange dwellings by the way, and cave dwellers – brown as berries – peered at us from squints, tiny windows and doors that reminded one of rabbit holes. I was much amused at some of the names given to special dwellings; in the names given was a strange mixture of pride, humility, irony and homeliness. There was ‘Clarence House’ on our right with it’s owner outside endeavouring to remove from his chin a day’s growth of hair. ‘Grand Hotel’ too, was here, by the entrance of which one of the men who lived there was boiling water – using his steel helmet as a pan. The owner of humble ‘Rose Cottage’ was doing-a-bit-of-washing on his door-step. One portion of the place where we were was evidently very wet at times, for the man who lived in that corner has put up a notice inviting one and all to turn into ‘The Sailor’s Rest.’ Pushing on, we arrived at this advanced YMCA Dugout, to find it quite crowded out with men who had come in form various quarters to buy for themselves and their less fortunate comrades.
This splendid work is carried out in four Dugouts set side by side and well protected with sand bags, etc. In no.1, a small company of men can sit and enjoy the gramophone, write letters, or obtain something to read. In no.2, about 20 men can sit in comfort, drink lemonade, smoke and chat with their comrades. In no. 3, the storing, buying and selling are done. A visitor is impressed by the variety and abundance of the good things set out for sale. In no.4, the Workers live; their position is office, dining and bedrooms combined. I recall to mind the tiny recess into which a worker would creep at the close of day and probably have his toes nibbled by a friendly rat during the nights. I shall always remember with gratitude the kindness and hospitality of these YMCA workers, one of whom took a most and fatherly interest in the boys; I liked the way he said ‘Yes, laddie’, and ‘What can I do for you my Lad?’ And if you know the NCO’s name I know that he daily radiates hope and gladness where they are sorely needed, and that he is much beloved by the men. I am sure some St Thomas lads must have met him.

St Thomas, Nov 1917: Vicar: Rev JJ Haworth. The Vicar’s Thanks. Many thanks for the kind manner in which you welcomed me back home from my work with the YMCA. The Secretary of the YMCA wishes it to be known that his Committee highly appreciates the kindness of the Vicars of Bolventor and of Boyton. I need hardly say that I am one of the Committee in the appreciation of work well done. News of Servicemen. It was a pleasure to meet Gunner Rundle on my first Sunday home – you may remember that I met him near the Front on my first full day in France – and also to have the ever cheerful Charles Hillman with us for a Sunday on his well-earned leave. Our prayers and good wished go with our brothers on their return to France
Pte J Horrell has been on short leave. Pte J Reed, Sapper Worth and Bombardier E Lee send thanks for the cigarettes; we regret to hear that Pte E Chambers has had fever and that Pte J Hillman has been gassed. Coming Meeting. I hope soon to arrange one or two meetings in the Lad’s Institute when I will endeavour to tell you a little of my recent work among our soldiers. The truth is Mr Bradford and I have been speaking almost nightly in the villages around Launceston on behalf of the Red Cross Society, and there has been no time to hold other meetings.

St Thomas, APRIL 1917: News of Service Men. We are glad to hear that Cpl Manning, who has been in hospital a long time, is making good recovery from his wounds. On the other hand Pte. WH Nute has had to have his leg amputated; the latest news of him is “that he is progressing favourably.” I have received an interesting letter from Pte. WH Lane, who says of what he has seen since he left the choir; he praises YMCA and Church Institutes very much, “by God’s help I’m trying to lead a Christian life in the Army. I read some of the Bible every day and never forget my prayers.” Pte – – -, writing from the trenches, says “I often think of the happy Sundays I used to spend, and I wish I was back again. We have services out here, sometimes in the trenches, sometimes in barns.” Pte. – – – also, writing from a Church Army Hut near the trenches, says “I always think about the Church when Sunday comes round. We have Communion Services here every Sunday, and I always attend. The Communion Table is made up of cartridge boxes, but that doesn’t matter as long as our faith is here. We have a fine Chaplain, he calls us “his Boys.”

St Thomas, April 1917: National Service. (Rev. JJ Haworth, BA, vicar). I have had the good fortune to be selected for Y.M.C.A. work in France and shall (D.V.) be leaving the parish shortly for a few months. I am sorry I cannot give any particulars, but hope to be able to do so next month. The YMCA and Church Army, and kindred societies are doing splendid work for our soldiers, and I regard the prospect of going into such a work as an honour and a great privilege. I shall be sorry to leave you, but glad to go if I can be of any service to “on whose every remembrance we ought to thank God” and ask ourselves “are we worthy of their sacrifices.”
St Thomas, Rev. JJ Haworth, June 1917: ‘My dear friends: I have scarcely had time to thank you for your kind gift and hearty send-off, since I left London. I arrived in London late one night; next morning at 10.30 I saw YMCA Worker’s Secretary, received uniform and had afternoon tea in France. The next day I set out on my journey and arrived here just as you were singing the opening hymn on Sunday morning, May 20th. Tomorrow I begin responsible Hut Work, so am writing to thank you one and all for the way in which you sent me off. I want you to remember that when you sing those lines about ‘our splendid men,’ you are singing something that is absolutely true – the men are splendid; there is the common feeling of the Hut workers. I cannot tell you where I am, what I have already heard and seen, nor where my future work will be. Ever affectionaly yours, J.J. Haworth.”.

A strange meeting: Who would have thought that when at the send-off meeting I expressed the hope that I might meet some of our own boys out here, my wish would be granted on my first full day (May 21st) in present quarters. I must reserve the full story until I come home, for it will seem incredible if put on paper. The fact is, I met Gunner Rundle, whose letter was in the magazine for March. The remarkable thing about the story is, I was actually looking for him as a Battery passed, and was talking about him to a YMCA Worker, when he!, Gunner Rundle, spotted me and crossed the road! At first I could not believe my own eyes, but when he shook my hands, I knew it was he. When my friend and I returned to YMCA headquarters and told the story, our excellent chief said “It was most extraordinary” and added “That the incident alone was well worth coming out for.” “Verily God is the living God.” Never did I feel the truth of those words as I did after that strange meeting. Yesterday Rundle and I spent a few hours together and had a really good time. I was able to tell him many things of interest and give him a little of what you entrusted to me. If possible we should have another good time together to-day, but if it is not possible – for nothing is certain out here – at any rate two hearts will pass on much changed by that strange –and may I not say? divinely ordered meeting. As I write a Bosche Aeroplane is passing over and is having a pretty warm time of it.

St Thomas, Rev. JJ Haworth May 1917: The Coming Months. I cannot quite tell when I shall be leaving the parish for work with the YMCA among the troops – Meantime I must be ready to go any day after the 8th May. I dislike to use the word “goodbye” so will wish you “good morning”, and would add ‘Pray for us’ and ‘carry on.’
St Thomas & St Mary’s Mission Church, Tregadillett.: Dec 1917: News of Servicemen. It was with much regret we heard that Cpl A Penfound had been ‘wounded and gassed’ after more than three years service with the Field Artillery in France; the latest news of him is very good. We are glad to report that Sapper J Hillman, Pte E Chambers, Sapper TH Hillman, Pte J Fry and Pte Atwill are all making good recovery. Pte C Hillman sends thanks for smokes, and frankly confesses that life in France is “rotten” after the delightful time he had on leave.
Lt. GN Carter, Sapper S Cowling, Pte B Penfound, Sapper H Hicks, Cpl Fry, Pte H Venning and H Dymond have been on leave. Pte WH Nute is home having lost a limb for our country.

St Thomas, MARCH 1918: The Rev JJ Haworth intends proceeding again to France after Easter.
St Mary’s Mission Church, Tregadillett: Service: I shall in Easter Week (dv) be leaving the parish for possibly a years, service with the Troops, having been accepted for a Temporary Army Chaplaincy.. I shall leave you with the happy recollection of the splendid way in which you kept things going during my five months absence last year, and I want you once again to regard yourselves as partners in this service; yours, to serve at home and mine abroad with the near and splendid men who are saving us from our enemies.
Every effort will be made to provide regular services in the Church during my absence, and clergy of our Deanery will again help readily as they did last year. If on occasion a service cannot be held and your first feeling is that if disappointment, I hope you will remember this short prayer, which I heard a Chaplain pray at a service held one Sunday in a ruined village and near a ruined Church: “Remember O Lord those who have lost their homes, specially those who once lived here and worshipped Thee in the Church now in ruins.” I the next issue of the Magazine particulars of the arrangements made will be set out. Meanwhile may God guide and bless us in all things.
Most hearty congratulations to Cpl C. H. Westlake, who has been recommended for the Croix de Guerre, the Belgium decoration. We are awaiting particulars of this rare honour, coming as it does so soon after Cpl Westlake was “mentioned” in a recent Despatch from our own Commander-in-Chief.

Cecil Westlake with comrade
Cecil Westlake on left with a comrade

Post & News, 13th January, 1923. EDITORIAL.
Launceston Vicar Leaving. Rev. J.J. Haworth, B.A., Vicar of St Thomas-by-Launceston, on Sunday evening announced to his congregation that he had accepted the offer made to him by the Bishop of Truro of the living of Tuckingmill, Camborne, which is vacant by the transference of Canon H Wright to Lezant..
Mr Haworth, who has been at St Thomas for twelve years, has done much useful work in the parish.
The number of communicants has largely increased, the bells have been restored, and a churchroom has been provided as a war memorial.
During the war Mr Haworth went to the Front as a chaplain to the Forces. Keenly interested in ex-servicemen, he is an active member of the British Legion, and is also an enthusiast for the League of Nations, being the secretary of the local branch of the League of Nations Union.
For some time he has been rural dean for Trigg Major. Last summer he took a mountaineering holiday and achieved the feat of climbing the Matterhorn, afterwards writing for us several articles on the trip, which were read with great interest by readers of the “Post.”
During his sty at Launceston it is gratifying to know that the attendances at the Church have increased considerably. At Tuckingmill he will be in charge of a large parish, containing nearly 5,000 people in the centre of a mining district.
The living of St Thomas was formerly vested in the inhabitants, but by the passing of the Church Assembly Act is now transferred to the Parochial Church Council it is not certain how the patronage will go, but it will probably be with the Church Council.

 

Rev. J.J. Haworth, B.A..
Rev. J.J. Haworth, B.A..

The incumbency of Rev. Haworth began in 1911, and he was Vicar of St Thomas the Apostle, Launceston, and of St Mary’s Mission Church, Tregadillett until being transferred to Camborne.

St M Parish Church, Sept 1915: The Rev. CP Triplett, having been appointed Chaplain to HM Forces, left the parish on August 17th, and sailed for Alexandria soon afterwards. He has to report himself there, when he will, in all probability, receive order to go to the Dardanelles. The Rev. TNH Smith Pearse has kindly consented to take Mr Triplett’s place as assistant curate for the time being.

Parish magazine, August 1916: St Mary Magdalene, Vicar FE Lewis, Hendra.
The Sunday School Festival. “I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the members of St Mary’s for the warm welcome back to Launceston. After a year’s hospital work in Egypt on a Hospital ship with its appalling sights and testing a temperature of 110 degrees in the shade in Salonika, and travelling 15,000 miles by sea, you will understand how I appreciate the refreshing scenery of this neighbourhood.
Chaplains renew their commission from year to year, but as I didn’t see any chance of being transferred from Hospital to Field work, I didn’t apply for an extension of my year’s leave from Launceston. Since leaving England I have been to Gibraltar, Malta, Madras, Alexandria, Cairo, Salonika, Stavros, and Hague, and I have come back more than ever impressed by the splendid sacrifices and the wonderful qualities of our Army and Navy.
I could write pages in testifying to the fortitude of our men in hospitals, of their cheerfulness and appreciation of all that is done for them, and I think they value the work the chaplains have tried to do.
Perhaps I shall have an opportunity later on of telling you something about a Chaplain’s life and work.
Charles P Triplett.”

Parish Mag, St Mary Magdalene, July 1917: Assistant priest, Rev. CP Triplett, Chaplain to the Forces.
“By the time the magazine is in your hands I shall have left you again. When the call to National Service was issued I offered my services to the War Office again as a Chaplain to the Forces, with the approval of the Bishop and the Vicar [Rev. Canon FE Lewis, Hendra]. At last I have received orders from the Chaplain General to go to France on July 3rd. I do not know yet what my special work will be, but as I have done a year’s hospital work, I hope I shall be with the troops in the field this time. For several reasons I shall be sorry to leave Launceston, yet I shall be happier in khaki, and to be with those who have given up so much for us, taking them the ministrations of the Church many of them love and value, and I hope I may be allowed to be with them in their dangers. It will be impossible to call and wish you all good-bye in person, so I take this opportunity of doing so. If there is one branch of the work here I love more than another, it is the Children’s Service on Sunday afternoons. Beside the members of the Sunday School, a few of the members of the congregation bring or send their children, and we have lately had the pleasure of welcoming Pendruccombe children. C. Triplett.

VICAR OF ALTANUN LEAVING. Accepts Living of Boconnoc.
The Rev. C.P. Triplett, of Altarnun, has been offered and accepted the living of Boconnoc with Bradoc, vacant by the death of the Rev A.W. Pender. The living is the gift of Mr J.B. Fortescue.Rev C.P. Triplett was instituted into the living of Altarnun on January 31st, 1931, made vacant through the removal of Rev. W.W. Bickford,to the living of the parish church, at St. Stephen’s, Launceston.
Rev. Triplett, hon.C.F. of the Scho. Canc. Lincoln, was ordained deacon in 1910, and priest in 1911, at Lincoln Cathedral. After working at Grimsby he came to St. Mary Magdalene, Launceston, in June 1914.
He joined H.M. Forces in 1915 as chaplain, serving with the Expeditionary Forces in Egypt, and on the hospital ship “Dunluce Castle,” on the Salonika-Malta runs, while from 1917 to a9a9 he was in France with the 11th Division.
On Canon Lewis’s removal to St. Neot, Mr Triplett became assistant curate at St, Austell, and in 1921 was appointed Rector of Landulf, but he resigned in 1924 and became assistant curate at Newquay. In 1926 he was appointed Vicar of Penwarne, Falmouth.
Mr Triplett married in 1918, Miss. Catherine Joyce, daughter of Mrs. Peter and the late Mr. C.H. Peter, Launceston.

Rev. Triplett
Rev. Triplett

Vicars: TMM, January 1915: Vicar Rev-canon FE Lewis, Hendra:
“RSPCA Fund for Sick and Wounded British Horses. In spite of the excellent arrangements and splendid work carried out by the Army Veterinary Corps for the sick and wounded horses of the British forces of the front, the public has long felt a desire to co-operate in the humane and economic work of the Department.
It is interesting here to mention that already some 23,000 horses have been into its hospitals, and tended with such care that large numbers have been returned fit to the front. The A.V.C. has already availed itself of assistance of the RSPCA by drafting large numbers of its inspectors into the ranks of that Corps, and the Society has now received the official sanction of the Army Council to aid the cause in coping with the increased demand on its resources. This sanction is covered in the following words: ‘That they will be grateful for your Society’s further assistance . . . and approve of a fund being started by your Society for the purchase of Hospital requisites for sick and wounded horses.’ I have gladly accepted the position of a special council to organise the fund, and I appeal with confidence to all for financial assistance to enable the RSPCA to assist in coping with this admirable work. Cheques for the special fund may be sent to the Society, RSPCA, 105, Jermyne Street, London, S.W., or to Mr CA Philimore, who has kindly consented to act as hon. Tres. at Messrs. Coutts & Co., Bank, 440 Strand, London. Yours faithfully, Portland, Chair.’”

Post & News, October 1914. Launceston man wounded. Lt. FEC Lewis: the news was received on Saturday, that Lt. FEC Lewis, son of the Rev. Canon FE Lewis, vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Launceston, who has been at the Front with his regiment, the East Lancashires, has been slightly wounded, and has been brought to Southampton. He was later taken to a House of Rest in Mayfair, in the West End of London, and will shortly be brought home.

Post & News, 13 June, 1917: Lt. [temp Captain] FEC Lewis, East Lancashire Regt., eldest son of Rev Canon Lewis and Mrs Lewis, Hendra, Launceston, has been specially Mentioned by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, in his Somme Battle Despatch for Gallant and Distinguished Service in the Field.

Parish Mag. St Mary Magdalene, July 1917: Vicar – Canon FE Lewis, Hendra. Mr Triplett proceeds to France this week with our best wishes.
Parish Mag, St. M.M. December 1917: We are glad to congratulate Captain Arthur Drewe on winning the Military Cross after some strenuous service in France, also those gallant men of our neighbourhood who have lately won the Military Medal. Canon Lewis, Hendra.

Post & News, October 20th, 1914: THE CHAPLAIN OF THE “CRESSY.”
Last week, Rev George H Collier, MA. and Curate, All Saints, Babbacombe, was married to Miss Langdon of Kensey, Launceston.
Mr. COLLIER’s EXPERIENCIES. How the Rev GH Collier escaped when the “Cressy” (one of the three cruisers recently torpedoed by German submarines in the North Sea) went down, is described as one of the wonders in all the history of the sea. As the cruiser sank, the crew picked up anything that could float, and then jumped overboard. The Chaplain could not swim and it was stated by an eye witness that he became unconscious when picked up. Mr Collier (says the Torbay News & Dartmouth Gazette) officiated on Sunday morning at the communion service at the All Saints Church, Babbacombe.
Although in a weak state of health after his long immersion he delivered a short address, in which he described his personal experiences, and expressed thank goodness for the preservation of his own life and the life of another parishioner – William Eales – one of the crew of the “Hague”.
Throughout the service Mr Collier was full of emotion, and his firm voice of a few weeks ago was now greatly changed. His singing, generally a feature of the musical portion of that service, told of what he had been through during his seven weeks absence from Babbacombe.
In the pulpit, Mr Collier said in a manner which brought tears to the eyes of many, he could not preach a sermon, and he was sure no one in the congregation expected one of him.
His heart was full of thanksgiving to Almighty God for being saved. He wished to thank the congregation for their prayers on his behalf during the time that he had been absent from them.
It had been a great help to him in his spiritual work. He wished also to take that opportunity of thanking all his friends on behalf of the officers and men of his late ship, for sending him magazine and periodicals for the men to read; they all greatly appreciated them. He had hoped to be able to relate to them a few of his experiences of the past week, and to tell them about his work amongst the sailors, but he found he could not do so that morning, but hoped to tell them about it at the evening service. He was naturally very weak, and it was as much as he could do to take the service that morning, but he felt he wanted to be with them again. Continuing, he explained how he was aroused from his bed to assist the rescue from a sinking ship, but soon to find that his own ship had been torpedoed, and was rapidly going under.
He was in the water for two hours and forty minutes when he lost consciousness, and it must have therefore quite three hours before he was rescued. He considered the preservation of his life to be an absolute miracle, especially as he could not swim. “I thought of the people of Babbacombe” he added, “who would be saying ‘Poor Mr Collier,’ but don’t say it. I am quite happy and eager to begin again.” Here Mr Collier was almost lost, and he left the pulpit saying with such feeling “God bless you all.”
It appears that Mr Collier, the ship’s doctor (Dr. Martin), Staff Surgeon Sawdy, and another man, clung to a lifebelt and a piece of wood after the Cressy went down. Mr Collier and the doctor being saved after having been in the water two hours and forty minutes. Mr Collier lost consciousness for a short time before he was rescued and he was unconscious for about three hours afterwards.
Mr Collier intended giving another short address at the evening service, but to the great disappointment of the crowded congregation, the Vicar (Canon Bevan) announced that he had received a message that Mr Collier had had a fainting fit, and that his doctor had forbidden him his attending church.
In a touching address, the Vicar recalled some of Mr Collier’s words at the morning service, and narrated a striking instance of self-sacrifice on the part of Mr Collier. A lad on board on whom the reverend gentleman had made an impression, and whom he had influenced to make his Communion, asked him, when the ship was going down, to give him his lifebelt, as he (the lad) could not swim. Mr Collier did so, although he himself was unable to swim. Soon afterwards the doctor of the ship brought Mr Collier another lifebelt, and it was by clinging to this that his life was saved. The Vicar added that he believed that on account of this act of self-sacrifice God had spared Mr Collier’s life for another service.

Trigg Major Magazine: November 1914: Ernest Drewe, Rev. It was a great privilege to me to have any part or share in the happy holy sermon which united Miss Gladys Norton Langdon to the Rev. George Henry Collier, RN., in St Stephens Church on September 30th. The circumstances that led up to this somewhat hurried ceremony are familiar to all, but the heroism displayed by this young Naval Chaplain in surrendering his lifebelt to the little lad on board, as HMS Cressy was slowly sinking beneath the waves, will live in our memories so long as life shall last – for in this one act we see the flashlight revealing for a moment in its pure unselfishness, the power of the “Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Mr Collier’s former Rector and our well-known friend, Canon Bevan, Rector of Babbacombe, Torquay, was present to unite them, and to wish them both a very happy life together.

 

 

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