Just before I set off on my pilgrimage/Charity Bike Ride I met with a couple and we got talking about marriage and what my Sabbatical entailed. The young woman said something which shocked me. She had seen my FB posts shamelessly plugging me and my Bike Ride. I was quite upset by that remark as she had clearly not bothered to read why I was doing it and for whom I was raising monies for.


I am writing this as I am reminded that on the 1st July we are reminded of the loss of so many lives at the Battle of The Somme, a place I have visited. The 1st World War for soldiers and those at home saw the recognition of shell shock, although many still believed it wasn’t true, but many families including my own were directly or indirectly affected either straight away or years later.


We have moved on from them and there are many organisations trying to help families and individuals affected by the horror of war. So to that end I was and still support within the charities I am trying to raise funds a group helping families receive respite care PTSD and also Combat Stress. Although my pilgrimage after 300km was cut short I continue my pilgrimage locally and will be visiting many churches which offer places of sanctuary to those who still suffer.


So again I give thanks for the sacrifice of so many men and women from around the world who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, those who continue to suffer and to their families. If you want to help go to https://www.gofundme.com/r8eumwng if not thank you for at least reading my piece.

I leave you with this-Revd David Messer


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares(2) we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest(3) began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots(4)
Of tired, outstripped(5) Five-Nines(6) that dropped behind.
Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets(8) just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime(9) . . .
Dim, through the misty panes(10) and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.(15)

Wilfred Owen
Thought to have been written between 8 October 1917  and March, 1918